It’s A Gray Matter

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

Josiah Gray vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches.

The Scherzer and Turner trade was a major splash for the Dodgers, but it also removed Josiah Gray from #Dodgeritis, and I was excited to watch him begin his moment as a National. Tonight’s first showcase was decent — 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches — (Streaming Record: 66-48) and I want to be encouraged that his 94/95 mph fastball + a pair of whiffable breakers, but today something caught my eye I didn’t see before and I’m worried it may be an issue.

I tweeted it out tonight, and I still may be way off and thankfully a lot of others chimed in on their thoughts. Briefly put, I watched all 71 pitches and I saw inconsistent timings with his release point. I believe it’s a product of an extreme back-leg squat, one that’s incredibly hard to balance, making him either rush to his release point or sometimes drag behind it. It made for plenty of missed fastball locations and an overall lack of command that made it a bit frustrating at times to watch him execute.

But when he did, it was absolutely pretty. A curveball to make Bryce Harper flinch. Fastballs blown by Jean Segura. A wicked back-door breaker. A changeup off the end of the bat for a final out. The stuff is legit and what made me seduced to put him inside the Top 60 of The List, but watching this in full and that odd reliance on his back leg make for innate volatility that I’m not sure can get ironed out in the short term, let alone in 2022. I often call mechanical analysis pseudo-analytics as many pitchers have succeeded with poor mechanics while others have failed with a windup made for a textbook, and this is no exception. Josiah is a worthy addition in a 12-teamer even with possible undulation for the next two months, but keep it in mind. I have a feeling it won’t go away.


Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:


Ranger Suárez @ WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 33 pitches.

It looks like the Phillies are going to try to make Suarez a thing in their rotation, but we just saw 33 pitches here. It’ll be a while before he stretches out to anything worthwhile and even then, what will the repertoire be? He’s only shown heaters + a changeup thus far with a sprinkle of mediocre breakers (just one poor slider here). I’d ignore this until something forces our attention.

Eric Lauer vs PIT (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

Solid work Lauer. The Pirates aren’t much to write home about and neither was this line. But hey, it worked for those desperate and that’s cool.

Bryse Wilson @ MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 12% CSW, 74 pitches.

I was happy for Wilson to head to a team that will let him have his chance to blossom, but my lord. Two whiffs? 12% CSW?! Not a single strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?! There’s a lot of work to do.

Dane Dunning vs LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hey, this is a solid outing from Duninng against the Angels, and maybe he’s worth considering once again for streams. Look at his whiffs and CSW%. Nope, I’m out.

Jorge López @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 106 pitches.

One hit allowed to the Yanks? Sure, why not JorLó, have yourself a Birthday Party. You deserve one.

Eli Morgan @ TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Not only did Morgan fan nine batters and survive six frames, he did it against the Jays. His fastball sat 91 mph (a tick higher!) and his slider + changeup returned 35% CSW across 37 thrown. That’s legit and I’m as shocked as you are. He followed the BSB with four-seamers all in the top half of the zone and did a marvelous job keeping the slow ball in the bottom third, while sliders found the glove-side of the plate. Eli can apparently have nights like these, though I’m still skeptical he can do it with consistency — it’s hard to believe in command for a rookie. Monitor it as a deep league play, but I’d still avoid in 12-teamers. The floor is too low, even with Detroit next.

Robbie Ray vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 109 pitches.

Aces gonna…underwhelm. I need better than four strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP against Cleveland! His fastball wasn’t located in the zone like we want it to be, though he did keep the secondaries down effectively. I wouldn’t worry here, but pick it up, okay Ray?

Chris Flexen @ TB (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 113 pitches.

Look at Flexen go. I professed his streak over after a horrid start against the Astros and while this one came with a poor WHIP and a low 23% CSW, he still survived the Rays and earned a win. Do you want to start him now against the Yankees? I dunno, I feel like there are higher upside plays to make out there with the same floor. The stuff just isn’t that good.

Chris Rodriguez @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 86 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa. A King Cole, a PQS and a curveball that earned 8/16 called strikes? Huh. Sadly there isn’t a whiff pitch in sight outside of a 94/95 mph sinker (I don’t think this will be a whiff pitch, it was the Rangers) and if C-Rod gets another start, it’s against the Dodgers. So yeah, just ignore this for now and if he adds that last piece next time, you’ll be ready to do something.

Jesús Luzardo vs NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

Ayyyy, he’s back! And earned a Gallows Pole! Sure, sure, the ratios were poor, and it was just five strikeouts, but look, we didn’t really expect Luzardo to soar in his first start back in the majors and here we saw a near tick increase in velocity, at least five whiffs from each of his three pitches (sinker, change, curve), and I’m just happy he’s back and ready to take the steps forward again. Sadly he gets Coors next and that’s an absolute NOPE but I can see this paying off in a major way across the final nine weeks.

Tylor Megill @ MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

Oh no. He allowed a grand slam to Lewis Brinson in the first and props to Megill for recovering across the next four innings (including one unearned run). I don’t think Megill is suddenly broken and done, in fact, I’d hold onto him for the Phillies next. Nothing was dramatically different save for tossing one not-so-good inning. The man’s human, not deGrom, after all.

Anthony DeSclafani @ ARI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Blegh. So it wasn’t just the Dodgers, after all, was it. There’s a sense that this carriage is turning back into a pumpkin after a phenomenal first half and while I’m not quite there yet, it’s hard not to have the thoughts after everything but his slider was this mediocre. He gets Milwaukee next and let’s hope that gets Tony Disco back on track.

Andrew Heaney vs BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.

Welcome to New York. We didn’t see anything different from Heaney in his first night in pinstripes, in fact, his HR problem was amplified in the Bronx as one would expect. Okay, maybe not four longballs amplified. Sadly, this is a watch from afar situation as we hope he can break free of the chains that are the Cherry Bomb label.

Taylor Widener vs SF (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.

The stuff is still interesting when it’s at its best. Spoiler alert: The stuff wasn’t at its best.

Michael Wacha vs SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

So the velocity was still a little up and the changeup was actually solid, but that just ain’t enough for Wacha. Let’s pack it up boys, yer off The List next week unless you give me that legit razzle-dazzle over the weekend. I’m talking the big time pizazz, like Jazzercise or whatever.


Game of the Day 


Yusei Kikuchi vs Luis Patiño – I want to see Kikuchi dominate once again + I gotta get me some more Patiño

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.

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns 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.

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