Hooked On Heaney

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

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

I didn’t expect myself to be telling you to buy Andrew Heaney, let alone lead with him in today’s roundup, but you should buy Heaney now. After earning a 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks line against the Yankee lineup, Heaney is sporting a 34.% K rate and 6.3% BB rate in three starts, with an impressive 23.7% soft contact rate, 64.1% F-Strike mark, and 13.3% whiff rate. His ghastly 6.93 ERA comes with a 2.63 SIERA as his .429 BABIP, 50.6% LOB rate, and 23.1% HR/FB rates are all out of whack. Honestly, it was the previous 7 ER clunker against the Giants where he allowed a trio of longballs that has the numbers all out of whack and after watching this start against the Yanks, I’m ready to buy in. He’s moving his fastball – a pitch that is coming in close to a tick harder than what we’ve seen in the past – well around the zone and both sides of the plate, while his curveball is a whiff heavy pitch and his changeup can find the plate. I’m going to stop right there as I don’t want to hype him too much – it’s just three starts, which is a horrendously small sample, and he has a somewhat tough road with the O’s, Coors, Houston next – but I was surprised to watch Heaney and think “yeah he could do this again.” It’s believable instead of other arms that just don’t add up to me. Given that schedule and how he’s still getting his bearings, he might not become that consistent starter til late May, but you best make a note. I think there’s something legit here.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Tyler Anderson – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He was our Call Boy and he…left the game with an oblique injury. Why didn’t I see this coming? Even though this start didn’t hurt you, I have to take the Loss, right? Streaming Record 16-9.

Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Hey hey hey! This clown got his act together against the Brew crew and that’s all kinds of awesome. Our boy Alex Fast even predicted this exact 0 ER, 8 K line! Problem is that you’re still paranoid that he’ll break down again in his next outing hosting the Rockies. I say hold strong and let him loose.

Jacob deGrom – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Nothing like a smooth 31% K rate, 2.06 ERA, and 1.04 WHIP to make the world go round. If you recall, his four-seamer whiff rate jumped from 10.8% to 15.6% in 2017. This year’s mark? 17.8%. No wonder you’re winning today’s Gallows Pole with 18 whiffs.

Sean Manaea – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m so tempted to give it to him, but I can’t. It’s just too soon in the year. I’ll say this, don’t stop starting Manaea, whatever you do.

Chris Tillman – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Last May, we introduced the “You Can’t Spell Win With Tillman” shirt to the world and last night marked the first time since that date that he recorded a Win. Welp, guess we’ve gotta burn the shirts now.

Jose Urena – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Huh, I didn’t realize that April 27th was the day you were born. You should have told me or I would have come to your Birthday Party!

Reynaldo Lopez – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Lopez got Singled Out here and gave us just two strikeouts to show for it. That’s not good enough against the Royals, 3.00 ERA n all. I did like that he turned to his slider a decent amount while going 50% on called strikes with his curveball, but not being able to put away batters despite a 10%+ whiff rate is a little concerning, especially now that it’s two straight starts of 2 Ks. I think it’s a process that he’ll sort out – his stuff is good enough and clearly misses enough bats to warrant a 23%+ K rate – and I think you’re safe starting him against the Twins next. Definitely for the 2x starts against the Pirates after.

Miles Mikolas – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m excited. You’re excited. We’re all loving this. I will warn everyone that his last three starts – the super good ones – came against the Reds twice and now the Pirates. At the same time, here’s the outlook for this next five starts: CHC, @SDP, @MIN, KCR, @PIT, PIT, MIA, SDP. I’m super curious if he can stay strong against the Cubs, but regardless I’m stoked for the seven that follow. You gotta believe in Mikolas so buy buy buy like JT.

Hyun-Jin Ryu – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. He’s starting and he’s delivering. I truly wonder how much he has left in the tank, but I’m 50/50 with his next start against the Dbacks. He’s faced the A’s, Padres, Nats (kinda weak right now), and Giants thus far, with this being his first real test. If he can survive it and all the dangerous forces in the world, he gets…the Dbacks again. Sell high if there are any takers.

