Generous To A Folt

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

I get the feeling that the fantasy world doesn’t know what to make of Mike Foltynewicz as he returned from the minors in early August. I understand, here was an arm that was a consensus Top 35 SP entering the season who fell out of relevancy in the blink of an eye. Well, after last night’s 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks outing against the Phils, Folty has five straight starts of 2 ER or fewer and his second of 7.0 IP and 7 Ks. Is he back to his 2018 self that sparked a breakout season?

Kinda? The biggest element missing earlier in the season was his phenomenal slider and against the Phils, it was gorgeous. 9/22 CSW with 18 strikes is excellent but he also added 12/19 strikes with curveballs and sat roughly 94 mph on fastballs. That’s solid Folty. He elevated heaters effectively and if he were getting a good schedule the rest of the way, we’d be all over him. But that’s the wrinkle in this – the Nationals are next. I’m on the fence there slightly leaning start, while the Giants and Mets are obvious green lights. It’s up to you if you need to take that Saturday risk, but a start like this is exactly what you want to see before his toughest matchup.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. See Greinke? This isn’t so hard. No more of those not-so-great outings, okay? Okay.

James Paxton6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s been a lovely few weeks for Paxton as he gets hot at the right time, though I don’t think this start was quite as pristine as the others. His cutter was okay and not a strong option, plenty of fastballs found the middle of the zone over the edges and he earned just 4/33 whiffs on his curveball. Still, this was the Red Sox in his final tough start of the season and you best be hanging under a glass moon with JP for the rest of the year. 

Shane Bieber7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Bieber is going to have some stupid fun tweets about him in the off-season. I’m anticipating myself being slightly lower on him than the rest but it’s hard not to imagine owners happy grabbing him at the 3/4 turn.

Jacob deGrom7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace as he pulled in another Gallows Pole. To me, he deserves the Cy Young over Scherzer, as not missing five starts is a significant portion of the season and their numbers are incredibly similar. It reminds me a bit of Scherzer winning over Kershaw in years’ past due to Clayton’s injuries when it didn’t feel completely justified. 

Kyle Hendricks5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He served you a Philly and a wonky WHIP, but this is just fine Hendricks. No more scares, just turn up the dial and pile up the miles you start Kyle…

Jordan Lyles4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Lyles! I can’t be the only one frustrated that Counsell pulled Jordan in the fifth frame when he was still under 80 pitches and doing decently well. He deserved at least the chance to get out of the jam and go the full five or even six. But here we are, annoyed that he didn’t do more in Miami and crossing our fingers he excels against the Cardinals. Not my favorite Saturday play, FWIW.

Eduardo Rodriguez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Look at the roll Eduardo is on, first taking down the Twins and now performing exceptionally well against the Yankees. 39/117 CSW works for me as he went high in the zone a ton with not just heaters but cutters as well. Changeups stayed away mostly and weren’t the main force here – those heaters at 94 mph did the dirty work. I could see it sticking for the Phils and Rays next, I could also see it falling apart in front of your face. I’d go with it if you own Edu and I’m here for you to deal with the stress.

Madison Bumgarner7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. We’ve gone over Bumgarner’s outlook for 2020 a bit already, I am curious what you all think. Is he a Top 20 pick? How does he compare to someone like Giolito? German? Nola? I really can’t wait to dive into all of that. But not now, CHAMPIONSHIPS MUST BE WON.

Robert Dugger3.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Dugger got the Brewers and threw almost 80 pitches for nine outs, earning an early hook. It wasn’t a great matchup in the first place and if you can look past this disaster, there could be some value to be had over the weekend against the Giants. I’m not chasing it myself, but you can do worse for a weekend stream.

Merrill Kelly6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a VPQS, but we’ll take that. Streaming Record: 94-59. Reds, Padres, and Cardinals close out the year and with Kelly still sitting comfortably above 93 mph (93.6 here!), I think I’m game. Good cutters here, too.

Patrick Sandoval3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeah, the Irish Panda has a sketchy road ahead with broken trees, overcast, and eyes that you know shouldn’t be there. Have you ever actually seen eyes inside a tree before?! Consider him a Young Gun for 2020 and consider the add for dynasty formats. Standard 12-teamers need not apply.

Aaron Nola6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna slow down AT THE WORST TIME. Fine, the Braves are a strong offense n all, but Nola, we need ya. Yes, I’m still starting him against the Red Sox this weekend, I don’t think he’s in free-fall mode all of a sudden.

Trevor Williams5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. I wanted more from Trevor in Oracle Park – shocker – and now with the Cubs next, it’s the end of the line for T-Ells. We’ve had a wild ride together, haven’t we. From my terribly-titled article to actually embracing your recent success, it’s time for us to truly part ways. I doubt we’ll have to sit down for a deep conversation again.

Cal Quantrill4.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The Padres as a whole have a rough schedule, with So-So Cal getting the Cubs here followed by Coors, then Arizona back-to-back. I’m out for all of it and for next season I’m not considering him unless the early matchups look beneficial. I don’t think there’s enough in his secondary stuff to propel him up the ranks.

