Just Joshing

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

I’ve been excited to watch the development of Josh Lindblom this season as he makes his comeback to the major leagues and after a few starts showcasing a new slider, I had the feeling a start against the Pirates was the perfect moment for him to start shining brightly. Well, 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 35% CSW isn’t quite what we wanted (Streaming Record: 15-14)and there are clear indications that he needs more time.

His fastball velocity is down to 90 mph (not ~93 mph), that aforementioned slider earned just 1/10 whiffs and was often a lost pitch at release, and his kitchen-sink approach isn’t keeping batters quite as off-balance as we’d hoped. Repertoire aside, the fact that he was “Camp Counseled” is all kinds of frustrating as well, as we anticipated Lindblom to be an arm that could go a strong six often, allowing other Brewers pitchers to get the shorter leash.

I still think the ability is in there, but until I see more trust from Counsel, a harder fastball, and more whiffs on sliders, I think we have to sit this out.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Tyler Anderson vs ARI (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Come on Tyler, why didn’t I get an invite to your Birthday PartyI THOUGHT WE WERE CLOSE. That changeup was as good as we’ve seen and I do like the overall approach, but yeah, you know this ain’t real. He’s a rare streamer (hey, the Diamondbacks! Not the worse one) and that’s it.

Kwang Hyun Kim vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW. So we finally saw Kim at 80+ pitches and it was as good as you could hope for. Excellent four-seamer command nailing the outside edge to right-handers (though, I’m not too much of a fan of that approached), while he danced his slider around the edges for outs. It’s awfully Toby-esque and I guess that’s fine with us. He’s throwing sub 90 mph, FWIW, and in most cases, just reserve him for a streaming option.

Aaron Slegers vs TOR (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW. I really which Aaron threw a super nasty hook so we could call it the “Slegers Hammer”. Instead he throws a good slider and it worked well here as he did a bit of the BSB against the Jays – he had full intent on 15 four-seamers to elevate and they worked. It’s not enough of a package to believe he could actually throw a no-hitter, especially when he was on a pitch count here around 60 pitches. Look elsewhere.

Martin Perez @ BAL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Oh hey! It’s not elite velocity, but his cutter did great things here as he carved up the Orioles lineup. Nothing to buy into for the long haul, but that’s cool. I’d still have trepidation trusting him hoping for a Toby.

Triston McKenzie vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 41% CSW. Unreal. That’s a Golden Goal in his MLB debut as he trounced the Tigers. Andy Patton did an excellent job detailing Triston in his GIF Breakdown of this start last night. Stop what you’re doing and read it. I watched this game as well and agree with plenty of what Patton outlined. We’ve since learned that McKenzie will get at least one more start in the rotation, likely against the Cardinals next weekend. In short, I’d start him there. In long, I’m worried that his fastball is too hittable and against a team not named Detroit, this would have been a plenty worse evening. Look at his four-seamer locations. While he did feature some elevated (and they were awesome), many found the heart of the plate and should have been demolished. His changeup was pretty mediocre and slider was blegh, but his curveball was that #2 pitch we want to see. So yeah, I think he has enough there to be viable, but I don’t see quite an ace in the making until he puts that four-seamer in a better spot and he gets a stronger third option. Very possible given the history of pitching development in Cleveland + I think his mechanics make location tweaks very accessible.

Zac Gallen @ SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Aces gonna ace. Everything was working, though, he nibbled a bit too much with cutters + fastballs and it led to a few too many walks. Whatever, he’s dope and I feel dope for rostering him.

Justus Sheffield vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW. I’ll definitely take this from Sheffield as he struggled to command his sinker and his slider was nothing like the elite pitch we know it can be (18% CSW is ghastly). His changeup was as good as we’ve seen, though, and it helped him get through a questionable Rangers lineup. I’d be careful starting him against the Angels next.

Hyun Jin Ryu @ TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW. It’ll be a fun article at the end of the year figuring out who deserves the true Spider-Man award as Ryu has rebounded from his rough beginnings to string together four great starts of just 3 ER total. It’s not the same changeup of last year as he’s lost 10 ticks off its O-Swing…but it’s essentially a Money Pitch still and that’s wonderful.

