Hitting The Plesac

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

Yesterday was amazing. So many pitchers that I had to watch – it’s why this roundup is a bit late today – and I can’t tell you how many exclamations and impressed moments I had. It was a lot. I will say this, though, I didn’t find myself doing a whole lot of it for Zach Plesac despite his impressive 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks line against the Red Sox. His whole schtick is a ~93 mph heater paired with a changeup that doesn’t have a ton of movement, but excellent deception around 7 mph slower, and a surprise hook to mix in as well. It all stems from that fastball that can be hard to pick up with his cross-body motion…that I don’t love. It generally speaks to worse command overall and while I’m sure he was able to throw worse strikes and get away with it in the minors, I question if he can dominate with it in the bigs. I just didn’t see enough here for me to label him a must add, though he makes the cut about Tobys for 12-teamers. I’m imagining a worse Brandon Woodruff

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. If you’re not a BeeGee or Boyd Boy, I feel bad for you son. I’ve got some problems and Matty is cool. That’s not how it goes. DC;OB. Is that what I think it is? Yep. Dont Care; Own Boyd.

Jesse Chavez1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s a fantastic inning Chavez. So proud. Adrian Sampson followed to 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks and sure, whatever. If you’re relying on Sampson, I am so sorry.

Zach Davies6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Davies earned 8/87 whiffs here – all across 35 changeups – and I just can’t buy this. I can’t. I know his changeup usage is through the roof (nearly 40% here!) but there’s nothing else in that repertoire as his fastball is down to sub 88 mph levels. Do what you must, this won’t last through the year.

David Price6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Price, that’s what’s up. We’ve been a little neglected as Price owners for the month of May – he went to the IL after his May 2nd start, returned for just five frames, left his next start in the first with flu-like symptoms, and then showed up three days later for this gem, lowering his ERA to 2.83, WHIP to 1.03, and holding a 29% strikeout rate. Mmmmmm, one more start and you get that AGA label.

Devin Smeltzer6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Smeltzer was another of these young guns making their MLB debuts and I was pleasantly surprised here. I didn’t expect to get this much joy from a guy throwing 89-91, but he has himself a luscious changeup to go with it and I emitted a sound when I saw a beautiful mid-70s hook in the second. He’s going to get hit around a bit, though. A few pitches were feet away from leaving the park – it’s harder to elevate four-seamers at 90 mph than at 93+ – and I think we see a slightly better Toby here. Slightly. I can see a little under a strikeout per inning and he’s certainly going to have games where batters jump all over his heater. But he’ll also have starts cruising along like today. One problem here is that the Twins don’t need a fifth starter during their next pass of the rotation and Pineda may be back on the other side of it. Let’s wait to hear more about Smeltzer’s future before making the add, unless you have a free roster slot.

Ryne Stanek2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. We have some openers to deal with today and Stanek gave way to the Fratty Pirate Ryan Yarbrough who returned a dub to go with 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 K. I don’t even want to give it the usual 1 strikeout routine given how little he pitched. Is that Win worth it?

Cam Bedrosian1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Cam, step aside, Nick Tropeano returned! And he was okay! 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s really middling and while I think Trop can become a streaming option, for now, we’re just gonna wait until he gives us something to cheer about. I guess not the worst deep AL-Only add.

Eric Lauer5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Lauer. Maybe you’re a decent streaming option for deep leagues, but there isn’t enough reward for your Risk. Why is Risk capitalized? Because enduring your friends for six hours over that board game brings NO REWARDS. Okay okay, didn’t realize this was such a sensitive subject. IF I WANT TO CAMP IN AUSTRALIA THAT’S WHAT I’M GOING TO DO.

Ivan Nova5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. So this game actually happened Monday but we’re talking about it today. Nova was limited to five frames because of the rain suspending the game and he went Super Nova in a way. Kinda. No QS, 2 Ks, a 1.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. It just was.

Homer Bailey4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Bailey was on the other side of this Monday game and he actually was cruising along just nicely. Not a good play in standard leagues, but you’re dying for streams in AL-Only leagues, consider Bailey against weak teams.

Trevor Richards7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey Richards took advantage of a great matchup against the Giants! Streaming Record: 37-22. He’s still a Cherry Bomb that I’m generally avoiding in 12-teamers, but I’m happy this one worked out.

Rich Hill6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hill keeps on rolling, now allowing just 4 ER in his last three starts. Here’s to hoping he stays on the field through the sum– okay, I just can’t say that with a straight face.

