Hot Wheels

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

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

I know I’ve already led with Zack Wheeler once this season, but I feel like we need to talk again after he went 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks against the Orioles yesterday. His velocity was up one to two ticks across his previous three starts to 97mph after sitting around 95.5 previously, which makes you think that I’m going to say he’s still there. He wasn’t, hitting 94.4mph on his four-seamer yesterday. Womp womp. I remember getting excited when he started incorporating a splitter against the Padres, but that was super blegh in this one with just 7 thrown and one whiff. His four-seamer did most of the work with some decent sliders and a couple curveballs, but I’m not seeing enough here to make me think that Wheeler is legit. I really want that velocity to stay up here, but seeing that 2+ mph drop is disappointing. A matchup against the Braves is next and I’d avoid that one, though if he brings the heater back up, heading to Arizona + a date with the Dodgers could work out. I’m just not throwing the party right now.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Dylan Bundy – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Great to see Bundy finally get the outing he deserves after a trio of starts that returned 10 ER, all the while looking great and collecting 28 Ks. The Mets will often do that to pitchers, but let’s be happy he took advantage of it. Have no fear starting Bundy these days.

Sam Gaviglio – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I know you see a 2.51 ERA in 28.2 IP with a 3.54 SIERA and 0.98 WHIP and think maybe. Just maybe this start against the Yankees isn’t a fluke. Ron Howard: It was. Unless you truly believe that Sam is the second coming of Kyle Hendricks, don’t invest in his 88mph fastball.

Sonny Gray – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Just throwing this out there, Gray now holds a 3.38 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 22.4% K rate over his last seven starts. Walk rate down to 8.1%, whiff rate around 10%…yeah, I think I’m back on this train. Totally understand if you want to skip on the possible 5 ER clunkers, but there’s a chance he’s out there after a frustrated owner let him go and no one has jumped on it yet.

Carlos Carrasco – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Carrasco needed this after dipping below 4.00 ERA after his last outing, now lower his mark to…4.23. Okay, just one or two more and we should be golden, Cookie. 20 whiffs isn’t enough for a Gallows Pole – blame Folty – but it’s great to see you get the feel for your changeup as it’s been a major part of your struggles this year. I’m on board with buying low here.

Ian Kennedy – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You own Kennedy for the Ks while sacrificing ratios and this is…meh. A 2.00 WHIP can really hurt and are five Ks worth it? But the 1.80 ERA! Sure, like that’s going to last.

Shohei Ohtani – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Good news: Shohei had 11 whiffs in 63 pitches. Bad news: He left before the fifth inning started with another blister. And that’s not even the “injury” question I had at the start of the year. Why do I have him in the Top 25. Why.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Erod just can’t be stopped. Unless it’s by his knee. So I’m on my knees, knee, we kneed this.

Matt Strahm – 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The Padres themselves have come out and said that they are working Strahm up to being in their rotation proper later this year. Watch this game if you can, you’ll see a glimpse of what got me excited at the start of last year. Just a glimpse though, he’s not really 12-team relevant. Deep dynasty leagues, you may want to consider it.

Clay Buchholz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Buchholz today, but I’m going to instead give him some screentime via the weekly FanGraphs piece, talking about the crazy success of his cutter, which is returning a whiff rate near 22% in 50 thrown, paired with a 61% zone rate and 56% O-Swing. Unbelievably small sample and all that, but it’s curious and y’all know I like curious things, especially when it comes seemingly out of nowhere. Worth the flier in a deep league, still super skeptical in a 12-teamer but hey, I understand that pickup too. Streaming Record 34-23.

Wei-Yin Chen – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Maybe you started Wei-Yin because you wanted a little Chen Music. I don’t know why anyone digs that style, but you do you. I do myself but not destroying my fantasy team, FWIW.

Bartolo Colon – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. The Groan Ranger gave us one strikeout on one whiff yet didn’t kill your ERA. It’s annoying and boring and there’s little reason to invest. Also, HAISTFMFWT?

