Happy Davies

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

Did you realize that Zach Davies has yet to allow 2 ER in seven starts this year? Yesterday’s 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks lowered his season ERA to a stupid low 1.56 mark…and it’s one of the biggest TEEs cases I’ve seen in a while. HOTEL returns a 7.3% HR/FB, 88% LOB rate, and fine .275 BABIP, while an 8.5% walk rate is meh and a 16% strikeout clip is terrible (a sub 7% whiff rate!). Take a guess what you think the SIERA will be now. 3.75? 4.50? Nah. It’s 5.16. Unreal. You know me, I rarely make cases based on just these numbers alone – you should be looking at the numbers that DIPS and ERA are a product of instead! – but man this is such an alarming situation that I can’t help but have fun with it.

Now there is something that could indicate he could maintain a sub 4.00 ERA the rest of the way – a massive spike in changeup usage from 12% to 26% that has clearly catalyzed his success as it has already returned a phenomenal 6.5 pVal. 18% swinging-strike rate, 46% O-Swing, and a .200 BAA are pretty numbers for the slow ball and if he keeps throwing it like this, it can make the rest of his mediocre stuff play a bit higher up. Buuuut yeah, this isn’t a longterm play. A Vargas Rule? By all means, though I’m sure if you don’t already own Davies, you’re not getting him off the wire now to even have that fun. Sell high if you own him, and don’t fret that you don’t. This will all come back to normal soon enough. Sidenote: I definitely wanted to call this article Pushing Davies and I found I already did that back in 2015. I have to step up my game.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Pablo Lopez6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. We’re pinballing from bad start to good with PabLo, and this one was…decent. Not incredible command of his secondary stuff, but few pitches floated up and over the plate like we’ve seen before. 27/88 CSW is fine, though only one whiff on 29 secondary pitches is a little concerning. It’s kinda funny. I think at some point PabLo will click in with his changeup and curveball and begin returning legit production, but maybe not until June or July. What will happen then, though, will be people citing his 2.80 FIP and 19% K-BB rate from the starts prior and act like he was just getting shafted before it happened. No, that’s not what’s happening here. We’re waiting for his proper development, not for the baseball gods to give him his just rewards. Remember, FIP doesn’t take into account HR/FB rates and while his 64% LOB rate as very low, so is his 6.3% HR/FB rate. That .294 BABIP seems reasonable given PabLo’s approach and lack of polish, with his 3.64 SIERA being slightly on the favorable side for me. He’s fine for 12-teamers, but I won’t be excited until both secondary pitches take off.

Anibal Sanchez4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. Hey, that’s two straight season-high strikeout games for Anibal, seven Ks last time and a nine-spot here. His splitter was better and he earned a 15% whiff rate, though I’m not too convinced in that cutter being all that great anymore. I’d still proceed with caution here.

Erik Swanson6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I wonder if Swanson can last eight frames in a game and make a play for an MS Score. That would be the raddest thing Erik could do this year.

Julio Teheran6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You trusted Teheran against the Indians and he destroyed you. Now he got the Fish and redeemed himself after he fanned 15 in his previous two starts. I see the four Ks here and think that’s more in line with what to expect from Teheran than the near 10 K per nine, but I’ll say this. I don’t like trusting Teheran week-to-week. If there are few alternatives, fine, take your chances. I see this as a Blame it on the Marlins and I’d look to jump ship as soon as possible.

Zach Eflin7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Eflin had his six earned run blowup against the Marlins – The Marlins! – and hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER otherwise, even holding a 3.00 ERA overall despite the atrocity. Thing is, he’s tallied just 22 strikeouts across his last six starts and I think we’re looking at a Toby instead of a legit #4 starter. That’s helpful, maybe a guy hinting at Spider-Man when all is said and done, but I don’t consider Eflin as one of those “must-own” starters. He just doesn’t have enough in that repertoire.