Steven Matz6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Solid stuff from Matz as he had a tough battle against the Dodgers in LA. Maybe I was a little harsh on him yesterday as I see him as a Toby for now, though his strikeout upside is shining through. Keep on rolling with him.

Clayton Richard4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! The man with the worst mechanics in the bigs pitched like he had the worst mechanics in the bigs.

Antonio Senzatela6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Senz-A, I know you want in on the action, but even having a “half off!” sale isn’t going to get us interested in your dojo.

Stephen Strasburg7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Among all the youngster hoopla, it’s nice to see Stras continue his dominance.

Dylan Bundy7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Sooooo Bundy had 19/89 whiffs yesterday, 14/35 on his slider along. Yeah. Can I keep ignoring him? Without his changeup worried, I’m still hesitant to trust him, but it is a 13%+ overall swinging-strike rate this year, with a 3.24 ERA in his last seven starts. Hmmm. I’m not adding but….hmmmm. He’s closer than we thought he would be.

Lucas Giolito8.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Sure, he allowed a three-run shot in the first, but I loved Giolito more in this game than the one against the Astros. Yes, an easier lineup, but he dominated them with high fastballs, 26 whiffs – Gallows Pole, duh – and 42/107 CSW. His slider was thrown for 75% strikes, changeup worked plenty and it’s exactly the kind of guy that I wanted to see after last week’s game. I had to have some skepticism after his previous outing and it’s fading fast y’all. Giolito looked like an absolute STUD.

Jordan Lyles4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It was pretty blegh and then Lyles left the game with hamstring tightness. No news yet about his next start, but I have to wonder if this opens the door for Mitch Keller to make his next start after getting surprisingly demoted yesterday. We’ll see.

Nick Pivetta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I was hoping for something to really change my mind, but honestly, it’s the same ole Pivetta. He allowed two longballs in the first, one a result of a stupid long at-bat against Goldschmidt, the other slapped over the fence by Ozuna, and then settled down save for a wild fourth. That’s always going to be the case, not just start-to-start, but inning-by-inning. He’s a Cherry Bomb til the end and those hoping for that leap are going to be disappointed. Here’s to hoping the few times you start him are the sweet cherries.

Corbin Martin3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Speaking of Cherry Bombs, here’s Martin who may not even see a lot of time in the future given his erratic nature and Mchugh/James maybe earning a rotation spot back or Whitley possibly coming down the road. I think we can move on here.

Max Fried5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. This was one of the more disappointing starts of the night as nothing really worked well for Fried. 21/88 CSW is bleeeegh and I think a lot of people are getting the feeling that this is the Fried we’ve been waiting for. I get that and there’s a part of me that agrees with it. There’s another part that saw how off his curveball was and knows that Fried is plenty better than this start. Keep riding him out there, don’t sell at a discounted price, and things will be fine.

Brad Keller6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. BK, it’s not what you crave.

Merrill Kelly6.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhhh this isn’t so bad from Kelly – solid WHIP and 5 Ks – but those 2 ER in the 7th hurt as you almost survived Coors. He was off The List today – #101, I’m not kidding – and I wouldn’t touch him in 12-teamers.

Frankie Montas4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Noooooooo. It was a really dumb second inning that included a trio of singles, a double, three walks (one intentional) that tallied four runs and the rest of the game was the standard Montas. I’m still all for Monty.

Lucas Sims7.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This was something. I sat in marvel as Sims pounded the zone with excellent fastballs and curveballs, going upstairs at 95mph, inducing horrible swings at curveballs in the dirt, and even surprise changeups for whiffs. It was awesome. So after seven shutout frames, Sims is brought out for the 8th around 80+ pitches. Then some bad luck and two guys are on. Okay, you pull him. Nope. He gets an out, HITS A BATTER WHILE THROWING JUST 91 MPH, but nah, let’s keep him in for another guy, it’s 10-0 after all. What do you know, it’s a 3-1 fastball launched for a grand slam, turning this seven shutout frames into a 7.1 4 ER Careful Icarus and I hate everything. Well fine, this was a spot start and it doesn’t really matter, but I can’t help but hurt watching that frame. I really like Sims with his fastball/curveball approach of high and low, but the Reds just don’t have room for him. He’s clearly the next one up and a definite add when he sticks in the rotation, but it’s not worth waiting til then.

