Falling From The Heavens

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Wednesday's games.

(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire) 

It’s time to talk about Zack Godley who just hasn’t been the man we expected him to be. After yesterday’s 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 6 BBs, 3 Ks line against the Brewers, Godley is holding an ugly 4.53 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, with an 11.6% walk rate and just 20.8% K rate. While he is still inducing plenty of poor contact – 24.3% soft contact, good for 7th best in the majors – his problems are two-fold: fewer whiffs with his curveball and poor command of his cutter. His curveball has dropped from a 21.7% whiff rate to 15.8%, paired with a plummet of O-Swing from 50.3% to a mediocre 35.2%. Ouch. Because of the fewer amount of strikes returned from his curveball, he has to rely on his cutter in deeper counts, a pitch that is returning just a 43.7% zone rate and 9.4% whiff rate this season, boosting his walk rate on the pitch from 8.8% to 20.0%. It’s just not working. Now, his sinker is landing for strikes more often, though it’s lost over a tick in velocity, but instead of jamming right-handers and tailing away from lefties, Godley’s command of the pitch inside the zone is a lot worse, leading to few grounders on sinkers and more line drives. He’s a bit lost at the moment, but I don’t innately believe the stuff is gone. And that’s the real thing here. Yes, he has to make a tweak to fix his control. Yes he needs to execute his curveball better to make a more believable pitch and prevent deeper counts. But I can fathom this coming together. I’m not convinced Godley is a 4.00 ERA pitcher who will hover a 20% K rate. If you can afford to hold and stash, do it. I’m willing to bet on a rebound this year.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Jake Arrieta – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Of course Arrieta finds his slutter (26 thrown!), collects 14 whiffs, and has one of his most dominating starts of the season fresh out of a fun a debate about the guy on Sunday. There’s obviously still plenty of questions if he’ll be able to replicate that again – just a 6.6% whiff rate overall through the year – but this against the Braves is obviously a great start.

Jacob deGrom – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You realize he has a 33.3% K rate and 1.54 ERA, right?

Marco Gonzales – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Solid stuff Marco, I know you carry a 3.22 FIP with a solid 8.27 K/9 and 1.86 BB/9 that will appeal to many, but I see you only as a streaming option. That’s totally cool, you know.

Daniel Gossett – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Why didn’t anyone tell Daniel that this is the exact opposite of a Gosse Egg? Someone is getting fired for this.

Kenta Maeda – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 12 Ks. Maeda is SO HOT RIGHT NOW. He’s holding a 30.8% K rate, 7.9% BB rate, 2.59 FIP, and has tallied 14.2 IP across his last two starts with 20 Ks to his name. I love it and while there are still some IPS questions, there’s a possibility he’s earned more trust in that past month – or the Dodgers are just throwing away the whole “clause in the contract about his innings” bit. Either way, if you own Maeda, life is wonderful. Too bad you don’t get a share of his Gallows Pole (19 whiffs).

Adam Plutko – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Don’t trust men with last names that seem like they were created with the discarded letters of hangman. That’s what I always say.

Aaron Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. This is so Sanchez. Low strikeouts and swings-and-misses? Check with just four whiffs. Five walks? Check. Inducing weak contact aplenty? Oh yeah, you know that’s what we’ve got. Only 21 CSW is kinda nuts across 97 pitches, but it’s all about that batted ball, baby. It wouldn’t be smart to think this can be easily repeated.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Daaaang Archer! I guess no one told you this was against the Sawx. He did a decent job of fastballs up, sliders down and it led to balls finding gloves and six strikeouts. That is a total of 4 ER in four of his last five starts now (sandwiching a 6 ER clunker) allowing 0 HRs in those starts (he allowed 1 per game in his first six!), but the 10 walks in his last three games is still giving me concern. Proceed with caution.