Domingo German6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Man, remember when I was saying I wish Loaisiga would get the rotation spot over German? I’m so happy to be wrong. German, all I have to say is Danke and don’t you date stop doing what you’re doing.

Jordan Lyles6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I’ll take this from Lyles, though we should be taking note that he’s a Toby with another disappointing strikeout game – just 6/100 whiffs! And that’s fine, but don’t pick him over other options off your wire that could make a legit impact, like, say, Anthony DeSclafani or Jerad Eickhoff.

Frankie Montas6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. 15 whiffs from Montas, split across all of his pitches – 10 on heaters, 3 on sliders, 2 on splitters. I love that. He’s throwing elevated sinkers and did an unreal job of jamming the pitch to right-handers and I can’t help but hold onto Montas wherever I own him. Please keep favoring sliders and high heat, please keep carrying my squad. Seriously, seven starts and just two starts of 3 ER. 

Drew Smyly4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Look at that, Smyly had himself a decent start. Super proud, super avoiding.

Spencer Turnbull7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I get the feeling that Turnbull hype is beginning to hit shallow waters as his ERA now sits at 2.31 for the year. That’s nuts, I didn’t expect such a low mark given his middling performances in my mind, but here we are. Sure, a 81% LOB rate and 6% HR/FB dictate that 4.23 SIERA (I was imagining a 3.75 ERA in my mind), but the 23% K rate and swinging-strike above 11% are solid indications for continued production + I think he can get better as he refines his breakers. Speaking of which, I love how he went 40% sliders/curveballs in this one, earning 10 whiffs in the process and FINALLY DITCHING THE SINKER. Seriously, 17 sinkers, 43 four-seamers, THANK YOU. That four-seamer is way better and pairs plenty with the hard slider (also considered a cutter). Now, the Royals aren’t the toughest of opponents and Turnbull has his way with them previously, with the real test coming now against the Twins and Astros next. It’s a decent schedule after so don’t sit out for it and here’s to hoping he comes out the other end with a smile on his face. Streaming Record: 20-16

Dylan Covey4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s pretty bleghy, but what did you expect? It’s DC. Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.

Brad Keller5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s a lot of baserunners for a guy that supposed to be really good at commanding his pitches to make up for middling stuff. BK, it’s not what you crave.

Rick Porcello6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s four straight solid outings for Porcello as I’m still in the “okay, you can roster Porcello again” camp. Don’t think it’ll be a super long time, but he should be owned in 12-teamers, easily.

Jose Quintana6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Huh. So his curveball stopped acting like the pitch of old – that we expected – but he didn’t get completely burned without it as he threw 9/13 changeups for strikes – that we didn’t expect. Still, a 26/103 CSW is not encouraging and just seven whiffs on the day make me believe we’re at the beginning of the regression from Quintana.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. So he got Coors and didn’t blow up your team – in fact, he also earned a PQS and a 1.00 WHIP. Sure, that’s cool with me Greinke, keep on keeping on.

Nick Margevicius5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. ZERO. You earned 17 outs and returned ZERO strikeouts. HAISTFMFWT?! He handed us a Philly as well, just one out away from a VPQS and I hope it shreds all doubt that you want nothing from this man moving forward.

Michael Pineda5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. It hasn’t been the easiest schedule for Pineda in his last three games – twice against Houston, here against the Bronx Bombers – and now with a 6.09 ERA he’s going to be available in plenty of leagues. He gets the Tigers next and fresh off this start where his slider was super sharp – 8/29 whiffs, 18/95 overall – I’d heavily consider the pickup as least as just a spot start and take it from there.

Jason Vargas4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Did you Vargas Rule the Vargas? It’s okay if you did, but like eating everyone’s lunches, STOP IT.

Cody Anderson0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. With Kluber out, Cody got the call and it was terrible. Poor fella, I feel weird even giving him the HAISTFMFWT?! Since he only faced seven batters in all. Whatever, there it is, bucko.

