Frozen-Handed Luke

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

(Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)

I try my best not to react too strongly during a few bad starts, but it’s time to seriously audit Luke Weaver after last night’s 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks outing. That’s four straight clunkers with a 9.00 ERA, 11.4% walk rate and just a 17.1% K rate to go with it. Terrible things. Oddly enough, I don’t think Weaver has pitched so badly in these outings, but I’ll make this simple. Yes, you can drop him. If you’re chasing longterm upside, I think Weaver does figure this out and doesn’t turn into a leper on the wire all year. However, there are plenty of intriguing speculative adds to make at the moment and I think you’re best chasing those at the moment. Don’t rule out the rebound, just don’t invest in the instant success.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Chad Bettis – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Bettis was on the road against a weak team – Mets – and I should have recognized the signs to label him a decent streaming option for the day. Moving forward, as long as those two line up, go for it. Otherwise, stay away.

Trevor Cahill – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. This is something beautiful. 21 whiffs good enough for a Gallows Pole for Cahill as he’s looking like his early 2017 self, going 14-for-35 with his changeup and not even needing his curveball in this one. There is a problem now, though. After facing the Orioles last night, he’s slated for the Yankees and Red Sox next…which I can’t get fully behind. However, you best be owning him after starting with a date against the M’s and if that means stashing him through the next two weeks, then please do it. Whatever it takes, just know your league.

Kevin Gausman – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Well this studly. The A’s are no joke at the moment and Gausman still roared his head back and cackled like that one drunk guy at the comedy club. I didn’t even say anything yet. After his terrible 6 ER opener, it’s six games of a 2.27 ERA (4.10 SIERA), 1.03 WHIP, 19.6% K rate, and 6.3% walk rate. There’s talk about his altered arm angles which are certainly helping with his command, but I’m not seeing his splitter do its thang often, which makes me a little concerned about strikeouts rising to 23% levels again. I’m leaning sell here given the low Ks paired with 91.4% LOB rate and .234 BABIP across this success.

Caleb Smith – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. You wanna know what frustrates me? When Smith has his best fastball but terrible secondary pitches. Seriously, just 4 CS across 33 sliders + changeups yesterday. Come on man, that’s supposed to be your jam! Your Bread-and-Jam! Whatever, I’ll take this and be happy the Reds hit plenty balls in play into gloves. If Smith is out there in your league, I think it’s time to pull the trigger if you’ve been waiting to do it. If he keeps up this fastball, he has Top 30 upside, I’m not kidding. That slider/changeup is often excellent with the only question being a wonky heater. It was fantastic in this one and I expect the secondary stuff to return. This could be very special.Streaming Record: 20-11.

Jordan Zimmermann – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Zim is trying to give us a batch of cookies to make us forget his sins. He doesn’t know that I hate snickerdoodle. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME.

Ty Blach – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Look at this, another Blach Party as Ty went Super Nova. Make up your mind. I CAN’T DO IT. Just like I can’t pick up Blach. Sorry.

Jhoulys Chacin – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ah yes. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it.

Jacob Faria – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. His Splitter was the hero in his previous start, this time it was…his fastball…? Kinda? Nothing really jumped out in this start outside of being in the favor of the BABIP lords above. That said, it is a 2.17 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 25.9% K rate, 7.4% BB% and 3.66 SIERA over his last five starts and while I don’t see a totally locked in Faria, that’s enough for me to feel comfortable owning him again. Phew, glad we got past those opening two outings that kinda killed my soul.

Zack Greinke – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. For the most part. Just keep rolling with Greinke, no reason to overthink this.

Steven Matz – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He had some extra time and twirled a good outing against the Rockies. Still not buying it – sorry – until he gives us a 10% whiff rate or higher. I just don’t buy continued success from Matz until then. Quick hit here – 6.7% soft and 46.7% hard contact in this start alone. Blegh.

Jameson Taillon – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Am I happy that Taillon went five frames with just 1 ER to his name? Definitely. Am I thrilled to see just 4 Ks as he can’t put it all together? Absolutely not. I really do want to believe Taillon can figure out how to make his curveball into a strikeout offering while finding that third option to tie it all into a beautiful knot. Problem is that I can’t suggest you chase that over guys like Walker Buehler or Eduardo Rodriguez.

Vince Velasquez – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Get used to plenty of 4 K/4 BB outings from VV. He was fortunate to leave with a 1.80 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in this one, he probably won’t be so lucky next time.

Trevor Bauer – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. 8 Ks, a sub 1.00 WHIP, and a 3.00 ERA with a Quality Start against the Yankees? Yes please. At what point do we give Bauer the AGA label?

Sonny Gray – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Another step forward for Gray…though I’d buy into this more if his curveball and/or slider did more work – just 27 thrown and 5 whiffs to thank for them. However, there is something to be said about Gray’s heater being effective as it’s been the weakpoint of his approach thus far. I’m cautiously optimistic as there’s still work to be done fusing the heater and breaking stuff together.

