For The Love Of Chris

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

(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire)

Few pitchers have been more frustrating than Chris Archer this season and after a pair of encouraging starts, the castle crumbled again via a 7.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks line against the Orioles. The problem last year was Archer’s fastball not hitting the top of the zone often enough (and slightly lower velocity). That’s still an issue while his slider is hanging a TON in 2018, with the pitch locating often in the top third of the zone. His slider should never be there. Ever. It’s led to a .200 ISO and that’s making you want to drop him. I get that and I can’t tell you that Archer will in fact fix this HR problem that’s returned a terrible 1.54 HR/9. What I can tell you is not to overlook the upside. Even with the poor 5.64 ERA, he still has a 3.89 SIERA with a 13.9% whiff rate and sub 7.0% BB rate. Lowest LOB rate of his career at 65.7%, and a 10.08 H/9 that has to come down. Drop if you need to in the short term and have good options on the wire – shallow leagues by all means – but I do feel that this will turn around at some point this year. Remember Tanaka + Verlander last season – those changes happened in mid-June and July.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Kyle Freeland – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. I know, I know, Freeland went against the rule and still had a great start as he started in Coors and faced a decent Brewers squad. I wouldn’t take that chance again, but still consider him as a streamer outside of Coors.

Matt Andriese – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It was a bullpen game for the Rays as they can’t commit to Andriese being a starter like I can’t commit to what breakfast sandwich to order at Bagel Pub.

Jon Lester – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You tell me what’s the weird stat. 2.66 ERA. 19.2% K rate. 10.6% BB rate. 1.32 WHIP. .266 BABIP. 81.5% LOB rate. 4.87 SIERA. Yeah, that’s the lazy way of me spitting stats and telling you this is going to crater. Just 15.5% soft contact – lowest of his career – and 34.1% hard contact – highest of his career – really aren’t helping either.

Charlie Morton – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. I can’t deny it any longer. The dude is pitching on another level and I have to reward him tomorrow with a #16 spot on The List and give him the coveted label. Aces gonna ace. I still think he’s a prime sell-high given the injury history, but as long as he’s pitching he’s helping. It’s wild how good he is these days.

Tyson Ross – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Great rebound from Ross after disappointing against the Nats last time out. He’s recorded 7 Ks in five of his last seven, good for a 10.01 K/9 on the year. This is classic Ross and it’s wonderful.

Mike Soroka – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. That fifth inning was so frustrating to watch as Soroka allowed an infield single, a walk, then an error from Jose Bautista, of course, elongated the inning and led to Soroka getting pulled early. He’s legit y’all with 14 whiffs here and great fastball command. Make like JT and buy buy buy.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Atta babe Stras.

Michael Wacha – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Don’t look now, but Wacha has allowed 1 ER in four of his last five outings, with the sole exception being a 2 ER outing on May 1st. Sure, he’s held a 4.19 SIERA over those five starts (0.31 HR/9), but he’s using a cutter more and it’s working for him. I’m buying if he’s coming super cheap right now.

Mike Clevinger – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I know you want more strikeouts, but they will come as he earned 12 whiffs on 41 breaking balls with 16 overall in 115 pitches. Clev is killing it right now – yes the Royals, I know – as he’s lowered his walk rate while raising his swinging strikes. Get on board y’all.

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. 9-for-20 on whiffs via the slide piece and Gibson keeps on cruising. Now it’s the Brewers, Tigers, Royals, and I’m pumped.

David Price – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Great to see 11 whiffs from Price, though the 3 walks and inability to last six full frames paired with his “injuries” is making me hesitant to trust him fully just yet. Wow me, Price.

Troy Scribner – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember Troy? How could I forget! An epic battle fought over many years… No, the pitcher for the Angels. Oh, definitely not Yeah, these are the jokes I’m resulting to today. Don’t invest in Scribner.

