JT Brought Sexy BruBacker

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

Fast and I have had a little soft spot for JT Brubaker thus far, featuring sinkers along the edges and sliders down that have done enough to warrant some whiffs and a good amount of weak contact. Not a “must add”, but a guy that has showcased the skills to be a considerable streamer given the matchup. He was a questionable play before yesterday start against the Cubs but his output was clear as day – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW. HOT DANG! 

His sinker command was fantastic as he jammed right-handers along the inside edge to earn outs, his slider and curveball dove into the blind-spot for left-handers and that’s a King Cole for the Pittsburgh right-hander. It’s the kind of command you don’t expect to see outside of aces and it allowed him to go 13/41 whiffs on breakers. Incredible.

I don’t think this turns Brubaker into a legit arm to chase in 2021, but I have to think he gets another start over the weekend now against the Indians. I’m all for it, let it ride, let it ride.


Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:


Marco Gonzales vs HOU (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSWYou just can’t stop Gonzo, can you. 3/18 CSW on cutters, but he earned plenty of outs on them so who cares. It’s a Vargas Rule that just needs to survive one more game against the Athletics and yeah, I guess you’re doing it. Wild. I don’t buy this for 2021 in the slightest – he’s tossing 87/88 mph right now and relying too much on BABIP.

Lance McCullers @ SEA (L) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW. McCullers has been on fire since returning from the IL and with one more start left against the Rangers, we’re all for it. Much better usage of the entire zone here and it’s helped change batter’s eye levels and keep them off-balance. Send us home, McCullers.

Jon Lester @ PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSWLester is the Cherry Bomb Toby where you’re hoping for mediocrity. I’m so glad he took advantage of the Pirates and gave us a HAISTFMFWT?! with excellent ratios. That’s so Dobnak of you.

Pete Fairbanks @ NYM (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW. It was a bullpen game for the Rays and Pete was fine. Cool, cool.

Luis Castillo vs MIL (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Aces gonna ace. His changeup didn’t get the whiffs it normally does, but it was wonderful seeing his slider do magnificent things – 8/21 whiffs – as he located it perfectly down-and-away from right-handers. There’s going to be a lot of talk about Castillo next year and I think he’ll be entrenched somewhere inside the Top 20. Not exactly sure where yet.

German Marquez @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW. He left Coors and still had his slider and WHAM! Great start. Well, not the strikeouts you wanted, but you’ll certainly take it. Now just one more left in Arizona, you gots this.

Anibal Sanchez vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW. It was a horrible 1.60 WHIP, but a Dusty Donut in the end with 1 ER and six strikeouts paired with a lovely dub. His splitter was finally good again going 6/30 whiffs as he kept it down, but it’s not enough for me to trust him against the Mets to end the year.

Carlos Hernandez vs STL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Hey, not bad Carlos. I don’t think there’s enough with this sinker/curveball combo to trust you, but not bad.

Matt Shoemaker vs NYY (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The Cobbler returned and tossed 54 pitches against the Yankees and it was good enough to survive. Not enough there to trust him over the weekend, but cool to see it, Matty.

Jacob deGrom vs TB (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 14 Ks – 28 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Aces gonna ace. It’s a Gallows Pole at 28 whiffs and a stupid amount of strikeouts as deGrom shows the world that he’s totally fine and deserves that Cy Young. It’ll be a close one, but yeah, give it to deGrom. He’s unreal.

Brandon Woodruff @ CIN (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Aces gonna ace but with a Philly at 100 pitches. This is more of the Woodruff we know with 96/97 mph four-seamers up and doing the best he can to earn strikes with changeups and breakers. He’s given us as good of a season as we could have hoped for so far and we may get a 13th start as the Brewers fight for a playoff spot over the weekend. If they lock it up early, I wouldn’t expect to see him against St. Louis.

Zack Wheeler @ WSH (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 22% CSWI’m thinking back to the preseason when Wheeler signed with the Phillies and I was full of hope. Maybe they will unlock the whiff heavy Wheeler with fastballs up and sliders down, I thought, brazen with my hope and arrogant to a degree with its expectations. Here’s the thing, yes he got whiffs here, but I’m not sure it’s an approach that can stick. He’s not using his slider effectively like the greats, his fastball is still sitting thigh-high way too often, and he tossed very few heaters at the top of the zone. It doesn’t make for the prominent ace I envisioned. But hey, he’s a solid #3 and that’s cool.

