I Thought His Name Was Laurel

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

I don’t talk about False Starters a whole lot in these roundups, but I think y’all would appreciate a longer talk about Yonny Chirinos after his 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks line last night against the Royals. It’s a 3.48 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 22.5% K rate through 31 frames thus far – I’ll take that! – dancing between legit starter and joining the party in the second/third frame, leading him to four easy wins. And that’s the thing. I don’t really believe that much in Chirinos’ skill set. I see a .182 BABIP that is sure to rise…but his 68% LOB rate and 17% HR/FB are what keeps his 3.97 SIERA from rising higher. His actual stuff? Well, it has its moments, like what made us excited about him this time last year. Slider needs polish, splitter can be there and kill it or disappear completely and leave him hanging. His roughly 5 Innings Per Start/(game that’s actually a start but not really) means he’ll give you fewer strikeouts overall and lower expression of ratios when he does well. This could turn into a 4.00 ERA quickly without much in the K department to salvage and that’s not for me, but I’ll acknowledge this. Are you struggling in Wins or roll in a league that limits starts per week? Fine, go with Yonny. Do you need K production or strong ratios? I’d avoid the man. Maybe he actually gets time as a true starter moving forward, but even then, he’ll still get limited initially given time need to stretch out. It doesn’t speak to the kind of upside I suggest chasing.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Zach Davies5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Okay this is getting kinda dumb. Davies is holding a 1.38 ERA through six starts now, yet it comes with 6% K-BB rate (15.5% K rate, 9.5% walk rate), while his HOTEL of .283 BABIP, 87.4% LOB Rate, and 6.3% HR/FB lead to a grotesque 5.31 SIERA. It’s the kind of gap that makes you think “I want to get on this train so badly, BUT IT’S TOO FAR.” Consider it minded. 

Kenta Maeda5.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the reverse Dusty Donut where you love the ERA, but the Ks are low and the WHIP hurts. We just can’t have nice things this year from Maeda, can we.

Jake Odorizzi7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Odorizzi is going to Cherry Bomb us all year long, surprising us against teams like the Astros here, then get bombed against teams like the ChiSox and Royals. Overall, the 9+ K per nine and 3.34 ERA has been a welcome surprise, though his last five have been plenty closer to what we actually anticipate (7.2 K/9, 3.80 ERA). He’s just not the arm I like trusting, but I get that he’s a Toby at the end of the day. Wait, a Cherry Bomb and a Toby? Sure, why not? Instead of a lot of 3 ER games, Odorizzi will have a lot of 1 ER and 5 ER games. The end result is the same.

Jeff Samardzija5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He didn’t deserve the early hook and this looks awfully like a Minimalist Score, but I guess it’s nice that Loose Lips helped on a given night? Well kinda helped. Just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Nick Margevicius5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s boring and a little surprising, but if you elected to run with it, you’ll take it. I consider him a bit of a TEEs with a 3.23 ERA and 4.42 SIERA supporting everything I’m seeing from him, but I’m okay streaming against poor lineups.

Frankie Montas4.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Montas got burned by…himself, leading to six unearned runs and a soaring WHIP. Some believe I’ve been a little harsh on Montas in the ranks and I get it. The man is a Spice Girl who could take leaps through the year if this sticks. His short track record of success and lack of overall polish and defacto plus plus pitch forces me to be cautious of the leap.

Mike Soroka6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s like all my dreams are coming true. I really wish his shoulder injury never happened in the spring, I wouldn’t have been so hesitant for his season debut and we could all be cruising toward salvation with Soroka at our backs. Seriously, 37% CSW here with a strong slider and even good changeups to boot.

Justin Verlander6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. THANK YOU VERLANDER. Enjoy your Gallows Pole with 15 whiffs.

Manny Banuelos5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I don’t think there will be a time when I jump on the Manny train. There just isn’t enough here.

Michael Wacha5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Save for the one blowup against the Dodgers, Wacha has been fine like a Toby through the year. I don’t buy the near 25% K rate with his low swing-and-miss stuff, but there are worse guys to roster.

John Means 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Across his last three starts, John has averaged under four strikeouts and averaged 5 IPS. You know what these means means Means, right? No. That we’re through. Done. FOREVER. Streaming Record: 17-14. Okay, not actually, I can imagine a bounce back and suddenly he’s a streaming option again, but I ain’t trusting his changeup/fastball command for now.

Tanner Roark3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Yep, that’s the Roark we all know and hate.

Eduardo Rodriguez4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Ugh. Just when we thought he was cruising with his sliders/cutters and changeups, he went 2/17 CSW on the slow ball and things fell apart. I think you have to keep rostering him and hope for the best, but I feel your struggle.