Dylan Covey – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. I know this is incredible, but Don’t Covey thy Dylan. He is throwing two mph harder than last year and went 29 CSW across 79 two-seamers, but there’s nothing else in his repertoire worth noting and that will be a major problem. STICK TO THE JOKE.

Michael Fulmer – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay so this is a little more of the old Fulmer with ratios that you’ll live with but not the overwhelming K rate. You should feel better when I tell you this came with a 12.5% overall whiff rate.

Chad Kuhl – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Over 20% curveballs for the first time this season…but it hasn’t been the pitch you think it should be with a 10.7% whiff rate, sub 20% O-Swing, and 40% zone rate. That’s not going to cut it longterm and while it worked here and has led to a .083 BAA, I don’t buy it as the “fix” for Kuhl. Sorry.

Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. FIP and SIERA be damned, Lester is still trucking along, now holding a 2.37 ERA with a 4.47 SIERA. It’s kinda crazy, as it’s paired with a 20.5% K rate, 9.4% BB rate, 83.1% LOB rate, and .258 BABIP. These are all things that just don’t add up to a 2.37 ERA. Yeah, but he’s inducing weak contact! His 15.5% soft contact is the lowest of his career save for his 2006 rookie year, and 32.3% hard is the highest since 2007. Sell like a block in a spreadsheet.

David Price – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. On one hand, I’m stoked for another dominant start from Price with 9 Ks, a 1.00 WHIP, and just 1 ER to his name. On the other, it’s three walks against the Rays and I so badly wanted another 0 in the walks column. He didn’t command the inside part of the plate to right-handers as well as his previous outing, but he did a great job with his changeup and pounding the zone enough to get the results we want. He’ll get a bump on Monday to around the low-to-mid 30s or so.

Tyson Ross – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Ain’t nothing slowing Ross down, not even a start against the Nationals. Do I worry that the fairy tale will come to an end? A bit as his under-the-hood numbers are worse than his excellent 2014/2015 years, but I definitely will keep riding Ross until he gives me a reason to reconsider.

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Look at that! Straily was able to do stuff against the Mets. Not sure if that’s because he’s Straily or the Mets are…the Mets, but puuut it on the booooooard, YES! Streaming Record: 28-17. He gets the Padres next with the dBacks to follow for two starts next week, and he’ll be in the Questionable tier as I’m all good for that start in San Diego.

Justin Verlander – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 1.08 ERA with a 0.71 WHIP with a 6.7 IPS. What. The. Hell.

Michael Wacha – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Wacha is absolutely crushing it, now with a 1.94 ERA in his last seven starts. 23% K rate and 6.6% BB rate as well as his increased cutter usage and improved fastball/changeup combination has all worked just right. The Cardinals have one of the better schedules as well, and I’m all for Wacha being a good 4/5 for the foreseeable future.

Luiz Gohara – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhhhh, he was only given 78 pitches here, but he did himself no favors with four walks to his name. That’s kinda the book on Gohara – high strikeouts and high walks – but I like to think that more time in the rotation will return a lower walk rate over time. The strikeouts are legit though with his slider and a 35% CSW is great, it’s just about not losing batters. I want to believe.

Jake Junis – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Have I been too harsh on Junis? That’s a 3.52 ERA with a 3.83 SIERA with a 21.8% K rate and 1.09 WHIP. An excellent 19.2% K-BB% over his last five starts as he’s found the groove of his slide piece…kinda. Just a 13% whiff rate on 39 sliders here, but it came with 13 called strikes for a 46% CSW and that’s all kinds of dope for a breaking ball. I’m still not seeing a third pitch to allow him to go consistently deep into games and his fastball isn’t fully there yet, but I’ll be raising him to around the high 50s on Monday. He deserves a little more love when his slider is working and creating results like this.

Brent Suter – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. If you want to believe that Brent can do this often, Sute yourself. It’s too low of a ceiling with a poor floor that makes me want to live elsewhere.