Cole Hamels – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Cole is still boasting that 12%+ whiff rate – 13 in this one – and I just can’t give up on him as he holds a sub 4.00 ERA to go with. That kinda plays these days and it’s weird. I don’t see Top 50 at all, but I think he kinda sticks on The List for a while.

Lance Lynn – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Lynn didn’t want a single batter and gave you an all-around solid start. #Lynning. Too bad he’s already severed our trust so much that we can’t put a whole lot of stock in this start against the ChiSox.

Aaron Sanchez – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s not out of the question that Sanchez could make an adjustment that suddenly turns him into a low walk pitcher. I really don’t think that’s so crazy. What is on the deep end is rolling with Sanchez when guys like Cahill, Buehler, Soroka, Kingham, Rodriguez, Smith, etc. are on the wire.

Tyler Skaggs – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Skaggs is on a mission to make me regret ever doubting him, now boasting a 3.08 ERA and near 25% K rate with a sub 1.20 WHIP. Do I believe that his 0.47 HR/9 will last or low 11.9% soft contact will not catch up with him? Or a sinker that is far away the best he’s ever had despite holding the same velocity and movement? Not really. Still obviously should be owned in 12-teamers for now, but be ready to cut the leash.

Tyler Chatwood – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Ahhhh there’s the Chatwood I know and hate. This is something that we’ll see much more than we like.

Jason Hammel – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. You know what’s nuts? Hammel missed 17 bats here and only had 5 Ks to show for it. His slider was as good as he’s ever had it -10 whiffs, 19 CSW in 37 thrown – and I don’t expect that to stick around. Let him sit on the wire.

Kenta Maeda – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. That 3 ER total is what makes Maeda so frustrating. If that were 2 ER, we’d be super fine with just 5 IP – his 1.00 WHIP and 7 Ks are glorious. But that 3 ER then makes his ER a bit ghastly and there’s more hesitation. Keep rolling with Maeda as the Dodgers need his arm in the rotation – Kershaw now on the DL! – but his ceiling is obviously capped.

Tyler Mahle – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhh I’ll take the PQS from Mahle and definitely the sub 1.00 WHIP, but the 4 Ks are a bit annoying against the Marlins. I want to be more excited about Mahle and when his fastball command is golden, he’s a fantastic pitcher. Just not having that above-average secondary stuff is holding me back a bit. It’s like a slightly better Vince Velasquez.

Bryan Mitchell – 2.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. These numbers are inflated and are ruining your game. This has been the Mitchell Report.

Charlie Morton – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. I mean, we knew he couldn’t be this good forever, right? Whatever, we obviously need to give him the benefit of the doubt here and act like this didn’t happen.

Tanner Roark – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Loving those 9 Ks fueled by curveballs and changeups as he earned a whopping 42 CSW across 115 pitches. I’ll take this even with a meh ERA and WHIP to along with it. I may be a little low on Roark this year, but his .225 BABIP makes me a little hesitant to buy into his 3.65 ERA, but I’ll raise him a little tomorrow.

Marco Gonzales – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. This seems about right. Gonzales isn’t my favorite Spice Girl out there and if anything, the Ks seem a little high given the 9 whiffs across 100 pitches. Still, Tigers are next and I’m totally cool with that.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Four HRs in this one – the only hits he allowed were the blemish on this impressive start. 10 Strikeouts, 14 whiffs, overall 13.3% whiff rate and 28.1% K rate, 3.64 SIERA…yeah Eduardo is kinda the best buy low target out there.

Brandon McCarthy – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Well this is very interesting. McCarthy was destined for some regression and we did Vargas Rule his situation, so I think you can easily drop now. But the actual interesting part is the #4/5 roles in Atlanta are a bit hazy, given McCarthy/Anibal/Soroka/Gohara all fighting for them through May. If Soroka does well today against the Giants – I imagine he will – you have to think this poor outing from McCarthy and the Braves’ threat of a postseason appearance keeps Soroka around a little longer. Very interesting…

Hector Santiago – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. Santiago, how did you get off your island? Man, that is a deep cut joke that I can’t believe you’re still making. Well how did he escape? And why does he think that we’d welcome him back when he did? WHY?!

Today’s Streamer

Kyle Gibson vs. Chicago White Sox – He has the K upside against a meh offense to make this work. I’d roll with Mike Soroka as well, but you guys are smart and have already picked him up in over 30% of leagues.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Fernando Romero vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Given only seven games and limited choices, it’s between Romero and Homer Bailey against the Mets. I’m totally undecided, so I’m going with more exciting player.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Detroit Tigers – Minor is better than most people think and the Tigers are as bad as most people think.

Game of the Day

Mike Soroka vs. San Francisco Giants – I want to see if Soroka can dominate again to secure his spot in the Braves rotation.

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.

29 responses to “Frozen-Handed Luke”

  1. Penn says:

    Would you trade Kopech for Caleb Smith in a redraft?

