Mike And Dislike

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

I’ve been trying not to have multiple roundups leading with the same person, but I think I need to put a spotlight on what Mike Soroka is doing as he went 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks last night against the Cardinals. That’s an unreal 0.98 ERA through six starts, paired with a magnificent 1.10 WHIP…and I have concerns. I love this kid, I love that his fastball command is elite and he’s wise well beyond his years. I don’t like that he has a sub-10% swinging-strike rate, a 22% K rate, a .230 BABIP, an 86% LOB rate, and has yet to surrender a single HR. Yes, I do believe there is a skill in limiting the long ball, but there is an awful lot of regression heading his way, adding up to a 4.11 SIERA. I’m seeing at best a 3.00 ERA here, not a 2.50 ERA. That’s still fantastic—but what about the strikeouts? His slider is good, though I’m not sure he’ll develop enough through the year with the breaker or even his changeup to take the leap we want him to take (it could!), while there is concern of his shoulder injury and how that will affect his innings. Will it return? Will the Braves be overly protective later in the year? So while I have Soroka in the Top 30, I’d be shopping him around to see what I could find. Can’t be more excited for his 2020 and beyond, though.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Yu Darvish5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Y’all thought I’d lead with Darvish, but honestly there isn’t a ton to say. His cutter was the main star of this show, stealing tons of strikes with the pitch and throwing it more than we’ve seen in a long time (forever?). His fastball command was good enough—not the level I really wanted to get super pumped—but if it’s a cutter heavy approach, that might just be the adjustment Darvish needs. I’m not quite taking off the TIARA since it’s not a fully-functioning Death Star yet and I want to see one more start with his fastball doing better things. But yeah, this was cool.

Zack Greinke7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace…and leave the game early with what looked to be a back or abdominal issue. He’s off to get an MRI today and THIS YEAR IS THE WORST.

Kenta Maeda6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. So here I was, a little over a week ago, wondering if the Dodgers were going to insert Ross Stripling into the rotation again. HA. Ha. ha. 22 whiffs, 39/85 CSW (46%!!!) is just flat out stupid, as he cruised with sliders off the plate and nipped the glove-side corner with fastballs. So good to have you back Maeda.

Ryne Stanek1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Another opener needed for Jalen Beeks, who arrived in the second for 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks and the Win. That’s nice for those that need cheap wins, but it’s only his third of the year. Let’s say he gets 12 on the year; is his small volume worth your time if his ratios hold up? It’s close.

Patrick Corbin8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Complete tangent: Some of you were mad that I gave Caleb Smith the AGA label. How could I not? I eventually gave it to Marquez and Wheeler and Buehler last year and Smith has pitched 25% of the season with pure dominance—#2 in the majors in SwStr rate, #3 in K rate, and #6 in both ERA and WHIP. I get it, he doesn’t have the track record of others and the bottom could fall out—I love how protective you guys are of this label. Seriously! It’s awesome how this thing came out of nothing and is now a hotly debated community topic. Smith deserves it for how stupid good he has been and how he has done it against strong teams. Just how it is right now. Anyway, Corbin has been a stud save for just one real dud this year + 1 VPQS start and that’s lovely.

Domingo German7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. My friend sent me a picture of Domingo reading “Lose our ace, replace our ace with another ace” and it’s hard not to feel that way about German. If you landed on Domingo, you’re collecting $200, and there’s no reason to get off this ride.

Gio Gonzalez5.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Look at that, it worked! Sure, the WHIP is poor, but this is certainly a streaming win. Streaming Record: 27-18. That’s a 1.69 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across four starts for Gio, backed by a…yeah…4.40 SIERA, 18% K rate, 88% LOB rate, and just 0.42 HR/9. Y’all don’t need me to tell you to avoid. Vargas Rule if you really want, I’m not dancing with the Jeremy in the pale moonlight.

Mike Minor5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. So Minor had his ridiculous 22 Ks in two starts and has returned eight in his next two. That’s baseball, Suzyn. You’d expected better than a 2.00 WHIP against the Royals and the strikeouts weren’t there as he earned just seven whiffs on the night. His changeup was good in the zone, but nothing else helped with missing bats—just 2/33 on breakers. I think that’s going to be a common theme and while I don’t anticipate that you could, I hope you sold high on Minor.

Jose Urena6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. The man does have it in him at times, but it’s just too inconsistent and it didn’t even come with three strikeouts. Remember kids, if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Justin Verlander7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Verlander earned 23 whiffs (Gallows Pole!) against his former team. I like this guy.

