I’m Just Vlad To Be Here

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Vladimir Gutiérrez @ MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

There weren’t many obtuse performances yesterday, so I wanted to give a focus on an arm few know and could be helpful down the stretch. While Vladimir Gutiérrez served a HAISTFMFWT?! across his 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks (5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches) outing against the Brewers, it should be seen a day where Vlad displayed the ability to be a decent Toby, and that’s a valuable thing.

It’s his second straight performance providing value as his heater sat 92/93 with a decent secondary mix of sliders, curveballs, and changeups. The four-seamer was the staple, but it is more of a kitchen sink approach with excellent pitch separation as he executed the BSB effectively. Honestly, I’m a little surprised it returned just five whiffs and I’d imagine more will come moving forward if he continues displaying this command. In Martin short, make sure Vlad is on your radar as a possible streamer moving forward — there’s opportunity out there just for you.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Anthony DeSclafani vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

Tony Disco did what he’s supposed to do: succeed against mediocre teams. It’s been a wonderful first half and I’m hoping it can last through to the end, but with a repertoire that relies heavily on fastball/slider I can’t help but imagine some legit bumps in the road in the coming months. I doubt you can sell him for something legit, so you’re better off holding, but like Scar’s proclamation, be prepared.

Kyle Funkhouser @ MIN (ND) – 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 51 pitches.

Bullpen games are silly, aren’t they? Here’s a dumb idea that shouldn’t actually exist: Barring an injury, the starting pitcher must: toss at least three innings or throw 60 pitches or allow at least three ER before getting pulled from a game. Starting pitchers are the best part of baseball, and I won’t let them take it from me. Nick, they aren’t taking it from you. I know, I’m hamming it up, but you understand.

Gerrit Cole @ HOU (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 129 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Wow. You have to adore the fact that he demanded to stay in the game for the final out — and even the ninth inning, no less — and flat-out dominated the Astros. Without sticky stuff. It wasn’t the most impressive start from a whiff standpoint (13/129 pitches ain’t great), but his slider and fastball overwhelmed and he had some nice curves falling for strikes + situational changeups. Clearly Cole is fine post-gloopgate after a start like this against Houston, and he’s back to Tier 2 on The List tomorrow.

Kwang Hyun Kim @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Hot dang! Seven strikeouts! The slider has been the pitch in most starts, but the changeup went off for 7/15 whiffs as his four-seamer earned effective strikes. Kim is rostered in 26% of leagues and I can see that number rising as he keeps going deep into games and will contend for the Spider-Man in the second half…or better yet, remove himself if, like the spice, he keeps the strikeouts flowing.

Chris Flexen vs LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

I think he got a bit lucky in this one against the Angels, but the cutter and fastball command was superb…just not the changeup. The curve was fine, nothing special. I’m not sold that this approach is something to bank on, but I’m not ignoring how this could be a Vargas Rule. Go ahead if you want to do that, I’m probably looking elsewhere.

Walker Buehler vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden Goal as his secondaries came alive. Seriously, 12 whiffs on cutters/sliders/curves/changeups is glorious for a guy who has relied on his four-seamer doing all the work this season. I wonder how much the Dodgers will push him in the second half, but at the very least, he’s in a fantastic place right now.

Germán Márquez @ SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.

Oh my. His slider was legit and the curve was arguably better at 50% CSW. Against the Padres, no less, and it’s really hard to resist starting Márquez regardless of the situation. Just do it and don’t second guess yourself.

Joe Musgrove vs COL (L) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

Joe got Rockie Road and…this ain’t it. He shouldn’t need 94 pitches for 13 outs as I think he’s moving a little too far away from heaters at just a 22% rate. Look, I love his secondaries, but the sweet spot is around 30-35% heaters to make batters truly question what’s coming next. A well-located fastball sets up everything else, and if it’s all slow stuff, then it’s easier for batters to jump up in the box and cheat it. There’s a tweak to be made with the approach and I think he’ll make it. Just a little frustrating right now.

Zack Greinke vs NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 65 pitches.

He allowed a solo shot to Judge and was pulled early with an aching shoulder, apparently something he’s been dealing with for a month and they planned to shorten his outing before it started. Take that as you will, I imagine the ASB will help him out (they could give him some legit rest now) and I’d closely monitor when he starts next. If they put him on the IL, don’t worry, it would mean he’d start mid-week next week as they add more depth on their roster in the meantime.

Tylor Megill vs PIT (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

I asked the PL+ community in the Discord if this was a streaming victory or loss and the consensus was it was too short, didn’t come with a Win, and hurt your WHIP. Streaming Record: 57-41. Great to see seven strikeouts, though, as his slider was a bit better here. The slow ball didn’t dominate like before, though, and his heater went just 8/49 CSW…that’s not efficient enough and ultimately what got him out of the game early. He’s still a considerable streamer, but not in the Spice Girl way, to use an old term.

Matt Moore @ BOS (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 66 pitches.

Give me Moore, said few fantasy managers this year. Props to him for surviving the Red Sox, but given the one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!), you can thank the BABIP gods for that.

Trevor Rogers vs ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.

Aces gonna disappoint as he couldn’t locate his heater or slider per usual. It’s not as detrimental as we normally see when command falls to the wayside, but yeah, we want better. Keep in mind, the Marlins will limit him a touch in the second half in some fashion, and hopefully it comes in chunks instead of a hard cut-off at the end.

James Kaprielian @ TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

Kap’s last four starts have featured the Rangers thrice (7 ER allowed, 14 strikeouts) and the Red Sox once (1 ER, 10 strikeouts). Weird. He was fine here and we all wanted just a bit more. I see him like a glorified Toby instead of that massive strikeout upside arm, and I wouldn’t be holding super tight. Still better than what’s likely on your wire, though.