Mike Foltynewicz – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. One of the knocks on Folty through the year has been his low 9% whiff rate. Well, he earned himself a Gallows Pole with a massive 22 mark against the Padres, cruising to eight strikeouts in five frames. The walk rate is still scary, but the slider is oh-so-good and the train is still pumping along. I’m trying not to put so much stock in this game given the Pads, but I have to admit I am turning a little because of that slide piece…

Jose Quintana – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Hot damn this is wonderful, Quintana. I can’t get excited because y’all know how tumultuous this season has been, but hot damn.

Tanner Roark – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. He’s Spiderman, the king of all Tobys, and this is exactly what you paid for.

Hector Santiago – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Santiago is like Tom Hanks in Cast Away where he’s returned from the island but he has no idea what to do with himself. Is a 1.80 WHIP with 2 strikeouts okay? No Hector, it’s not.

Chase Anderson – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. After striking out the side in the first, someone told Chase to “get it together” in the dugout between innings, prompting him to show his true self in the next 3.1 frames. We had some good times in 2017, Chase…some good times…

Jon Gray – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. 15 Whiffs! That led to five strikeouts with a 2.00 WHIP with a 5.40 ERA! In Cincinnati! This may sound like excitement. It’s aghast displeasure, which is also the name of my band. I’m still well off the Jonny G train because it never shows up when you want it to.

Wade LeBlanc – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Your roster spot is better off LeBlank instead of riding LeBlanc.

Lance McCullers – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhhhh I want better than a VPQS with just 4 Ks from McCullers. This is why I have trouble placing Kershaw, if he’s out for 7 starts, are McCullers’ outings before then worth it? Meh?

Aaron Nola – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Nola, buddy, pal, whatchya doing here. I put you definitively in the Top 10 and you give me this? A PQS with FOUR WALKS? Blegh, whatever, brush it off, at least you got six Ks and not the worst WHIP ever at 1.33.

Jake Odorizzi – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. 14 whiffs here for Odorizzi against the ChiSox, but he ran into some trouble and I’m still a little cautious. His slider did good work here, curveball is long gone, and I wonder if the strikeouts will stay up when he’s facing tougher teams.

Chris Stratton – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeaaaaaaah. Stratton was a fun idea entering the year, and now everyone is looking at you with the stink eye as you’re the reason why the group is at the beach as it starts to rain. Who would ever think that this is how we should have spent our Sunday?

Caleb Ferguson – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. The Dodgers are battling injuries like it’s 2016 and called up Ferguson for yesterday’s start. Yes, it’s a Cup of Schmo and I shouldn’t keep talking as I’m already late and need to record the First Pitch podcast. BUT I DON’T CARE. I took the time to watch this one and don’t really dig it. Good curveball, decent heater, and…um…that’s it. A bit of a Drew Pomeranz comp here, but with a slightly worse deuce. Don’t chase it.

Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. A low 25 CSW here as the Marlins were a little more aggressive than most, leading to a pair of tough innings for Flaherty. I’m not off the train, nor should you, as his slider was still solid here and things should go better moving forward.

Trevor Williams – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Remember when Trevor had that sparkling ERA near 2.00 and he was labeled a TEEs? Now it’s a 4.18 ERA. Boy how time flies, you know?

Blaine Hardy – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. If you’re wondering, yes, I’d definitely watch Tom Hardy playing a fire gym leader in a gritty Pokemon movie. Fine, only if it’s rated R and features a trailer that starts with “I wanted to be the very best…but it wasn’t enough.” Then a scar flashes across Hardy’s eye, flames appear…”Battling is all I know and at the top, there’s no one to battle but yourself.” Fade to black. Title card. “The Chosen One.” I did not expect this. Neither did I, but that sounds dope.

Sal Romano – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Did you realize that Sal is actually “Las” backward? Thanks for that. It’s the least I could do to make me look like the bad man instead of Romano who is destroying your team for whatever reason you own him.

Jonny Venters – 0.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Venters was the “can’t opener” today, making life annoying for Ryan Yarbrough, who I understand has been this massively sneaky play for teams – especially those with start limits – but he regressed mightily himself going 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. If he were an actual starter, I’d consider Ryan as an occasional streamer and not even a Toby. That takes a small hit given the circumstance of his role, which means I have no interest like a debt-free man.