Michael Wacha5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleeeeegh. Sure, 1 ER, but this does nothing to encourage Wacha returning on my teams.

Shaun Anderson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Shaun-A made his MLB debut and here’s the quick hit: His slider is fine, it has its moments, but isn’t the wow pitch you want it to be. Fastball is also in that same good-but-not-great at 92 mph, though he did elevate it effectively at times. Annnnd that’s about it. I don’t really see a big impact SP here. Womp womp. I don’t want to give him the CoS label, but it’s teetering here.

Andrew Cashner6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Whoa, that’s 2 ER or fewer in four of his last five games! Yeah, still don’t care.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. What’s cool is how EJax is now pitching for yet another team. That’s where the coolness ends. So not cool.

Gregory Soto2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Soto is a Cup of Schmo for all intents and purposes, as he pitched few innings here after so recently pitching nearly 90 pitches over the weekend. Sooooooo…toe the line and by that I mean tow the line far away from where you’d consider crossing it.

Matt Strahm5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This was a major test for Strahm and he…didn’t really pass? Maybe? Nah. Just 2/41 whiffs on his slider is still so scary to me, and that 1.80 WHIP is blegh. I dunno y’all. It’s like Strahm is in the purgatory and without that slide piece (or any secondary pitch, I guess) missing bats often, I just can’t get into this. 91.5 mph fastball is good, though! Maybe if that rises to 92+, the slider can be better off it? I’m not sure. You own him and keep starting, but a rise to Top 35 or so seems out of reach right now.

Sonny Gray5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Lovely to see whiffs returning for Gray—13/88—as his slider and curveball did damage to the Cubs. Yeah, the longball caught up to him, but I’ll 100% take this from Gray. Does it mean start him in Miller Park next time out? Nope, but if he passes that test…

J. A. Happ5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhhhh it’s so boring. The WHIP is good, the ERA isn’t, and three Ks are like the Swiss of making this decision. Whatever Happ, be a Toby, I don’t care.

Jake Odorizzi5.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. A bit disappointing from Odorizzi after he’s been impressing us for the past few weeks. Here’s your number for this start: zero. Zero whiffs across all pitches not named “four-seamer.” Yikes. That has to change if Jake is going to be a strong option this year.

Jake Arrieta6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. This is what Arrieta does. He’ll never be so bad that you’ll kick him off, he also will flirt with good outings and mostly be a lame Toby as you have to endure it. I miss the old Arrieta so much.

David Hess6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Not a terrible start overall, but that ERA reminds us that for disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!

Wilmer Font2.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, Wilmer really is the Comic Sans of the Font family.

Jorge Lopez5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Surprised at the seven Ks, smiling politely nodding in agreement to the rest.

German Marquez6.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. You were excited because Marquez was outside of Coors…but you didn’t realize it was Beantown. There was a popular debate of Wheeler vs. Marquez in the off-season and I’m curious where y’all are at with it. I’m in the Wheeler camp personally, but it’s close. Curious how this plays out. For Marquez owners, just hold and keep starting him. If someone wants to buy and gives you something great, sure, go for it. I don’t expect a Top 15 season here as this volatility won’t be eradicated.

Eduardo Rodriguez6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. On the other side of Marquez was The Uni, who earned himself 20/100 whiffs by working in curveballs and cutters well with his filthy changeup. Atta boy. But Nick, the ratios! Ahhh right. A Dusty Donut here as things didn’t really go his way (passed ball for a run, included!) and I’d keep starting Edu without question.

Chris Archer3.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. We learned to respect DLH last year, now we have to understand that the heavy majority of arms are Still ILL. I think you should be fine after this.

Trevor Cahill4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. You’ve heard it before, I don’t care, I love it. After tonight’s HAISTFMFWT?! we’re firmly back to Trevor’s Irish doppelganger, Trevor O’Cahill.


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.


Lance Lynn vs. Kansas City Royals – There are few games and a lot of bleeeeeegh. So I’ll take Lynn’s strikeout upside against the lowly Royals.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Merrill Kelly vs. San Francisco Giants We’re running low on streaming options these days and we’ve seen Kelly do well as he gets the poor Giants. Hooo boy.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


John Means vs. Cleveland Indians – I don’t love Means (he should probably be at like #99 on The List, though) but he has the best matchup here.


Game of the Day


Spencer Turnbull vs. Chris Bassitt – I know, it doesn’t sound exciting, but here are two young arms that are exceeding expectations! Hopefully they both continue their hot seasons.

