Hundred Percent Reason To Remember The Shane

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

Did you watch yesterday’s start from Shane Bieber? No? If you can, go and do it now, it’s absurd. The end result was 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 15 Ks against the Orioles and it’s just…perfect. It looks so easy and fluid, making us realize that pitchers aren’t supposed to be this consistent with execution. But there it was, batter after batter attacking them in the zone with heaters, followed up with sliders and curveballs down, but not hitting the dirt. Seriously, 27 Whiffs (Gallows Pole, shocking) and 24 called strikes adding up to a 51/107 CSW. THAT’S DUMB. Like, one of the greatest CSW performances of the last decade dumb. Look at those heaters nipping the bottom of the zone that O’s took over the plate, followed by all the yellow and blue underneath. It’s not shocking – it’s how it should be – but guys don’t just go out there and repeat, repeat, repeat. So what does this mean for Bieber moving forward? He’s at #24 right now and I can see myself pushing him Top 20 this week. He’ll have plenty more easy matchups in the AL Centennial (just so old it hurts them to swing), though I’m curious to see what Bieber we get in the next two starts against the Rays and Sawx. Should be interesting.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Sandy Alcantara9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Hahahahaha. You see this line and know how inconsistent Alcantara is, but there’s the guy in the back of your mind talking. Yeah, but what if this is the start of something? I want to get in on the ground floor! It’s dangerous and seducing, we’ve all been there. I could talk about Alcantara’s ridiculous strikezone plot and how the Mets just fed into his schtick, but in all reality let’s imagine he actually was really good. I have to hammer in the point that pitchers are fickle creatures. Corbin Martin looked brilliant then lost against the Sawx. We see them show their best, then their worst, and we don’t know what will happen. At least with Alcantara, he’s been so bad that at least we can sit back and laugh at this one. A good healthy laugh on Monday, what a wonderful start to the week.  

Hyun-Jin Ryu7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It feels like time to give the AGA label, no? This is getting nuts and I’m sure you’re all aware of the stupid good numbers Ryu is putting up. I legit don’t believe he’ll be pitching for a whole lot longer given his inevitable injury (one already happened!), but unless you’re getting great offers for him, you just let this ride, let it ride. You keep saying that in roundups like it’s a quote. Ohhhh right. That’s a song by a small band called Julius C. Great song, can’t even find it on Youtube. ANYWAY, be happy with Ryu and rejoice. I’m crossing my fingers he gets over 24 starts this year.

Danny Duffy6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Not as great of a performance as we’ve seen from Duffy once this year so I’m not jumping on board (27/106 CSW, meh execution), but definitely have my eye on Duffy in deep leagues as a sleeper.

Yusei Kikuchi6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Fastball velocity was still comfortably under 94 mph and I’m a little hesitant to buy into a 23/93 CSW…though it’s good to see 6/25 whiffs on his slide piece. He’s in Toby territory for me until I see 94+ consistently (i.e. I trust that his fastball can be his best pitch) and that’s fine.

Reynaldo Lopez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. We took a gamble on ReyLo and it paid off with a lovely ERA and WHIP – Streaming Record: 30-19 – but I’m shocked to see him serve us a HAISTFMFWT?! Just six whiffs on the day, but he was able to throw strikes with his slide piece (not so much his changeup – just 9/21 there). He’s still super confusing and inconsistent, so keep the Cherry Bomb label and consider in streaming cases.

Trent Thornton6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Chamomille drink obsessed man (TT!) was our secondary Call Boy on the other side of ReyLo and with the tougher offense still came through for those needing it on a Sunday. Don’t go crazy about Thornton as his floor is super low, but I understand chasing in deeper leagues.

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey he survived Arlington! Solid ratios and five strikeouts are all kinds of good for Flaherty given his recent struggles and I’m shocked to see that he threw nearly the same amount of curveballs as he did sliders…returning a better CSW. Wild. I don’t think that’s the answer for Flaherty, but I’m glad to see the third option look better than it has in the past. Keep starting him and let’s hope he smooths out this season.

Mike Foltynewicz6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Speaking of surviving tough matchups for struggling arms, Folty finally didn’t destroy your week, needing just 67 pitches to get through six frames. Whoa. A low 25% CSW shouldn’t really surprise you given the low pitch count (low pitch count for a lot of outs = plenty of balls in play finding gloves in early counts unless your Bieber who just carves up a lineup). I didn’t see a lot here for me to think that he’s fixed – curveballs and sliders were a bit elevated, fastballs were good, but not amazing – and I’m still a bit cautious with his next start against the Cards.

Chad Green1.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. The Yanks went full bullpen here and it kinda worked. Let’s move on.