Derek Holland vs MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW. It wasn’t the full-on Dutch Invasion but that WHIP is not great and there’s nothing here to indicate he’s ready to be something. It’s weird, I could have sworn I was always a fan of the DH…

Dustin May vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSWDustin is the ultimate Toby as he’s given us another HAISTFMFWT?! with fantastic ratios. You’ve already sold high, right?

Zach Davies vs HOU (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSWDavies got the Astros and didn’t care as he threw 44% changeups and they were dope. 31% CSW with 12 whiffs, paired with sinkers that landed above them and cutters that fell off the plate to earn outs. Huh. It’s peak Davies and carried him to a 3.03 ERA this season without allowing more than 3 ER in a single start. It is his highest strikeout total, though (he needed eight frames for that) and he’s a Toby at best. I should also mention that a .219 BABIP isn’t going to stick, of course, but I don’t see .300+ coming if he’s throwing his changeup this well.

Zack Wheeler @ ATL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW. So this is pretty cool. I’ve been hyped about his potential slider development since the off-season, but as that pitch hasn’t blossomed as we anticipated, his curveball took control in this outing, earning 9/21 whiffs as well as five called strikes for 67% CSW. That’s. What’s. Up. The pitch has been one to go in-and-out in between starts, though, so I’m a bit cautious that this is a corner that has been permanently turned. We should keep this in mind, though, as if we start seeing continued success in Wheeler’s deuce, then we can start being a bit excited. What about the four-seamer? Oh, right. It’s not the BSBWomp womp. He’s going east-west, avoiding the top of the zone altogether. So yeah, not ideal, but we’ll take this.

Chris Bassitt vs LAA (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSWHis sinker has to be one of the highest CSW pitches out there, earning a crazy good 39% mark in this one across 33 thrown and the reason he’s giving you a Philly instead of ace-like numbers is because there’s nothing else. His changeup/curveball/cutter returned a total of 5/47 CSW. That’s a 11% clip. Yikes. Still, he’s a Toby that we all feel weird trusting but he should have earned your respect by now.

Matthew Boyd @ CLE (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW. You look at this line and can’t wait to read the massive amount of hype I’m going to give Boyd. Spoiler alert: I’m not. What a weird start as Boyd got his whiffs via changeups as he went 8/23 whiffs on the pitch. His incredible slider? Yeah, 0/10 on whiffs. Wild. You could make the case that the growth of his changeup is more important and if that sticks when his slider is back, then we’re golden. But it’s one step forward and two steps back at the moment. I’m still out until I see everything working again. We’ve seen how far this floor goes.

Randy Dobnak @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Speaking of Ryu and the Spider-Man the House Elf Dobnak has done it again, albeit being a bit Singled Out here. At least he got more than one strikeout, though! Keep on keepin’ on, Randy.

Alex Cobb vs BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSWAs long as Cobb isn’t destroying your team, you should be happy, even if this is mediocre mixed with a HAISTFMFWT?! Don’t take for granted the lack of demolition.

Robbie Erlin vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Oh hey, there’s Robbie. Cool.

Reynaldo Lopez @ CHC (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSWReyLo returned in a very clear DLH as you wouldn’t start him normally, and he was okay. sub 95 mph velocity is meh, but his slider went 5/9 on whiffs, which is lovely. Changeup is still wack though and you should be very very patient as he sits on the wire.

Daniel Castano @ WSH (L) – 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 22% CSW. We didn’t expect much but we expected more than one out. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the last we saw Castano as a starter with Sanchez taking his spot or Sandy Alcantara returning or even Jose Urena or Caleb SmithIt’s not meant to be.

Kyle Freeland @ LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW. It’s pretty remarkable watching Freeland return as a proper Toby once again, getting that PQS against the mighty Dodgers. He’s doing a great job avoiding the heart of the zone while focusing heavily on sliders, curveballs, and changeups, as he’s reduced his fastball twenty points from 2019 to sub 30% levels. CRAZY. I love it. It’s scary housing a Toby from Coors though, but he gets Arizona next and that’s a clear start to me. Let it ride.

