Pablo, Picasso

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Friday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.

Pablo López vs MIL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 99 pitches.

I just want to say how thrilled I am to see Pablo López earn a Golden Goal against the Brewers Friday evening via 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 99 pitches. Normally when I lead with a pitcher it’s to highlight something new or different that you should be aware of. Today? It’s just a celebration of Pablo debilitating batters with the same formula that has yet to break — stellarly commanded fastballs and one of the best changeups in the game.

Combined, they went 77% usage with his changeup earning 14 whiffs and his four-seamer returned 42% CSW. His strikeout plot (featured in the graphic) was a work of art, painting his changeup down while moving East-West effectively with fastballs, even mixing in some cutters for strikes and sinkers off the plate.

The biggest concern I’ve had is “what happens when one of the two aren’t there?” but like Kevin GausmanPablo doesn’t give us an answer to that question often and now holds a 1.05 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate while averaging over six frames per start. H*ck, he has four wins to his name and should have more after a night like this. There is still a question of stamina as he’s yet to toss more than 115 frames in an MLB season, but with so many injury questions out there, it’s hard to knock him too hard for it. Keep being awesome, López. Aces. Gonna. Ace.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Eduardo Rodriguez vs BAL (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 104 pitches.

Can we be happy for Erod? He finally faced a mediocre offense and was able to get out of jams because of it. BUT MY WHIP. But my lack of empathy, as the real world of baseball only cares about runs and Erod got to showcase to Detroit that he was worth the money for a night. Let’s be happy for him. And the changeup? Oh, that was terrible, once again — 1/8 CSW. It’s not a fun topic right now. He better find it soon.

Chase Silseth @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.

Ummmm who are you? Why that’s Chase! The Angels called him up after just five starts in Double-A and he was pretty dang swell against the Athletics. Let’s go over Chase’s Skill Set(h). He was pumping as high as 99 mph in the first frame, then came down to 93-96 by the third. He also featured a filthy split-change and erratic breakers that sometimes earned free real estate for early strikes, and he’d be lucky if the slider/curve becomes a constant #3 moving forward. Just watch the first two pitches of his game to understand the ceiling — 98 mph followed by a filthy slow ball off the edge. 6/28 whiffs on that pitch while he pounded the zone with those mid-90s heaters for 47% CSW. That’s amazing! Well, it was the Athletics and we’re not sure if he sticks around as the #6 man or not. If he does, he gets the Athletics again and that certainly seems like a valid start. I wonder whether the command is truly good enough to set up that legit splitter, though, and whether his heater can avoid a ton of hard contact along the way. Feel free to pick him up and see where this goes.

Framber Valdez @ WSH (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.

That’s the life of Valdez: powering through with a solid ERA at the cost of your WHIP. And I’m okay with that. Good to see a day where he was able to earn called strikes with his sinker while the curveball went 44% CSW, and even a cutter showed up for 43% CSW of its own. Ain’t that fun!

Nick Pivetta @ TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Pivetta had success on a night where he had just four strikeouts and eight whiffs. Does that seem weird to you? That seems awfully weird to me. Everything was up in the zone (including the curveballs) and his slider found the heart of the plate often. And it worked. The heater was the main story as he was precise in locating along the top of the zone and I’m willing to cough this up to it being the Rangers and nothing more. Maybe I should have seen that coming and put Pivetta as a questionable play, but at the same time, it’s Pivetta. You really don’t want to rely on him.

Corbin Burnes @ MIA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace for the SP #1. The curveball earned 8/27 whiffs in this one because why the h*ck not.

Max Scherzer vs SEA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He had a moment of trouble and got out of it with a double play and he’s so clearly in that top tier with Burnes and Cole and…maybe Gausman? We’ll see.

Marco Gonzales @ NYM (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

Marco is on a Vargas Rule and it stinks the Jays are next. If you can, let him sit on the wire for that and jump back in for the Athletics after that. Otherwise, he’s not the worst play against the Jays, just a super dangerous one.

Logan Webb @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 95 pitches.

Okay soooo we’re happy Webb went six strong for a Win ‘n’ all, but one strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?! For real, he’s truly leaning into the I AM THE ONE WHO TOBYS and I can’t say I dig it. His slider and changeup combined just for 3/51 whiffs here and that should make you shudder like an island Leo is heading to. That’s “Shutter”. Right, that’s what I said. No, like the stock. What’s Robert got to do with this? NICK. PLEASE.

