Minor Adjustments

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

(Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

You may recall that I had a “Judgement Day” for Mike Minor back at the start of the season, saying that he’d become a solid 12-teamer arm by May 15th. Sadly I was off by about a month as after his 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks performance last night against the A’s, Minor has sported a 3.11 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 20% K rate, and 5% BB rate in 11 starts since June 16th. Now, there has been a fair amount of luck involved as the HOTEL gives us a .211 BABIP, 73% LOB rate, and 10% HR/FB rate, leading to a 3.69 FIP and 4.31 SIERA. Yikes. Still, there are some major, not insignificant, changes since the opening two months. First, fastball velocity is up a tick from 92.1mph to 93.1 mph, reverting the pitch from a -9.5 pVal to a 7.7 Pval in those games. Ridiculous. The pitch has amplified the effects of his changeup, a near money pitch at 36% O-Swing, 46% Zone rate, and 16.5% whiff rate, from a -4.4 pVal to 6.1. In short, he’s added velocity, improved his #2 pitch, and been more consistent getting strikes with his slider + curveball. I’m not buying that he’s a sub 3.50 ERA guy, but he’s turned into a Toby and that’s lovely. Consider him as a cheap option against the A’s, Angels, and Rays ahead.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Clay Buchholz7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. 30/86 CSW with 8 whiffs across 35 changeups/cutters. This is fine, but a bit underwhelming given that final stat line. Lots of balls in play from his heaters that went Bucky’s way and it’s hard to deny that he’s well overperforming at the moment. I still see a helpful pitcher at the end of that regression, but yeah, these starts are beautiful spikes, not comfortable plateaus.

Walker Buehler7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. And Buehler keeps on killing it. It’s weird to see a sub 10% overall whiff rate for the course of the season, but it’s a product of pounding the zone fast with a 64%+ F-Strike rate. He gets ahead and stays ahead and there’s no reason to doubt him.

Thomas Pannone7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Seeinging 0 ER and three baserunners may make you consider PanLess for your squad, unfortunately he’s a Cup of Schmo. It’s a sub 90mph heater and while his changeup is decent, I don’t think he’ll be able to get the double-digit whiffs with elevated “heaters” again when he doesn’t face the Orioles…and maybe if he does face the Orioles again. He isn’t the man you’re looking for.

Freddy Peralta7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. And this is why we still talk about Peralta. He’s as much of a Cherry Bomb as you’ll find, it’s up to you if you want to dance with the die or not.

Ryne Stanek2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Another False Start with Yonny Chirinos showing up and allowing 3 ER in 5 frames. I’m only investing in Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow here. That’s it.

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. I’m super hesitant to give Flaherty the AGA label, but a guy with a 31% K rate, 1.05 WHIP, and sub 3.00 ERA in 115 frames sure feels like he deserves it, right? My only hesitation is the questionable third option and his youth that inherently makes me question his floor and sustainability. Regardless of that fear, it’s wonderful being a Flaeherty owner and here’s to a strong finish. Oh, right! 25 whiffs because he’s on fire, good for a Gallows Pole.

David Hess7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I know, he had a great start, but this will not end well. After all, for disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!

Jon Lester5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Is Lester making changes to avoid #TheGreatRegressionOf2018? 

Julio Teheran7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m digging Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint and it annoys me a little when Teheran does well among the fragile moments where he theoretically could get axed from the rotation in favor of them. I know, I know, it would take a good amount of crooked starts for that to actually happen, but a man can dream and get them quickly crushed like a soda can, can’t he?

Trevor Williams6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. And Trevor just keeps on going. He allowed a solo shot to Ronald Acuna to lead off his day, then bore down for 3 baserunners and 0 ER in six frames. He’s making this run with just 22 strikeouts in 42 innings and y’all know that’s not something I want to put stock in. Feel free to Vargas Rule it, I’m personally not taking my chances this deep in the year.