Kyle Hendricks vs CWS (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW. It wasn’t a pristine Hendricks with his changeup returning 23% CSW and failing to land down per normal. His sinkers were located in the middle too often and you can’t do that at his velocity. Still not horrible as that’s Hendricks’ reasonable floor, but it’s not what you want. He should rebound.

Wade Miley @ STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Thing is, this is kinda the Miley I’ve been waiting for with a ton of cutters inside to right-handers mixed with changeups down-and-away. And it didn’t work. Well…shoot. Fortunately we were on the outside and we don’t have to go into this house despite the realtor waving us in ferociously. Just walk away with an awkward smile. It’ll be okay.

Sixto Sanchez vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSWIt’s weird. You watch a start and experience it and you get a feeling of the performance. Then I look at this line and go “wait, really?” Sixto was electric in this start and I went over it in full for a GIF Breakdown last night. Read that because duh. In short, I’d imagine the Marlins could use him a second time as Caleb Smith isn’t ready yet and I’d imagine the Marlins would rather start Sixto than Humberto Mejia or Daniel CastanoHe’s a clear pick up and I hope that we see legit stamina through his next start.

Griffin Canning @ OAK (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSWIt’s sad. He’s a PEAS and it feels like it’s just going to get worse as his inevitable elbow injury develops given that he got a PRP injection (chances are, it’s a temporary fix, not a long term one). Now he gets the Astros and Padres and that’s a huge nope for me.

Max Scherzer vs MIA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSWAces gonna disappoint. That’s 108 pitches to only get pulled before the fifth ends. His changeup went just 3/22 CSW and his fastball was overall mediocre. It’s weird, I don’t think Scherzer is suddenly “wrong”, but his fastball isn’t carrying him like it normally does right now and he didn’t put them it the same spots he normally does. I’d try to brush this off and keep going with him. Makes you wonder if he is truly tier-one though. Bieber/Cole/deGrom wouldn’t do this, would they.

Brady Singer vs MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 37% CSWThe gauntlet is finally over as Singer faced the Twins for the third straight week. Absurd. I’m not sure he’s instantly viable as a Toby as he gets the HR slugging White Sox next, but definitely don’t write him off after his stupid tough schedule.

Wil Crowe @ MIA (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSWI caught this a little as he went opposite Sixto and I couldn’t help but think “83 mph changeup?! That’s like 10 mph slower than Sixto’s”. He made some decent pitches here but yeah, this is a Cup of SchmoSorry, Wil. I feel bad that you dropped this L.

Brandon Bielak @ SD (L) – 1.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSWBlegh. This wasn’t a great matchup in the first place considering how the Padres offense has become, but you still wanted Bielak to make you a bit more confident moving forward, you know? You can drop him with the Angels next, but maybe come back for the Rangers after.

Jordan Lyles @ SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Oh Lyles, I really hoped at some point you’d click and become a sneaky play across many leagues. You’re so far away from that right now.


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.



Tyler Mahle vs. St. Louis Cardinals – There’s a chance he doesn’t go more than four considering he missed a turn in the rotation, but I’m willing to bet he maintained his pitch count on the side. It’s a good matchup and worth a shot on a Sunday.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Brad Keller vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’m digging that curveball and I think he can handle the Cardinals.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Adam Wainwright vs. Kansas City Royals He’s earned a Toby label and gets a solid matchup here. Alex Young hosting Rockie Road could work as well.


Game of the Day


Zack Greinke vs. Adrian Morejon – You didn’t expect this one, did you. Greinke is always entertaining + Morejon was surprisingly intriguing across his sub 30 pitches last time. I wonder if he’ll continue the trajectory today.



(Photo by Larry Radloff/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.

2 responses to “Just Joshing”

  1. Simsbad says:

    So you’re giving Tyler Anderson back-to-back Birthday Parties? One a King Cole and the other a Complete Game?

  2. BB says:

    Just FWIW, Morejon threw 39 pitches last time out (so maybe 50-60 today?)

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