Our Pax Against The Wall

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

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

I’m happy we were able to see vintage James Paxton for one more start this year as he went 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks against the Rangers, bringing his ERA down to 3.76 for the year. Yeah, 3.76. It’s been a weird season for Paxton owners, as he’s flashed plenty of elite SP upside with moments of dismay and annoyance. Just 160 innings isn’t ideal as well, but seeing a guy with a 14.3% overall whiff rate, 32.5% K rate, and 1.10 WHIP makes me think he deserves the love he’s going to get in drafts next season. Even with a 1.30 HR/9 again, I’d imagine the ERA to fall down closer to 3.30 than staying elevated. But the question of his health is a major one. Can he give you 180 innings next year? Does that weight of that question mean that he gets pushed out of the Top 15? It might. I haven’t quite decided yet – my early edition of the List for 2019 will come out on October 8th – but it’s not out of the question Paxton gets pushed to the back of the teens simply because of that injury floor. Blegh, I hate baking in health risks. Why can’t they just be injury free ALL THE TIME? 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Nathan Eovaldi2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. You’re going to see a lot of short starts today from openers or teams playing it safe as the playoffs come and innings limits are hit. Good stuff here from Eovaldi, but not enough to really make an impact.

Liam Hendriks1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. False start. I wonder if the A’s will continue this next year or even pull it off in the playoffs…

Michael Lorenzen5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Lorenzen isn’t this good – and that’s including a two strikeout performance – and won’t be someone to consider entering 2019.

Steven Matz6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Well, well, well, saving your best for David Wright are we? I’m not sure I’ll be targeting Matz in drafts next year, though there is some conjecture to be had about finishing with a 2.44 ERA and near 30% K rate over his final eight starts…against the Giants twice, Nats twice, Phils twice, and Marlins twice. There might be a correlation. Just throwing it out there.

Miles Mikolas8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Mikolas, you were one of my favorite targets in drafts this season, returning a blissful 2.83 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across 200 frames and 32 starts. An 18-4 record doesn’t hurt either. The question will be what to make of it for 2019 and I wonder if his expected regression to say a 3.40 ERA and 1.15 WHIP will be balanced by what I think will be a rise in his 18% K rate to, say 22%+. He has the stuff to make it happen, and I can see myself still aiming to own Mikolas in all leagues next year if his price is past the #120th overall pick.

Aaron Nola7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace as we had one more lovely Nola Day to celebrate. a 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 27% K rate across 212 innings is everything we could have dreamed of for Nola and while we should take a little step back next year (health? A rise in a .251 BABIP given the poor Phils defense?) he’s obviously Top 10.

Trevor Richards6.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Phew, I thought I was going to keep tearing down my streamer ERA for the entire weekend! Thank you Richards, I hope you guys believed in him after his previous strong start against the Nationals. Definitely an intriguing upside play at the end of drafts next season as that changeup is dope, but his ceiling is capped until his heater and whatever third pitch he wants can properly hold their weight. Streaming Record: 102-53. Come on Alcantara, give me that satisfying 50 game gap today.

Anibal Sanchez6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m still in a bit of shock that Anibal, a man who had a 6.41 ERA in 2017 and 5.87 mark in 2016, gave owners 136.2 frames of a 2.83 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Astounding. His cutter was the catalyst for his revitalized career, though I’m not going to bank on him producing anywhere close to this level next season. Can he be a Toby? Sure, I don’t see why not. But also keep in mind that he only made 23 starts this year and he ain’t getting any younger. It’s kinda weird we say that phrase when that’s always the case. No one is getting younger. TIME DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT. Well, time is a human construct. I don’t want this conversation to continue.

Justin Verlander6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. After being a major fan entering 2017 drafts, I stayed true with Verlander and I’m a bit amazed he’s still cruising at 35 years old with yet another 34 start season. Unreal. The question is where to place him for next year – he isn’t getting any younger – and I haven’t decided just yet. My gut is to ignore the age and let him fly. Anyway, enjoy your last Gallows Pole of the year at 20 whiffs.

Domingo German1.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. The Yanks clinched home field in the wild card, prompting a bullpen game featuring Lance Lynn and Sonny GrayYou may be wondering if German could be a dark-horse sleeper next year. It’s not out of the question. I actually prefer his teammate Jonathan Loaisiga for the long haul, though.

Kyle Gibson6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Solid stuff from Gibson against the ChiSox, ending the year with a 3.62 ERA and 22% K rate. The 1.30 WHIP is still kinda meh, but let’s all be shocked together that suddenly Gibson produced a solid fantasy year as a Toby. Probably won’t dip in again for 2019, but this was cool.

Cole Hamels7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Speaking of cool, Hamels has been dope as dope in a Cubs uniform, holding a 2.36 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts since joining the team on August 1st. It could carry into 2019, it could not. It all depends on his price, and I’ll be in around the mid-40s I think. That sounds about right.

Dallas Keuchel3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Keuchel was shortened as planned, with Framber Valdez getting a moment today. That means Josh James is the main arm to relieve Charlie Morton today and that should raise an eyebrow. Add James if you need the help today, for real. Anyway, with Keuchel, he’s a Toby moving forward and I won’t be chasing him in the Top 40, maybe not even 50. I just don’t trust a high ceiling anymore.

Blake Snell5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Snell wrapped up was is sure to be a Cy Young season. 1.89 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 221 strikeouts with a 21-5 record sounds about right.

Adrian Sampson6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Huh, can’t say I in any way anticipated Sampson being serviceable in any way. That’s baseball, where even Cup of Schmoes can have a Birthday Party.

