Just One of the Pack

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

It’s hard to not be impressed by Jacob Waguespack’s 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks performance against the Dodgers yesterday, with his sole hit allowed coming against Kenta MaedaHe pumped cutters at 90/91 all game, earning quick outs on pitches off the edges of the plate often and elected to go upstairs with 94 mph four-seamers to help put batters away. It worked well, returned easily his best start of the season, and you’re curious if it warrants a pickup.

In a vacuum, not really. If this were the start of the season, I’d preach caution as the approach doesn’t breed long-term confidence. Let me clarify – the cutter/fastball approach on its own is good enough to warrant a Toby label, but his slider/changeup/curveball are all incredibly mediocre, where even on his best night, it’s a five-strikeout game that was ultra reliant on balls landing into gloves. Not to say that his cutter command didn’t necessitate more outs than not, but it’s a dangerous game to play. You essentially need JPack to pitch at his best each night to get value. That’s not a bet I’d like to make over a large sample, but as a streamer? I’m game. I’m not game for the Braves next, though, even with the Dodgers here. Just too much risk.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Sandy Alcantara7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I labeled Alcantara as the backup Call Boy, electing to not truly bank on his command showing up against the tough Atlanta offense. I thought wrong. His slider was placed well down-and-away to right-handers, jamming them often with two-seamers as well. This works, but I’m not sold we’re going to get a whole lot more of it down the stretch. Not the worst desperate play, but he’ll burn y’all a decent amount.

Gerrit Cole7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Guess what, it’s another Gallows Pole with 25 whiffs (37/94 CSW). Who would have guessed.

Kyle Hendricks7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. There was that one really terrible outing, but now Hendricks has settled in for stud back-to-back games. It’s nice to have you back to normal. Oh-so-nice.

Noah Syndergaard6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Syndergaard suddenly pushed the whole high-heat approach and I LOVE IT. Now get your sliders and changeups properly down in the zone and we’re golden like you’re hair. WE’RE GETTING THERE.

Ross Detwiler6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. What. No. You don’t want to get the Deets. 25/90 CSW as his cutter and four-seamer did damage against the Rangers. There just isn’t enough in this repertoire to put faith in against a decent opponent, not to mention it could fall apart fast against another weak lineup. Don’t lose your week putting faith in Ross.

Jeff Samardzija7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Vargas Rule continues with Loose Lips as he stymied the Cubs in Oracle Park. I don’t blame you for sticking with it now, just don’t hold on too tight in September.

Max Scherzer4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Scherzer is back and now has his DLH out of the way. OK, not a true DLH as you started Scherzer, but this was a pitch count (71 pitches here) and that should be coming off enough to let him go six strong easily next time out. And everyone rejoiced.

Ryan Yarbrough4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. The Fratty Pirate is a weird arm where he has a clear ceiling but the Rays’ usage of him creates this dumb floor where even when he’s pitching well, he’ll get pulled in the middle of the fifth frame. It’s annoying and caps his potential rise on The List + my faith in him for 2020, but it should do little to stop you from starting him. Let’s hope we can a few more legit quality starts out of him this year. UPDATE: I’m dumb and completely forgot about the rain that served him the early exit. The sentiment about the Rays being weird with him is still there, but obviously, it wasn’t the case here! I feel for those owning him and seeing the man grooving and getting served the bad hand of weather.

Steven Brault6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Brault, you know I don’t care about this. You can leave notes, cookies, flowers, whatever, if you don’t change who you are, we aren’t going to work. Really? You don’t want the cookies? Oh I do, don’t stop sending those. It just won’t make a difference. Oh. Yeah. Chocolate chip or oatmeal? Definitely chocolate chip.

Aaron Civale5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It wasn’t his sharpest of nights, missing a bit with his cutter and not having much else to turn to with his secondary pitches. Still, he served you a beneficial Philly (stupid rain), and now we look forward to a date with the Tigers next.