Blake Snell – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. You. Can’t. Stop. Snell. Seriously, this is absurd. 15 whiffs, 30% breaking balls, and another feather in his cap as he took down the Red Sawx. As long as he’s relying on breaking stuff over changeups and heaters, this hot streak ain’t ending.

Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This is as exciting as the time I got a sandwich at the deli. That doesn’t sound very exciting. I can’t get anything past you.

Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a PQS and Fiers should be proud of himself.

Corey Kluber – 8.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He got pulled after allowing a single with two outs in the ninth, who of course scored on a HR two batters later. Great to see his breaking stuff working better than against the Orioles.

Aaron Nola – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This is…okay. It’s a Jan with how middling it is. I want a little more Nola, maybe 6 Ks next time? Please?

Clayton Richard – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! However, given Kershaw’s last stat line, does it look so far off…? I feel dirty even making that joke and for those wondering, I’m 90% sure I’m keeping Kershaw at #1 on Monday. I need to give him one more start to right the ship and he doesn’t go again until Tuesday. Ummm this is Richard’s blurb, not Kershaw. Like you really want me to talk about Richard instead.

Luis Severino – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Yeah you want one fewer ER, but the rest is so pretty. It really comes down to Shohei Ohtani hitting a solo shot on a well-placed fastball off the plate inside. So it goes.

Julio Teheran – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. The dude was throwing 86mph fastballs before acknowledging that maybe, maybe he was hurt. The official report was “tightness in his right trapezius” so this doesn’t seem like a DL stint. Y’all know I don’t like Teheran in the first place, so whatever.

Steven Brault – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I wonder if I’ll ever come face-to-face with the Brault Right.

Danny Duffy – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It sounds weird, but this is somehow encouraging. Okay not really, you should drop him for a Spice Girl or someone like Mikolas if he’s somehow still available.

Zack Godley – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Ugh, what now Godley? You still had 15 whiffs in this one and I’m a bit surprised there were just four Ks to show for it. For those wondering, he’s still inducing 27.4% soft contact, while a .329 BABIP just doesn’t seem right. Solid buy low if someone thinks the 1.41 WHIP is going to stay inflated.

Derek Holland – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Don’t let the Dutch Invasion happen to your team.

Phil Hughes – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Hey look! Hughes is back! And he’s still not fantasy relevant! Yay!

Mike Minor – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I know this looks bad, but the fact that he had 12 whiffs on 31 changeups is good. Really good. I think it’s important to monitor the small improvements in different facets from Minor in each of his starts as he has the tools in his arsenal to make a large impact. The question has always been how long will it take for him to get there. I’ve been saying an arbitrary “May 15th” date and I’m starting to believe that’s when we’ll see it.

Drew Pomeranz – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The Dirty Cheerleader ain’t so filthy these days. It was his second start of the season and he should be better than this, but the high WHIP and just 5 IP to his name is kinda fitting. I was asked if he had a Top 20 ceiling yesterday in the AMA and I feel I should make it clear that I do not see that. I barely see Top 30 given the current landscape. He walks too many in too few innings without the depth of repertoire to save him from it. Still worth a roster spot, just not a super high upside play.

Luis Castillo – 1.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Okay. This is bad…but we didn’t expect any different, did we? I lowered him to #51 on Monday, essentially calling him a stash that you didn’t want to start in the near future. He clearly has things to sort out still, at the very least his velocity was a little better than it was last Sunday, but I didn’t expect this be fixed so quickly. If you need help now, once again go ahead and drop him. Do I think there’s an injury involved? I do but am a little shocked there hasn’t been any diagnosis yet. Do I expect him to tinker and improve over the next month? Definitely. The stuff is there. He’s showed off the talent to harness it and something is in the way right now. It’s a terrible situation, it pains no one more than me, but we’ll get through this.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. He’s playing hot potato, giving us an even mix of stud performances and clunkers. He’s getting beat with his fastball thus far – it’s holding a horrid -5.9 pVAL while everything else is well positive – and while he’s throwing it under 50% of the time already, it may be time to start pulling it back a bit further as his changeup and curveball are both wildly effective offerings. Even more sliders instead would probably help. I’d buy low if someone doesn’t think he’s Top 10 or even Top 15 anymore.

