Heaney Deep In the Water

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

I’ve been waiting all year for Andrew Heaney to really come into his own and now two starts in from his injury, he gave us a worthy line of 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. We didn’t start Heaney against the Red Sox since it was a DLH against a tough opponent, but we saw good command across the board from his curveballs, changeups, and heaters, making this a clear start against the White Sox. I’m glad Heaney is trying out different styles for his feet. Anyway, it was more of the same here with excellent locations on the three pitches, earning 15/90 CSW and whiffs across the board. This is the Heaney we’re chasing. The biggest knock is his ROS schedule, which isn’t as rough as Griffin Canning’s but it’s going to have some blegh matchups. At least the Rangers are next before the Astros where he may get the confidence to still be worthwhile in both. Pick him up if he’s somehow still out there and let’s hope he sticks like this through the final weeks of the year.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Yu Darvish7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Y’all know I’ve been waiting for this all season long, earning 16 whiffs and a Gallows Pole with 38% CSW. I’m so glad to see Darvish in his groove with 25% of his pitches including sliders, curveballs, and changeups. His cutter as good as it’s been, but his fastball command has vastly improved as well and there’s a part of me that wants to hand out the AGA label, but I’ll hold back. We know the floor can show up and that’s not a fun place to be. If he does this two more starts though…

Sonny Gray5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Yep, it’s time. Aces gonna ace. Welcome to the club Sonny, comedy goes on at 9:00 pm, buffets are open around the clock, and the promenade suite is yours indefinitely.

Dereck Rodriguez7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Welcome to Dereck’s ceiling. It’s a little low, touching it isn’t nearly as cool as you thought it would be, and there’s heavy risk that it collapses as soon as next week. You might want to invest in a tarp.

Caleb Smith5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m pleasantly surprised at the final line given a date with the Dodgers and the fact that he didn’t ever look quite comfortable on the mound. Too many deep counts, a lot of nibbling, and not enough true confidence with all of his pitches. We can look at this and say “Smith is clearly fine,” or we can give it the shifty eye and wonder if he can improve for his next start against the Braves or if this is a hint at two months of struggles. Seriously, 1/16 CSW on changeups is terrible as he floated the pitch often and just 23/106 is super bleegggghhh.

Marcus Stroman5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, this is exactly the kind of start I’m expecting from Stroman. Ratios are going to be iffy and getting that full sixth frame will be hard. If you have these expectations, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at times. Under promise, overperform, you know? He’s a Toby, y’all.

Michael Wacha5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Wacha hasn’t fanned more than five batters since…April 17th. Yeaaah no thanks.

Tommy Milone – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s super boring and doesn’t do enough. We’re back to Milone Schmilone.

Michael Pineda5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, Pineda’s back! And his velocity was a middling 92.4 mph. Blegh. He’ll be on The List next week as I think he’s overall worth it, but don’t anticipate a major push-of-the-needle arm down the stretch. Feel free to swap him for streamers along the way.

Adam Plutko6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. A PQS from Plutko? Sure, why not. You only have about two starts left before the Klubot returns and begins the automaton destruction of the planet makes us all thrilled to have another ace once again.

Spencer Turnbull5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Turnbull struck out the first four batters he faced, ran into some trouble in the third, but overall looked impressive. Those ratios sting a lot though, and without a win to support those 8 Ks, I’m forced to take a Loss. Streaming Record 78-53. Womp womp. And now it’s the Astros? Yeah, no thanks.

Walker Buehler4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Wait, what? Didn’t Buehler know that he was facing the Marlins? His secondary stuff wasn’t doing what he wanted it to and his heaters got hit a decent amount in this one. Blegh, he’s pulling a bit of a Bauer in being so dominant and warming our hearts to turning it into complete rubble like this. It kinda goes to show that it doesn’t always depend on opponent, you know? Anyway, we still love Buehler – duh – so blindly start him.

Mike Fiers6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. IT ENDS. Leave it to the Astros to waltz in, slam down their feet and bellow out a good “NAAAAAAH.” And now it’s the Yankees next for Fiers and you’re scared. You’ve been scared over the last, what, three months? And you still let him fly. Or not and hold for the Royals after. Up to you.

Chad Green0.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Green had been previously excelling as an opener, it’s about time one was a dud, right?

Reynaldo Lopez5.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. WHAT. Nick, why are you so shocked by this. BECAUSE HE AVERAGED 97.8 MPH ON HIS HEATER. what. WHY AREN’T YOU LOUDER. Sorry, sorry…WHAAAAAAAAT. Thank you. It sure didn’t help anything to his line, but maaaan that’s crazy! I was getting hyped for just 96/97 and now he’s pumping legit ched, I just wish his slider or changeup was working well in this one. Sure, 5/15 whiffs is cool, but he couldn’t rely on them in a variety of counts. Meanwhile, heaters were a bit hittable at times and it fell apart. Thing is, I’m still on board because that velocity is UP. It’s not going to fall back to 95 mph after this one…right? Just figure out one of those secondary pitches are we’re golden…but uggggh why does it have to be the Twins now? WHY NOW. That’s a coin flip start to me, if the secondary stuff is working in any way, I think he can easily cruise through it, kinda like what I hinted at with Buehler. Up to you.