Wade Miley5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. You own Miley for the cheap Win and he didn’t come through here…though these numbers against the Sawx are surprisingly okay. Bad news here – Sawx and Cubs are coming up – and I’m not sure I’d trust Miley for another two here.

Drew Pomeranz4.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s just so bleeeeegh. His days as The Dirty Cheerleader are so far away.

Robbie Ray4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Noooooooo. I was really hoping Ray could keep up his recent hot streak and while it’s still six Ks at not the worst ratios, this is clearly not what we’re going for, especially against the lowly Giants. He’ll get them again next time and I’m expecting better.

Tanner Roark5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s six of his last eight starts with 2 ER or fewer….and just two games in that stretch with six frames. But let’s look at this. 3.00 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP due to a 10% walk rate in that span, while his .308 BABIP and 76% LOB rate are normal, the 2.4% HR/FB sure isn’t. So I ask you this. Is a man well overperforming his HR/9 in Great American Ballpark (HR haven!) with a 4.50+ SIERA worth the risk to chase a 22% strikeout rate and 3.00 ERA in a small sample? That was a weird question. Fine, he’s overperforming at the ceiling is too low to risk. Done. 

Drew Smyly4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Today I discovered that Drew has a middle name. Drew “Poorthymed” Smyly. It has been passed down in his family after they were removed from their village acting inappropriately during a time of remorse. Nowadays, they just don’t let Drew use emojis over text.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhhh okay. He turned away from his slider once again, featuring just six against the Marlins with 14 changeups and 58 fastballs. He’s not the Thor we want, he’s still figuring it out, and keep starting him as I expect him to get there at some point.

Brandon Woodruff8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Woodruff is cooking with 19 whiffs here, 12 on heaters (!) and five more with his improved slider. I still have my concerns about the longevity of this run, but he’ll certainly get more love on The List today. I’m thinking late 40s or so.

Kyle Freeland1.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Over 60 pitches thrown for just five outs as Freeland was booted early. It’s sad to see his command so off and I’ll be rooting for him to give us a stretch that suggests a pick up in 12-teamers again. Don’t hold your breath.

Jeremy Hellickson3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. The Devil has returned and–wait he never left. Sure, he had 2 ER in his first two starts combined…then 2 ER in just one of his next six starts. Y’all don’t need me.

Charlie Morton4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Morton is the poster child for talking about “Quality vs. Quantity” of innings often discussed with Ryu and Hill and this is a bit disappointing given the circumstance. Still, so it goes and he’s still dope.

Joe Musgrove6.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ugggggh, such a Careful Icarus here as Musgrove tossed six shutout innings prior to a tough seventh the ended his night on a three-run blast – one was unearned based on…Musgrove’s own error. The dude was looking sharp before the frame and I’m still completely on board here as he allowed just two baserunners through 18 outs. It’s Fulmer 2.0! DON’T YOU DARE.

Chris Sale5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s still weird seeing so many sliders from Sale – nearly 50%! – Yet he earned 37/106 CSW with 20 whiffs and I clearly need to raise him today, even with those ratios against the Astros. That’s a 46% strikeout rate in his last six starts, you know.

Tyler Skaggs5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. He’s really digging into the fastballs up, breakers down and while there’s a bit more polish left, I’m starting to warm up to Skaggs again. I think it’s in here as he had 18/110 whiffs in this one – 7/39 on his curveball! They’re hosting the Rangers next and I think I’m ready to jump back in.

Jerad Eickhoff5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Are we off the Eickhoff train now? Why? Because of a 4 ER stinker…with a 1.00 WHIP and a strikeout per inning? No Nick, because he gets the Brewers in Miller Park next. Okay, that’s actually a fair argument. I think Eickhoff is someone I need to lower to the later 40s or so and stick him there the rest of the way, but with two strong secondary pitches, the strikeouts will be flowing while it’s not a certainty that he’ll along the longball and hurt your ERA. The wire isn’t a particularly wonderful place at this point, so in most cases you’re holding. If there’s a similarly ranked guy with a good matchup this week, sure, make the swap.

Kyle Gibson6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Like Gibson, who gets the ChiSox next. Yeah, this is a VPPS (This makes sense, right?), but he still missed bats and it didn’t go his way ultimately. Sure, not the overwhelming 9 whiffs for each his changeup and slider (just 10 overall), but it’s still good enough for Gibson to earn a K per inning and that’s just fine. Don’t overthink this one, he’s a Toby with more strikeout upside than a Toby.

Kyle Hendricks5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Things were just fine until a three-run blast in the sixth to Anthony Rendon. You just have to shrug it off and keep starting Hendricks, you know what this guy does.

Yefry Ramirez3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Who is Yefry? It doesn’t matter. Really.

