Going Through Hellickson

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

 (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but we need to talk about Jeremy Hellickson after going 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks against the Padres. You may have picked up Hellickson for his two starts this week as you made a deal with The Devil. It’s paid off so far, good luck to you in round two. Come off it Nick, the dude has a 2.13 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 21.8% K rate, and 4.2% BB rate! And you’re not wrong at all. I just…I just can’t do it. If it were anyone but Hellickson I’d absolutely adore the 52.2% zone rate with his curveball as he’s bumped it to nearly 25% usage as it also comes with a 16% whiff rate and 42.2% O-Swing. That’s a money pitch and Hellickson’s changeup is supposed to be that option. His fastball hasn’t been killed yet either and it’s all going nuts. He’s done this before, though, and they warned me Satan would be attractive. If you want to Vargas Rule this, that sounds like a good plan, as I feel he has to fall down from the heavens soon.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Trevor Bauer – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Way to Break Down the cubs and make them want to call the police.

Jhoulys Chacin – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. You know the drill. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it.

Kevin Gausman – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. 25 whiffs from Gausman as he wins a Gallows Pole and guess what! 41 Splitters for 17 whiffs. FORTY-ONE. That’s what I’m talking about Gausman, here’s to hoping you can keep it going against the Nats.

Lance Lynn – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Just the second start of the season under 2 ER, and only the third under 3 walks. I’m not ready to get on this train.

Jason Hammel – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I need to remind you that Hammel allowed 25 ER in his previous four games combined. That is all.

Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Have the Reds fixed Harvey? I don’t think so. I’m not seeing any drastic shifts since becoming a Red, save for a touch more changeups and curveballs over heaters. I’m not seeing enough to make me consider Harvey in 12-teamers yet.

Matt Koch – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Is Pepsi okay? It still is, Koch. It still is.

Eric Lauer – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. So this one wasn’t an EL O L (I’m not sure why I’m electing to bring back a joke that I don’t think landed last time) as it came with 7 strikeouts that are making you curious. Just walk away and don’t look back, he will hurt your team.

Mike Leake – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Sorry Leake, I’m just not buying that I need to shell out for your services. I can just use a wrench from this waiver wire tool bag I have over here and…voila! YOU’VE BEEN REPLACED.

Brandon McCarthy – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. That two straight 1 ER games after a pair of crooked starts and it makes things a little more confusing in Atlanta. I think there’s enough here to consider McCarthy as a streamer, but I’d feel weird giving him a spot on the roster.

Garrett Richards – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Richards was incredibly shaky in the first frame that was elongated by an error in the outfield, but settled down nicely in his final four frames. I got a lot of questions about my Richards love with The List on Monday and I wanted a solid outing today to convince y’all, but it wasn’t in the cards. What I see ultimately, though, is a guy who can hold a 25%+ K rate while inducing weak contact. I know it hasn’t been an ideal road thus far, though the skill set dictates better days ahead (and he’s still sporting a 3.31 ERA FWIW). Trust the stuff and history of harnessing it with ~8% walk rates and 22%+ soft contact.

Chris Sale – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. His only ER came from a longball off the bat of Willy Adames, the first hit of the highly touted prospect’s career. Sale, I always knew you’d be remembered for something.

Caleb Smith – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. YES SMITH. YES. He pitched well against the Braves two starts ago, though it seemed like a slow down of his hot three-start stretch, then it went way south against the Dodgers, possibly opening the door for owners to snag a hold of Smith once again. This is the type of outing – I know, Blame it on the Mets (especially against lefties!) – that I legit think Smith can give you a hefty amount of the time, making him worth it for the long haul. Get him. Now.

Vince Velasquez – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. 18 whiffs here from VV with a 34 CSW in just 89 pitches (38%!) and that’s all kinds of incredible, especially against the mighty Braves. What’s not cool is the nine baserunners in 4.1 frames as his pitch count went way north quickly. It’s what happens when you have just 10 balls in play and only four outs. Do I want to buy into Velasquez? Maybe? In a 12-teamer if he’s out there, sure, why not as he clearly has strikeout upside. I don’t think this a solid long term play for 2018, though.

