Michael Wacha Flame

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Michael Wacha @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 93 pitches.

This lead is going to be quick today. Michael Wacha got the start against the Yankees tonight and flat-out dominated: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. It came with 18 whiffs and 33% CSW and it should make many thrilled to see a Ray at the back half of the rotation toss 93 pitches.

Is it worth your time? That’s all that matters, right? Well, the velocity spike we saw in the spring isn’t quite there, but Wacha executed the BSB to perfection with changeups down, cutters for strikes, and fastballs relentlessly peppering the upper half of the zone. If it’s going to work from Wacha, this is it, especially if the Rays aren’t opening for him and allow 90+ pitches and six full frames. He’s set to get the Royals next and it seems like a decent flier to take, though I will preach a few words of caution: We’ve seen spikes of success from Wacha before and this is far from a lock. We also need to note the few baserunners faced, and if you tack on a few more hits and uncomfortable moments, we could see the Rays do what they did to Hill – allow him to go six, then fail to finish five in the next outing. In deeper leagues, I’m taking the chance. In 12-teamers, if it’s a dire wire, sure, let’s see what happens.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Walker Buehler @ SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Sadly he didn’t have the strikeouts his performance deserved + there was a late blast from Tatis he’d love back…and that WHIP isn’t great, fine, maybe not a legit AGA day and kinda a Dusty Donut but whatever, he’s still dope.

Ryan Weathers vs LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 79 pitches.

I’m a bit impressed with Weathers here, but he shouldn’t see these opportunities much more, if at all, with Lamet likely stepping in next week. But hey, good work kid.

Frankie Montas vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

Yes, yes, this was Detroit, but who cares, it’s great to see Montas act like the man he’s supposed to be. Splitters earned 4/16 whiffs, the rare slider earned strikes, and the 66% thrown sinker – yes sinker – earned nine whiffs en route to 32% CSW. He gets Minnesota next and while it’s hard not to be a little cautious, this is enough for me to believe he can do well.

Max Scherzer vs ARI (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I feel like I haven’t said that enough lately and here comes Scherzer, walking into the stadium like a stud for a Golden GoalThis is how it’s done, Corbin. That’s a direct quote from Scherzer, I swear. What, no, please don’t google that. Nick, such betrayal. I SWEAR.

Taylor Widener @ WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

Man, I really want to get on this Widener train, but he should be called Narrower with his small margin for error. His fastball should have been punished plenty more than it was, his changeup was very hittable (0/22 whiffs!) and his slider returned 14% CSW. Starts like these can happen, but in general, you shouldn’t buy a pitcher having a surprise start rooted in a high Called Strike total on fastballs – it’s the least sustainable skill of the lot and he earned 13/58 on four-seamers. I need more than this.

Anthony DeSclafani @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

Atta boy Tony Disco! Streaming record: 7-8. Think for a moment. What is DeSclafani’s approach? Sliders with high four-seamers and few other pitches for strikes. Yep and guess what CSW he had on 18 sliders. Zero. Not a single whiff or called strike. Instead, he hung some, the Marlins hit them for outs. His four-seamer did a great job of sitting up and hitting the bottom, avoiding the middle, and powering through this one. Good enough for me to hold for one more.

JT Brubaker @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.

Whoooooa, look at you, Coffee Cakes! Yes, I do think this is an expression of a Yelich-less Milwaukee and less of Brubaker’s flat-out dominance, but his sinker hit the edges and his slider decimated the Brewers lineup. And he gets the Tigers next. Enjoy.

Daniel Castano vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 74 pitches.

Castano somehow pitched five frames without a single strikeout. What. HAISTFMFWT?! Y’all don’t need me here, we have other places to be.

Jeff Hoffman vs CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

Is this Honman? I think so? He earned 10 whiffs on four-seamers and held a 40% CSW on his slider. That’s pretty much as good as it gets. His command…wasn’t. We should be blaming Cleveland and leave it at that.

Kyle Wright @ CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 78 pitches.

We had a shock this morning when Drew Smyly was placed on the IL, pushing Wright into a start against the Cubs. He performed better than expected with a strong 46% CSW on his slider, but his overall command is still questionable and it’s too risky, even if he had success at the end of last season. Unlike a brand new BMW, his repertoire is lacking polish.

Nick Nelson vs TB (L) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 30 pitches.

We had a bullpen game for the Yankees with Michael King coming in for the bulk and gave such a forgettable performance that I can’t remember the line to put it here. Yep, that’s what we’re doing.