Adam Wainwright @ KC (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Ehhhhh, it’s not what you want from Wainwright, who has been putting up one of his best seasons this year. It’s a double-digit SwStr for the first time in his career and that’s all kinds of cool. He gets the Brewers next and yes, start him.

Dylan Bundy vs TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Blegh. We Bundy is better than this, but it was odd to see over 55% fastball usage between his sinker and four-seamer after embracing the sub 40% usage through the season. Blame his changeup for being a shadow of itself, blame his slider and curveball sitting under 30% CSW, and blame his…88 mph fastball velocity?! WHAT. Wait, why. You were averaging ~32% usage before this game and you bumped it up nearly 17 points WHEN IT WAS ITS SLOWEST ALL YEAR?! I’m a little scared. He gets the Dodgers next and this is the worst ramp I’ve seen in my day, like a cardboard box on a slab o’ concrete. It ain’t gonna work.

Huascar Ynoa vs MIA (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW. There’s no way you started Ynoa and you’re not going to start him in the future.

Aaron Civale vs CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW.Civale came roaring out of the game with a pair of nine strikeout performances against a pair of tough offenses, but hasn’t hit that peak since in concert with four 4+ ER games across his last eight starts. It’s not the eight weeks we envisioned ahead, but all in all, I think Civale is somewhere in the middle. Not the 4.00 ERA middle that is the average of everything, but more of a mid-3s, sub 1.20 WHIP arm that hovers a 25% strikeout rate. His cutter is great (43% CSW here!), his curveball earns whiffs, it’s just nailing down that sinker command to find the edges more often. He’s shown us he can do that and I think with more time, that pushes the pendulum in the direction we want it to go. In the short term, it’s the Pirates to end the year and that should be fun.

Dane Dunning @ CLE (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Blegh. Dunning got the Indians and just wasn’t the man we want him to be. His slider didn’t do nearly enough and I don’t trust his changeup to lead the way as a #2 pitch. The Cubs are next and there’s hope for better, but it’s not a lock and I’d consider the wire to see if there are other options.

Trevor Rogers @ ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Blegh. Better pitch separation this time from Rogers, but the Braves are back to their elite offense ways and he needs to limit the mistakes if he’s going to succeed. 10/46 whiffs on four-seamers is pretty dang cool, though.

Michael King @ TOR (L) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Essentially a bullpen game here, but they let him go 65 pitches which was cool. Excellent curveball down as he spotted sinkers along the corner, but it’s not actionable in any way. Let’s move on.

Johnny Cueto vs COL (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Bleggggh. It was Rockie Road and the kind of start you actually want Cueto for and the kitchen sink was broken. Honey, can you call the plumber for me? No not that Steve, he’s terrible. Yeah, the other Steve. Now it’s San Diego and if you rolled with him, don’t do it again.

Kyle Gibson @ LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Welp, that wonderful start of sliders and changeups down + sinkers on the edges to make a proper Neckbeard that we saw last time just wasn’t meant to last. Don’t let the CSW fool you, Gibson doesn’t have that sustain we were hoping for.


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.



Drew Smyly vs. Colorado Rockies – He fanned eight in fewer than four innings last time out and now it’s Rockie RoadThere’s a gamble as it could be just five innings or fewer, but it’s the most interesting low owned arm for the day.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dean Kremer vs. Boston Red Sox – I’d consider Eovaldi heavily as well on the other side of this one, but he’s plenty more owned, making it easy for Kremer. There’s risk here, but Kremer had a much better cutter last time out and that could stick. We’ll see.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Kris Bubic vs. Detroit Tigers – He’s doing good enough that I think you’re safe here against Detroit.


Game of the Day


Keegan Akin vs. Nick Pivetta – I mean, I have to be on brand…right? Watch Pivetta have a stupid good start and we all laugh about it. HA Ha ha ha…please be good again.


(Photo by Mark Alberti/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.

4 responses to “JT Brought Sexy BruBacker”

  1. Elliot says:

    Really tough choice for me here. Seth Lugo vs Rays or Keegan Akin @Boston. Lugo seems better overall, Akin better recently, the Rays are more formidable generally but the Sox haven’t been too bad against Lefties and they’re at Fenway. What would be your call? Ratios and an outlier QS are my priorities.

  2. theKraken says:

    So the Reds are set on abusing Bauer (at his own insistence) to get two starts for a (meaningless) playoff push.. but they lifted Gray early and lost the game prior to this? Maybe there is some logic after a further look… Abuse bullpen by pulling SP early on Tues, and also plan to pull Bauer early in his two starts… wait that doesn’t check out either!

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