Obviously I’m Focusing On Lucas Giolito

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

Should I be dropping this pitcher for Lucas Giolito? I expect a lot of these questions today after he went ham wild against the Astros via 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks and let’s hash this one out. The TL;DR of this is going to be: I like where he’s at, I don’t like that he’s still figuring out the second stuff and fastball locations, but I love the mechanical tweaks that hint at consistency and keeping that 95 mph fastball velocity.

See? You don’t need the rest of this. But here it is anyway.

Giolito was fantastic. 34/105 CSW with his hardest heater of the season at 94.8 mph and even touching 97+, which is downright crazy. He worked his slider better as a whiff pitch – 6/19 – instead of needing the slide piece as a striker getter as his heater sat the zone on 46/57 pitches. That’s crazy high, especially for Giolito. His changeup found strikes as well – 18/24 – and he even went 5/5 with curveballs. In other words, the man found the zone constantly and the Astros were put on their heels. This is a very good thing and we’ve talked plenty about Giolito’s wonky mechanics leading to fastballs landing out the zone, suggesting that a combination of changeups and sliders were the solution to pitch backward. But with his new mechanics – outlined here – now his fastball can dominate the zone and the secondary stuff can do their thing.

But he still whiffed just 11/105. That’s not great. The Astros were missing Springer and Altuve. He’s performed well in a small sample of five-of-his-last-six. To me, I LOVE that Giolito is becoming an arm to trust and roll with right now and it was a pleasure watching him look in command and be a pitcher not a thrower after years of watching him fight his mechanics. If I were to do The List today, I’d likely put Giolito right after Jose Musgrove in the middle of the 30s. It’s still a small sample, his secondary stuff is better but not excellent, and I’m a little concerned about the extra tension getting added to his arm with the new mechanics. That means I’m holding tight (I don’t you get unreal offers) and hoping the velocity sticks without injury. Sorry for the tons of paragraphs this morning, I figured this is what y’all wanted.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. We’re all BeeGees and Boyd Boys and it’s a wonderful thing. That’s it? That’s it. The dude is dope and you feel dope for owning him.

Steven Matz6.0 IP, 1 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m so fascinated by Matz’s strikeout production. He does a great job of the BSB with sinkers – not four-seamers – up and keeping changeups and curveballs low, and he did earn 35% CSW here…but all with just 5 whiffs. Five! I would imagine batters should be more aggressive moving forward with 26 called strikes on just 88 pitches in this game. Matz isn’t a swing-and-miss arm and I’d think he’ll get a bit punished for this moving forward. Or, batters can just let him go 16/27 on curveballs for called strikes. That’s seriously ridiculous, i don’t think I’ve ever seen nearly 60% called strikes on 25+ curveballs before.

Clayton Richard4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! The man who I believe has the very worst pitching mechanics of anyone in baseball. It’s like your 60-year-old uncle showing you how to pitch as he can’t bend his back and extend like he used to.

Trevor Richards5.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. What’s wild here is how many hung changeups Richards threw in this one, yet he still got through it relatively unscathed. 23/91 CSW tells you the luck involved here and I’m glad to have escaped with another streaming win. Streaming Record: 34-19.

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I will certainly take this from Tanaka, who got us all worried at the end of April and has now allowed just 2 ER in his last three games, boasting a sub 3.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, somehow performing well with his heater all of a sudden. Here’s to hoping he somehow makes the current 13% HR/FB rate stick.

Ryan Weber6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Whoaaaaa, I remember Weber starting a few games for the Braves back in the day and completely forgot he was still dancing around. Do we care Nick? No, no you don’t. Is he worth the pickup? Definitely not, please stop grilling me. I ain’t the Weber here, just the messenger.

Madison Bumgarner6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Another strong start from Bumgarner, earning 17 whiffs and 32/102 CSW. I’m still a little a cautious given that he’s really just fastball/cutter these days (10% hooks, 8% changeups in this one), since the other options just aren’t up to snuff. But hey, his cutter is doing great things and we’re just going to keep on rolling.

Martin Perez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhhh this is kinda lame from Perez who pitched a date late due to Wednesday’s rainout. Yes you got your Win but at what cost? AT WHAT COST? Keep starting him n all.

Stephen Strasburg7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You may have wanted a little more in the strikeout department, but this works.

Ryan Yarbrough7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Fratty Pirate had himself a day, earning 16 whiffs and 32% CSW against the Indians. This is wild and weird and I’m happy for all that ran with it as he returned from Triple-A. No, he’s not the latest guy to go chase on the wire, maybe I’ll stick him at like #97 on Monday.