Kenta Maeda6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Awesome stuff here Maeda. The more that you can distance yourself from the sub 5.0 inning games, the better. It’s also nice to see his excellent CSW rates actually speak to dominance. It’s been this weird outlier of a year in that way – it’s kinda always been his problem – and let’s hope it corrects itself for the final weeks ahead.

Tanner Roark6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Roark surprised us here with a solid outing hosting the Yankees. Four-seamers earned him 7/28 whiffs here – elevated, of course, and he made this one work pretty much with those four-seamers and sinkers. I don’t buy this for September, save for a rare stream.

Mike Soroka7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Atta boy Soroka, you took full advantage of a date with the Marlins, returning 32/101 CSW and showcasing his ceiling. Fine, maybe a few more strikeouts, but this is generally what we hope for a given night.

Asher Wojciechowski5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. We wanted more from this, but that’s a good ERA and I think that constitutes a streaming Win. Streaming Record: 83-54. We’re still waiting for the Woj Bombs to return as his curveball and slider haven’t been as sharp as the beginning, but that could arrive in September. Keep an eye on him.

Jordan Zimmermann5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Zimmermann.

German Marquez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Marquez, come on man. This was on the road against the Cardinals, it’s what you wanted. We want him to be better, but at least you get an easy decision next time hosting Boston inside of Coors. That’s just not a fun evening.

Miles Mikolas6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, we’re out. This was at home hosting the Rockies, so what can we chase moving forward with any conviction? 

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The volatility of Tanaka is just so frustrating to endure as an owner. Splitter was a bit better here – 7/39 whiffs is decent, not great – and it’s good to see zero longballs … but even when those go his way, it returns a start like this. Still, this was Oakland and now it’s Seattle + Texas next. I think you’re OK with those two games.

Ariel Jurado8.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I’ll give him props that he stuck around for eight innings, but this start sure doesn’t help you. I don’t want to be a part of this world. 


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.


Anthony DeSclafani vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – He gets the Pirates and still holds near a 25% strikeout rate. Sign me up!


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Zach Eflin vs. Miami Marlins – I think people are forgetting that Eflin is a strike-thrower and could overwhelm the Marlins with his transition from the pen to rotation in the past.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Logan Webb vs. Oakland Athletics – I don’t love this, but there really isn’t much else to chase on Sunday.


Game of the Day


Justus Sheffield vs. Toronto Blue Jays I’m glad to see him back in the majors, I wonder if he’s going to stick past this start.

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/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.

17 responses to “Just One of the Pack”

  1. Johnny Burgers says:

    Fratty Pirate got pulled because of rain.

  2. Josh says:

    Opinion on Trevor Richards against the Orioles? Feel like that would be up your alley

  3. Paul says:

    Roark’s ROS schedule looks like: @ KC, vs LAA, vs DET, @ Tex, vs KC, @ LAA. I’m having a hard time resisting picking him up with the those tasty match ups. Does your opinion on picking him up or not change at all knowing how easy the schedule is down the stretch?

  4. Kyle says:

    Sorry Nick, but the Red Sox had the day off yesterday. Edu starts tonight vs. the Padres. That will probably be his line, though. You will then be named Nick “Pitcher Prophet” Pollack.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Whoa, that was a funny SNAFU! Still don’t know what quite happened there, Sparkmann and Edu shouldn’t have been in this article.

      Thanks for letting me know!

    • Karl says:

      I think Nick was looking at the suspended game’s box score that finished yesterday. E-Rod & Sparkman. For a second I thought I was going crazy because I swore E-Rod was starting tonight!

  5. Leo says:

    When are you going to start taking ROS Schedule when you rank the top 100 pitchers? I know you usually do it during the end of the season

  6. NickFolesMVP says:

    Civale pitched really well, got screwed by Naquin misplaying a lazy fly ball from Conforto into a ground-rule double. He makes that catch, Civale goes 5 2/3 shutout.

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