Jon Gray6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not overwhelming with strikeouts, but I will definitely take Gray continuing to impress. I wonder where his draft stock will be next year, part of me feels I’ll be a little lower than most – Surprise! – as it’s a nice run in a small sample, with the concerns still a bit apparent. I’d be shocked if he concludes the year on the same high note.

Jake Junis5.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Lots of sliders and a good amount of success with it. I just don’t trust his fastball or any other pitch in his repertoire enough to make me believe Junis can keep making this work. But hey, he was the Call Boy and it worked. Noice. Streaming Record: 78-40.

Casey Kelly6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I don’t trust people with two first names and despite earning 13 whiffs in 89 pitches, this is a Blame it on the Mets through and through.

Trevor Richards5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Nine ks! Against the Yankees! 32 CSW as he went over 30% changeups and that’s pretty dang cool. He got ahead of guys pumping fastballs that didn’t burn him and finished them off with low changeups and a pair of elevated heaters. There’s something here as a discount 12-team play in 2019, I just think he needs the rest of the year to develop a bit more consistency.

Carlos Rodon6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Rodon’s BABIP is ridiculous and you can’t expect him to keep producing like he is, but you shouldn’t be taking him out of his lineup either. It’s weird, I’d call this a Sell High in May, but a hold and play it out in late August. That’s what happens when the trade deadline passes.

Noah Syndergaard6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Good to see a 1.00 WHIP here and a K per inning, though you really wanted that super stud outing from Thor against the Giants, you know? I’m still happy n all, though. Duh.

Odrisamer Despaigne4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The sexiest name in baseball is still getting random starts for the Angels and was pretty dang blegh here. Well of course he is, the man isn’t a fantasy relevant starter.

Brian Johnson4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, go ahead and start Johnson. If you want your team to be shot down in flames. HA Ha ha…

Jacob Nix5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. After a 0.2 inning disaster, Nix showed a little more of what I expect. Kinda. I see a Toby with a hint of more, though we might not get that in full until next season. Not the worst NL-Only discount play.

Zach Eflin3.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. A bit underwhelming from Eflin and I wonder if this will continue through to the end. Is he just a Toby now? I’d weigh my options in a 12-teamer and see if there is something else on the wire instead of blindly rolling with him.

Kyle Gibson4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. And Gibby struggles once again, this time against the ChiSox. 15/105 whiffs are cool, but his two-seamer got knocked around while making mistakes with changeups and sliders as well. Bad news here is that it only gets tougher: Indians up next. I’d sit him out for that, but return for the Rangers + Royals x2 + Tigers after. 

Edwin Jackson4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Dang, does this mean we have to end production of our “I survived a night with EJax” shirts?

Francisco Liriano5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s the Liriano we all know and hate. I’m amazed he still has a job, but it’s Detroit n all.

Robert Stephenson5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Too many walks, short starts, and a bad ERA. That’s the M.O. for Stephenson’s lack of consistent command and unless I see his slider kill it and return shorter at-bats with more strikeouts – I know that’s asking a lot – then I won’t consider this man hidden treasure.

Carlos Carrasco3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Lots of random 5 ER innings today, this time from Carrasco as he faced the Sawx. He couldn’t escape the fourth frame, with the fireworks starting with a Xander Bogaerts solo tate and Carrasco just couldn’t find a rhythm suddenly. It happens and don’t overthink this.

Lance Lynn5.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. A tinge of Careful Icarus here as Lynn killed it for five frames before running into plenty of trouble in the sixth for all five runs. I’m loving his consistently good K/BB and there should be better times ahead, so keep rolling with Lance as he’s on a Lynning team.

Stephen Strasburg4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It was a DLH, but a teetering one that I can imagine people going with. Welp, 23/84 CSW without a single pitch earning more than 3 whiffs as he was incredibly hittable. Considering Strasburg had zero rehab starts, this shouldn’t be so surprising, but it makes you wonder if he’s safe to throw next time out. Will he get his groove back so soon or does he need more time? Your guess is as good as mine, I’m leaning to start him.