  2. Effem says:


  3. PitcherList Superfan says:

    Hey Nick,

    Snell was just dropped in my 8 teamer and I’m thinking of dropping Bundy for him after you said that Bundy will likely be moved to the end of the 20’s tomorrow. Would you make the switch?

  4. wasntme says:

    Trading my ERod for his Salvador Perez. What do you think?

    My pitching staff is Paxton, Snell, Jansen, Hader, Fulmer, Minor, Buehler, C. Anderson, TRoss, ERod, Carrasco and Folty. Also, I am currently rolling no catcher, so this fills in a blank spot.

  5. Tears_for_Fiers says:

    E-Rod and Luis Castillo got dropped on the same day and I really only have room for one. I know you’re going to tell me E-Rod, but I’m addicted to filthy 99mph heat. What do Nick?
    PS – where has this website been my entire life? Great stuff

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks man!

      Erod is more put together right now. Upside is still around for Castillo though – filthy 99mph heat isn’t quite there right now though.

      Depends on your needs.

  6. theKraken says:

    A split would be the perfect pitch for Taillon’s arsenal. He pounds the bottom of the zone with a good FB and that would really set up everything else perfectly. The problem is that he only works edges with the FB – and he has the command for it – but that his CB and FB are so different and I think it is easy to recognize what just left his hand – you could probably just let everything down go… His FB has a bit too much sink to be effective up, so he needs to find a way to get guys chasing down, then maybe that FB could play. If he had a reliable chase offering, then they would have to deal with the CB. He should have big hands… I wonder if he has ever tinkered with a split. He really does have two plus pitches but they don’t play off of each other at all. The change is not terrible, but it has very little room for error.

  7. Sales Pitch says:

    Nick– I have Taillon & Weaver and my staff needs help. At this point I’m ready to swap these two out.
    Available on the wire.. E.Rodriguez, Caleb Smith, Bundy, Heaney, Castillo, Samardzija , Pomeranz, Foltynewicz, Sabathia, Newcomb, Boyd
    Of these, which two do you recommend? Thx very much…

  8. Devin says:

    Who doesn’t like snickerdoodles!!??

    Now I question your judgement on everything.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      To be honest, I just didn’t want to do the standard of hating on Oatmeal Raisin, and we all know chocolate chip is dope. Snickerdoodle had to take the hit here. What a champ.

  9. Fukwa says:

    If Kershaw hits the DL for a while, anyone in the dodger system who could be a sneaky pick up?

  10. Let's Play Two says:

    Cole or Thor ROS in standard, season-long roto league?

  11. Bob says:

    Thoughts on dropping Soroka after his start today. Not liking what I’m seeing. I could pickup Caleb Smith or Cahill. Thoughts? You really smith with top 30 potential?

  12. DodgerTom says:

    I don’t get it. Mike Clevinger gets through seven innings of shutout baseball….one hit, two walks and 10 Ks…and the Indians score four runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead. Clevinger is over 100 pitches in the game….not like he’s going to go the distance without risking serious damage to his arm, but Francona sends him out for the eighth inning and he walks two batters while getting one out….then brought in Cody Allen to an emergency situation and the closer allows Clevinger’s two base runners to score along with one of his own. Then Francona sends Allen back out for the top of the ninth and he puts two more men on base, in comes Otero and after getting one out, Gleybar Torres connects for a three run walkoff homer. I thought in the statcast era….if a starter got over 100 pitches you were risking disaster…..and you were better off bringing in your releivers in the late innings in a clean situation with some margin for era. What was Tito thinking?

    • Francis says:

      Clevinger was probably better than any of the other options in the bullpen at that time. They had Alexi Ogando pitching the other day for crying out loud. They are really missing Andrew Miller in the worst way.

  13. DodgerTom says:

    Nick, are you moving Trevor Cahill up on the Pitchers List tomorrow….and if so, how far?

  14. Balke says:

    Thoughts on dropping Soroka to pick up Cahill?

  15. Ken Plane says:

    Caleb Smith has had BB problems for most of his career. Do you really think he has overcome that problem to reach that high of a rating?

  16. Let’s Play Two says:

    Thor doesn’t look right. Too many pitches, walks and not striking people out like we’re used to seeing from him. Is there anything you’re seeing from him?

  17. Mitch G says:

    Damn, where has this website been all my life? Also Nick, what do you think about Newcomb? Definitely has the stuff to be elite, a terrific group of young hitters backing him up with serious run support, advanced stats pretty much agree. Opinion?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Mitch!

      I’m not the biggest believer in his two-pitch approach and question if he will be able to keep up the ratios to not kill your team.

  18. Mitch G says:

    Talking about Sean, just to be clear

  19. Randy says:

    Big fan of your work.

    Just thought i’d pass along that I (and perhaps other readers) would prefer “Blach Ty affair” to “Blach Party”.

    Keep up the excellent work!

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