Ross Stripling – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. The answer is no. Stripling hasn’t done anything new to make you think he’s different from the boring arm he’s been in the past. Yes, I’m aware of the near 25% K rate as a reliever last season, trust me here that you don’t want to buy into this in a 12-teamer. I can fathom him acting as a rare streamer, but that’s it.

Homer Bailey – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Bailey got Singled Out and killed your ratios with just four Ks. But hey! A Win! Do the ends justify the means? Do they?

Matt Boyd – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhh, his last four starts have returned, 4, 1, 4, 3 ER and his 3.21 ERA returns a 4.67 SIERA with his .242 BABIP and 5.0% HR/FB rate. TEEs all the way here, especially with a sub 7.00 K/9.

Alex Cobb – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. So the Splitter is back, earning near a 20% whiff rate in this one against the Rays and I know it sounds crazy, but I’m kinda buying Cobb now. That’s the pitch he’s been missing and if it’s showing up with movement – it certainly did – I don’t see why he can’t be a Toby through the year…but let me stop for a second as he gets the Sawx next. So don’t do anything now, but I’d consider a pickup for the ChiSox after.

Doug Fister – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Fister.

David Hess – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Hess is the latest Oriole arm to get his chance in the rotation, and after allowing a 3-run bomb in the first, he got settled in, pumping 92-93 four-seamers with a decent slider to boot – his curveball/changeup are nothing to write home about. I don’t really see a guy to chase or label as a Spice Girl here, but if he gets more time in the rotation it may turn into a streaming option.

Chad Kuhl – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Kuhl story, bro. Y’all know the upside is in there with a good breaker and mid-to-upper 90s velocity, but he’s more of a PEAS than a Spice Girl. It’s too bad, really.

Nick Tropeano – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Trop returned from the DL to give you a PQS, though it was a DLH in my book. I think he can be valuable as a streamer and possible Toby if he’s able to stay on the field.

Marco Estrada – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He didn’t get his changeup down as often as his heyday, but save for a bad third frame, Estrada pitched well against the Sawx. I’m not ready to say that he’s turned that corner – still work to be done on change piece – but I’m intrigued.

Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. There is justice in the world. Once a TEEs, now two starts of 11 ER total as The Balls Have Dropped. Let’s forget this ever happened.

Marco Gonzales – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeaaaaah. Gonzales got the Tigers and we considered him as a possible streamer, but even with the good matchup he couldn’t twirl his magic, earning just 7 whiffs in 99 pitches and nothing going his way. I’m not ruling out that Marco will have some of those good starts again, but this floor will show up more than you’d like.

Jake Junis – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. 4 called strikes on 5 curveballs is getting there but not fully committed just yet as his sinker found the zone plenty here. He’s closer here than before, but there’s still polishing left to be done. Still a Spice Girl in purgatory. He gets the Yanks next so I’m okay swapping him on the wire.

Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. We knew this would happen Suter or later.

Felix Hernandez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s back-to-back 5 ER starts from Felix and you have to ask yourself why are you holding onto him still?

Jeff Samardzija – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Like Archer, Samardzija has a HR problem. He did last year – 1.30 HR/9 – and it’s amplified this year at a whopping 1.93 HR/9 mark. I think this is a bit of a TIARA situation, though my preseason rank (and many others I believe) all based on him improving upon the HR problem and I’m not sure we’ll ever see that. There’s also the idea that he’s shaking off rust as he didn’t have a proper start to the season, which is very plausible, but I’m giving you the green light to drop if there are arms that can help now on the wire. Loose Lips, I wonder if I’ll ever call you Braces again.

James Shields – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. There’s the Shields we know and hate.

Michael Fulmer – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You know what’s weird? Fulmer actually pitched pretty decently here, with HRs in the fourth and fifth ruining the entire night. I’m buying low here and I wouldn’t drop despite the massive frustration I know you have.