Mike Fiers1.0 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I know the Astros are hot and Fiers isn’t the same guy he was during the dog days of summer but DUDE. It was a bit of a risky play against Houston to start your week, but I imagine a good amount of people still went with this and now they feel lost already. Don’t, you can still earn at least two categories if you just throw every streamer you can out there to secure Wins/QS and Ks. DON’T GIVE UP. With Fiers, I think you honestly hold, believe it or not. The Rangers and Mariners should be plenty easier.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Mitch Keller vs. San Francisco Giants He was pushed back to Tuesday, and I’d love to roll the dice on his upside.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Kansas City Royals – An easy choice after his feel for his slider last time out, even without the velocity. And hey, maybe the velocity comes back?


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Mahle vs. Seattle Mariners – Don’t forget, this is an arm that hovers a 25% strikeout rate.


Game of the Day


Trevor Bauer vs. Justus Sheffield We have the coin flip of Bauer against the young southpaw who has yet to show consistency. This could be 2-1 or 9-8 fast. Oh and I guess Johnny Cueto is back. Honestly, I might be more excited watching Keller on the other side.


(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

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.

3 responses to “Generous To A Folt”

  1. Pinky Tuscadero says:

    Hi Nick– Looking into your Crystal ball… do you think Ryu has any good starts left in the tank this season?

  2. Jim says:

    Can we expect 5IP from Stripling this week @ Bal? I feel the Dodgers are a lot like CBS’ Big Brother. “Expect the unexpected.”

  3. theKraken says:

    Nick, you should factor in that DeGrom got the gift last season. It would be a shame if he got it gifted the award twice in a row. Anything close should go to Scherzer for the reason that he won the coin flip last year. The Ks are not too close, the walks are a small edge for Scherzer as well. The only thing DeGrom leads in is BABIP. If you just compare the lines from 2018 (minus the uninsightful automated evaluation – WAR, FIP, etc) it is close and hard not to favor Scherzer. Is there really more to it than K-(BB+H)? I would imagine that equation will give you the best pitcher in baseball most years. IMO their numbers are not incredibly similar – Max has an K-BB% advantage of 1.5% which is big. Scherzer is very arguably having the best season of his career and that includes a few starts where he wasn’t 100% – which tells you how good he has been this year. In an alternate universe Max wins his 4th consecutive Cy Young – how much of a shame is it that we will not get to live through that era? We could be celebrating one of the all-time greats, but we are doing quite the opposite. Literally going to some lengths to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    Personally I think the better pitcher should get it as opposed to the the guy that makes a few more starts. If we thought more along those lines, then we would have some really interesting debates if nothing else. If a guy misses 20% of the season but is head and shoulders above the rest then is that going to work? In baseball I don’t think that guy would win, but I think he should at least be right in contention. IMO having 5 less starts and still leading in WAR means you are way ahead in WAR. Of course, we should use anything else.. which just makes a stronger argument for Mad Max. Yeah, I think Kershaw should have a few more awards myself.

    This is the year that those pitcher evaluative tools are finally getting some deserved heat – the absurd Verlander/Lynn discussions at FG are evidence of that. Its time to realize that we need to use our own heads and stop looking at leader boards that we don’t understand. Degrom’s WAR gap over Scherzer last year is as absurd as the Lynn Verlander thing this year. Look at the real outcomes and draw your own conclusions. Is HR allowed really worth 1.5 WAR when you don’t allow fewer baserunners and strikeout fewer hitters? What does it mean when the fluky HR allowed regresses all the way back the next season? If it isn’t sustainable, then it is luck and I though we were trying going away from that (don’t actually believe that, but people say it). I am sure I will always use some combination of Ks and WHIP, but that it just me. I don’t think we are far away from some new models as the current ones are just too obviously trash. They can only be mindlessly defended and deployed for so long as there is mounting evidence that they have major issues. I say that but I see mindless shifts every day – the difference is that meaningful shift splits and data doesn’t exist, so that can just go on with that forever.There is also the part where the luck proxys that gave DeGrom the award last year (less HR allowed, lower BABIP) that machines love are all flipped around in Scherzer’s direction this year. If they worked to JD’s beneft last year, then shouldn’t they work for Scherzer this year? In things like allowing baserunners and striking guys out Max has had a clear advantage for two years now. If we are going to base awards on luck (we absolutely do), then we should at least exercise consistency. Please look at baseball-reference stats – they use different metrics and highlight leaders. Its a good change-up and puts things in a different perspective. They use bad stats too, but IMO it paints a clearer picture for Max this year. HR allowed is going to go away some day as there is just too much evidence that it is not that important. I’ll keep saying it and some day it will change. Isn’t it interesting when a progressive idea grows roots and people don’t want to change? The more things change the more they stay the same. Here we are a generation into sabermetrics using flawed tools and people don’t want to change.

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