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. He’s labeled as a Cherry Bomb on The List and rightly so as his splitter goes in and out. Guess what it was here? Yeah, 1/15 CSW as he had to throw 40 fastballs out of nowhere to get through this start in one piece. Slider is still dope though – 20/42 CSW – and you best keep starting him.

Adam Wainwright6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Waino, this is great n all, but can you not? I want Reyes in this rotation by mid June and possibly force the Cardinals to shove CarMart back in the rotation before too long. This doesn’t help. Yeah, but should we roster Wainwright? No. Oh. Yeah.

Jeff Samardzija4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Loose Lips, you were served the Marlins in a wonderful park and you do this. I wonder why people don’t like you.

Marco Gonzales4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Once labeled the Spider-Man, now just a Toby hoping to beat off the possible Panda label. Get your velocity back Marco, please.

Jon Lester5.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s three straight clunkers for Lester as the regression is hitting him square on the head. The Astros are no joke, though, and I’m still holding unless you have some fantastic options out there. He’ll get that cutter back, I’m sure.


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. Pittsburgh Pirates – Tony Disco has faced some tougher opponents and the Pirates are an exploitable offense.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Chase Anderson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pomeranz and Alcantara are facing off and that just seems so risky on both sides. But so is this. True, not as poor of a floor, though.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Mahle vs. Washington Nationals – It’s an easier matchup for Mahle who still has the upside to kill it on a given day.


Game of the Day


James Paxton vs. Chris Paddack – There’s also Thor vs. Buehler, Nola vs. the debut of Genisis Cabrera, and even Snell likely overwhelming the Jays. Today is a good day.


(Photo by 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 “Hitting The Plesac”

  1. Karl says:

    20-team dynasty h2h points: better to own Sims or Alcantara long-term?

  2. Kev says:

    Can only keep one. Montas or Giolito ROS? 10T 5×5. Thx Nick!

  3. Chucky says:

    Has Chris Archer morphed into Brad Keller with all those BBs? Traded an injured Kluber for him and I’m guessing I probably shouldn’t have. He can sit on the edge of the bullpen bench for the time being, but when a roster crunch comes, is a an out an out drop?

  4. Derek says:

    The nostalgic fan in me wonders what the nightly roundups would’ve looked like years ago. I would love to hear your comments, critiques, and gushings over prime Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, etc. Maybe something to consider in the offseason?

  5. JM Hulsey says:

    Reynaldo Lopez or Lucas Sims ROS?

  6. theKraken says:

    Do you think the opener fad ever ends? Every team that is using openers is not developing SP or showing any faith in their upper minors. This is the very definition of a band-aid and it is going to have long-term consequences. This is so often the misunderstood aspect of letting people off the field without an understanding of the players and on-field realities increasingly making decisions. I think the end game looks like a fried bullpen and little SP with nothing on the horizon. The data is already starting to show up in the form of less effective relievers – but predictably the “analysis” is primarily trying to explain why the data doesn’t mean what it does. The other data set worth looking at is every single mega bullpen from the past decade – every one of them completely falls apart within a few years. Asking that much out of your bullpen has been proven to be unsustainable. I don’t think we have any idea how to properly manage a bullpen and it might vary too much from player to player – combine that with lacking SP that we are not developing and I think the future is looking gloomy… which means more offense I guess, so that is a plus! I do think that a bullpen game is probably better for winning than a lousy SP, but there is more to running a team than trying to win one game. Take TB for example, they have a decent shot to win on most nights (half the league tanking doesn’t hurt), but they are not building anything pitching-wise.
    I am afraid that it will only become more common based on what you see out of defensive alignments. For example, I have never seen any evidence that overshifts are effective on the whole, yet teams deploy them regularly. The problem is that the people with the crazy ideas are also in charge of analyzing the data. Combine that with the collective effort to shame those that don’t embrace progressive ideals and you have a lack of checks and balances. The progressive collective makes a concerted effort to publicly blast anyone that doesn’t embrace their values – it really is a well thought out recipe that benefits the analytics side. They have a very strong interest in suppressing analysis and discussion – I think you can see it every day when you watch on-field baseball. Announcers make a bunch of vague remarks about how important sabermetrics are (as does anyone they interview), but it is not clear what the positive outcomes are.

  7. rainmaker says:

    I am in a 16 team league and I need some SPs but I only have 1 move left this week. Should I pick up Plesac or Smeltzer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login