Leaving The Will

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

(Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)

There are times that I suddenly gave a wave of comments about a particular pitcher and it takes me by surprise. Today’s catch of the day is Trevor Williams after his 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks performance against the Chicago Cubs lowered his season ERA to 3.53 with a 1.22 WHIP. That’s awesome! It’s also a 16% K rate and a 8% walk rate, making his season fuelled by an unsustainable .258 BABIP as the guy earns whiffs at a terrible 7.2% mark. But Nick! He’s allowed just 3 ER in his last six starts! 0.75 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP in 36 innings! This run in particular comes with a 5.44 SIERA. The HOTEL hates him like a man who wrote on the walls in crayon with a declined credit card, sporting a 4.2% HR/FB, .250 BABIP, and 99.5% LOB rate in this time with an atrocious 12.2% K rate and 7.5% BB rate. Obviously the low LOB rate, but seriously, if you think this is sustainable, you’re being silly. It’s a Grave Mistake waiting to happen and if you believe it for your playoffs, that’s a ticket to Disappointmentville. It’s a sad, sad place.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Noah Syndergaard5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. So that’s four straight starts of 3 or 4 ER and his fourth in six starts with 5 Ks or fewer. WHAT IS THIS. I’m seeing 43 sinkers that were up in the zone – exactly where you don’t want sinkers, you want them down with four-seamers up – and just a handful of four-seamers, though they were well-placed up-and-away to left-handers and had success. I just don’t understand it. Ignore the two-seamer if it’s this elevated, or just do four-seamers with your incredible changeup and slider with occasional curveballs. It’s right there Thor, get it together.

Carlos Carrasco7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. His 2019 stock is rising and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him touch #10 or above with his 3.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP thus far. 

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Atta babe Flaherty. I’m seeing multiple people compare Flaherty to Luke Weaver as a “trap” for 2019 and I just don’t see it. Yes, I’m going to be putting Flaherty around #25-30 for next season save for a cataclysmic final month as he’s a completely different pitcher. 13% overall whiff rate and a 3.38 SIERA speak much more to his skill set than what Weaver brought to the table + we already have nearly double the number of innings Weaver threw last season. The only comparisons I see is the team affiliation, youth, and a somewhat two-pitch approach (though Flaherty is developing his curveball well). Don’t fall victim to it.

Cole Hamels7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s not the strikeout production I want, but as his changeup wasn’t super consistent, he was able to pivot against to his cutter and it worked. Good work Hamels, I’m liking you more and more as a Cub.

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I know people are calling for Sale, but it really comes down to Scherzer being as dependable as ever + Sale’s history of falling off a bit in September. It’s really 1a vs. 1b, and either one could be #1 the rest of the way. Just be happy with your dude if you have either.

Walker Buehler6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Buehler, have my children. I wonder where he’ll be going in drafts next season as I believe the skill set here, though there will be comparisons between him and Flaherty and I slightly prefer the latter given 1) longer leash 2) no Dodgeritis 3) the best overall pitch in his slider. Still love him, I think he’ll be slightly overdrafted. I’m thinking right now like #35 SP off the board.

Anthony DeSclafani7.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s been two straight starts of great sliders from Tony Disco and the trend continued with 23/41 SNIP and an astounding 73.4mph Exit Velocity on 11 sliders in play (34/41 strikes!). As long as the slider is cooking, I’m rolling with DeSclafani save for the toughest offenses.

Kyle Freeland6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. So I’ve been off the Freeland train for many reasons, primarily that he doesn’t get strikeouts and his skillset speaks to a 3.80 ERA.  Well, the last two starts have returned 19 strikeouts on the back of his cutter being thrown at least 36% of the time. The other two times he threw 36%+ cutters? 7 and 8 strikeouts. There might be something to this and if Freeland suddenly records strikeouts on top of his contact ability, then we might have something legit here.

Casey Kelly4.1 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Nothing like allowing just 1 ER on over two baserunners per inning and only two whiffs total to your name. Really great work.

Charlie Morton5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s far from the overwhelming starts we’ve grown somewhat accustomed to from Morton, but it helps and that’s cool. I’m going to be pretty low relative to the season he just had entering 2019 given the massive injury risk that I’m still shocked beyond belief has not come up yet this season. Here’s to hoping he can give us a wonderful end to this career year.

Aaron Nola7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace as I love Nola Day. I made a quick supercut of all 11 strikeouts from yesterday (including one with the worst angle I’ve ever seen for a pitch on a broadcast) as he earned himself a Gallows Pole at 21 whiffs. Atta boy Nola.

David Hess6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. That 1.50 WHIP and 3 Ks are killers. Remember kids, for disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!

Drew Hutchison5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. This is like Michael Jordan showing up at age 70 and popping a fadeaway shot. Come play some pickup Michael! Nah guys, that’s all I had in the tank.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s super boring but a 3.60 ERA gets the job done. Ugh.

Jake Junis5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Junis got the ChiSox and acted as our backup Call Boy. This was…fine. I think. Really surprised to see 19 curveballs suddenly (IT’S ABOUT TIME), which earned a solid 9/19 SNIP as it’s a missing piece to Junis’ cog. However, it shouldn’t come with a 50% fastball rate (I’m thinking 60/40 breakers over fastballs) as his slider wasn’t the absolute money pitch it has been in the past. We’re getting closer to Junis’ upside, but not there just yet.

