Maybe He’ll Be, Mahle He’ll Be

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

I’d wager that Tyler Mahle is one of the more polarizing arms in the fantasy community and yesterday’s 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks outing against the Astros is only going to create a larger wedge. Those that love him are going to be pumped, but me? I want to ask him if can do it with a 10%+ whiff rate. That would be awesome. Alright, I can’t really hate here because A) his curveball did a great job earning strikes B) The Astros are hard and C) 31/95 CSW gets a legit thumbs up from me. We don’t know when that curveball will help out, though, and it makes things a little dicey when trusting Mahle on a regular basis. I think most in 12-teamers don’t have much of a choice at this point, but those anticipating a phenomenal second half should really temper their expectations. The deuce and splitty just aren’t good enough. So which side are you on? Neither? He’s not transforming into a massive breakout candidate, but he’s not his current 4.17 ERA and the strikeout per inning could stick. Stop being so non-combative. Why would I want to be anything else?

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Rich Hill1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Hill was removed with left forearm tightness. That’s not good. At all. Julio Urias is likely the pickup here (he was planned to be the opener today, after all), with the chance Ross Stripling or Caleb Ferguson become the main options. We’ll see. As for Hill, you knew what you signed up for. Be happy you got what you did.

Daniel Poncedeleon6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, this worked! Streaming Record: 51-28. I’m not going to get excited for the Lion’s volcanic rock, though. Ponce = Pumice? Yes, apparently. Anyway, PDL is a high fastball guy with a touch of cutters and curves for the most part and it worked here and could work as a middling arm, but these are the Marlins and I have a hard time thinking that stronger offenses wouldn’t perform better against his straight-forward approach. I wasn’t wowed here, I was waiting for the pin the drop. And who knows if he even gets another start as Wainwright returns. If Ponce gets the A’s, I’m out.

Max Scherzer7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Broken nose? Nah, that just angered him more, earning a Gallows Pole at 24 whiffs. Yep, still #1.

Jimmy Yacabonis2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Wow, what a performance. Josh Rogers‘ 3 ER in 3 IP followed and we’re just left in awe of these six outs from Yacabonis. Nick are you losing it. YES I AM. Openers are killing me and I understand how they help teams win, I just want starters. I love starters. I’m being selfish. And I don’t care.

Jake Arrieta6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Why don’t you like Arrieta more, Nick? Four whiffs in 85 pitches. The dude can’t force a strikeout for the life of him. But called strikes! Fine, 22/85 CSW, happy? 26% just isn’t going to cut it to convince me.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. How dare Puig hit a home run off him. And how dare Cole record just 13 whiffs in this one. HOW DARE THEM ALL.

Patrick Corbin7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Okay! Clearly Corbin must have been hitting the inside corner with his fastball to right-handers…oh. That’s not right. Corbin still earned 18/101 whiffs thanks to his slider being the dopest of dope, not to mention his fastball did sit well above 92mph like the glory days of 2018. Still, I would feel a little more comfortable if the fastball was finding the inside corner again, but whatever. We’ll take it.

Jon Gray6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ll take this from Gray as he mustered just seven total whiffs in 83 pitches. I’m still super scared every time I throw Gray out there and I doubt we’ll get to a place where the clouds part for some sun when owning Gray. Right, that’s the guy in Cincy. I’m going to stop and move on. 

Trevor Richards5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Did you realize that Richards has allowed 1 or 0 ER in five of his last six games? You can thank his fastball for not getting crushed and also facing teams like the Tigers, Giants, Padres, and Cardinals along the way. Still, start him against all but the strongest of offenses and you should be okay. For now.

CC Sabathia6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Sabathia with six frames?! AND SEVEN STRIKEOUTS?! What is this. Ohhhh, the Yankees had such a comfortable lead that they let him coast a bit. That works. He’s such a fringe pitcher in standard 12-teamers and I’m leaning that you’re still better off streaming instead.

Chris Bassitt5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I really want to be a Bassitt Hound again, and while 12% overall whiffs is cool, I don’t think a 28/99 CSW against the Orioles while serving a Philly is quite enough to convince me moving forward. Still, the Cardinals are next and that’s fine with me.

Zach Eflin6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Another strikeout heavy start from Eflin, backing up his nine-strikeout performance with his seven K outing yesterday. It’s still just two pitches, though (5/90 changeup + curve), and seven overall whiffs. The man just pumps strikes like it’s his J-O-B and it’s working right now. That’s great, you keep starting him with his decently high floor as he makes his run at Spider-Man and we all smile.