Erick Fedde – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. There’s simply nothing worse than aligning yourself with the Fedde. We have the people’s best interests at heart. SURE YOU DO.

Kyle Freeland – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Y’all know the Rocky Mountain Way by now and Freeland essentially pulled off a VPQS with it. It’s not great, it’s actually kind hurts across the board, but it’s not disastrous and the rule stands.

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s a PQS with just 3 Ks for Gibson. Meh, I’ll say that this time last year I would have be thrilled to see it, but now, well, I want at least 5 Ks per Gibson start, you know? The Royals are next and I’m cool with that.

Jeff Samardzija – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Jeez, Loose Lips is a complete mess and I wonder if it has to do with the lack of proper spring training. Regardless, you’re completely safe dropping him in 12-teamers if you haven’t yet.

Tyler Skaggs – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. So this is a little closer to the Skaggs I had in mind, but that’s still a decent WHIP and six Ks to boot. I’d take this, even with the blegh ERA.

Homer Bailey – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Homer Bale is getting the tank way too often these days and this doesn’t have a happy ending.

Alex Cobb – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I know what you’re thinking. The answer is one whiff on 15 splitters thrown. NOT COOL COBB.

Doug Fister – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It would be wrong to hate Fister for this start against the Yankees. You can’t have expectations for a car to fly, even if you quote Gandalf for hours while driving it.

CC Sabathia – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. After a blissful six starts to open the year, CC has allowed 13 ER in his last two outings now, this one against the Rangers as it unraveled quickly in the fourth and fifth. I still see a guy that can be a Toby if you’re into the whole 3.90 ERA/4.00 thing, but if you need strikeouts as well, you best be looking elsewhere.

Today’s Streamer

Nick Tropeano vs. Toronto Blue Jays There aren’t many choices and this one fell into my lap. Trop can do it even if he didn’t against the Rays last time.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Ross Stripling vs. San Diego Padres – It’s a matchup made in heaven.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Daniel Mengden vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I don’t expect this to last, but it’s rolling right now.

Game of the Day

Mike Clevinger vs. Charlie Morton – This looks like a ton of fun.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

28 responses to “Falling From The Heavens”

  1. David C. says:

    Hey Nick, any take on Soroka, Musgrove, Kingham, Beeks, RLo, Nelson, Kopech, Jor Mont, Shark? Do you have a favorite hold/ stash out of this bunch?

  2. Penelope Pitstop says:

    Nick, getting weary of Godley’s mediocrity.
    Do I stash him and hope, or drop him for…
    Caleb Smith, ERod, TRoss or even Brad Peacock to help with ratios (it’s also a Holds league)

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If you have that deep of a WW pool, I’m okay swapping him with TRoss.

      I’d love to drop someone else for TRoss and Smith, though.

    • Penelope Pitstop says:

      Weaver is available as well. So it’s Weaver, Caleb Smith, ERod, TRoss (or even Brad Peacock)

  3. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick, thanks as always for your hard work. Two things quick
    1) Are you somewhat confident in Eflin as a streamer @ TOR on friday?
    2) Where can I support your amazing site by buying a new shirt?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      1) A little, but I don’t love it.

      2) Looks like you found it, thanks Vinny! You picked a good one.

  4. Saint says:

    Hi Nick,

    I’m currently rostering 10 SP (Car-Mart DL), which includes Godley, although I’m currently leading my league in W’s, QS’, and 2nd in ERA even after starting Godley every time he has been available.

    I can afford to hold and stash as you suggest, but does that mean waiting until he puts together a good game or two? What is the strategy moving forward? Thanks again for your feedback.

  5. Max says:

    In a 10 teamer w/ QS over W would you consider cutting Godley for any of the following guys on my wire? Maeda, Caleb Smith, Lucchesi. Or hold and hope for top 30 2nd half?

    also where would a healthy DeSclafani rank on the list? (last rehab in AAA on Friday &should come up next week)

  6. Max says:

    Drop Godley for Maeda, Caleb Smith or Lucchesi in a QS league?