Lucas Giolito @ BAL (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna hurt your WHIP but do enough elsewhere to make you forget it. We should be over the whole spin rate drops now as his slider has really come together as of late. Sure, I want more than 6/34 whiffs on changeups, but that’ll come back. Don’t worry.

Tyler Anderson @ NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 65 pitches.

I was actually at this game and was fortunate to have a fantastic view of how Anderson attacked hitters in this one. He got a little cutter happy at times, but introduced the changeup in later innings to great effect. His heater, once again, was the staple, often showing no fear to land them inside to right-handers as it earned a 41% CSW. He’s a Toby at the end of the day with a tinge of strikeout upside, and I’m interested to see if a team picks him up at the deadline. I see a backend starter for a squad that needs more depth.

Ryan Yarbrough vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

It sure is boring despite 15 whiffs, but let’s be happy for “The Fratty Pirate” earning a win despite starting the game outright. It was the same ole approach of changeups and cutters, but with an extra sprinkle of curveballs for 5/11 whiffs, and that’s always appreciated. Props to him here for enduring the Jays as well. Is it enough for me to roster him? Nah, it comes with a brown suit and tie and I don’t want another Toby.

Patrick Sandoval @ SEA (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 114 pitches.

Oh Panada, you delight me. The changeup was excellent once again — 33% CSW — and I love seeing just 36% fastballs thrown as it’s easily his worst pitch. He trusted the slider the most, earning fouls and balls in play (I’ll take that!), allowing the changeup to do its thing. Throw in 8/15 called strikes on curveballs and you have yourself a stew. He has found the equilibrium in his repertoire and I’m incredibly curious what happens in the second half.

Marcus Stroman vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 68 pitches.

Outside of allowing a long ball to the pitcher, I liked a few things from Stroman here. He had a few splitters with legit depth to them and was using his cutter effectively inside to left-handers. He was in a constant battle with his slider, though, trying to land it at the ankles of lefties and instead leaving it over the plate frequently. Still, this was a step forward from his previous outing and it should be encouraging moving forward as he’s clearly removed from the hip soreness.

Zach Davies vs STL (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 99 pitches.

Davies, aren’t you aware of “The Cardinal Rule”?! If you can’t stay in line, I’m not sure how we can work together.

Jon Lester @ SF (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 80 pitches.

The Giants hit lefties and Lester can’t endure another disadvantage. He’s already pitching from one with that repertoire, after all.

Freddy Peralta vs CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna…meh. His slider was great, the fastball was hit a little more than usual, and his inefficiencies both via strikes and BABIP led to mediocrity. That’s alright, the Reds are solid, after all.

Martín Pérez vs PHI (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches.

Pro tip: To get a cheap win, you have to go five innings, hopefully without allowing too many runs in the process. Pérez is still an option for it, but there’s a clear reason why it’s cheap.

Mike Foltynewicz vs OAK (ND) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.

PQS for Folty? Sure, why not. I have low expectations for Mike and his 92/93 mph heater, but his slider has done better as of late and maybe there’s something tangible here. I wouldn’t chance it in standard leagues outside of great matchups, though.

Max Fried @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Uggggh. Alright alright, I’ll lower Fried tomorrow. I still think his repertoire speaks to a high enough floor that he’s in the fun Tier 4, but he has to be better than this against the mediocre Marlins. The slider in particular isn’t acting like the Money Pitch we’ve seen in the past, while his curveball failed to find the zone per usual. You have it in you, Fried, let it out.

Cal Quantrill vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

PQS with one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!is about as good as you can expect from Quantrill. Don’t expect this with regularity.

Max Kranick @ NYM (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 70 pitches.

Hey, he allowed a hit! 94 mph + a slider that gets whiffs can certainly work, but you gotta have legit command to do so. This command was so not legit, it’s easy to quit.

Ross Stripling @ TB (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.

Blegh. His secondaries were actually a bit better with 7/30 whiffs on changeups and sliders, but his overall command was chaotic and the Rays took advantage of it. He was pulled a bit early because of it and I’m still hesitant to jump back on the Stripling bandwagon. I need to see more if we’re starting him against any but the bottom tier of offenses.

Bailey Ober vs DET (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

Awwwww. I had high hopes for Ober after his four-seamer command impressed me last week (I watched more video after the roundup and was surprised at how much I liked it). After striking out the side in the first, he got a bit banged up and his secondaries weren’t nearly as good as last week. Womp womp. Still someone to consider as a streamer, though. There’s enough there to take the gamble when needed.

Thomas Eshelman vs CWS (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 52 pitches.

It really isn’t the same watching Baltimore starters without Means in the mix. I can’t wait for him to return. Sorry Orioles fans.

Mike Minor @ CLE (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

Sigh. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time on The List Minor, if you can’t handle a stream against Cleveland, then you don’t belong here.

Caleb Smith @ LAD (L) – 1.0 IP, 9 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 53 pitches.

Oh no. Let’s just forget this, and wait until he explodes for a great start, okay? Great.

Game of the Day 


Luis Castillo vs Brandon WoodruffI’d love to see 14 innings of 0 ER ball.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo from Joe Robbins | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

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.

2 responses to “I’m Just Vlad To Be Here”

  1. Barry says:

    Great stuff as usual Nick. Please rank these back end starters ROS as I will need to drop a couple when Carrasco and Means become active again.

    Stripling, Cobb, Megill


  2. TruthTeller says:

    Been ‘playing marquez regardless’ already. Look up HRA and ER in coors. Its not a real thing. Way too much deal made about coors for him. Has a 3 era at home. Not saying he is a top 10
    or anything but the hate he gets for coors makes no sense. No data to support it. Truth

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