Hello, Mr. Thompson

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Zach Thompson vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 91 pitches.

I really have to hand it to Zach Thompson. In some ways, he’s doing what we’ve wanted from Aaron Civalegoing with a three-pitch mix of cutters, four-seamers, and curveballs, sprinkling in the occasional changeup to tune of 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 91 pitches. The trifecta was legit with no pitch under a 35% CSW, solidified by a cutter that does it all – strikes, whiffs, outs – which has simply been amazing in each of his outings this year. The hook has a solid surprise breaker as well, and the heater did a great job hitting the edges. This was wonderful.

The question is if you’re picking him up now and that’s a tough call. On one hand, this was deserved success and there could be something long-term here. On the other, it may just be a peak (I think the cutter sticks, but the heater and hook success might not) and now he gets @ATL + LAD next and that’s…not ideal. I’m okay taking a chance against Atlanta and seeing how it goes. I can’t help myself, there’s nothing quite like well-earned achievements.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Merrill Kelly @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

The dude is 92/93 mph and has his cutter working. I think he got a bit lucky here, but he really deserves to be on your radar as an option in the future. Not a must-add for 12-teamers (he’s too volatile) but he has the ability to help if you’re searching for it mid-week.

Kyle Zimmer @ TEX (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 22 pitches.

Zimmer opened for Kris Bubicwho tossed 40 pitches and earned two outs. Yikes. 0% CSW on his changeup after it looked so good against the Yankees. Let’s just hope it was a bad day and maybe consider him again once the All-Star break passes.

Kyle Gibson vs KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 95 pitches.

Hot dangggg! That’s ten strikeouts for Gibson with a Gallows Pole as Gibson does the one thing he hasn’t been able to do. It’s really getting nutty how well this Vargas Rule has played out this season and you don’t need me. Just keep going as it’ll stop at some point.

Wily Peralta vs HOU (ND) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 50 pitches.

Hey, I see this as an absolute Win! Seriously, this may be the best 50 pitches Peralta throws all year, against the Astros, no less. Cool stuff buddy.

Luis Castillo vs ATL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 106 pitches.

Woooot! It’s still not prime Castillo – 6/34 changeup whiffs isn’t quite it – but he’s absolutely proving himself as a man to start moving forward, including the Padres next. Let’s hope the slow ball becomes the elite pitch we know it should be.

Zach Eflin @ NYM (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

He made it work as he mostly relied on sinkers in this one, splitting his breakers with curveballs and sliders for just 25% usage. Eflin has enough ability to do this with consistency, it’s just awfully close to a Toby and while I’m holding, it just isn’t as exciting as I want it to be, you know?

Adam Wainwright vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 102 pitches.

Wainwright earned outs with cutters and curveballs landed for strikes. The man is cruising and gets the Sneks next. Let. It. Ride.

Casey Mize vs HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.

Hot dang! Mize just keeps making it work. Weird to see him have success with just 1/28 sliders against a team like the Astros and this has all the makings of a Vargas Rule and a Toby, but I’m glad his splitter earned some whiffs and things went his way. Is it enough to believe in success against the ChiSox next? I’m not sure I can say that.

Alex Wood vs OAK (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 92 pitches.

Huh. Wood didn’t have his slider and even with this start’s clear production, I’m not confident 91 mph heaters + his changeup is enough moving forward. That slider just hasn’t been there for a while. Maybe the Sneks are weak enough…

Nathan Eovaldi vs NYY (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 109 pitches.

Hahahaha, it’s time we gave Eovaldi the proper Cherry Bomb label as he either has the secondaries or not on a given day. Good luck guessing when (9/41 whiffs on breakers here!).

Antonio Senzatela @ MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

It’s good and bad at the same time. Leave it to Senz-a to make you squirm, even when he’s outside Coors against a meh offense.

Jacob deGrom vs PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It says a lot when this was a “bad start” but let’s be thrilled he went a full six frames.