Dylan Bundy5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I was watching this game early on with a few people and they said “whoa Bundy, looks great, is he figuring it out this year?” No. Every start he cruises for a moment then falls apart in the fifth or so. A solo shot in the 5th and a difficult sixth did the damage here and that was that. Kinda. those are good ratios and 5 Ks aren’t bad and Bundy is pitching a bit better these days. Not enough for me to risk the floor, but deeper leagues may want to consider this.

Kevin Gausman6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. A PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and 6 Ks? I see you Gausman. I see you’re eyeing that Spider-Man label. You also earned a Gallows Pole at 18 whiffs – well done bud.

Corbin Martin3.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. On the other side of the Giolito fun times was Martin struggling a bit on the hill. He’s a Cherry Bomb at this point, showcasing a strong fastball but not enough with his curveball and slider/changeup (neither is his definitive third option right now) to make him a consistent play. He gets the Cubs next and I’m moving on to something else if there’s anything solid on the wire.

Aaron Nola5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. We all so badly wanted to take the TIARA right off after his last start, but while his curveball worked then, his fastball was still a little wonky. Here those problems returned without as good of a deuce and, well, yeah. Not a bad CSW at all – 32/93 – I’m just still waiting for the command focused Nola to return. It really was just one inning where the wheels came off here, but nevertheless I’m still not seeing prime Nola. 

Jon Lester4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He was bounced a bit early with plenty of unearned runs to his name and I felt a bit bad for Lester in this one. He has been getting lucky, here’s some of that unlucky regression, and now we should be just fine.

Jordan Lyles5.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Awwwww, but at least now we get a better picture of what Lyles is – a man that can elevate four-seamers with a strong breaker without another good secondary pitch to help out. Seriously, 0/22 whiffs on changeups and sliders and only 5/23 CSW on hooks in this one. These starts will happen, I’m still owning in 12-teamers given the upside and if he didn’t go through this, well, he wouldn’t be in the mid 50s n all.

Adam Plutko5.1 IP, 7 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. For some reason, I just think Adam’s last name is Plut and I can hear the announcer after each start. Plut. K-O. Maybe when he does well we can reverse that.

Matt Harvey2.2 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yeaaaaaaaaah. HAISTFMFWT?! On the real, this is just sad now. Why is he even still in the rotation?

Antonio Senzatela3.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. You’re wondering how you fell into this trap. Just know that Canadians were able to resist with ease as they have a secret sense – the Senz-A. You’ve done it. You’ve made the worst joke of the year. About time.


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.


Trent Thornton vs. San Diego Padres – Thornton has strikeout upside and the Padres are the #1 strikeout-prone offense in the majors.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Mahle vs. Chicago Cubs – I’m actually not in love with this matchup for Mahle, though he’s far-and-away the best pitcher under 20% available and the other matchups are not good in their own rights.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Shaun Anderson vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I have nothing. NOTHING. So why not, go with this young gun. I wouldn’t.


Game of the Day


Blake Snell vs. Shane Bieber – 15 Ks between them sound right?


(Photo by Quinn Harris/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 “Obviously I’m Focusing On Lucas Giolito”

  1. Karl says:

    Hi! I have Giolito in a 20-team dynasty league. I’m very active in the trade market, what might I be looking to get in an ideal sell-high here? Currently have Spiderman Gonzales for Giolito on the table.

  2. Derek says:

    I feel like “…is dope and you should feel dope for owning him” is a step below AGA

    • Jaybird934 says:

      I know! It’d be a cool shirt just for the experience of wearing it the 2 times you actually found someone who understood what it meant after years of everyone else looking at you like you bit the head off a bat. I love shirts like that. Yep, too much caffeine today.

      • Nick Pollack says:

        Ha! That’s kinda how I feel making these shirts.

        One day I hope to run into someone I don’t know wearing it, without any idea that I was going to see it.

        One day…

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s exactly why I said it. I can’t give Boyd the AGA label, but we are all super happy to be BeeGees and Boyd Boys.

  3. Dan says:

    Nick, always my favorite read each morning. Idea for you. Keep a running tally for all your streamers as the year goes. Would be curious in a roto league if a team had only 1-2 high talent SP and streamed the rest of their innings off your suggestions. So at the end of the season, you could say the total IP, W/QS, ERA, WHIP, K’s that you would have if you went with that strategy in a league. Could load up on hitting since you wouldn’t draft many SP. Would be curious if this could be a successful roto strategy in future years,

  4. Wheelhouse Wreck says:

    Damn that guac was tasty ?Drop Mahle or Minor for Heaney in a keeper league?

  5. Jaybird934 says:

    Should I add Giolito and drop……just kidding lol. Thanks for the writeup nick!

  6. Karl says:

    I noticed Kevin Gausman is not on your list. Curious as to where he should fall.

  7. Chucky says:

    I know league contents, settings and rules matter. In the proverbial vacuum…..what’s the value of a Shane Bieber, 23 years old in a keep forever Dynasty?

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