Off Target

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

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

You drafted Chris Archer. Maybe you believed he would finally take that step this season or you needed strikeouts. Maybe he just fell a ton and you couldn’t say no. Whatever the reason, you’re probably hating everything right now after he went 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks against the Phillies. It’s a terrible situation. He would have been dropped last week if he were any random shlub, but this is Archer! You can’t give up on him…right? I’m not going to be contrarian, you shouldn’t give up on him. I understand it’s been bad, but he’s sporting a 3.71 SIERA despite that ghastly 7.84 ERA and it’s rooted in three terribly unfortunate numbers: .379 BABIP, 55.9% LOB rate, 18.2% HR/FB rate. I understand if you think his HR rate won’t drop too much, but his 1.74 HR/9 can’t stick around and he’s still boasting a 25.0% K rate with a 14.2% whiff rate. I think there’s actually a great buy-low opportunity here, though I have no choice but to drop him a bit in tomorrow’s ranking until he figures it out. And yes, I’m giving him a TIARA. You know he deserves it.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Trevor Richards – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Richards did well last night! Oh, wait, not this Richards. Well I guess this Richards, but we don’t care about this Richards. Sorry to be a Richard, Richards.

Clayton Richard – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Today was the day of Tracys as another Richard – The Wrong Clayton! – got his time on the bump, much to the excitement of nobody.

Garrett Richards – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Finally, this Richards! So this was going really well – you could say it ended that way too – but in his final frame, he threw a ton of wild pitches and something was off. I don’t think it was injury related and I’m hoping it was just the weather being dumb. I’m very slightly worried but otherwise Richards’ stuff is so good that his 5.85 H/9 is in some way believable. Okay, obviously it’s not but a sub 7.50 mark is within his reach and that’s wonderful.

Jameson Taillon – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. The man keeps cruising along, but his changeups were meh and just four whiffs in this game is a bit disappointing, especially against the Fish. This might be a nice sell high…? That’s only if someone in your league is all over Taillon after this outing and thinks he’s a Top 20 guy the rest of the way. He’s not, could be Top 30, but I don’t see a pitch in his repertoire that will take over to make him turn into a constant K guy, especially with the Pirates hatred of strikeouts.

Chase Anderson – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Good news: Anderson is 3-for-4 with quality starts and holds a 2.82 ERA. Bad news: It’s a 5.12 FIP with a fastball about 1.5 ticks lower than last year. Good news: he didn’t get his velocity jump until mid/late May last year. Bad news: I would have expected it to stick from last season, not be a ramp up again. Also bad news: Just a 7.3% whiff rate thus far leading to a 20% K rate. Even more bad news: Bears.

Miles Mikolas – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. If you believed in me for his two-start week, I think you’re a happy man. What’s even better is that he gets a relatively good schedule moving forward, facing the Reds (again), Mets, ChiSox in his next three. I’m all for that, even in this weird parallel universe where the Mets are winning.

Taijuan Walker – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He left this game with a forearm strain after pitching heaters around 90mph. He normally goes 93-94. I don’t expect him to be back on the field for a long time. Poor guy.

Jake Arrieta – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Ehhhhh, just one strikeout with 4 whiffs is weird. He actually used his slider – the pitch that has been the sign of Arrieta’s decline in recent years as he reduced its usage plenty – more than any other secondary pitch. That’s not great. Hopefully it’s just him getting his feet wet in his first few starts.

Charlie Morton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Morton is flat out dominating and it’s pretty nuts. His curveball held a 28% whiff rate today – 10/36 – Fastballs around 96mph, and even had 23 called strikes to go with 17 whiffs. That’s ridiculous. He obviously is getting a bump tomorrow, but I am a little cautious of believing so heavily in him. He’s been injured more than any player I can think of and I wonder if this makes him a prime sell high candidate. Also, he’s not going to maintain a 6.50 H/9, 33.3% K rate, and 98.6% LOB rate.

Sean Newcomb – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Bee Bees and Kays. I’d eat that cereal all day and I’m pretty sure Newcomb already does. That WHIP is terrible, but you’re here for the punchouts and you got them. Be happy.

Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Only a walk and 2-run blast from Blackmon in the first. Yep. And of course another Gallows Pole under his belt with 20 whiffs to his name.

Hector Velazquez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I just don’t buy this at all from Velazquez. He’s not a strikeout guy and his stuff doesn’t make me think he can be a Toby despite it. Maybe a rare streamer, but that’s it.

Derek Holland – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the Dutch Invasion! Don’t be a victim, be ignorant that the war wages on.

Marco Gonzales – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. There was some hype in the preseason about Marco. That hype has deflated like a balloon released from the hands of a child, drifting endlessly in the sky hoping to rekindle that once experienced love, but destined to descend into a forest, leaking its air slowly, inevitably fading as it contributes to the circle of life. That was kinda depressing and I’m sorry but sometimes I can’t stop rambling. However, I can stop from owning Gonzales in any league and so should you.

Matt Harvey – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Mr. Dent’s 6 Ks are not going to make me consider this again. He’s just not the man he used to be.