Zach Wheeler – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Wheeler has fanned at least 7 in four of his last five starts. He’s also had two starts of 6 ER and 8 ER in his last four. HE’S INFURIATING. And also the exact definition of a Cherry Bomb. I guess I should be raising him given that the strikeouts are clearly legit and coming with a 3.89 SIERA, but man that floor is scarier that Mario without a mustache.

Chad Bettis – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. You know the Rocky Mountain Way as you start Colorado pitchers against weak opponents out of Coors. I guess this kinda works?

Matt Boyd – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Blegh. Boyd left this one with an oblique spasm as he clearly couldn’t find the plate. Y’all know I’m not in love with him, and while I’d imagine this spasm doesn’t hold him back from another start, I can’t say that I’m game for a date with the Angels.

Trevor Cahill – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Our Call Boy didn’t bring the strikeouts we wanted, but those ratios are golden. 11 whiffs (0 with his curve though) make me think he can get it back next time. Streaming Record: 27-17.

Gerrit Cole – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Today was a day of amazing starts so of course Cole was a part of that list.

Cole Hamels – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hamels will most likely be dealt this year, and if he keeps up his 12% whiff rate and 25% K rate, he’ll continue being a solid add on your squad. I don’t buy the 83.6% LOB rate, .255 BABIP, and 41.9% hard contact, but that doesn’t matter. Hold him in your 12-teamer and ride this out as long as Hamels keeps showing off these whiffs.

J. A. Happ – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, so this is more or less the Happ that I expect. And that’s a good thing! But it’s why he isn’t so elevated because it’s plenty closer to a questionable outing as it doesn’t carry the 9 or 10 strikeouts that make us all starry-eyed. But yeah, I love Happ and so should you.

James Shields – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The best stat I have for Shields is a 1.27 WHIP that is his lowest since 2014. Yay.

Brock Stewart – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. 63 pitches for Stewart and he was pretty blegh. I can imagine him having a good night here and there, but I don’t expect him getting much time at all, with a low floor and obviously an early hook in games all lineup to not being worth your time.

Jacob Faria – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He’s heading to the DL with an oblique strain and it does make you wonder if he’s been dealing with the injury for a bit. Nathan Eovaldi will be ready for Faria’s next start, so not much complication there, and if you own Faria, I think you’re completely safe dropping him.

Luke Weaver – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Between Mikolas and Weaver, we’re starting to re-think this whole “The Royals don’t strikeout” business. (Spoiler: they still are the lowest, don’t worry). His curveball was 7-for-8 over the plate (one HR but that’s okay), while his fastball and changeup did their work. That’s three straight for Weaver after his rough patch and I’m believing.

Tyler Chatwood – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 1 Ks. This is such a Chatwood thing to do., as he now holds a 19.7% K rate. Wait, did I say K rate? That’s his walk rate. Yikes.

Andrew Suarez – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. He has one or two starts left as the Giants are just twiddling their thumbs, waiting for Maddy Bum to show up again. Then it’s see ya later kiddo.

Domingo German – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I really wanted to see the command he gave us against Cleveland again, but now it’s back-to-back 6 ER games and you know it’s not worth the chase.

Jameson Taillon – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Poor Taillon. I watched this one and he really didn’t deserve it. Tons of great pitches both to get ahead and get whiffs on his curveball under the plate, called strike threes on the corner, and a lot of pitches around the edge for outs…and hits that just didn’t go his way. The grand-slam to Gennett was a mistake – it was supposed to be a down-and-away 0-0 changeup – but it was still right on the down-and-inside-corner of the plate. Yes, not where you want to be but it wasn’t a meatball that deserved massive punishment. His slider is coming along as well and while it would be easy for us to jump ship and call it a day, I just can’t do that. I think he’s not pitching poorly – those 8 Ks were well earned – and if you can stomach this, Taillon should reward you in the final four months.

