Gibson’s New Tone

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

I don’t really have a huge schpiel about Kyle Gibson, but I felt like I needed to highlight his fantastic 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks performance against the Jays last night. It returned a 38/88 CSW…which is the highest CSW rate of the season across 85+ pitches at 43%. That’s ridiculous, even against the struggling Jays bats. The big factor today was his changeup earning the whiffs alongside his normally swing-and-miss friendly slider, each pitch getting nine whiffs on its own and tossing the changeup for righty-on-righty crimes. Thing is, this is Gibson’s fourth straight start of 2 ER or fewer, bringing his SIERA down to 3.75, WHIP at 1.19, while this outing bolstered his strikeout rate to 24.5%. Obviously a touch inflated (no other start above 6 Ks), but considering I see a 3.60 ERA with a 22% K rate from 2018 and consider that about right, this seems like things are right in line with what they should be for the most part. The great news is Gibson’s weak division (he’s on the strongest offensive squad!) plus his next start is against the Angels and you’re going to keep riding that one out.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Jerad Eickhoff8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. We’re all in this together and I don’t care what the matchups are, you’re starting Eickhoff until he tells us this is his stop. Really? Waste Center Station? Apparently, he has a friend there. Don’t talk about Pivetta that way. Your words, not mine.

Kyle Hendricks8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Save for a horrendous 7 ER game on April 26th, Hendricks last four starts have returned three 0 ER starts, games where he’s averaged 7 Ks on top of it and 8 IP.  36/95 CSW is glorious with whiffs from his changeup and a ton of well-spotted sinkers that were taken for strikes. The dude is feeling it, even if you want to discount him for pitching against the Marlins.

Brad Peacock7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. I feel like Fast and I need to take full responsibility for this start after calling him Bad Peacock on the podcast. WHAT HAVE WE DONE. I don’t trust it moving forward, it’s a Cherry Bomb situation and this will come and go. There are better arms to chase.

Robbie Ray5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. After his last outing, I said: “…hopefully this is a start along the “great stretch” we’ll be referencing at the All-Star break.” It’s hard not to feel that way right now as he threw high heat and low slide pieces. It was GLORIOUS.

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Are you a Boyd Boy? Bill Pidto is now and I hope we all are until the end of the year.

Andrew Cashner6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, whatever Cashner.

Yusei Kikuchi7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s a lot of talk about the substance inside Kikuchi’s hat brim and it was pretty blatant here…but the reality is that it’s done all the time, just a bit less conspicuously. I do wonder if there will be some crackdown by MLB because it’s so out in the open here, but regardless, Kikuchi did well for the second straight start as his fastball velocity…fell back down. Womp womp. It was about 94.5 mph last time out and back down to 93.1 here. That’s too bad and I’d have a little bit of caution against the A’s next time out.

Chris Sale8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I talk about the velocity, how this isn’t prime Sale, this was the Orioles, all of that. And what has Sale done? 42 strikeouts in four games. Yeaaaaaaah, it doesn’t matter, does it. Sale earned another Gallows Pole with 24 whiffs – 44/108 CSW! – and going a stupid 33% whiff rate on Four-Seamers. They were averaging just over 93 mph though! Wild. He’ll climb a little on Monday.

Jose Urena7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Y’all know I don’t like Urena – if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble – and there’s no way I would endorse a start like last night’s against the Cubs. We also saw Fiers throw a no-hitter, so anything can happen in baseball. Just don’t bet on 15 Red again, feel me?

Brandon Woodruff6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. He was the secondary Call Boy and I regret not making him the primary. The Nats aren’t the strongest lineup and Woodruff is beginning to cruise. Three straight starts of 1 ER with 22 Ks between them and healthy whiff rates along the way, going an impressive 17/103 here as his slider was in top form. The question is if he’s worth it now against the Phils and I’m leaning yes – the Mets twice and now Nationals in his last three are a little worse but not that far off – and I’m hoping this is something we can ride for a bit.