Max Fried6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. NOICE. For the most part. I hate that WHIP, but a strikeout per inning and 3.00 ERA? Yeah, that’s encouraging from Fried. Just 28/101 CSW isn’t, though, and there’s still work to be done with the deuce as it returned just 3/27 whiffs. It’s not the exact BSB that we want as his curveball was hung up a bit too often, but I think we’re getting there y’all. He’s a solid buy-low right now.

Marco Gonzales6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Soooooo that’s 5 ER total in his last five games now. But he’s not whiffing bats more, his cutter is still meh, and I’m not buying in. Sorry. I really want to as well, and I could even convince myself that his 89.1 mph average velocity across this starts is significantly higher than the 88.4 mph average in the first eleven starts, but that just doesn’t seem right. This was the Royals, after all and it returned 21/96 CSW. Yeaaaah no.

Adam Plutko4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Plutko is a Cup of Schmo (can I still call him that?) and doesn’t deserve your time. Seriously, 22/89 CSW with just five whiffs. Bleeeeegh.

Jon Lester5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhh, he served us a Philly but it’s not like the ratios would have been decent if he got there. He’s such a Toby.

Jordan Zimmermann4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh hey, Jay-Z dropped another bomb today as he was a DLH in his return. I’m so happy Matt Boyd was pushed for this.

Eduardo Rodriguez7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. It’s like he did everything right, but just didn’t have that little extra bit to truly dominate in this one. As an owner, you just have let him fly and understand that the end result will be a beneficial arm for the year.

Matt Strahm5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. 89.9 mph fastball. 1 whiff on sliders. We’re back to square one and it’s sad. Very sad.

Zach Davies2.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s almost like he was a massive TEEs that we just went along with as he was a Vargas Rule. The wall has been hit, let Zach go and reminisce of the Happy Davies behind us.

Zack Greinke7.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. This was a stupid day for a lot of stud pitchers, starting with Greinke who somehow returned just three whiffs in total and just 17/87 CSW. 0/31 on whiffs with changeups. Yeah, I don’t get it either. All we can do it hope for the best here as his velocity wasn’t any different – high at 90.5 mph if anything.

Andrew Heaney3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Hi. NICK HOW COUL– Whoa whoa whoa, I’m just as disappointed as you are. Heaney’s command wasn’t there from the very first frame and it’s frustrating to endure since A) The SP landscape is atrocious at the moment and B) he was looking oh-so-good prior. Well, not as much against the Rays, but still. Keep the faith, we know what locked in Heaney is and I don’t think it devolves into a Cherry Bomb case, I think with more innings under his belt, Heaney can ride your team into the sunset this year.

Steven Matz5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwww. Matz had only two starts prior to this with where he allowed more than 3 ER. Wild to see him throw 31 sliders out of nowhere, abandoning his curveball along the way. It was the pitch that put him on the map during his prime and I do wonder if Matz can bounce back in a big way if that slider returns again next time. We’ll see, it’s the Phils and Braves next and that doesn’t help things.

Kyle Gibson4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. We’ve been digging Gibson feasting on the AL Central while earning whiffs on not just his slider, but changeup too while boosting his zone rate on heaters. Well all that disappeared as he faced a legit offense in the Red Sox. Womp womp. Despite getting another decent AL East team in the Rays, just stick with it. You’ll be happy you did.

Lucas Giolito4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. What a weird start. 21 whiffs on 88 pitches is phenomenal, but he only got 9 called strikes as the Cubs were aggressive and laced Giolito’s mistakes. Sliders were up, changeups were down, but not out of the zone and it cost him. Fastballs were up, though, and 12/45 whiffs on four-seamers is all kinds of <3. This is the fear with Giolito – his secondary stuff being the weak point in his approach – but it should be normally better than this. We’re not at a point to worry, y’all, one of these pitches will be back to normal for next time.

Aaron Sanchez3.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Remember in 2015 when we were so hyped for Sanchez? I really love grabbing onto that hype. Treasure it, those feelings are fewer and farther between as you get older.

Blake Snell0.1 IP, 6 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Ummmmmm what. How could you do this to us. Snell talked afterward about how he didn’t properly establish his fastball here, which makes it harder to throw out of the zone. He’s right and I think this was one of those games where he felt his back against the wall, lost his confidence, and it fell apart fast. As an owner, this changes nothing ROS, but ouch. I feel you. A lot.

Brad Keller4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, that’s the Keller we know and hate.