Luis Castillo7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Another day, another Gallows Pole for Casty, earning 22 whiffs and 16/39 on his slow ball alone. That’s just dumb. Yes, I’m still keeping the AGA label since it’s a fantastic WHIP and 9 Ks, even if it’s one ER too many. He’s yer boy.

Kenta Maeda6.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Maeda since I’m sure so many of you are flat out done with him. I kinda wish the Dodgers would just do it already and replace Maeda with Stripling or Urias as the man is holding a 4.66 ERA and 1.42 through seven starts. Sure, the 13%+ swinging-strike rate hints at a massive positive swing for his 20.6% K rate, but his walks are hovering an 11% clip, and his SIERA sits at 4.95. Yikes. Even his recent increase of changeups isn’t enough to save Maeda from his poor heater and I’m not sure this gets massively better and maybe we just have to endure the see-saw nature of his outings, like a proper Cherry Bomb. Ugh, JUST GIVE ME URIAS BACK.

Jeff Samardzija5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I was shocked before to see the sub 3.00 ERA from Loose Lips. This line, save for maybe another baserunner or two, looks right in line with his skill set.

Justin Verlander6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Nothing like a small Careful Icarus to knock Verlander out in the seventh with a solo shot, ruining the QS and just making you upset at everything, right?

Matt Harvey4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Harvey, I had a touch of hope this year that your increased velocity and improved slider would hint at a decent – not even good, just decent – season. If you can’t earn more than one K (HAISTFMFWT?!), then all hope is lost.

German Marquez6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. In a year of SP struggles across the board, why does Marquez have to be on the Rockies? I don’t want the narrative of “he’s great outside of Coors” to ring true, but now he’s allowed 15 ER in four starts at home. Blegh. And this was the Diamondbacks! 16 Whiffs still – 12 with breaking stuff – and you still have to start him when he does pitch at home it’s just…disappointing.

Adam Wainwright5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, that’s the Wainwright we all know and hate.

Clay Buchholz4.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Buchholz had a magical 2018 season. This season he’s waving around a plain ole stick. I mean, just one K? HAISTFMFWT?!


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.


Anthony DeSclafani vs. San Francisco Giants I’m a little sold on Tony Disco’s new curveball, enough that I’d trust him against the Giants. Martin Perez vs. Toronto Blue Jays is another solid option if Disco isn’t available.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Lucas Giolito vs. Cleveland Indians – He looked better than the stat line against the Sawx and this could work well against the Tribe.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Cleveland Indians – The Sawx game didn’t go perfectly, though his raw stuff was much better than the line suggested. Now against the Tribe, this could work well. I’d also consider Brandon Woodruff as he faces a banged up Nats lineup.


Game of the Day


Jacob deGrom vs. Chris Paddack – Hopefully deGrom has his slider back and Paddack induces plenty of Keith’s “Mmmmmm”.


(Photo by Mark Goldman/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.

24 responses to “Happy Davies”

  1. Nathan says:

    Hey Nick, when you say “It’s a decent schedule after [Twin/Astros for Spencer Turnbull] so don’t sit out for it”, are you saying hold or are you saying pick him up again after that stretch? Thanks!!

  2. P says:

    Would you start Montas (vs. Cleveland) or PabLo (vs. NYM) this week?

  3. Jason says:

    Would you drop any of the following for Luke Weaver?
    Mike Perez

  4. Ionescorhino says:

    Drop Shark for Giolito, Mahle, or Duffy? I have a max pickup, so can’t be a lateral move. 12-team H2H. QS. Thanks.

  5. AH says:

    Imagine if Marquez were on the Giants.

    Imagine it.

  6. Brandon Heikoop says:

    “And this was the Diamondbacks!”

    The Diamondbacks entered yesterday with the 6th highest wOBA in all of baseball. And that’s the thing, all of Marquez’s starts (to date) have been against tough competition in Coors (all in the top half of the league).