Jake Junis – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Three HRs did him in as Junis battled through terrible weather once again. His fastball wasn’t that great, curveball hung for an Upton bomb, but his slider was good. I don’t think this should be the start that you judge him either way on, though 12 whiffs and 7 Ks are cool n stuff. Keep rolling here.

Brandon Finnegan – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Finnegan is back! This was a DLH situation, though it’s not like you guys were really holding out for this one. His problem is command, it’s still a problem, and I don’t think it won’t be a problem. That’s a problem.

Kendall Graveman – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It wasn’t a Grave Mistake, but it was definitely a mistake like me. Just kidding. I think.

Jon Gray – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, six Ks! Hey, he still drives you up the wall and makes you question why you even put with this. Why do you put up with this?

Mike Minor – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I was shaky about this start given the Astros, but I was really hoping he would rise above it and claim his spot among the Spice Girls as the one to go off and marry someone famous. It wasn’t meant to be, though don’t let this dissuade you from running out with him. Yeah, it wasn’t a great outing, but Minor has always been the one that needs the most time to get his schtick together. Remember, he hadn’t started since 2014 prior to this season and I think if you stick with him until May 15th – that’s the date I gave on the cast – he’s going to make you stop playing Ionian and go purely Aeolian. But alas, my seven game winning streak comes to an end. Streaming Record: 9-5. Yes, I said I liked Mikolas more but I’m owning up to this.

Alex Cobb – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Alex Cobb is back! Alex Cobb still can’t throw a good changeup and was shelled as this was labeled a DLH even though it wasn’t an injury. Give him another rest and wait for it to show up first.

Rich Hill – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The headache of Hill continues as he doesn’t even perform well when he does get a full five frames. Not much you can do, just stick him in next time and hope for the best.

Jose Quintana – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. I was thinking of leading with Quintana over Archer, but this one is a bit simpler. It sucks right now, but he’s not down and out. The Braves are surprisingly scary as an offense out of the gate, and Quintana didn’t have his A-game. It’s not time to give up yet. I can actually imagine him being an excellent buy low after his next start in Coors.

Today’s Streamer

Joey Lucchesi vs. San Francisco Giants – I don’t love him like many others do, but he’s the best option for the day as the Giants don’t scare me.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. San Diego Padres – As long as he doesn’t cough to hard to hit the DL, Ryu’s able to be productive against the Pads.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Nick Pivetta vs. Atlanta Braves – I’m a little intimidated by the Braves right now, but let’s see if Pivetta can pull off another exciting strikeout performance.

Game of the Day

Chris Sale vs. Dylan Bundy – There are so many aces going today, but I want to see if Bundy can still be dope against a strong Sawx offense, while Sale is a joy every day.

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.

14 responses to “Off Target”

  1. Bob says:

    Thoughts on using a #2 waiver claim on Kenta Maeda I would have go drop E-Rod to do so?

  2. DJ says:

    I watched the at Anderson start as the velocity is a concern and I was curious how he looked. Yes, the FB velo was down, especially as the game wore on, but his pitch mix looked greasiest and he kept the mets off balance all game. If you look at the exit velo against anderson for the game it was in the mid 70s so yes the lack of velo and swinging strikes continues to be concerning, i wonder if anderson has improved his sequencing where he can keep other teams off balance.

    On another note, I loved what i saw from Mikolas. Great breaking stuff he can command, and while he sits 92-94, he can pump his fastball up to 96-97 if he needs to

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You hit the nail on the head as to why I adore Anderson, thing is that command of his repertoire is great, but doesn’t translate to a Top 35 arm unless he has that velocity to mask the times he does make mistakes.

      But right, that’s why he’s still Top 50 to me.

      Glad to see the Mikolas love :)

  3. Jackie Robinson says:

    Hey Nick, who do you see being ranked higher on Monday…Taillon or Corbin?

    I currently have Taillon but someone surprisingly just dropped Corbinin my 8 teamer and I’m contemplating making the switch.

  4. Max says:

    One thing I’m surprised you haven’t talked about with Quintana is that his velo is down almost a full two ticks from his career average. I know a lot of guys “work into” their velocity as the season goes on but it’s really worrying me right now that Quintana is having trouble hitting 90mph with his four-seamer.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m ashamed I didn’t notice he’s a little more than a tick down from last year, good catch!

      I think we still need to give him a little more time. He’ll take a hit tomorrow and I’ll definitely be watching this moving forward, but he gets a little extra cushion to get it together.

  5. Let's Play Two says:

    I own Quintana and I’m having serious doubts about his reliability after the start to this season and the difficulties he had last season. He’s actually off to a worse start this year than last years’ bad start. Fangraphs (ZIPS/Steamer/DepthCharts) ROS projections of a low to mid 3’s ERA and close to 200K’s seem optimistic considering. I see him as a 4-ish ERA like last year with fewer K’s. Agree or disagree about Quintana?

  6. larry womack says:

    Erod or Milo over the long run.


  7. Let's Play Two says:

    Hey Nick. I saw my post about Quintana was skipped over. Would love to get your feedback.

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