Minor Tweaks

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

I don’t often lead with the same pitcher twice so frequently, but there needs to be a new discussion about Mike Minor following last night’s 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks brilliance against the Brewers. I was suggesting that Minor should take a step back in the final two months a few weeks ago, and while it was four straight starts of four or more earned runs, his past two starts have been 15 frames of 18 Ks, two walks, and zero earned runs. Ridiculous.

We’re seeing his fastball usage rise a bit as he pulls back on his mediocre curveball, which makes perfect sense when your fastball has a 17+ pVal and 28/59 CSW in one game. Yeah, it was 43/103 overall as the pitch consumed the Brewers, sticking in the top half of the zone with changeups and sliders in the bottom half. I still have a little bit of caution as it came in at just under 92 mph and wasn’t so perfectly spotted, but as we see other arms in the Top 30 struggle, it’s hard not to side with Minor making the necessary adjustments with his fastball and changeup to still be that SP No. 2/3 down the stretch. Here’s to hoping he pulls it off.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Chris Bassitt7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Bassitt was a popular play for a Sunday stream as he faced the White Sox, and this certainly paid off. It’s great to see whiffs on his fastballs again12 earned on 69 heatersthough there is nothing else in his repertoire that is working well. Weird to say that after such a good outing, but I’m really skeptical that Bassitt can make this work for an elongated amount of time. I just need more from the breakers or changeup.

Jacob deGrom5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace … and allow three unearned runs in the first as you can’t quite catch the throw to first and bounce a throw to the plate. Just 26/101 CSW for deGrom as well as he wasn’t quite on point. So it goes, this start still helps you out in a big way.

Hyun-Jin Ryu7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Hey, he’s back! It wasn’t a DLH as it was just one start missed, and Ryu is a must-start in all cases. He’s proven that he needs to be in the first tier now. FINE. It’s happening y’all. 

Masahiro Tanaka8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Great job, Tanaka, we’re proud that you’re able to earn your keep on our staff. Now with the Indians next, I still have some hesitation, especially when you went 0/28 earning a single whiff on your splitter in this one. Yikes.

Ryan Yarbrough8.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. The Fratty Pirate does it again. We’ve seen the Mariners take a ton of called strikes this year, and this start was no exception28 called strikes on 98 pitches!while 13 whiffs and weak outs made this a near Maddux. It’s likely the Tigers or Mariners next, and I’d continue to roll Yarbrough out there. His stuff is good enough to make it work.

Wade LeBlanc – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Solid stuff from LeBlanc, especially after 11 earned runs across his past two games. So this Johns Yep. Way too risky for too little reward.

Aaron Civale6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m impressed by the bottom line, and there were things I liked here. Civale did a great job jamming left-handed hitters with heaters and cutters and attacked the zone constantly. None of his pitches truly took over, though, and it’s hard to get fully on board without that fantastic weapon in his back pocket that could return a high ceiling. Now with the Yankees next, I’d hold off starting Civale, even if this was the Twins.

Jordan Lyles7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. Lots of high heaters with curveballs for strikes and BAM! You have yourself nine Ks from Lyles. 30/106 CSW is a little mehfour walks shouldn’t surprise you therebut now that you’re done with his two-start week, you’re wondering if he’s worth the hold for the Nationals. I’m not totally buying this outing, but keep it on your radar.

Trent Thornton6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I want to be proud of Double Tee for this performance against the Yankees; it’s just hard when I didn’t see great command with his stuff. A lot of fastballs thigh-high over the plate, sliders hung up, and good but not great splitters. His cutter did keep them off balance a bit, but nothing that would suggest a line like this. Proceed with caution.

Lucas Giolito6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Giolito was dominant with heaters, earning 27/63 CSW on his four-seamer alone (43%!) and using changeups and sliders for the rest. He looks locked in for the home stretch, and it’s hard not to be a little excited that he’s picking it up at the right time.

Jake Junis6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Junis was a backup call boy here, and his breaker was solidnot amazingas his fastball wasn’t laced by the Tigers. It’s not the kind of start that truly attracts me to Junis, but it may be enough for me to chase one more outing against the Mets.

Dinelson Lamet5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Sadly, it was just five frames, but this start helped your squad as Lamet still doesn’t get enough love. Streaming Record: 76-51. Phils are next, and there’s no reason to stop tossing Lamet out there.

Jose Berrios6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Just 1/18 whiffs on curveballs here, but 31% CSW overall as his changeup picked up some of the slack and he pounded the zone with heaters. Not a great outing but not terrible, and be happy that Berrios has a decent floor these days.

Andrew Cashner1.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. Here are some fun numbers regarding Cashner’s move to Boston. Yes, an 8.01 ERA in six starts. Womp freakin’ womp.

