Mind Your Tanners

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Tanner Houck vs NYY (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.

We’ve been waiting for the proper return of Tanner Houck to the Red Sox staff and he got a real start from him against the Yankees tonight, returning 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks (10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches), enduring some rain delays along the way. Streaming Record: 62-44. You’re asking if this is the time to pick up Houck and the answer is…maybe?

In short, his slider is fantastic (52% CSW across 33 thrown!) but he gets the Jays next and I’m not a fan of that. I think his fastball/slider combination does work well, but not so well that I’d risk him against an elite offense like Toronto. However, he does get the Tigers and Rays after and I’d be cool with that. That means if you’re like a 12-year old hoping to hit puberty and looking for a stash, this is your guy. If you need help next week, Houck should be avoided. See? Fantasy baseball is easy.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Jordan Montgomery @ BOS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.

I’m super impressed by The Bear here as he tossed over 50% curveballs and changeups to the tune of a 39% CSW, while his sinker and four-seamer were able to land strikes in the zone. That works, even against a strong crew like the Red Sox. We’ve seen him have it before, though, so don’t go off thinking this is gonna last all of a sudden. He gets the Rays next, though, and I’d target him there.

Anthony Bender vs SD (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 16 pitches.

The real story is Jordan Holloway following Bender for 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 84 pitches. Anyone who previously thought of Holloway as a deep starting option may want to reconsider. The slider was the only pitch that did much of anything and that just isn’t enough.

Tyler Alexander vs TEX (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 59 pitches.

T-Lex was called upon as the extended opener and did good work for Detroit. Let’s all clap for him, displaying our ability to do so and being inconsiderate to the short arms of a T-Lex. How could we be so cruel.

Walker Buehler vs SF (ND) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Like the boys, the secondaries are BACK IN TOWN: Cutter had a 42% CSW and his slider earned tons of strikes. That’s all his glorious four-seamer needs. I’m glad to see this WB entity won’t flop.

Cal Quantrill vs TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

Hey, that’s back-to-back 1 ER outings from Quantrill! And we know it’s not real, making it a TEEsNo, I wouldn’t even Vargas Rule this when he can’t get more than two whiffs on any pitch inside his repertoire.

Sean Manaea @ SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 13 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 106 pitches.

Hot dang! The Manaea party keeps bouncing through the year, with Manea earning a Golden Goal via a 93 mph heater that earned him 12 whiffs in this one. Remember when he was hovering 90 mph last year? It’s wild to see him come this far forward and all I want it for it to last to the end. Don’t make like Bean, Sean. You need to last through the end of this.

Blake Snell @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.

It’s wonderful seeing a stud line from Snell for a night, including the Padres to allowing him to pitch a full six frames, even if was against the lowly Marlins. I wouldn’t say there’s anything specifically different about this one that makes me believe he’s fixed, but at least he’s attacking the zone more with four-seamers these days. I still need more breakers landing for strikes, though – he went just 1/36 sliders + curveballs for called strikes. Come on Snell, everyone else does it, why can’t you?

Kwang Hyun Kim vs CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 84 pitches.

The man can’t be stopped! He’s been vying for Spider-Man but with starts like these, he’s looking more like a legit Top 40 arm. I wouldn’t say that, but it’s great seeing him toss 38 sliders for 42% CSW while still going 4/11 whiffs on changeups. He’s in a groove and I’m excited to see how far it goes.

Andrew Heaney @ MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ayyyy it’s always fun seeing the Cherry show up and not the Bomb. But he was the bomb. Ugh. Anyway, Heaney did it with a legit four-seamer, nailing the top of the zone with ease and pairing it with effective breakers down. I wonder if he’ll get dealt come trade deadline as this PEAS could make for an interesting experiment for the right team – the ceiling is oh-so-tantalizing, after all.

Chris Flexen vs OAK (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 97 pitches.

Ehhhhh that’s just one strikeout (“HAISTMFWT?!”) and it makes you feel icky enjoying that WHIP. How does a man earn just 3 whiffs on 97 pitches? Even Rowengartner got a swing-and-a-miss floating the dang ball. It’s a Vargas Rule for many of you, but I’m staying away. He’s more of a TEEs to me and the “reward” (see above ) is not worth the risk to keep starting him.

Charlie Morton @ PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

It’s a 1.33 WHIP, but I’ll take the trio of success in his 3.00 ERA, eight strikeouts, and a luscious Win. Remember when I had to convince y’all to hold and not worry about Morton? I’m glad one of those guys actually pulled through. Okay, two (Thanks Castillo!).

Kenta Maeda vs LAA (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

…and maybe Maeda too? I labeled this as Maeda’s test I want to say he succeeded, yet his slider wasn’t that great. His splitter earned whiffs and fastball was well commanded, though, so I think we’re at least in the category of “worth it to be on your fantasy team” and that works for me. I’m just not going to go wild and raise him much on The List.

Adbert Alzolay @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 102 pitches.

PQS with eight strikeouts? Sure, that’s good enough for me. He’s been working on his cutter and it was fantastic in this one, going 10/16 CSW (63%!) allowing him to go just 41% fastballs. I’m down with this approach and I’m leaning toward starting Alzolay again against the Reds. Again against. Now I just want a road named Again Street. Some people are for it, some are Again St. Are you done? Yes. Maybe. Sorry.

Anthony DeSclafani @ LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.

It’s unreal. Tony Disco is forced to allow at least 3 ER to the Dodgers each time (he’s done it 3/4 starts this year) and maybe next time will be different. That’s right, he gets them for the fifth time this season next week. SERENITY NOW. At least you got a PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and seven strikeouts if you had the guts to ride him out there. Props.

Luis Patiño @ CLE (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

Awwww I’m disappointed in this one. It’s fantastic to see the Rays allow Patiño to toss 98 pitches, but he made too many slider and fastball mistakes inside the zone. He has a nice schedule ahead – NYY, SEA, @BAL – and I think there will be a moment where it clicks and gets our attention. Good luck guessing which start it’ll be, though.

Mike Foltynewicz @ DET (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 71 pitches.

On one hand, Folty ain’t so great. On the other, the Tigers are plenty better than I’ve given them credit. Noted and certainly noted. Not in that order.

Matt Moore vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Look at that, Moore gave us a 6 6 6 – the mark of the Jeremy Hellickson devil, which is actually just the amount of total fantasy managers across all fantasy platforms who actual have Moore rostered. That can’t be right. It isn’t, but search your heart, you know it to be true.


Game of the Day 


Max Fried vs. Zack Wheeler – I’m looking forward to some smooth, easy baseball from these two gents, tallying 12+ innings between them. Good ole pitching.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photos by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (graphical_ark on Twitter)

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 “Mind Your Tanners”

  1. Barry says:

    Great stuff as usual Nick!

    Touki, Josiah Gray, or Houck ROS?


  2. Ryan says:

    Love the roundup, as always.
    But Morton’s WHIP was 1.33 yesterday – still not a positive contribution, but not as bad as 1.50.

  3. Josh says:

    Looks like you missed Manaea’s last out… ended up finishing the 7th inning on his 13th K.

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