Frankie Montas @ SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

So this was better for Montas as…huh. His splitter lost 200 rpm, but the heaters and slider had somewhat insignificant drops in spin rate. Weird. The splitty + slider were both good here and the heaters were good enough but I’m not buying it for the Red Sox and Astros next.

Julio Urias vs CHC (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 84 pitches.

We’re sad he didn’t go a full six frames, but…phew. I’m so glad you’ve returned, Urias, as all three of your pitches returned a 40%+ CSW. I think this is the turned corner you’ve been waiting for.

Alec Mills @ LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 69 pitches.

This helps no one. At least he’s around 70 pitches now and could go a full start when we’d want to consider him in the future. That’s cool.

Lance McCullers Jr. @ DET (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 89 pitches.

Ayyyy the slider has returned! 42% CSW there and…just 18% for his curveball. That’s fine with me – McCullers just needs one breaker working in a game that he can trust – it was his curveball all the years and it made it tough when the pitch wasn’t working. Now he has two breakers to rotate between and should make things more consistent.

Framber Valdez @ DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna have his worst outing against…the Tigers? As a lefty?! That’s a PQS but the 1.00 WHIP and six strikeouts keep us happy. Keep on keepin’ on.

JT Brubaker @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.

It’s a PQS for Coffee Cakes and I think that’s fine. He’s a glorified Toby and next up are the Brewers. I’m all for that.

Ian Anderson @ CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

It’s a PQS but more of a Dusty Donut as the WHIP and 9 Ks are phenomenal. He’s not an ace, but you really shouldn’t question Ian’s starts. He’ll help through the year (and it’s Miami + Pittsburgh next!).

Patrick Corbin @ MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 77 pitches.

Hmmm. The slider earned 9/27 whiffs and his heater sat just under 93 mph…yet there’s still 3 ER on the board. I want to believe the skills, but the tiebreaker pulling me away = LAD + @SDP next. No thanks.

Shane McClanahan vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

He had one poor inning and dominated otherwise going – get this – SIX INNINGS AGAIN. Don’t forget that the WHIP and 7 Ks help + he’ll give you some of those dominant outings soon enough.

Jordan Montgomery @ BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Good on The Bear for grinding out six frames to get you to a PQSthough this is all kinds of Toby and we’re still in this weird moment where we don’t know what to do with him. He gets the Angels next and that’ll be yet another Tier 3 start. Maybe he’ll get into that cutter + curveball + changeup groove at some point this season go a good 3-4 start stretch.

Adrian Houser vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Yeaaaah. I think the ticket to freedom from Houser’s purgatory is the curveball taking a big role and it’s just not that pitch right now. Let’s wait on this.

Hyun Jin Ryu vs BAL (W) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Ehhhh the slow ball and cutter aren’t in a groove for Ryu. It’ll come back, it’s just like calling the office at 8pm. This just isn’t the time.

Dinelson Lamet vs ARI (L) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 47 pitches.

Lamet was throwing softer in the third and they pulled Lamet as a precaution for “forearm fatigue”. Yeah…this doesn’t sound good. Sigh. We were JUST starting to see him get unleashed! Nothing has been announced yet and it’ll likely be at least one start skipped to give him rest.

Alex Cobb @ TB (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 79 pitches.

Nooooo. Streaming Record: 48-37. The splitter wasn’t that bad, but he didn’t get strikes with curves and his sinkers were hit. Womp womp. He does get the Orioles + Mariners next though…I’m still tempted as the masochist I am comes out.

Keegan Akin @ TOR (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

It’s taking everything out of me not to make an Akin and pains joke. THE STRUGGLES WE ENDURE. Like being forced to start Keegan regularly? Touché.


Game of the Day 


Max Scherzer vs. Sandy AlcántaraIt’s a pair of aces who could each go 7+ frames. The dream.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Featured image by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

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.

4 responses to “Hello, Mr. Thompson”

  1. Kevin says:

    Any thoughts on Gilbert? Seemed like such a great start to the game…

  2. Ross Redcay says:

    I say this with zero sarcasm or hyperbole: this might be the best headline graphic in the history of the internet.

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