Pedro Payano3.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I was kinda hoping he’s returned a PayDay, but it looks that happens once an Anno. Not my best. Not my best. It’s interesting to see pitchers that can flash upside in their stuff, but are way too raw in their consistency that they could be stuck in this what if purgatory their whole career, a standard PEAS. I’m not sure if I’d actually call his stuff awesome but it’s better than the lines suggest. Just command it better at some point, okay?

Drew Smyly5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. After the Cubs here, the Sawx are next. Yep, you can let him go as he’s Smyly’s logo fades slowly into the Watchmen symbol once again.

Alex Young5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Many were clamoring for Young and his sub 90 mph heater to make The List in the middle of July and now he’s had 4+ ER in three of his last five games. It’s almost like he isn’t Kyle Hendricks 2.0. Yes, if he can’t handle the Giants, he can’t handle your roster.

Aaron Sanchez5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Funny story, as I started Sanchez in my leagues right now, I reflected on this. Sanchez has done well in his three starts now, two for the Astros. This is the make-or-break start that would get people legit on board. There’s no way that happens because that’s clearly how the baseball gods work. And still started him, of course. You should have started him. These thoughts don’t show up often, but that is a constant motif for pitching – a guy does well for two/three starts, then crashes. Four in a row? Whoaaaa that’s rare. It’s all conjecture, no real basis behind it and let’s ignore it all. How did Aaron actually pitch? Honestly, better than the line suggests…at least with his changeup. Really well placed at the bottom of the zone and below, but he had a problem with curveballs and his heater got way too much of the plate (four-seamers over sinkers nearly 2-to-1!). The A’s punished him for four longballs and while four weren’t necessarily deserved, they were all on the pitches in the heart of the zone. Don’t do that, Aaron. There’s room for him to grow with that curveball and locating better heaters, but with a working changeup and general approach of reducing fastballs, I’m still holding tight here. Hope you enjoyed all this text for a very clear answer.

Julio Teheran1.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. But Teheran, you were at home…and the Mets aren’t this good…and I just gave you a bump on The List! It’s almost as if he needed to correct his sub 3.50 ERA. Y’all know I’m not that guy, give me that 3.90 mark for the year, please. He did raise it to 3.71 after this one, you’re getting there fella. You’ll need to work extra next time against the Marlins, though. Don’t doubt me. Oh, we always do.


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.


Adrian Houser vs. Washington Nationals – Houser’s heaters were soooo good last time out, and it could be more of the same against the Nats. Patrick Sandoval against the White Sox is a very sneaky play for those in deep leagues but too low of a floor in 12-teamers.

Mike Montgomery vs. New York Mets – I’m rolling with Monty instead as his variety of pitches should work vs. Houser’s tougher matchup against the hot Nationals offense.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jake Junis vs. New York Mets – His slider wasn’t quite back last time, but the upside is there to take advantage of the Mets. Jordan Lyles is another decent option against the Nats, though I wonder if he has a slightly lower floor. Trent Thornton is a huge sleeper play here against the Mariners, with a terrible floor but enough stuff to make that work.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Griffin Canning vs. Chicago White Sox – It’s likely the last start of the year that I hold onto Canning and I do have slight hesitations with it given the wonkiness of his heater in his last outing, but there isn’t much else to chase here. Maybe Chase Anderson vs. the Nats or even Mitch Keller against the Cubs could work as well.


Game of the Day


Lucas Giolito vs. Patrick Sandoval – I know this doesn’t look like the most exciting game, but if the Irish Panda can pull this off, there will be a ton of buzz.


(Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/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.

9 responses to “Heaney Deep In the Water”

  1. Barry says:

    Hello Nick,

    12 Team H2H 6×6 QS Redraft

    I’ve qualified for the playoffs again thanks in part to your analysis and The List.

    I currently roster Verlander, Cole, Flaherty, Wheeler, Gallen, Heaney, Canning, Pineda, Aaron Sanchez.

    I’m looking to head into the playoffs with 9 SP’s, however I’m considering adding Houser and/or Luzardo.

    Who would be the add and drops?

    Thanks in advance for your response

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Awesome man! Let’s win you that trophy.

      That would be Pineda or Canning once Luzardo returns + let’s see how Houser does.

  2. Aaron says:

    I like when u go heavy on the info and light on the emotions. It’s a good look for u Nick. Do u think it’s a good idea to grab super Nova if u need to bring down some ratios not caring about k’s ? I’m doing it anyway but I would like to hear your thoughts. Only thing that would stop me would be a bad schedule in the near future.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I try to keep a balance of it – analysis is best when it’s context + results. Context = my “emotional” interpretation of the eye test, while Results = pure stats analysis.

      Nova has that bad schedule now with the Twins, Braves, Indians in three of his next four starts. I’d look elsewhere.

  3. Jack says:

    Nick, you wouldn’t keep Alex Wood over Canning after Sunday, would you? And I’m talking through the playoffs, so next 6 weeks plus?

    I know you said to drop, but I’ve got all SPs. Like 10 of ’em. Hard to find a guy I like more than Canning on the wire.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d favor Alex Wood over Canning after Sunday, based on the schedule…but let’s just wait and see if anything changes it for Canning.

  4. Jaybird934 says:

    Sonny G joined the club last week…why are we only welcoming him today? But hey, I’m soo happy he’s making up the for the loss of Snell as of late.

  5. Kevin says:

    Hey Nick, great work as always! Are you dropping Aaron Sanchez to pick up Andrew Heaney?

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