Joe Palumbo2.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s too bad to see Palumbo and his actually decent fastball approach get hammered like this. I just don’t love the supporting cast enough and have to label him as a Cup of Schmo til we see more.

Drew Pomeranz4.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Well, yeah, it’s Pomeranz in 2019. He’s killing it in Worstball leagues, from what I understand.

Trevor Williams5.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. The DLH is real, though Williams did settle down a little bit here. I would say start him next time and forget this, but it’s Houston next and that’s a nope and a half. 


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.


Jose Suarez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – I think Suarez has decent stuff and could run away with a solid outing against a meh Jays lineup, Vlad Jr. + Cavan n all.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Cal Quantrill vs. Pittsburgh Pirates A little risky, I think Quantrill’s start in Coors should be ignored and he can pick up where he was prior. Stop it San Diego, stop changing things on me. Mike Leake vs. Baltimore Orioles – I hate this but the upside is there with a decent floor given the O’s.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tommy Milone vs. Baltimore Orioles – He’s had at least six strikeouts in all but one of his games thus far and now gets the O’s. It’s the best we’ve got under 20% owned.


Game of the Day 


Zac Gallen vs. WHO IS IT I FORGOT AND DON’T CARE – IT’S HAPPENING Y’ALL (Cardinals, by the way. I’m starting him because it’s fun an exciting.)


(Photo by Tim Spyers/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.

16 responses to “Maybe He’ll Be, Mahle He’ll Be”

  1. robert danzig says:

    this guy alzolay.. not sure if he might turn into a starter ROS. what’s your take?

    • J says:

      As a Cubs fan that watches prospects closely, it seems that he’ll work primarily out of the bullpen ROS with spot starts as needed. I would imagine that depending on Chatwood’s outing tonight he may fill Hendricks’ rotation spot going forward until he’s back. I don’t see him slotting into the rotation permanently this year, and I don’t think he has a lot of fantasy relevance unless he can become a high leverage option out of the pen this season. Next year he likely slots into Hamels’ slot if all goes well.

  2. Thomas Bockenstedt says:

    Not sure if you watched the start but it looked like Giolito was getting squeezed.

    • v says:

      He got a couple bad calls against him but that did not at all account for his performance. I recall that the most egregious call of the night resulted in a strikeout a pitch later anyways. He simply left some meatballs over the heart of the plate that got hammered. The Contreras grand slam was a change up he left up, Contreras’ other homer was a fastball down the center of the plate, and the Bote home run was a belt high change up. Both walks in the first had no bad calls. He simply made too many mistake pitches and they were put in the seats.

      The stuff is still terrific, but the home run rate was bound for regression. He can’t keep leaving secondary pitches up.

  3. bossmanjunior333 says:

    How close do you have Paddack and Gallen ROS? Paddack was dropped when
    he was sent down but someone else had higher waiver priority and I missed out. Gallen was my consolation prize.

  4. Greg says:

    They’ve been having stripling pitch extra innings on the side after his bullpen stints. I think it’s easy strippling as he’s stretched out.

  5. Bobby says:

    Worth dropping Peacock for Stripling with Hill’s injury?

  6. Purple Rattle says:

    In leagues that have start limits, would Stripling be the guy to pick up, instead of Urias?

  7. Chris says:

    What are we actually expecting out of Gallen ROS? If he sticks in the rotation, where do you see his ceiling on the list being?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Honestly, whatever I say now will be trumped by whatever my thoughts are during the game. I need to see him first!

      Let’s grab him now and talk after :)

  8. Jim says:

    I streamed Richards over Bassitt and was fairly bummed when Bassitt had a no hitter thru 5 IP! But he fell apart in the 6th, didn’t get the QS and I was reminded why I jumped ship last month. Meanwhile, Richards keeps getting those nice ratios without the Ws. Frustrating.

  9. Tal Sercarz says:

    Is Matt strahm droppable in a dynasty league (12 team, 40 man roster) or do you still see long term value there?

  10. Scott says:

    I see the question about where to rank Gallen on the list, but what kind of era, whip and k/9 are you expecting? Do you expect him to be up for a the rest of the year. Caleb Smith is returning soon.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ask me that after tonight’s start when I finally get to understand why he’s been successful this year!

      My guess is that he sticks around now that he’s up.

  11. larry says:

    Stripling or Urias with Hill’s injury. I know I’m the third person to ask this question because we are all wanting you opinion so we can make our moves in a timely manner.

    Also would you hold onto Carrasco. Could use the DL slot for people coming back quicker.


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