Junior High

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

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Should I be giving more love to Junior Guerra? He went 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks today against the Cubs, lowering his ERA to just 2.71, but I’m not convinced. Just 15 CSW in 72 pitches – only 31 overall strikes! and his splitter is still bad. At the same time, he did this against the Cubs and that’s something…but that 2.83 ERA vs. a 4.13 SIERA (entering today) is looking awfully like a TEEs as his whiff rate is also under 10%…a 9.1% HR/FB with a .261 BABIP and 81.8% LOB Rate as well? 41.6% hard contact? Uh-oh. This looks like it’s not going to last. I don’t blame you for rolling with Guerra in the short term, but recognize the risk you’re taking keeping him on your roster. I suggest a short leash once he hits that wall.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Dylan Bundy – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Bundy was given the tough task of facing the Sawx for the third time this season and cruised through eight frames. 29 sliders out of 103 pitches with 6 whiffs, though his heater was down to 91mph in this one. Nevertheless, I’m confident with Bundy moving forward and there’s no reason for you not to be as well.

Carlos Carrasco – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Remember when we were saying that “Carrasco can spin off two gems in a row and those ratios will fall”? Well he’s done that and…okay fine it’s still a 3.90 ERA. But this is great and you should feel great as he earned a Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs. His changeup was dope, his CSW was 36 over 106 (Hallelujah!) and…oh right, the ChiSox. Whatever, be happy.

Steven Wright – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I know there will be people that want to put their faith in Wright. They remember the 3.33 ERA in 2016 (sub 20% K rate and 4.55 SIERA mind you) and maybe, just maybe, his current 1.21 ERA is an indication that he can replicate it in 2018. You know how I feel already, I’m not sure why I’m wasting your time, but I guess I’ll add on that after this one, Wright holds a 4.85 BB/9 on the year. He’s unpredictable and you know I don’t like that. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.

Jack Flaherty – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Flaherty got the Padres and was able to rebound after 7 ER in his last two starts. In case you didn’t realize, this was Flaherty’s fifth start in eight where he’s allowed exactly 1 ER, while boasting a K/9 well above 9.00. With Alex Reyes out of the picture and Adam Wainwright on the 60-day DL, it’s wonderful seeing Flaherty nice and comfortable in the St. Louis rotation.

Wade LeBlanc – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Sorry Leblanc, I don’t want to row with you. Maybe I’ll Wade, but not Roe. Nah, probably not even Wade as he’s sporting a ridiculous 87.8% LOB rate to get his 3.00 ERA while his strikeout rate is well under 20% for the year. This screams TEEs.

Joe Musgrove – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Musgrove is kinda killing it and this was a bit of a Careful Icarus as it fell apart in the seventh. I’m still satisfied even with that blemish and now he gets another matchup against the Cubs next. I’m a little worried, but you should be rolling Musgrove out there until he gets a legit misstep.

Jose Quintana – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, I’ll take this Quintana. Even with that low strikeout count, as long as you’re not blowing up teams, that’s a good thing.

Madison Bumgarner – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Come on Bumgarner, we all want you to succeed, not to flounder about like Robert Kelly’s wonderful child. And this was the Marlins, the Marlins! But your cutters were meh, your changeup was bad, and your heaters were hittable as you sat at 90mph. For those of you that think this is the second half of 2017 all over again, I think you’d take a 3.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 2018. So at least get there Bummy and we’ll be cool. Hopefully better, but at least let’s reach the top of that mountain.

Wei-Yin Chen – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. People like Chen Music the same way they enjoy nails on a whiteboard. Don’t you mean chalkboard? Nah, I mean watching someone hammer nails into a whiteboard. NOOOO WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? Exactly.

Patrick Corbin – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I won’t tell you that “you should have sold high” because we don’t know if this really is the turning point of his 90mph catching up to him. But I do wonder if now really is the “uh-oh” moment. Just 25 CSW in 95 pitches as he heaters just weren’t as effective as in the past – too many fastballs over the heart of the plate and they got hit. Slider still dope with 10 whiffs on 37 thrown though., so that’s cool.