    • AH says:

      Except for when he pitched @MIA and @SFG…

      • Brandon Heikoop says:

        Precisely. His home starts have been drastically more difficult than his road starts (a narrative that has gone largely without discussion by the anti-Marquez crew).

        • theKraken says:

          Is there an anti-Marquez crew? I am one of the people that says playing in Coors is not a good thing, but I am not aware of the rest of the crew. Its not religion… it can be a discussion – there doesn’t have to be teams and labels applied to the other people. Pitching against MIA and SF is something else altogether. I’ll take the under on AZ being a good offense. I think you should look at the actual team – Adam Jones is their best bat IMO who nobody else wanted. Souza was slated to be their best hitter prior to the year but he isn’t even active. They sold Goldy and Pollock. A few fluky stretches/performances can skew the numbers a lot. I don’t think pitchers are worried about AZ.

  7. Bruce the Shark says:

    Nick- who do you like ROS, Eickhoff or Weaver?

  8. joe says:

    drop yu darvish for Lopez?

  9. Gigorilla says:

    Hi Nick — Darvish. Please throw some of your technical excellence as to why all the walks? He’s not throwing strikes, I get it. But is there something hidden regarding regression or injury?

  10. Harper Wallbanger says:

    I feel like there must be a typo in the statline for PabLo, because the paragraph that follows it just does not match up at all with what was a very nice start…

  11. Chelsa says:

    Hi Nick! Another good/informative article. I really want to add L. Weaver to my SPs, but that means that I’ll HAVE to drop someone. It’s a 10 team roto, keeper, saves+holds league that starts 4 OFs. Please advise….

    C – Alfaro
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – D. Murphy
    SS – Schoop
    3B – Machado
    CI – Voit
    MI – McNeil
    OF – Acuña, Dahl, Pederson & Trout
    U – H. Dozier & Andujar
    BN – Shaw
    IL – Eloy & Tatis
    SP – Beiber, Boyd, Eickhoff, Musgrove, Soroka & Turnbull
    RP – Colomè, Neris, Pressly, Smith & Treinen
    NA – F. Whitley

  12. Perfect Game says:

    Montas, Weaver or Odorrizi in a standard roto using QS ROS?

  13. Mike says:

    I’m in a 10 team mixed yahoo H2H redraft league. Marcus Stroman, Collin McHugh, and Eduardo Rodriguez. Should I consider picking one of them up? If so, who should I drop? Thanks!

    My team:

    C : Jorge Alfaro (C)
    1B: Pete Alonso (1B)
    2B: Jonathan Villar (2B, SS)
    3B: Nolan Arenado
    SS: Javier Baez(2B, 3B, SS)
    OF: Trey Mancini (1B, OF)
    OF: Rhys Hoskins (1B, OF)
    OF: Hunter Dozier (1B, 3B)
    UTIL: Domingo Santana (OF)
    Bench: Matt Carpenter (1B, 2B, 3B)
    Bench: Franmil Reyes (OF)
    DL: Giancarlo Stanton (OF)
    DL: Austin Meadows (OF)

    Mike Soroka
    Joe Musgrove
    Chris Paddack
    Tyler Glasnow
    Caleb Smith
    Mike Folynewicz
    Frankie Montas
    Luke Weaaver

    DL: James Paxton (SP)
    DL: Jameson Talilion (SP)

    Felipe Vazquez
    Wade Davis
    Ken Giles

  14. theKraken says:

    What is the correlation between just K rate and most ERA estimators. I’d imagine they are disturbingly tied to it.

  15. theKraken says:

    Not advocating for stripping the AGA label, but 4 ER is more than one too many for an ace. It should at least underscore his tenuous grasp on it. For me, it is kind of like calling Paxton an ace. Sure he is great a lot, but he isn’t reliable and you can bank on that. If these characters are your staff anchors, then you are going to have some problems with consistency.

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