Today’s Streamer

Dan Straily vs. New York  Mets – Ugh, I hate this but the Mets are bad and Straily has it in him to not suck.

Tomorrow’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.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

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

Game of the Day

Luiz Gohara vs. Jake Arrieta – It’s Gohara’s first start of the year + I want to see if Arrieta can stave off the Braves.

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.

22 responses to “Going Through Hellickson”

  1. Josh says:

    Nick, where do you find whiff totals? I cannot seem to find them anywhere. Thanks

  2. Greg says:

    Nick, I still believe in Chris Archer but I’m weary of starting him today. Would you start Pivetta, Taillon, and Flaherty over him this week?

  3. a big fan says:

    Do you think Eflin is worth the stream on Friday (@TOR)? I tried scouring Pitcher List to find some of your input on him but there’s not much to go on.

  4. Alex Fast says:

    Did anyone start Hellickson against you?

  5. fan says:

    What are your thoughts on Eflin @TOR on Friday? I tried scouring Pitcher List for more info

  6. Big League S. Choo says:

    Harvey has averaged close to 95 mph as a Red, as opposed to 92 and change as a met. He even hit 97.2 last night (per Brooks Baseball.) I don’t see how that isn’t a dramatic shift.

  7. Big League S Choo says:

    Harvey has averaged ~95 mph on the heater as a red, as opposed to 92 and change as a met earlier in the year. He even hit 97.2 last night, according to Brooks Baseball. That seems pretty dramatic.

  8. Big League S.Choo says:

    Harvey has averaged ~95 on the heater with the Reds, as opposed to 92 and change as a met earlier in the year. He even hit 97.2 last night, according to Brooks Baseball. Seems pretty dramatic to me.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Good catch! I should have spotted that.

      He hit 94 multiple times as a Met, but last night’s ~95 is definitely something to note. The secondary stuff isn’t fully there, though I’ll take a closer look at him moving forward now.

      • Big League S.Choo says:

        Sorry for the repeat comments! They werent showing for some reason. The 6 swinging strikes last night is a little disappointing, but the Pirates as a team don’t really strikeout. If Harvey is back sitting at 95, I think he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

  9. Ross says:

    Think Gohara is a dicey start tonight or would you roll the dice?

  10. AC says:

    A) Happy birthday, Nick.
    B) Looking forward to your Godley breakdown tomorrow. Because yikes. Fortunately, I had him benched.

  11. Ross says:

    Would you roll out Gohara tonight in a points league tonight or sit him for a start and evaluate what you have afterwards?

  12. Blake says:

    Should I drop Cahill or Gohara for Caleb?

  13. Balke says:

    Should I drop Gohara or Cahill for Caleb?

  14. Larry says:

    Trade offer- my Bauer for his S. Marte- would you make the trade . I have fairly solid pitching and could use the speed and bat

  15. Calipers says:

    12-team, pitcher-centric league, I’ve got a roster spot open due to injury. Stripling, Flaherty, and Soroka are available, do you think one of ’em is worth picking up for at least a couple weeks? Or does Soroka edge out for longer term?


  16. Larry says:

    Trade my Bauer for his S. Marte?

  17. Chance says:

    Hey Nick! As always I appreciate the help whenever you get the chance.

    In a 12 Team H2H save league, I’m leading the league in ERA and Whip thus far, WHOOP WHOOP!

    Staff: Verlander, Severino, Nola, Mikolas, Clevinger, Castillo, Ross DL (although not DL’ed): Chase Anderson RPs: Allen, Colome, Kela, Miller, Clippard

    I have no bench bats but my lowest batters are marwin and Ian Happ (<–recent pickup)

    My question is… do I drop someone to activate Chase, drop chase, or drop two guys and pick up Caleb Smith?

    Thanks Nick!!!!

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