Stephen Strasburg6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Nice to see Strasburg have a solid start to close out the year, closing out the season with a disappointing 3.74 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He’ll come at a discount next season given his health and the career low ratios, and while he’ll be Top 20, I wonder if he’s a better option than the Power Quads 2.0 of Taillon, Buehler, Flaherty, and Clevinger. We’ll see.

Dylan Bundy6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. We all know the ceiling for Bundy, but what a terrible year overall at a 5.45 ERA and little to grab onto after a very hot five-start stretch to open the season. I’m not against taking a chance on it at the very end of drafts next year, but I can tell you, it will be a frustrating time.

Zack Godley6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I had a great time at the meetup yesterday – it was really nice to meet some of you in person! We’ll do another sometime in March-May next year – and I remember a fun discussion about Godley. Entering last year I was conflicted with two arguments: A) His Dribbler % + Pop Up % + K % was among the elites in the majors, meaning he’s in control of positive outcomes among the very best. This is why I loved him. B) His mechanics are terrible and I wonder if they were holding him back from consistently performing at that level. I ignored B) and trusted A) and I messed up y’all. Sorry about that. He’ll still have starts like this PQS with 5 Ks and definitely better as well, but I can tell you now that I’ll be very hesitant to truly buy into a comeback for Godley if it comes with the same mechanical flaws.

Jake Junis6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. A VPQS with 6 Ks? Yep, that sums up Junis’ season pretty well. There’s value here and there but overall it was a Toby-esque season with a touch of Cherry Bomb in there. Not really the kind of guy I want for a full year.

Corey Kluber5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Bleeeeegh. We wanted more from Kluber as we got that last start and for 2018, I think I’m going to have him at the bottom of the Top 10. Too much inconsistency and he’s not the KluBot we once loved.

Wade Miley3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Miley has fallen back down to Earth in his last two starts of the year, raising his ERA to a despicable 2.57. HOW DARE HE. Sorry if you guys needed Miley to come through here.

Yefry Ramírez6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. A PQS is actually good news with Yefry. Yay for him.

Tyler Skaggs3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I wonder where Skaggs will go next year. I didn’t expect my The Tyler Skaggs Myth to be this on point by season’s end, which I feel is cheating given that he was clearly affected by injury, souring a collection of starts that brought his near 3.00 ERA down dramatically. Seriously, it was a 2.62 ERA through his first 19 games, which rose to 4.02 in his final five as he never tossed more than 3.1 frames in a game. That’s dumb. The moral here is that you may have some legit value chasing Skaggs next year, especially if he’s out of the Top 50 given that ghastly final ERA. Could be an interesting get.

Jameson Taillon6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. You want a little better than a PQS from Taillon, but 7 Ks and a 1.17 WHIP will do nicely. I reached out to him on Twitter and he was super kind to give me a long answer past 1:00am talking about the introduction of his slider back on May 27th. In short, he wanted a pitch to properly tunnel with his four-seamer, found a grip he liked, saw success with it and its usage went up with it. I legit think he’s on the path to becoming a Top 15 stud ala Nola and I’ll be chasing him plenty next year.

Ryan Borucki6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Yep, that looks like a Borucki start alright.

Jacob Nix4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Maybe one day Nix will be the man I saw in that debut again. Just Nix the idea of adding him to your teams to start off 2019.

Jon Gray2.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. No I will not be chasing Gray next year. It’s going to be a headache and while he will win weeks for owners at times, he’ll also lose them constantly. This won’t change.

Clayton Kershaw5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Wait, why. How. No. Kershaw has raised his ERA from 2.45 to 2.73 in his final two starts of the year and it’s dumb. Should he be Top 5 for next year? Probably? Even in this “down” year, Kershaw was still a stud for 26 games. Still, under 180 innings for three straight seasons doesn’t sit completely right, and I might be inclined to favor Sale, Scherzer, Nola, Verlander, deGrom, and possibly even Cole above him because of it. I’m not sure yet.

Daniel Norris4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Norris is McCullersing with his slider piece – 40 thrown in 94 pitches! – and it kinda worked here. Too bad his heater is still sub 91mph and he only earned 4/40 whiffs on that slide piece.

Dereck Rodriguez3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Awwwww, but I wanted Dereck to be overdrafted next year! Maybe he still will at a 2.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, but that 18.3% K rate and 4.58 SIERA are sure to scare a lot of people away. Womp womp. He’s a Toby, nothing more. Also, just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Carlos Rodon1.0 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Nothing like a 9.22 ERA, 2.12 WHIP and 1:1 K per BB for the month of September to close out a season, am I right? His command is just bad right now, though there’s a chance he is a Toby with K upside next year.

Today’s Streamer

Sandy Alcantara vs. New York Mets – I know it’s a been poor command for two starts straight (both against the Nationals), but with few options here I’ll chase his upside as he could still pull it together. Pay attention over the weekend, these starts are subject to change on a dime.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tiebreaker Pitchers – So it’s not 100% over necessarily. If there are tie-breakers, your league may count Game 163 to your H2H playoffs or roto league. Stock up on the possible starters for the Brewers/Cubs/Dodgers/Rockies. You’ve got nothing to lose. AND Ivan Nova and Jeff Brigham will be starting a postponed game on Monday. Go figure, grab them both (Ivan over Brigham). Why not.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Legit None – Okay so the season is actually done at this point. There’s no tie-breaker tie-breaker scenario left. Yep, it’s the end.

Game of the Day

Brewers & Cubs & Rockies & Dodgers – Seriously, watch these games. This is the fun stuff.

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.

One response to “Our Pax Against The Wall”

  1. Mike says:

    Not like it matters but that Pirates/Marlins game tomorrow was already canceled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login