    Also, where would DeSclafani rank on the List if he was healthy? (returning next week from rehab).

    Hope this doesn’t double-post (submitted once and it didn’t show up in comments), thx

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Maeda with Smith close behind…

      …but is there someone else you can drop? I still think Godley is the better long term play there.

      Tony Disco would be a guy hovering the 70s/80s or so.

  7. Brandon says:

    Looking to drop Samardzija. Who would you pick up in an IP/QS category league among Soroka, Gonzales, Chacin, Kuhl, or stash Kingham? Or is Samardzija a better hold vs. those names?

  8. Burt Beehind says:

    Samardzija HAS to be hurt. Sooo many walks, and when he does throw it in the zone … gone. The HRs are a Shark standard, I guess, but the walks — oof. Hurt, I tell you.

  9. NH says:

    I am looking to trade or drop some players off my team to pick up some of the FA’s out there. Here is my team. Who would you trade or drop?

    C – Grandal, Yadi
    1B – Votto
    2B – Ramirez, Torres
    3B – Machado
    SS – Didi, Asdbrual Cabrera
    OF – Pollock, Jose Martinez, Mazara, Hoskins

    SP – Severino, Corbin, Morton, Sale, Clevinger, Mikolas, Robbie Ray, Kershaw
    RP – Kimbrel, Hand

    Out of all these FA’s who would you pick up before next week starts.

    Gyorko, Rojas, Tyler O’Neill, Cordero, Jankowski, Profar, Brian Anderson, Tim Anderson

    Lyles, Carl Edwards, Jack Flaherty, Rodney, Lynn, Tyler Anderson, Alex Reyes, Yarbrough, Nate Jones,
    Neris, Gibson

  10. NH says:

    Who would you trade or drop off my team. I am looking to pick up some of the FA’s out there.
    Grandal, Yadi, Votto, J. Ramirez, Torres, Machado, Didi, Asdbrual Cabrera, Pollock, Jose Martinez,
    Mazara, Hoskins, Severino, Corbin, Morton, Sale, Clevinger, Mikolas, Robbie Ray, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Hand

    Here are the FA’s I am looking at, which ones do you recommend
    Gyorko, Rojas, Tyler O’Neill, Cordero, Jankowski, Profar, Brian Anderson, Tim Anderson, Lyles, Carl Edwards, Jack Flaherty, Rodney, Lynn, Tyler Anderson, Alex Reyes, Yarbrough, Nate Jones,
    Neris, Gibson

  11. NH says:

    Here is my team, who would you drop or trade. Looking at picking some FA’s.

    Grandal, Yadi, Votto, J. Ramirez, Torres, Machado, Didi, Asdbrual Cabrera, Pollock, Jose Martinez,
    Mazara, Hoskins, Severino, Corbin, Morton, Sale, Clevinger, Mikolas, Robbie Ray, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Hand

  12. Mike says:


    How long are you willing to hold Gohara? Assuming he loses his rotation spot.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      100% depends on the options available. I’d like to see what happens with Gohara over the next month if possible, but if there are other options to chase as well, I’m okay swapping as his status is still a little up in the air with Soroka’s return.

  13. Marc I says:

    Pick up Plutko? Or just a matter of time before he’s replaced by Beiber?

  14. Balke says:

    With Gohara’s next start uncertain and Cahill now back from injury which 2 do you roster of Cahill, Gohara and Caleb Smith?

  15. ThisGuy says:

    Hey Nick!
    I had hopes of McCullers becoming an ace this year. Do you see him obtaining that status?


    • Nick Pollack says:


      I think it’s possible, I just need a larger sample of him using all three pitches in his repertoire consistently without a hiccup regarding health.

  16. Fletch.F.Fletch says:

    Who do you think gets more starts this year for the Doyers: Walker Buehler or Ross Stripling?

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