Ryne Stanek1.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. It’s another False Start as Yonny Chirinos allowed 5 ER to follow in six frames against the Red Sox. Really helped him out coming in an inning later.

Kyle Gibson7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I know you wanted a little more from Gibson – he’s slowed down a bit from his hot opening months – but I’m okay with this and we’ll continue to look ahead.

Brian Johnson5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Don’t trust in Johnson or he’ll walk all over you. Sorry, I’m not going to beat around the bush as I know you’re going to be shot down in flames if you touch Brian too much.

Freddy Peralta6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s weird seeing a PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and a pedestrian 5 Ks from a textbook Cherry Bomb, but, well, there it is. Super risky play for the end of the year, though you may need to take chances at this point. Peralta is your ultimate chance guy.

Robbie Ray4.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Ray, buddy, this is dumb. You got the Padres and couldn’t land your slider all game, and while your curveball helped, it came with fastballs that were all over the place. The Padres were patient – just seven whiffs in 107 pitches! – and it killed ya. Thing is though, it was super weak contact with a sub 80mph exit velocity and you were a lot closer to success than the line looks. Just execute better with your sliders and maybe you’ll get those chases again.

James Shields7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Jimmy Bucklers gave you a Quality Start with five strikeouts. If that’s your kind of game, then you keep playing it.

Matt Boyd6.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Do I get a Win here? It’s a fantastic WHIP with 7 Ks but after cruising for six frames with just a solo shot in the sixth as his only baserunner, Boyd allowed a solo shot with two inherited runners scoring after in a major Careful Icarus. Part of me says yes, but I don’t want any freebies. I’ll let you guys decide officially. Streaming Record: 74-40. I’d be pretty encouraged to own Boyd in a 12-teamer as he’s still about 91mph on his heater these days with 12/97 whiffs here. That works for me.

Odrisamer Despaigne4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. HE’S BACK! The man with the sexiest name in all of baseball. Despaigne…Yes that’s the only reason I’m excited here.

Wade LeBlanc4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a 5.46 ERA over his last 11 starts with a 1.25 WHIP and 13.0% K-BB rate. 4.90 FIP and 4.41 SIERA don’t do him much favors and I think it’s time to save LeBlanc only for those chasing Wins on a given night.

Joey Lucchesi4.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. No, Lucchesi Fugghesi. No. I think he got a little unlucky with the batted balls here, but it wasn’t Lucchesi pitching at his best, either. Blegh, I still think he’s a solid 12-teamer play the rest of the year but see the floor and respect the floor.

Lance Lynn4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Well we knew Lynn wasn’t as dope as his last week would make us believe, but this is a little too far on the spectrum for our stomachs to handle as he faced the Jays. Good news it’s Orioles and ChiSox next so hold on tight.

Dan Straily6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. What else do you expect from Straily?

Marcus Stroman – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I see him as a Toby, which means you don’t start him against premier offenses. That also means he should have been benched here against the Yankees.

Sean Newcomb5.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, he’s droppable in 12-teamers even thought 13/28 CSW on his curveball/changeup isn’t so bad. What is bad is near 100mph average exit velocity on four changeups and 86mph on 14 balls in play off his fastball. What does that mean? It means he got lit up by the Rockies in Atlanta. I just don’t see him coming close to him spring numbers moving forward and he’s going to keep hurting you. Maybe a few good starts the rest of the way, but not enough to make me look at streaming instead. Sorry Duke, I just don’t see the colors anymore.

Today’s Streamer

Matt Harvey vs. San Francisco Giants – It’s either Harvey of Mike Montgomery against the Pirates and I’m just not a fan of the southpaw.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Texas Rangers – I don’t love this slate, but you can steal a Win here. Also a super desperate move in Reynaldo Lopez against the Royals and Andrew Suarez against the Reds. Blegh.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. New York Mets – He’s still under 20% owned and it’s the Mets.

Game of the Day

Jacob deGrom vs. Jake Arrieta – It’s my Cy Young vote against Arrieta who faces the Mets lineup. This could be good.

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 “Leaving The Will”

  1. Frankie says:

    What do you make of the news regarding Lucchesi’s hand injury? Do you think it’s the cause of his bloated ratios over the past 4 starts (5.40 ERA / 4.0 BB/9.)

    Does this news change how you view him ROS? Sadly, losing Bauer, CMart and Stripling has made me turn to Lucchesi as my savior.

  2. grunt says:

    How much of Thor’s troubles come from his inability to hold runners? He’s given up 25 stolen bases this year, tied for most in the MLB with Matz. The Phillies ran on him 5 times yesterday, with notorious speedsters Maikel Franco (one attempt all year), Carlos Santana (his second attempt of the year, both against Thor), and Jorge Alfaro (two stolen bases yesterday, his only attempts all year) all swiping bags.

    It feels like any runner that reaches against him is already in scoring position.

  3. Kyle Nelson says:

    Had to finally drop Ray. 10 team league and I am in need of better consistency for the stretch run. Bummer, wanted it to work after seeing him on my DL for too many weeks. Is there a pitcher that will see a bigger adp drop than him?

  4. Evan says:

    It’s a streaming win for me.

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