Wilmer Font4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. The Mets traded for Font and put him to use right away. Those wanting a HAISTFMFWT?! should I really give it to a guy that wasn’t going to get a ton of innings anyway? Whatever, it’s there and we’re going to live with that. For Font, there may be something here in his strong breakers – 21% swinging-strike rate on curveballs this year! – and I’ll wait to see him get a full start before making true judgments. My instinct is that this Font is like Comic Sans – there was a time you liked it, but we all want nothing to do with it now. We’ll see how this plays out.

Nick Kingham4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, Kingham is back in the rotation! If you told me in July last year that Kingham was starting in May this year, I would be so pumped, imagining his road was smooth and he deserved this spot in the rotation. How naive I would have been. But how did Kingham do? 20/78 CSW – 25% – is not what we want. He’s focusing on curveballs more than his slider and changeup, the two pitches that made me excited for him last year. That’s not a good thing. Maybe I’ll get excited again at some point but now is not that time.

Shelby Miller4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Better from Miller, and that’s just about all I can say. He’s been really really bad this year.

Charlie Morton5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. That WHIP is Ghastly, but you’ll lick your wounds with those eight Ks and the 2 ER won’t haunt you and make you lose sleep. It’s why we rank him highly – there’s always something to salvage without him ghosting on you – and your nights won’t be filled with terrors.

Matt Strahm6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. So the whiffs are steady – not amazing at 11/96, but fine – and his fastball is leading the charge despite its velocity falling to just over 90 mph here – we want to see ~92 consistently. It really does spell “SELL HIGH!” for Strahm, but if no one is buying, we just ride this out and see what happens. But Nick! This is YOUR guy! I know, I know, I feel dirty about it since he’s doing so well yet I don’t trust in longterm success given how he’s gotten his results. It’s not the skill set that got me excited initially. Crazy, right?

Shane Bieber6.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. We like Bieber, but this line is missing the dominance we seek. Still, great overall approach and while neither changeup nor slider really took over in the whiff department (6/41 whiffs between them) but keep on keeping on here.

Jack Flaherty5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. You drafted Flaherty to be your #2 SP and his 4.32 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP sure isn’t what you ordered. We joked that as long as he doesn’t face the Brewers, Flaherty would be fine, but this is three ER in under six frames for the second straight outing and we’re a touch scared now. I’m not terribly afraid – the 1.73 HR/9 doesn’t seem right (21.6% HR/FB!) and his near .300 BABIP should come down a bit. Meanwhile, he’s still missing bats and will stick above that 25% strikeout mark. While we might not see his ERA at 3.00, Flaherty is very capable of the Robbie Ray approach – three strong starts and BAM! His season is saved in the blink of an eye. Don’t give up on this.

Sonny Gray4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeeeegh. After a fanning nine in two straight games against the Braves and Dodgers, Gray has fanned just ten in three straight, failing to pitch more than five frames. I’m not fully out on Gray – this was the worst command we’ve seen this year save for his first game – but he gets the Cubs next and I wouldn’t be starting him there. Check the wire to see if there are alternatives. 

Jeremy Hellickson4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Hellickson’s last start returned nine strikeouts and zero walks with just 2 ER. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T TRUST THE DEVIL.

Reynaldo Lopez6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Hmmmm. Is a VVPQS with just two Ks worth a Streaming Win? Did he get the W? He did not. Another hockey stick it is. Streaming Record: 22-17. Surprising to see another ChiSox arm focus so heavily on their changeup – 33/92 pitches were slow balls from ReyLo! – and just 19/92 CSW is not what we’re looking for here, with his fastball not doing all that well. He gets the Indians again next week and I’m 50/50 on it. That’s the life of owning ReyLo.

Brett Anderson6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 0 Ks. What a ridiculous stat line. I’m a bit amazed he allowed just four ER with 10 baserunners and getting all his outs via balls in play. Seriously 0 Ks in eighteen outs? HAISTFMFWT?!

Clayton Kershaw6.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna blegh. The strikeouts weren’t there, the ratios hurt, and I want old Kershaw back. PLEASE.