Dallas Keuchel – 7.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. This was actually pretty decent through six, with Keuchel allowing 3 ER and just 4 baserunners. Then a groundball double down the line, an RBI single, then a solid changeup that Mark Cahna somehow sent over the right-field fence. I don’t think Keuchel is broken and this is a solid buy low here.

Erasmo Ramirez – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, that’s Erasmo alright. He’ll spin off a decent start here and there, but this is the real Erasmo. Don’t forget it.

Marcus Stroman – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I watched the first inning from this one where Stroman allowed 4 ER and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the line looks. Plenty of solid pitches that didn’t go his way. I’m willing to be that Stroman holds a sub 4.00 ERA from now until the end of the season, with a WHIP below 1.30. That right there should be enough to tell you that he deserves some version of the TIARA. Maybe a Toddler’s TIARA?

Today’s Streamer

Chris Stratton vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Either guys are well above the 20% threshold or they are facing tough teams, so I’m going with Stratton as he has three 6.0+ IP starts under his belt and could pull it off against a Dodger offense that has been feast or famine.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Zack Wheeler vs. San Diego Padres He hasn’t looked great since the Marlins, but the Padres are the Padres. That’s a surprisingly decent argument.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jhoulys Chacin vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds are bad and there is nothing left to choose. I don’t expect Chacin to be good, which means he’ll be good…?

Game of the Day

Jack Flaherty vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I’m excited. You’re excited. Let’s hope he takes advantage.

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.

15 responses to “Hooked On Heaney”

  1. Confused says:

    Need to drop someone to make way for Bogaerts

    Trigg or Minor. Or find another way?

  2. EV says:

    Hey Nick how good Mikolas could be? Top 20-25 guy? Would you drop Castillo for him? Thanks!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Definitely drop Castillo for him.

      I think Mikolas can hit around #30 or so. Not enough strikeout upside to go much farther, but I’m a fan.

  3. Jack says:

    Which of these guys would you take Heaney over – Tyson Ross, Mike Minor, Hyun Jin Ryu, Trevor Cahill, and Kyle Gibson

    • Nick Pollack says:

      None right now as I hate Heaney’s three game schedule ahead with Coors and Houston at the end of it. All aboard after that.

  4. Paul says:

    Drop Duffy for Heaney?

  5. Ionescorhino says:

    Severino was just one strike away from only having given up the Ohtani solo HR. I was surprised he was still out there. Gave up a wild pitch that moved Trout and Pujols to 2nd and 3rd. Gave up a triple to Semien, but whiffed Cozart to get out of it.

    Reynaldo is back to the same non-existent put away pitch like last year. If you recall, he had about 10 starts in a row with 2 Ks or fewer. Not sure how this happens with such beautiful stuff and increased velocity.

  6. The Prince says:

    Any guesses on where Heaney and Gibson land in the top 100 after their impressive performances this week?

  7. Listen up says:

    Hi Nick!
    In a 12 team points league, would you stash Castillo or Gohara? I have to drop one of them or Devenski.

  8. Play Ball says:

    I have a surplus of offense and need to trade 2 for 1 to make room to activate a couple players coming off the DL soon. In a standard, 5×5 season-long roto using QS, K, ERA, WHIP.

    Would you trade Trevor Story and Godley for C-Mart? If that deal can’t happen, the other option would be to trade Trevor Story and E-Rod for Price or Paxton. Would Price or Paxton’s counting stats and ratios be that much better than E-Rod?

    Seeking your advice on both options.

    My current SP’s are Kluber, Severino, Syndergaard, Bauer, Godley, Corbin, E-Rod.

  9. AngryBro says:

    Heaney or Gibson? Who’d you rather own? Heaney obviously has smaller sample than than Gibson but the underlying metrics look very similar to me. Except Heaney has lower walk rate..

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