Lender Strat

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

(Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)

Chris Stratton threw a complete game shutout going 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks against the Rockies in AT&T Park. I know what you’re thinking, I know that look too well. BUT NICK! A 2.10 ERA and 0.73 WHIP with a 20% K rate and just 4% walk rate across his last five starts! Hey, I wasn’t going to tell you to stop! I actually am all for picking up Stratton right now. Wait, what? It’s pretty easy to see why: he gets the Padres in both of his remaining starts. That’s kinda amazing. Also amazing is how his slider has been all kinda of good during this stretch – 3.4 pVal – with a digestible 3.89 SIERA. It’s a small sample, but considering that he’s bumped its usage dramatically in his last six starts (19% vs. 10.5% prior) there’s something to this success that makes me buy it. Well, enough that I’ll now toss him out there twice against the Padres. Let’s rock and roll.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Walker Buehler8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Buehler is pretty nuts right now with a 1.75 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 31% K rate across his last nine starts. Jeeeeez. I trust his stuff more than Flaherty’s, but the bigger question is how the Dodgers will treat him next year. He’s at 131 frames now, which will probably end right around 150 (there’s a chance he doesn’t go for that final game of the year, but don’t act on that until it comes out), which means what, 180 innings next year? 180 is the new 200 so I guess that doesn’t really matter, does it. There will be criticisms about his relatively low 10.5% overall whiff rate, but I think his stuff is so overpowering that he gets to 0-2 strikes via called strikes and fouls easily before earning the K. 37/105 CSW here as well with a good amount of weak contact and I’m running out of reasons not to grant him Top 20 status.

Diego Castillo2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Another False Start from Castillo here as no one went over two frames. Cool. 

Roenis Elias3.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The Mariners needed a starter in the wake of Paxton and Elias got the call for a bullpen game, i.e. a False Start. Am I allowed to just say False Start for the entirety of these blurbs? Is that okay?

Connor Sadzeck1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. FALSE START. 

Matt Harvey6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Yes I’m surprised that Harvey pulled it off against the Cubs, though he has had this upside in him since joining Cincy. Not to say in any way I expected it here, just that it’s not sooooo shocking. I would have thought his slider stole the show seeing this line, but actually 9 whiffs across 24 curveballs + changeups did the dirty work. I wonder where he ends up for next season and if that’ll make him worth a late-round pick. As for this year, it’s the Brewers (nah) and Royals (yep) next. If I had to start him for both…ehh go for it if you’re searching for innings.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. There we go Thor, against the Red Sox too! 27/104 CSW is a little meh, but I’m super happy to see that he threw a ton of four-seamers up in the zone here. Sinkers are still all over the place though, but better fastballs = better results. Good stuff.

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Mmmm I love prime Tanaka. It’s a Gallows Pole with 19 whiffs – 10/30 on his splitter – and life is wonderful. This was the Jays, though, and the Sawx + Jays are ready to close out the season (I don’t expect him to start the final game of the year since he’ll probably start the WC game). I think you go for it. If he’s doing his thing, which he’s been doing, then he’ll be worth your time.

Zach Eflin6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey, Erlin wasn’t so bad! He was able to handle the Marlins this time and that’s all cool. Now it’s the Mets (yeeep) and Coors (noooope), so let’s have a wonderful sendoff next time and call it a season.

Robbie Erlin5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh come off it Erlin, you’re going to trick some poor sap into starting you next time now. That’s just rude.

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. So where are we drafting Flaherty next year? A 2.86 ERa and 1.06 WHIP with a 30% K rate is kinda nuts, though the near 5.5 IPS and 9.3% BB rate aren’t doing him favors. This has an eerie feel of Lance McCullers to it that I wish I didn’t have – I think it’s a little more believable than that. Still, I imagine some Top 20 spots for him next year and I’m not sure if I’ll be one of them. I’m leaning no. We’ll talk later.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Are we still making I Survived A Night With EJax shirts? JACK! JACK! GET HAAS ON THE PHONE! 

Luis Ortiz1.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Ortiz made his first big league start…and was pulled early with an injury. Life is tough, kid. Life is cruel.

Tyler Anderson6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. The Giants are such a sad offense these days and despite Anderson’s struggles over the past month and change, he was able to regain some confidence in this start. I’d hold off his next start against the Dodgers, but maybe reconsider him again against the Phils if he survives prior.

Jose Berrios6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. His curveball was on – 14/26 CSW – and 7/11 SNIP on his changeup is solid. I’m not totally convinced his fastball woes are over as this was against the Royals – Blame it on the Royals – and I’d have some hesitation against the A’s next.

Matt Boyd5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. There were a lot of questions about this Boyd start and I leaned go for it ultimately – barely – and he pulled it off against the Tribe. I’m sad to see that the 93mph that he had last weekend was brought down to 91.7mph this time, but his 15/36 CSW on his slider was good enough. This wasn’t an overpowering start and teetered on the edge of “I have a bad feeling about this” a decent amount. You should be safe starting him through the rest of the year, though I think I might break him down over the off-season as a guy who may get a lot of sleeper hype but has a lot more going against him than we’d like. I don’t know, it all depends on value, I’m worried his second half will inflate him too much.