Jonathan Loaisiga4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeegh. We didn’t expect many frames from Loasigia, but we expected better quality innings. Now comes the hard question. We got the first start out of the way against the Mariners, now the Orioles are next. Is that a start? I’m leaning yes at the moment

Mike Foltynewicz6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Folty is still figuring this out. It’s hard to really expect the miraculous 2018 to suddenly appear, but he’s not this bad of a pitcher. It’s just his third start back from the IL and there’s rust to shake off as he didn’t have a spring training. Sure, you can bench him against the Cards if you like, just don’t flat out drop him, okay? June 1st through the end of the year should be a strong asset for you, with a good chance of getting production a few starts earlier.

Trent Thornton2.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. There is some upside in the tank for Thornton, but it’s hard to expect that to come out when he faces the Twins. And it certainly didn’t as that one K deserves a HAISFTMFWT?! He gets the Giants next, though, and those in deep leagues may want to consider it.

Jorge Lopez2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Sit Sit, Jorge! Sit Sit, Jorge!

Tyler Skaggs4.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hoooooo boy. The Tigers aren’t a strong offense and Skaggs did get a bit Singled Out here, but it’s hard not to get the impression that Skaggs isn’t settled in yet from returning from the IL. We saw it last year, I should have recognized that he may need a little more time to get into his groove again. It’s not a flat out drop to me – he has a TIARA in my view – but I think playing it safe against the Twins is a wise move.


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.


Wade Miley vs. Texas Rangers – It’s Miley or Bassitt vs the Reds and while I’m going for the cheap Win over Bassitt, both are solid.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Pablo Lopez vs. New York Mets – It’s the only real choice I have and I don’t love it, but PabLo obviously has the ability to have a productive night.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Pineda vs. Detroit Tigers – It’s a double-header and all of my favorites – Tony Disco, Turnbull, Perez – are well above the 20% threshold now. Womp womp. Pineda’s slider hasn’t been terrible during his rough stretch, so I’ll take the chance it works against Detroit.


Game of the Day


Mike Soroka vs. Luke Weaver – Okay, this is a fun game. I want Weaver to keep doing his thing and Soroka to be Soroka. FUN TIMES.


(Photo by David Berding/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.

36 responses to “Gibson’s New Tone”

  1. bossmanjunior333 says:

    Drop Maeda or Darvish for Eickoff?

  2. Rob says:

    Regarding the Peacock start, I think it may be worth mentioning that apparently he was pitching from a windup as opposed to out of the stretch, for the first time in quite a while. I am not audacious enough to say that this alone was the reason for his success but it may be something to think about in the future.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      100%, I should have brought that up! I’m hesitant to buy into that as the savior for Peacock, though.

  3. Brennan Cassidy says:

    Was offered Tony Disco and Jeremy Hellickson for my Brad Peacock; should I accept? Peacock looks like he could be showing his feathers, but I’m tempted to dance with the devil in corduroy flare pants

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Pretty even deal for Disco and Peacock.

      I’m not sure how much stock we should be putting in Peacock’s changes from last night. It worked…for one start. Disco, meanwhile, is going back-and-forth with that breaking ball.

      I guess slightly Peacock given the Reds’ future schedule being rougher and the clear ceiling of Peacock.


      Ahem, just don’t rust Hellickson.

  4. digdeeper says:

    Peacock went back to using a windup last night, apparently he’s been pitching exclusively out of the stretch since 2016.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Definitely something I should have mentioned, I’m not ready to buy into that being the solution to all of his problems. I think it’s still a little too risky.

  5. Jason says:

    Perez, Canning, or Gibson ROS?

  6. KYEONGHAN says:

    Hi, Nick. I offered Cain+Musgrove for Merrifield. Do you think it is pretty fair?

  7. Shoot the puck Barry says:

    hey Nick- You like Eickhoff or Weaver better?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s close, I’m leaning Weaver since it’s three strong pitches with that cutter vs two of Eickhoff.

      I want both though!

      • theKraken says:

        I’m kind of surprised at how in you are on Eickhoff. You may remember that I was always kind of championing for him last year as a decent option if healthy, but all those health issues and the terrible velocity are too many reasons for me to have any trust in him. I wouldn’t pick drop anyone for him or trust him for many matchups. I’d like him to succeed but I don’t think his arm is going to hold up. Believe it or not, the FB velo is slightly trending down. HR have traditionally been an issue for him and he is sitting at 0 in a good hitters park. I could see things going very south very quickly. I’m a fan – I hope he keeps the magic going… but it does look like magic. I’d bet that selling today would represent his high water mark for value.