Zach Eflin vs STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyy this is the best start from Eflin this year. Why? Because he did it without his curveball. If he can prove to me he can succeed without the volatile pitch, then we’re talking, as he tossed just six yackers in this one. I’m happy to see he had variety with his sinker/slider combo here, finally jamming right-handers with sinkers arm-side and keeping the slide piece away. It’s a better approach than we usually see and I hope it means I can endorse him moving forward. Maybe he’s just a Toby with a tinge of strikeout upside and hey, nothing wrong with that.

Jose Urena @ OAK (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

Man, I had a feeling Ureña had an outside chance to make this work, and like the next guy, this is a textbook Birthday PartyPlease don’t consider this for more. Remember kids, If you trust Jose, Ureña boatload of trouble.

Jorge Lopez @ TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 75 pitches.

Some days remind you why a player is in the major leagues and this is one of them for JorLo. Don’t do anything rash, this is a Birthday PartyNothing more.

Lewis Thorpe @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 60 pitches.

It’s exciting to get an extended look at Thorpe, but sadly he’s a two-pitch arm where one offering is sub 90 mph. If that wasn’t enough already, he only started since the Twins had a double-header earlier in the week. Sorry, Thorpe.

Andrew Heaney vs MIN (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 79 pitches.

The bad news: Heaney’s fastball is back to 91.5 mph. The good news: He had great pitch separation. More bad news: a bit inconsistent with curveball and fastball precision. More good news: that’s a solid line…? I think we keep starting Heaney for now, but only if you’re willing to accept his Cherry Bomb nature.

Jose Urquidy @ SEA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

I know this sounds weird with a line like that, but I don’t think this is Urquidy’s best. Fastball was effective around the zone, but he never had a feel for his curveball, and his changeup + slider were fine. Keep starting him, it’s good to know he can not have his best and still be productive.

Adrian Houser vs PIT (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 73 pitches.

Awwwww. Adrian’s success is as fragile as glass, heavily reliant on his fastball’s success. Those heaters may as well have been stones with their ineffectiveness and you don’t want that one bit. After all, you don’t throw stones in glass Housers. Nick. Let’s move on.

Logan Allen @ CIN (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 55 pitches.

He needed 55 pitches to get six outs and that was it. Despite being named Logan, I don’t think Allen is an immortal asset. Search elsewhere if he’s still on your squad.

Zach Davies vs ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 90 pitches.

Blegggggh. Davies really doesn’t have it. Velocity is dancing from 84-88mph, his changeup earned just a 19% CSW and the Braves took full advantage, striking out just once – HAISTFMFWT?! If you haven’t let Davies go yet, it doesn’t get easier as he faces the Mets next.

Mike Foltynewicz vs BAL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 82 pitches.

Womp womp. Folty got away with fastballs down the pipe against the Padres and he didn’t against the Orioles. Baltimore > San Diego, more at 11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you can’t be trusted against Baltimore, who can you start him against?

Yusei Kikuchi vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

The line is worse than the performance and for all the hype we have about Kikuchi, I think it’s okay to keep most of it. He wasn’t able to put away batters and I think there’s still a bit of command to iron out, but his stuff is there and all he needs is more time. Keep holding.

Carlos Martinez @ PHI (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 81 pitches.

Yikes. The velocity still isn’t there, the slider and changeup returned 2/37 whiffs, and CarMart just isn’t the man we want him to be. Sigh. Sure, the Phillies are solid and all, but like looking back in your pocket when your keys go missing, he ain’t there. I wonder if he will be at all this season.


Game of the Day 


Triston McKenzie vs. Sonny Gray – Gray is returning from injury and it would normally be a Still ILL but it’s Cleveland. I’m looking forward to seeing where he’s at + hopefully McKenzie can take a step forward.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

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.

3 responses to “Michael Wacha Flame”

  1. Harry Carey says:

    Thoughts on Dralla ROS after today’s 3 inning 5 K masterpiece?

  2. Don't be a Hader says:

    This Brubaker kid seems like a much more palatable risk than say a German Marquez.
    You can’t start Marquez at home, against the Dodgers, against the Padres…that’s what 81 + 19 + 19…that’s a lot of don’t starts.
    I kinda like a hot prospect in the NL Central to feast on. I call it the “Trevor Bauer Effect”.

  3. Nick G says:

    brubaker worth picking up in a 12 team?

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