Lucas Giolito – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s a word for Giolito: disappointment. Constant, constant disappointment.

Jordan Lyles – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. I dropped Lyles off The List today, but that didn’t stop me from picking him as our Call Boy. Why? Because I didn’t want to cop-out with a “none” again, alright? But this start gave ya nothing but sadness and that’s…um…sad. Streaming Record: 36-24.

Ryan Yarbrough – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh thank the lord I have a proper setup to talk about Yarbrough today. It just makes my life easier and I like to think that Kevin Cash is thinking about me when he sent Ryan out there for the opening frame. After this one, it’s a 3.90 ERA with an 8.21 K/9 and there just isn’t much to be excited about. In fact, if you own Yarbrough, it’s probably because you have a max starts count and you’re upset. That’s on me, sorry for being selfish y’all.

Sam Gaviglio – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’ve been labeling Gaviglio as a TEEs, though he might not need it after tonight as his ERA jumped more than a full point from 2.51 to 3.66 after this one. That’s what happens when you have just 32.0 frames under your belt. Meanwhile, he still carries a meh 8.16 K/9 and I just don’t want anything to do with it.

Andrew Heaney – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Heaney stahp. Limited to just 52 pitches here, Heaney allowed a trio of HRs, two off bad sinkers to Nelson Cruz, and one with a bad Changeup to Ryon Healy. Blegh. Expect him to rebound next time and try to forget this.

Today’s Streamer

Clay Buchholz vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I wrote about Bucky’s success over at RotoGraphs and there’s a chance that cutter sticks around for another start.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. Kansas City Royals – His fastball heavy approach may work well against the Royals, who like to be aggressive and could turn this into a quick 6.0+ start.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Dereck Rodriguez vs. Miami Marlins – Call me crazy, but I like his stuff and I think facing the Marlins instead of the Nats will make a large difference.

Game of the Day

Mike Foltynewicz vs. Zack Wheeler – I’m curious if Wheeler’s velocity will spike again and if Folty’s slider is still fantastic.

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.

29 responses to “Junior High”

  1. J says:

    Seeing these recaps hot off the press at midnight make my day.

  2. Joe says:

    Hey Nick would you still rank Bundy after Pivetta since his solid outing against the Sawx last night? Bundy is FA in my league and Pivetta is on waivers. Thanks for all of your great write ups!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I would find a way to own both. Trade a starter you own + a hitter for a better bat to make room.

      Pivetta > Bundy, though. Barely.

  3. Joe says:

    Happy Nola day also!

  4. DGM says:

    Nick – got an offer of my rosario and godley for his carrasco. Pass, right?

    C J Realmuto
    1 C Santana
    2 A rizzo
    3 A Rendón
    SS D Swanson
    OF S Marte
    OF E Rosario
    OF A Eaton
    UTIL I Kinsler
    UTIL Y Alonso
    BN M Betts
    DL D Murphy
    DL E Andrus

    SP Verlander, Berrios, Price, Pivetta, Weaver, Castillo (had Ohtani but he ded)

    RP Familia, Parker, kela, strickland, Rondon

  5. Johnny Ryall says:

    Hey Nick,
    Starting Barria today @SEA, are you comfortable with that?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Mariners are Top 5 vs. Lefties (see Heaney). I’m dumb and keep thinking of Barria as a lefty for some odd reason.

      I’d be worried as the Mariners are a solid offense and Cruz is heating up. I like Barria for the most part, though.

  6. Swfcdan says:

    Still a pitcherlist noob so I’ll have to ask as I still haven’t figured it out. Why do you refer to CSW over whiffs as the biggest factor in a start, surely CSW is just total strikes-fouls? The number also seems much smaller than I expect, which makes me think I might be on the wrong track e.g. Carrasco’s CSW was only 36 over 106 yesterday.