  8. John E. says:

    Better stream this weekend: Pineda on Saturday or Mahle on Sunday?

  9. novakattak says:

    In a W/L/QS league, do you prefer PabLo or Gibson? I feel like PabLo has the better stuff but not sure if it wholly compensates for his team/division

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Considering both are available, I think you play this start by start. For now, Gibson has the good matchup against the Angels next, if you can get both PabLo vs. the Mets tomorrow & that LAA start, that would be perfect. Otherwise, just Gibson as he’s a more known entity at this point.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Sonny Gray’s projected starts until the ASB: vsCHI, vsLAD, @CHI, vsWAS, @STL, @CLE, vsHOU, @MIL, vsCHI, vsCLE.

    Definitely just a streamer in the 3 starts against weaker teams imo.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Great point Jeremy!

      I’d say that if Gray turns it around, he’d be startable against some of those tougher matchups, only leaving out @MIL, LAD and HOU.

      Definitely something to consider though. It does make him more droppable.

  11. OldMilwaukeePounders says:

    Hey Nick,

    I really love these write ups. It is a great way to start the morning. Thanks for these.

    Question: In a somewhat shallow roto league one of the only “flaws” of my pitching staff (besides wins), is WHIP & ERA. Would it be worth adding Strahm (even for home only starts), Pablo, or Weaver to stream in matchup scenarios to help with ratios? I could also just double down on my strengths and add Robbie Ray for those sweet, sweet Ks.


  12. Swfcdan says:

    Sonny G, Giolito or Gibson?

    Muchos gracias por tu trabaja chico.

  13. Swfcdan says:

    Also unanswered from yesterday…:

    I need a guy to hold after dumping McHugh, is Mahle a better option than Bassitt going forward? Or are they both streamers in a 12er? I’m liking what I’m hearing about Mahle’s new curve and the K/BB is tastylicious.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday! It’s harder for me to get to everyone these days.

      I think they are both streamers, it really depends on the matchup.

      For now, past Bassitt’s start today, I’d swap him for Mahle vs. the Giants.

  14. theKraken says:

    I didn’t watch Folty, but he was bad in his rehab starts too. His FB is down two ticks… All reasonable things to expect after a missed spring, but also potential markers that he isn’t healthy. He is really leaning on his SL through two starts. Last year does have all the markers of fluky production – slightly suppressed HR rates, BABIP, elevated strand rate and a piss poor division. I’m not sure he wasn’t overly hyped as the young-ish breakouts always are. Not insightful stuff – just a quick look at the surface stats and pitch splits. Kinda funny that I grouped Wheeler and Folty into the same mental group in the offseason as two guys that unexpectedly figured some things out last year that might not only not take another step forward but could very well take one back. I am hoping that both find consistency – the game needs more solid SP as they are increasingly not being developed by organizations.

  15. Olde Mr. Swerdlo says:

    On the subject of Peacock: Apparently he’s been pitching out of the stretch for the last two years, and reverted to the full wind up for last night’s start? I’m thinking of trying to sell for anything, but I’m a big fan of watching a shift in approach happen (while I’m streaming him for the next two weeks).

  16. God Hates My Team says:

    Kershaw got boned last night with a couple of those ER. Gave up 2 ER through 6.2 IP, then a 2-out dribbler goes under Turner’s glove and is ruled a hit. Then *another* soft ground ball to third is an infield hit. Then a Donaldson single results in ER #3, then a pitching change takes Kershaw out of the game, then a Freeman single results in ER #4.

    My point here is that Kershaw was *this* close to 7 IP of only 2 ER ball with a WHIP of 1.00, and I could even make the argument that the last two ER shouldn’t have counted. It spiraled after the Turner miss with 2 outs in the 7th and resulted in a “Careful, Icarus”.

  17. Jack says:

    Any reason you like Whitley better than Luzardo?

  18. Clint says:

    In AL only context Is Loaisiga a hold or more or less stream

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