Cal Quantrill5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. SoSoCal is back at it again. Your standard Cup of Schmo that could be a Young Gun. Maybe.

Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. This game doesn’t exist yet since it was suspended until September. And that’s completely fine with me, I’m sure few of you even realized this game hadn’t shown up yet. Fiers is a Panda with a VPQS here and I want nothing to do with him.

Gregory Soto – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s sad that he’s such a Cup of Schmo, but at least he’s not one until September when this game resumes…that’s how this works, right?


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.


Brett Anderson vs. Cleveland Indians – I don’t have a choice. Well, I do, but it’s EJax against the Sawx, Hess against the Yanks, Leake in Arlington, or Font against the Nats. Soooooo yeah.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Pineda vs. Los Angeles Angels – His slider has looked better lately and I’ll chase that strikeout upside among the other blegh options.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Jose Urena vs. Detroit Tigers – Why are y’all picking up all the good pitchers. On the real, there are no good options and I’ll go with Urena who has the ability to cruise six frames on 1 ER every so often, especially against a bad offense like the Tigers.


Game of the Day


Luke Weaver vs. Chris Paddack – It’s a day of fastball command and strong changeups. This should be good.


(Photo by Frank Jansky/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.

21 responses to “Hundred Percent Reason To Remember The Shane”

  1. Clay Cotton says:

    Title on point ?

  2. Andrew says:

    Amazing round-up title. It feels like a slight reach to make it work but somehow it also fits perfectly. 10/10.

  3. Mark says:


    I’m confused by your take on CSW sometimes. Above, you seem to suggest that Skaggs 18/110 is promising, but Duffy’s 27/106 is meh, you’re heistant about Kikuchi’s 23/93, and Folty’s 25% is low. I’ve seen you do that before, too, like sometimes a guy will be up near 30% but you say it’s disappointing. Can you clarify? Also, are CSW expectations different on different pitch types?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Hey Mark!

      18/110 is for whiffs for Skaggs, that’s really good! Think a 11% whiff rate overall is above-average and Skaggs had 16.4% here.

      CSW is Called Strikes & Whiffs. We’re looking for 30%+ there (called strikes are easier to get than whiffs).

      Yes, fastballs are generally worse than secondary pitches – think 30% total of everything = good, so 35% or so for breakers and 25% or so for fastballs as their thresholds.

  4. Kyeonghan says:

    Hey Nick! Which one do you prefer Canning or Lyles?

  5. sturock says:

    Hi Nick. Love the Roundup. Who would you go with this week in 5×5 Roto? Giolito @ HOU, PabLo @ WAS, or Skaggs vs. TEX? Thanks!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That’s a super tough call.

      My gut says Skaggs, heart says PabLo, and first instinct was Giolito (best arm, worst matchup).

      So I legit have no idea. I guess Skaggs if I had to.

      • sturock says:

        Thanks. I went through the same process. Bummed cuz so many of my guys are on the IL (Glasnow, Taillon, Maeda, Trevor Williams). Yeesh! Thanks again for the advice.

  6. P says:

    Canning or Skaggs ROS?

  7. Sam says:

    Eickhoff or Duffy ROS?

  8. Swfcdan says:

    Thor’s problem seems soley on his slider like you’ve said. Used to be his money out pitch, now he’s throwing it much less, reason? The velo has dropped almost 4mph from 92 to 88.5 (per FG)! Seems like slower velo isn’t fooling em as much. Does that mean its mechanical and should be fixed soon or not?

    If you were offered Montas ($3) for Thor ($26) would you consider it? Montas is looking like a clear keeper at that price whereas Thor isn’t. If you think Montas is totally legit wouldn’t you do it? Might have a slightly lesser pitcher this year but a great keeper after.

    • theKraken says:

      Thor has always had other problems as well, like high BABIP. He hasn’t been bad this year – no worse than last year unless you are into Wins and ERA. WHIP and Ks are pretty steady with the past few years.

  9. theKraken says:

    I wouldn’t say the bullpen game from NYY worked… if you score a dozen runs then anything works.

  10. Dave says:

    Nick, you know your stuff and I love your work, but I don’t understand how you consider Sale’s performance yesterday as an “ace” performance. With 4 hits (to include a HR and 2 doubles) and 5 walks in 5 1/3 IPs (1.69 WHIP), 3 ERs (5.07 ERA) and did not get the win, how does this get the AGA label? He did have fewer hits than IPs, but the extra bases and walks easily offset them. Sure, he got 10 Ks and it was against Houston, but the bottom line results were poor. Can you explain? Thanks.

  11. Kosmo says:

    It’s been three days and I am still SHOOK from that Smyly write up.

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