Domingo German – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. The A’s are no joke but I understand if you ran German out there like you wanted to impress that exchange student the few phrases you knew. Yeah, it could go really badly, but maybe, just maybe it would be a fun time. Nah, this student wants nothing to do with you now. I don’t think we should run for the hills now with German – we’ve now seen the two extremes and the upside is still there. It’s not like he’s losing his job after this one and he gets the Royals next. Yes please.

Andrew Triggs – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. The funny thing here is that this start will put a blemish on his personal record while we all knew to avoid this start against the Yankees. I’m still comfortable starting Triggs in 12-teamers against those outside the top tier offenses so let’s just forget this one and move on.

Today’s Streamer

Ivan Nova vs. San Francisco Giants – It’s ace day, leaving me only a handful of options. He’s right at the cusp of being called a streamer, but it’s Nova or nothing as I detest the other options.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Anderson vs. San Diego Padres – It’s out of Coors and against the Padres. Yes please.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. San Francisco Giants – The Giants have performed poorly against good fastballs and Mahle’s is great.

Game of the Day

Jacob deGrom vs. Aaron Nola – If this game happens – stupid rain – I’m all kinds of pumped. No, it’s not a DLH for deGrom. HAPPY NOLA DAY.

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.

11 responses to “For The Love Of Chris”

  1. Mike says:


    Someone just dropped Soroka in my 12 tm QS instead of W H2H league. Would you drop Gohara or Pomeranz for him?

    My staff is Verlander, Quintana, Snell, Ross, Wacha, Gibson, Newcomb, Pomeranz, Gohara.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d grab Soroka. If you need starts this week and next, get Pomeranz, otherwise stash Gohara.

  2. Joel says:

    Archer and Fulmer Roto owner here dying with my ratios. With Richards and Tanaka sitting on waivers right now in my 10-team 5×5 league… Would you be looking to switch them? Or you think Archer and Fulmer have more upside?

  3. Matt says:

    Is there a list of current Spice Girls? Or is it just some arbitrary Nick name?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      There isn’t a place that lists Spice Girls, but it’s a label I give guys through the year. Sometimes they lose it, sometimes they graduate it from it.

      If you’re wondering if someone is or not, just ask.

  4. Bob says:

    I have to disagree with you on Soroka. He continues to give way too many hits. 6, 7, 8, in his first three starts means teams are not having any trouble locking in on him. I attribute the 7 k’s to the Marlins being really bad. I mean 1.70 whip just isn’t getting it done. This isn’t to say that his future can’t be a bright one but he is far from dominating which is exactly what I said to you after his last outing against San Fran. Which brings me to the fact he really hasn’t faced a good offesive team yet. Met, Giants and Marlins aren’t anything to be feared. I just don’t see him having that much value moving forward. He doesn’t pass the eye test to me. Yes he has good fastball command but his off speed stuff is average at best. It’s a pass from me for now.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I don’t think I can sway you from your eye test, though I would mention that a .408 BABIP with a 26.0% Hard contact rate that leads to a whopping 12.89 H/9 is surely going to regress given more time.

      The innate skillset with his fastball(s) is still there and his slider took a step forward yesterday. Remember, this is a 20-year-old with one of the best heads on his shoulders that I’ve seen from a young arm. I just don’t see it getting worse and only better.

  5. griffsports@gmail.com says:

    Would you swap pivetta for soroka straight up? Owner just lost cano so trying to deal eduardo escobar + pivetta for soroka and tyson ross but if he doesnt do that would that still be a good buy on soroka? or should i just keep pivetta

  6. Mallex P. Keaton says:

    Ugh, that sure looked like a DLH for deGrom today. 20 foul balls in the first was incredibly flukey, though.

  7. Chucky says:

    How comfy are you starting 2 start Pivetta this week? Two starts, both on the road, @ Balt with a DH. I’m sitting Godley….he was tough to watch tonight v Wash, it’s like watching root canal…..Richards and Castillo. Castillo has improved in his last 3 starts and if Ringleman took his head out his your know what…he’d have a lower ERA than he currently does. Bringing out Castillo with 92 pitches to start the 7th….jeez.

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