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/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.

18 responses to “Mike And Dislike”

  1. Michael Bash says:

    Nick, I don’t know if you watched Strahm’s start in full but wanted to add a little note to it.

    3 of the 7 hits he gave up, were 2 infield singles (one of which got overturned) and a bloop that fell into no mans land by Maeda. I’m not sitting here saying hes a future Ace, but if that one inning didn’t involve such bad luck his line would of looked soooo much better

  2. Don says:

    Whats someone you’d potentially be targeting in a trade for soroka? More specifically, in a 12 team h2h categories league? I punted saves at the draft grabbed castillo, but was just offered Treinen and Chavis for Soroka and Riley, thoughts? Sorokas been great for me since losing clev dog, tailon and glasnow smh, but after using your draft strategy and loading up bats I was able to get strasburg and thor in trades. Also love, love, the work you guys do! First year finding the site will be joining the patreon this weekend! keep it up!

  3. bossmanjunior333 says:

    Despite getting the green light to drop Darvish and/or Maeda by you, Mason, Eno, Pod and Albright, I decided to hold on and yesterday just felt really good :)

  4. Frankie says:

    Can we trade in our ‘Nola Day’ t-shirts for ‘Maeda Day’ t-shirts? Kenta-kun absolutely killed it (even at the plate!)

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier as maybe we need to make a third set of shirts now…

  5. John D Benchley says:

    Great article as always….what do you think of trading Marquez for Josh Bell?

  6. Rob says:

    I wanted to mention Lauer’s potential viability as a stream today. I know he is kinda meh but the Buccos are 3rd worst team in wRC+ against lefties this year. I think it is worth a shot in certain formats. I’m giving it a go in my 12t H2H points league.

  7. Duke Nukem says:

    yo Nick- My staff: Bauer, Bieber, Boyd, Buehler, Castillo, Paddack, Cal. Smith

    Darvish is on wire and I’d like to grab him but I can only do so if I drop one of these fellas.
    I can’t see dropping any of them– would you?

  8. theKraken says:

    I thought it was just me trying to protect the AGA label. I like that you make people earn it. FWIW I agree with the Corbin label. I appreciate the recognition. Maybe I’m just sour that I didn’t pick up an shares of Smith for close to free haha.

    Maeda should have probably recorded a shutout last night. They pulled him after he had just faced 3-4-5 or something like that and retired the previous hitter – just to have a lefty come in and face some guy with an OPS below .500. The Dodgers analytics crew is just the worst – the only way you could possibly decide to pull Maeda there was if you had just predetermined that you were going to yank him for the next lefty… of coure the next hitter was right-handed. Maeda was absolutely killing it – too bad they didn’t let him strike out 15 in a shutout with less than 110 pitches. Especially curious when you consider that he will inevitably end up in the bullpen by September. Same org that chooses to trade a gold glove 1B for an OF that looks lost on every ball hit to him. I feel bad for Dave Roberts as there is just no way that he has any input – you can almost see it on his face. Nobody watching the games would make the decisions they make.

    Marquez is confusing! There are a lot of people that think he is an absolute ace, but he doesn’t seem to hold down his end of the deal. Earlier this year I was thinking that he might just be the real deal, but I don’t think he is in that tier at this point. That said, I prefer him to Wheeler – I just don’t like him as much as a lot of people do.

  9. Lion says:

    In my dynasty last three years I have had:

    Finished 1st place regular season all three years. Thank you Nick!

    With that said, I’m Marquez over Wheeler. Why? Money pitch. Wheeler doesn’t have one. Marquez has the nastiest curve out there. Marquez curve is like castillo change. He has more than 2 pitches. Feel like Marquez is where Castillo was before this year. Just one tiny adjustment/pitch tweak/control away from popping into the elite group. Not biased, i own them both. But I do watch all of their starts. Money Pitch is a real thing.

    • Nick Pollack says:


      Well, this is something Fast and I have been talking about. I’d argue that Wheeler’s four-seamer *is* a money pitch, but the definitions need to change as it’s currently crafted to suit sliders and changeups well.

      Marquez doesn’t have as good of a heater as Castillo nor as good of a pitch as Castillo’s changeup, FWIW.

      Also pitching in Coors is going to make that a harder hill to climb.

      The Wheeler vs. Marquez debate is a fun one and I don’t expect it to end after this year. Curious how it all ends up!

  10. Hairstyles says:

    Hey there this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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