Charlie Morton5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces wanna ace. I’ve been skeptical of Morton given his injury history, not because I expected him to allow a 6 ER clunker. This sixth inning just didn’t go his way, turning a possible 2 ER Quality Start into a nightmare in a hurry. Just 7 whiffs overall is a bit shocking as he went full two-pitch pitcher, with two-seamers getting rocked for 90+ mph EV on nine balls in play. Yikes. Don’t bench him, and be happy he still gave you seven strikeouts.

Marco Gonzales3.0 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. The cutter still isn’t doing good things and a date with Houston exposed it once again. I’m finding it really hard to put any faith in Marco these days and if you’re still on the road searching for the silk among the cotton, I’d look elsewhere.

Today’s Streamer

Matt Boyd vs. Chicago White Sox – I like his improved velocity + the ChiSox n all.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Touki Toussaint vs. Miami Marlins – It looks like he’s getting another start in the rotation against the Marlins, and count me in. This might not be sub 20% the day of, but it’s under 10% now in ESPN so jump on it. Reynaldo Lopez vs. Detroit TigersThere’s zero confirmation on Touki so I’m axing that and sticking ReyLo here instead as there is nothing else. Seriously.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Lucas Giolito vs. Detroit Tigers – I know it sounds crazy, though there aren’t any other good options and Giolito hasn’t been so bad lately with better breaking ball command, and improved changeup, and increased velocity. I’m looking for a QS here and we might get it.

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. Max Scherzer Happy Nola Day y’all, and Scherzer too I guess.

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.

9 responses to “Minor Adjustments”

  1. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:

    No delusions of grandeur about Johnson, but what do you think about his 2-start week against MIA (Urena) and CWS (Shields) from a win-potential standpoint?

  2. Mike says:

    Picked up Toussaint and they don’t have him listed as the starter at all this weekend. Wonder what is going on.

    • BB says:

      The Touki plan was nixed at the beginning of the week when they brought up Bryse Wilson to stretch out the rotation with a spot start instead.

  3. Hello From Idaho says:

    I think Flaherty had 25 whiffs last night in 6 IP; crazy number and has to be the gallows pole. Who has the most whiffs in a game this year? Definitely lots of fun watching Flaherty/Buehler duel last night. Thanks as always for the awesome work!

  4. PitcherGIFs says:

    Hey just a quick question pertaining to your write up on Minor here. I have Tony Disco and I’ve stashed Stripling (I’m locked into the #1 seed so I figured i’d stash in case #Dodgeritis happens before sept 10th). Would you think I should drop either of them for Minor? I wont be playing a meaningful game until Sept so I technically don’t need him to try and make the playoffs.

  5. Knucklebear says:

    I wasn’t able to watch Morton’s start but I was looking at the gamecast live with the pitch data and it looked like he was getting squeezed in the 6th inning. Not saying that he was sharp but it looked to me like that had a lot to do with it.

  6. TheKraken says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that you didnt watch the cards dodgers game last night. I think you would be more excited if you did. Both threw the ball as well as they have last night. For my money I prefer wb as the stuff and approach are better. The encouraging news for jf is that he did throw some nice changes last night. He also varied his breaking ball a lot – I have never seen him do that before but if its repeatable then watch out. Both looked brilliant last night.

  7. TheKraken says:

    Teheran is not going to lose his job. He isnt a new name but he is a perfectly reasonable mlb sp and i think he would hold a job in just about any rotation. He is way better than those aaaa options that look comprable from a mile away. Imagine how trash they would be if they had to take regular rotation turns and the book was out on them. You and I differ in that i care a lot about qs and I thibk you are a ratio chaser. There is another world out there where sketchy short starts are really bad…. Like where there is any type of cap on starts like dfs even.

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