    Love your whiff stats though which is why I decided to stay here!

    Finally after yesterday, should I just start Bundy everytime out now in 12tm standard leagues? Seems he can even handle the Sox when he’s on, though not sure if he’s faced the Yankees once yet. Painful start to have on my bench.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’ve thought about including foul balls in there, but called strikes and whiffs are a larger sign of dominance to me – foul balls are also not as much of a repeatable skill.

      Foul balls can also come plenty with two-strikes and be detrimental to an at-bat instead of a positive. Whiffs & called strikes are always beneficial.

      Regarding CSW vs. whiffs, I like to mix-and-match. I think both paint a different picture, though I often try to bring up both to help present the start correctly.

      Pretty much, I think you’re safe with Bundy save for Coors.

      • Swfcdan says:

        Interesting thanks, I always thought CSW would be higher. But when you take out foul balls and balls in play (forgot about those!) then it makes much more sense. Still feel whiffs is a much better indication of dominance overall, but I like these added stats you don’t find on most other sites.

    • kbpms1 says:

      You would also need to subtract balls in play, as those are strikes too.

      • Nick Pollack says:

        Balls in play aren’t definitive positive results.

        Not all strikes are equal. Called strikes + whiffs are definitively good.

        • kbpms1 says:

          Oh I’m not disagreeing with you. The person I was responding to said CSW was just strikes minus foul balls when in reality it’s strikes minus foul balls and minus balls in play. I’m a big fan of your use of it as a metric for performance.

  7. Perfect Game says:

    Flaherty, ERod, Heaney and Mikolas are available for trade. My rotation has taken on a lot of injuries and need to find a fill in until they come off DL. IN WHAT ORDER do I want any of these SP that could provide decent counting stats without blowing up my ratios?

    I’m in a standard roto league – QS, K, ERA, WHIP.

  8. Jake says:

    Trevor Bauer or Rhys Hoskins ROS?

  9. theKraken says:

    Lucas Giloito has got to be in contention for one of the worst arms with regular turn in a rotation, right? Who would have thought!

  10. Eric says:

    I was offered Verlander for MadBum and Bundy. Thoughts?

  11. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick great work on the Podcast this morning! Definitely helping me get through my day of work.
    I know you’re a big fan of Heaney I just dropped him for soroka because I feel like my league mates will be afraid to grab him with this past -9 game against Seattle and soroka has me intrigued.
    Do you think soroka over Heaney is going to be a decision I regret later? Should I drop soroka after his start tomorrow and try to get Heaney back ASAP or roll with it as is?
    My only other drop would be Castillo and I think you and I agree it’s best to wait and see if he can hit that ceiling.

    Even if you dont get to this, thanks as always for all you do!

  12. Grind Crunch says:

    Serious question, what would a knuckleballer need to do to be thought of as predictable or trustworthy? The pitch is obviously difficult to control, but Wright also has a curveball and a fastball. So shouldn’t he be seen as someone that keeps batters guessing more than your average pitcher and thus a worthy starter who has a higher BB/9 than average?

  13. Martin says:

    Quick question: You have Dereck Rodriguez as your call boy for Thursday, yet in your Review of the Matchups, you have him as a “Maybe,” and German Marquez as a “Start.” Marquez is only owned in 7% of leagues, so it seems he’d qualify. Who would you rather take?

  14. Marcus Storm says:

    H2H Pts ROS, how would you rank: Barria, Boyd, Odorizzi, Weaver.
    Thx in advance.

  15. Dave says:

    Thank you so much for all your time and hard work Nick, you are the best!

    You previously mentioned you thought Heaney could be top 40 ROS and is 29 atm. How far does he drop after this start? I could probably get Heaney in a trade but it would cost me Beltre. Do you think Beltre is too much to give up for Heaney? Do you view Heaney as a Cherry Bomb or more consistent?

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