Luis Castillo6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. A touch disappointing ratio-wise, but the changeup is still unreal, and so will be Castillo. 

Jon Lester5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. At least he had the benefit of some calls to get him seven strikeouts, as this is overall super mediocre. I’m OK swapping Lester for streams at this point.

German Marquez8.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Yep, this works, Marquez. Sure, maybe one earned run fewer as you had a date in San Diego, but it all helps and you’ve continued to showcase value post the Giants’ slaying in Coors. And hey, while he’ll be home next time, it’s the Marlins. Surely he can survive that, right?

Connor Menez1.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Connor is a Cup of Schmo, and that’s that. Menez is neither a Con nor a Pro. He’s just ignored.

Anibal Sanchez5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. No win, poor ratios, and just three strikeouts don’t do a whole lot, but that’s why he has the Toby label. You just can’t get rid of him, can you?

Asher Wojciechowski6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. The Woj got the Astros and returned a PQS with a decent WHIP and five Ks. That ain’t bad with better sliders and curveballs than we’ve seen of late. It’s a gauntlet of matchups as he gets the Sawx next, but don’t forget him when he finds the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s getting his skills back.

Steven Brault4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. There is nothing pulling me into rostering Brault. You should be heavin’ Steven if he’s somehow on your staff.

Mike Foltynewicz6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. He grinded in the first frame, and with three earned runs already behind him, his following five frames were strong. Obviously a disappointing overall line against the Marlins, but the slider was still good, heaters were 95 mph, and I’d consider a start against the Dodgers next. I know, I know, but that’s where I’m at with Folty right now. The keyword there is consider, don’t blindly start.

Daniel Norris3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I considered Norris as a desperate Sunday play as he faced the Royals, and it went way south. I’d shy away from investing here as it’s simply too much of a gamble.

Patrick Sandoval4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. I think there is some talent in the Irish Panda, but he didn’t have his best against the Sawx and they made him pay for it. He gets the White Sox next and may be a sneaky play in deep leagues.

Justin Verlander5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna still be No. 1 after this game as he had 11 strikeouts, but that 2.00 WHIP and poor ERA really stings. And it wasn’t via the longball! We shrug and move on as he earned a share of the Gallows Pole with 19 whiffs (oh, and 37% CSW with 40/109).

Jake Arrieta3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeaaah, that’s the Arrieta that we know and hate. A little shocked at the five strikeouts, though. He may consider surgery ASAP to make him better for 2020, so monitor the situation if you have to start him in that super deep league.

Miles Mikolas5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. If you feel you have some insight on Mikolas, by all Johns, let me know. This was the trifecta of ideal circumstances for Mikolasat home, against a weak lineup, with an 87.5 mph sliderand it didn’t go his way, a start after when the trifecta was horrid and he excelled. It makes me feel the whole 8-Miles experience is with our hands up in the air and just letting baseball do its thing. Sure, it was a pair of Josh Bell longballs that truly did Mikolas in, but still. It’s too much of a wild card without enough of a ceiling for me to chase.

Hector Noesi6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Do you want to roster Hector? No ese. Welllllllll, this is weird. Noesi earned a share of the Gallows Pole last night with 19 whiffs on 108 pitches. 32% CSW as his slider and curveball were pretty dang good. WHAT. Yeah, this is super super weird. Sliders and curveballs were at the bottom of the zone and while there were some mistake heaters that were punished, he pitched … well. But now he heads to Coors, and we’re going to forget this ever happened. Probably much better that way.

Mike Leake5.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. On the plus side, maybe it means we can take a deeper chance on Taylor Clarke if Leake continues to struggle? Maybe?


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.


Erick Fedde vs. Cincinnati RedsI have little faith in this one, and I’m still waiting on a few starters to get announced who will hopefully be decent Monday options. I’m not doing this one. Mitch Keller vs. Los Angeles AngelsFine, let’s have some fun with this one. Keller, I know you have the stuff to impress; let’s see how the kid does in his second chance to prove himself.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Brett Anderson vs. San Francisco GiantsHe defies all logic, so why not, here’s the Giants. Joe Ross was also considered on this blegh streaming day, but the Reds are kinda hot right now.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Homer Bailey vs. San Francisco Giants – I’m tempted to pick a side in the Allard vs. Reid-Foley game, but I’m leaning Bailey against the lowly Giants in spacious Oracle Park.


Game of the Day


Mitch Keller vs. Los Angeles Angels – Wow us, kid. Please.


(Photo by George Walker/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.

2 responses to “Minor Tweaks”

  1. Ryan DC says:

    That Castillo start was a bit of a Careful Icarus, he was scoreless through five innings, allowed 1 run in the sixth, then 2 in the seventh and 1 of which came from his reliever.

  2. zach says:

    Love these articles!!! Would love an article for RP’s similar to this and batters box;) keep up the awesome content

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