William Cuevas2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. False Start here from Cuevas, taking over for a sick Hector Velasquez. Yay.

Cole Hamels6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hamels is dope, though that WHIP isn’t. Whatever, keep going with him, he’s making an intriguing play for his 2019 draft stock.

Dallas Keuchel6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s an ER from a VPQS, but a 3.00 ERA instead with 5 Ks makes that 1.50 sufferable. What. A. Toby.

Robbie Ray5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Ray faced the Cubs and while there was hesitation, when Ray is on (which he has been for the past month and change), it doesn’t really matter. He gets the Astros next and I’m for it.

James Shields6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Jimmy Bucklers was able to escape the coppers this time. But we’re hot on his trails! We’ll catch him next time! I have not doubt fellas.

Josh Tomlin4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. This is as boring as Mr. Grady’s morning assembly but what else do you expect from Mr. Grady Tomlin.

Kevin Gausman5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Super bleghy start, one out away from a VQPS. And with one strikeout! HAISTFMFWT?! If the Braves keep going six-man, it’s the Phils next and I’m cool with Gausman for that + the Mets after. If it’s five-man, then Cards next and I’m a little iffy on that. Still probably start but I won’t be happy about it.

Gio Gonzalez4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Welcome to the Brewers where everything is the same and his points don’t matter. Because he’s bad and not on your team. Hopefully.

Jorge Lopez4.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Can’t say I’m at all shocked here. Yeah, I know he had a special day last time out – almost suuuuper special! – but the man is a Cup of Schmo at heart and this says it all. Seriously, one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Matt Shoemaker4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. His splitter did damage with 10/25 whiffs but his fastball got hit hard and the Angels pulled him during the fifth at 77 pitches. Maybe that splitter sticks around again, maybe it doesn’t and this is terrible. Not to mention, even with the splitty working like a take-out joint during a rainstorm, he other options weren’t good enough to produce across the board. Okay, that’s not fair given the near 1.00 WHIP as well. Fine, there’s a decent risk/reward here, my worry of hitting the bottom end outweighs my hope of what could be.

Chris Archer5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. At least the Ks returned, but this is disappointing from Archer. I wonder if his ADP next year will be outside the Top 50 and if so, does that make him solid value with his K upside? I wonder…

Wei-Yin Chen4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ve taken Chen twice over the past week and gotten burned twice now. Streaming Record: 94-46. I think I’m going to try to take a break on Chen for a moment.

Max Scherzer4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna face…plant. He’s really making this Cy Young race pretty straightforward…right?! It’s weird now. The whole “he doesn’t have Wins!” argument is about hating on sabermetrics n all, yet deGrom has an ERA over .80 points lower than Scherzer now. So which old-school metric matters more? ERA or Wins? I just don’t get it. Anyway, sorry for those relying on Scherzer to make your playoff weekend go right.

Marco Estrada2.2 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. We’re going to be waiting a while for the Bestrada instead of the Worstrada.

Today’s Streamer

Reynaldo Lopez vs. Baltimore Orioles There is zilch available here, so why not, chase a good outing from ReyLo against the worst team in the bigs.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jose Urena vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I feel so weird suggesting Marlin after Marlin, but there really are very few options left, with my standard options – Minor/Giolito/Junis, etc. all well above the 20% threshold as everyone picked up on it. Meanwhile, the Marlins have a cushy schedule and Urena ain’t that bad. Jacob Nix against the Rangers is so blegh, Jaime Barria against the Mariners is very ehhhhhhh, and there’s pretty much nothing else out there.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Andrew Suarez vs. San Diego Padres – I don’t love Suarez but I think I’d let him fly against the Padres.

Game of the Day

Mike Clevinger vs. Michael Fulmer – Don’t start Fulmer, but maybe his changeup returns? Also Clevinger being dope is super dope.

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.

7 responses to “Lender Strat”

  1. John Wertz says:

    Not saying I’m an expert by any means, but I don’t think there should be any concerns about Buehler’s workload next season. He should be drafted as high as the person values him as innings limits are generally in their rookie year (or if they’re coming off a major injury of course).

  2. vinny says:

    6 wins away from 100 you got this!

  3. Gary Chen says:

    We all know Wei-Yin Chen is only a Cherry Bomb on the road, at what point do we act on this?

  4. Greg says:

    Have both Kluber and Sherzer, arguably the top NL and AL pitchers over the whole season and they both crap the bed during the playoffs. Just need to vent. One more week to make it up.

  5. theKraken says:

    Re: WB – If LA makes the playoffs, then you might get past that innings count. I think that was always the plan… remember his phantom DL stint. It looks even weirder when you look at the updates – they have skipped starts, demoted him to the minors with no appearances, put him in the pen… all of those moves were just skipping innings. They have been saving him for something and they are hoping it is the playoffs!

  6. theKraken says:

    Not sure if this got any attention, but I think it happened. I was looking at GameCast, so things could have been off or I could have misinnterpretted… Berrios almost had an immaculate inning. It was a 3 pitch K, 3 pitch K, then he got 0-2, the guy fouled it off, then he stuck him out on the next pitch. That is every bit as impressive as an immaculate inning. The guy fouled one off only to get rung up on the next pitch.

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