Daniel Mengden – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Welp, we knew it would happen at some point, though it’s always super annoying when all the regression shows up at one moment, kinda like when UPS arrives during the five-minute window when you take a shower. It’s like they know… The question now is if Mengden sticks around after this one. I’d say no as he gets the Astros next. It’s alright, just get yourself a Jaime Barria or whatever you want.

Today’s Streamer

Frankie Montas vs. Kansas City Royals – Not a big fan of this, but I can imagine Montas getting through this one without much damage.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brandon McCarthy vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Turner may be out again and McCarthy is looking better.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. Chicago Cubs – He’s owned in under 20% of leagues and I think his stuff is legit, even against the Cubs.

Game of the Day

Jaleen Beeks vs. Detroit Tigers – I’d say Dennis Santana vs. Jameson Taillon is the more fun matchup, but admittedly I’m more curious to see how Beeks looks.

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.

22 responses to “Hot Wheels”

  1. sturock says:

    >>A matchup against the Braves are next <<
    Nick, This should read "A matchup against the Braves is next" (not "are next"). Otherwise, you is the man!!

  2. DGM says:

    Would you move Price & Ohtani for Bumgarner?

    Current staff is:

    Verlander, Price, Berrios, Ohtani, Weaver, Pivetta, Castillo

    • M says:

      In a redraft league I personally would do this. Bumgarner had 2 freak injuries and was a top 5 pitcher before that..something some people have forgotten. Ohtani has been good but twice every 2 weeks is not as good as thrice every 2 weeks. You should almost always be looking to make a 2 for 1 upgrade.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d make that deal.

  3. Frankie says:

    Is Kingham your new Fulmer? Your excitement for Kingham seems to exceed most other sites. :) . I have been using Kingham since his second callup but have to admit, I am scared of the start this weekend.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! I’m not calling Kingham a Top 50 guy, more that he’s worth a slot on a 12-teamer.

      Yeah, I understand being scared completely and it’s very possible it doesn’t go well. Still, I’m rolling the dice here. His skill set is fantastic and has deserved better lines than he’s recorded.

  4. Max Rodriguez says:

    Hey Nick, In the cast they were saying Miami had Flaherty figured out… don’t you think that could set the trend moving forward?

    On the other hand, I’m trying to do damage control from DLs. How would you rank Heaney, Pivetta, Happ, Flaherty, Buehler, Castillo and Strippling for ROS? any of them is a set and forget?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Don’t take this the wrong way, the phrase “Figuring out” a pitcher is often pseudo-analysis to me, honestly. What is the root of the problem? That the Miami hitters know what he’s going to throw? Are they suggesting tipping or that he has problems with pitch sequencing? Both aren’t problems that I’d be concerned with moving forward.

      Or is it that Flaherty’s stuff wasn’t good enough for Miami batters to not make contact? Flaherty still earned plenty of whiffs, so I’m not buying that either.

      You can use The List for that ranking, with Castillo being the least “set and forget” of the lot.

      Avoid the nasty matchups and you’ll be set.

      • Max Rodriguez says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        I don’t recall the exact words. But I think they meant “pitch sequencing” as they suggested Miami did good scouting review and were kinda ready for what he was going to throw. Also Card’s defense didn’t help either.

        I’ll keep rolling with him. I just needed a little of your faith as reinforcement :)

        Thank again and Have a good one!

  5. Perfect Game says:

    ERod and Kershaw for Morton too much?

  6. Brandon says:

    Someone in my league (points, wins worth quite a bit) dropped Godley. I have Castillo, Folty and Flaherty and am wondering which one, if any, is worth dropping for him.

  7. larry says:

    Would you stream C. Smith tomorrow vs SD. Thanks

  8. DodgerTom says:

    Kevin Gausman on waivers in my league. Would you drop Mike Minor for the Orioles “ace”…or am I just trading one problem for another, Would I be better off waiting for Carlos Rodon to be activated.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Hey now, Bundy is the ace of the Orioles!

      Gausman should be picked up for Minor. Ignore Rodon.

  9. Trent says:

    After another stellar start I moved ERod and Moreland for Votto. How excited should I be?

  10. Taylor says:

    ESPN league, Ohtani for Archer and Heaney? I’d probably give him Cahill too, along with Ohtani.

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