Zack Wheeler6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This one hurts the most tonight. A game after looking so dominant with heaters on both sides of the plate, Wheeler’s fastball took a major step down in velocity, averaging just over 95 mph after 98 mph last time out. That’s a huge drop. Meanwhile, his slider is still not what it used to be – hey, that’s the case with Thor, deGrom, and Wheeler! Hmmmm – and across his three secondary pitches, Wheeler earned just 2/37 whiffs. Yikes. It’s a really tough situation now. Do we trade low for him? What should we make of this velocity fluctuation? What about his secondary pitch feel? I’m not sure. I know the talent is in there and I have to believe he can return to it but…well, I don’t have the answers. I wish I did, my gut is to hold tight – Just under 85% of the season left! – but we just can’t tell right now.

Kyle Freeland6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. This was a borderline Still ILL for Freeland given its brevity, but given the Brewers + his wonky command all year, it seemed right. Completely understand if you went for it, though, but I think you’re safe hosting the snakes next time.

Brad Keller5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. I talked about Brad’s mehness last week and here he goes again on his own, going down the only road I’ve ever hated. That’s not the line. YOU’RE NOT THE LINE. And just one strikeout, Keller? HAISTFMFWT?!

Patrick Corbin5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. I just don’t get it. Why are there maybe five or six starters that are actually killing it. Everyone else has disappointments left and right and now we can throw Corbin into the mix. This year is the worst.


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.


Clay Buchholz vs. Los Angeles Angels – The other side is more interesting with Griffin Canningwho I expect is already picked up in your league (I’d go for it if he isn’t there!). Bucky could have the better outing though, as he faces a weak Angels lineup.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Spencer Turnbull vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Bleeeegh. I was debating between this, Anthony DeSclafani vs the Mets and a few other meh names at the end. I like Turnbull’s ceiling ultimately so he gets the nod despite the matchup. I’m not a fan of this one.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Brandon Woodruff vs. Colorado Rockies – It’s this or Tyler Mahle against the Mets and I’ll take a stab at the Rockies on the road.


Game of the Day


Griffin Canning vs. Toronto Blue Jays – If this goes well, expect a GIF Breakdown from me tomorrow.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/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.

14 responses to “I Thought His Name Was Laurel”

  1. Nick says:

    On a 1-10 scale, how confident should I be in starting Paddack tonight @ ATL?

  2. Orange WHIPs says:

    As you alluded to, Yonny can be extremely valuable in H2H leagues with a starts limit. In my league we only get 8 starts per week and Innings and Ks are categories. He’s given me a huge leg up there already this week – I’m sitting on 14 innings and 14 Ks last night despite only using one of my allotted “starts.” Isn’t he must-own in that type of league?

  3. Manley Ramirez says:

    Still like Keller more than teammate Junis?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s close, can’t say I’m a fan of either one at this point. Junis a little more for Ks, Keller should be a bit better for ratios.

  4. Derek says:

    Montas also suffered from a blown double play by Profar, a misplay on a “double” in center, and a guy reaching on a K. Such an unfortunate outing that it’s gotta be a throwaway game for Montas. I’m still on the train!

  5. theKraken says:

    I watched a lot of Shark’s start last night and it was pretty encouraging. His FB was mostly 93 and I even saw a 94 – maybe he is not completely broken.

  6. Greg says:

    Similar comments about Wheeler (baseball feeling like an ice cube). Has NY been unusually cold or wet? I’m wondering what the commonality is between all 3 top arms struggling.

  7. Alex says:

    On a scale of 1 to 10, this has been my favorite SP Roundup title.

  8. Dean Berceau says:

    There was an article here awhile back (preseason/spring training?) about potential for Keller because of his ability to “tunnel” his pitches. Has he lost that ability? I know he can’t blow hitters away but those overlays of his four pitches made it seem like he would be difficult to guess pitch/location for hitters potentially resulting in decent results. OR is he just struggling with location of pitches now.

  9. Connor says:

    How feasible would providing a streaming line in addition to the streaming record be?

    I kept track of that during your hot streak last year, and streamers were providing a ridiculous sub-3.3 ERA with decent K numbers.

    While it may not look pretty in the first month or two, it would be cool to see how viable streaming is as the year progresses.

    Even though that kind of aggregate line completely ignores the value of streaming a guy that later becomes a rotation fixture, it was still pretty impressive.

  10. BBHHI says:

    It’s your prerogative, but you should jump on that train. Manny B’s pitches are sneaky good and his slider is nasty. Seriously…..jump on that train, after you watch his slider eat up batters.

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