Drew Rasmussen vs TOR (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 78 pitches.

Rasmussen had zero strikeouts through four innings, with just one baserunner and nothing else. HAISTBMBWT?! The thing is, I look at his toast and nod in understanding as its center is burnt without respite of savory butter in sight. I CAN BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTERED. He had a single glimpse of whiffs a few weeks ago and now nothing else. But his ratios are amazing! And his stuff speaks to being better! You know who he reminds me of these days from a performance (not repertoire) perspective? Peak Trevor WilliamsYeah, I said it.

Daulton Jefferies vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 88 pitches.

Ayyyy he’s getting there! I see Daulton as a potential streamer later in the year. Is he there now? Ehhhh, I wouldn’t trust it quite yet. The changeup was solid and his heaters found gloves. It’s not enough for me to feel great about it and I’ll aim for a July stream.

Tyler Mahle @ PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches.

THANK YOU MAHLE. If he wasn’t able to handle this start — against the Pirates & on the road — I think our faith in him was going to dissipate. Now he heads to Cleveland and hosts the Cubs. I’m in for both.

Sonny Gray vs CLE (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 82 pitches.

So remember last time when I said that Gray did well due to his heaters and he better get his breakers back soon? Wellll he earned just three whiffs on breakers here, despite the eight strikeouts you see. Yeah. He’s still working on them, and fortunately he gets a cushy date with the Athletics next to ease them back to where they need to be.

Kevin Gausman @ TB (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That splitter earned another 10 whiffs and 67% strikes while his fastball earned…an 86% strike rate?! Jeeeeez. What a guy.

Gerrit Cole @ CWS (W) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Sure, the ERA is a touch higher than you like, but the heater and slider are both dominating and it’s a wonderful thing. That’s a 2.95 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 30% strikeout rate across 36 frames thus far. Expect the WHIP to fall a bit more and be thrilled he’s returning first-round value after his initial struggles.

Zach Davies vs CHC (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

Davies still has his old changeup, and serving a Philly with a Win and six strikeouts sure feels like a victory for those who needed it. It’s the little things in life, you know? Don’t get into a habit of trusting Davies.

Jordan Hicks vs SF (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 77 pitches.

So he finally went over 75 pitches and what we got was the equivalent of a moldy log fallen across a trail. It was there and in the moment it was kinda interesting, but now that you’re five feet away from it, you forgot all about it. The Mets and the Jays are up next and I think there are far better arms to roster.

Max Fried vs SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Blegh. His slider finally earned some legit whiffs, but the heater was trounced by the Padres and he allowed a whole lot of hard contact. Brush it off, give him an N, and make Fried your Friend.

Drew Smyly @ ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

When we think of which streamers to choose, we often go with the opponent first and go back from there. Then there are pitchers like Smyly where it sure doesn’t matter.

Jordan Lyles @ DET (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Bleeggggh. The breakers weren’t doing enough to make it work. If you had him as a streamer, you can drop him, making your team the ex-Lyles.

Dane Dunning vs BOS (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

So close. He was my reluctant streaming pick of the day and allowed just one earned run in his first five frames before it fell apart in the sixth, making this a bit of a Careful, IcarusThe command wasn’t nearly as sparkling as we’ve seen in his last couple starts and I’d avoid it against the hawt Angels.

Yu Darvish @ ATL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

You never know what you’re gonna get from Darvish and this was a Careful, Icarus like Dunning in that he was seemingly just fine through five frames before the sixth messed things up. He gets the Giants next and while I’m okay demoting him to “Probably Start” moving forward, Darvish could very well go out there and dominate, as the opponent rarely matters for Darvish like it does others.

Walker Buehler vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 82 pitches.

Oh dear. The “Ace of Very Good” (sit for a moment and soak in what that acronym would be. DEAL WITH IT.) had himself a poor evening, returning just 1/25 CSW on his four-seamer, you know, the pitch in his repertoire. He’s simply not getting the whiffs up in the zone like he used to with it. We saw this dip last year, and I questioned whether it was a dip that was destined to stick and…okay fine it stuck like the landing of a Kerri Strugg vault. What’s wild, though, is that Buehler’s command isn’t poor. He was able to hit the edges effectively and this is the moment when I tell you that there are two types of bad performances: the ones where the man deserved all of it and the others where the scales were unkind. Was Buehler pristine? No, but he wasn’t 2.00 WHIP, 9.00 ERA appalling, either. The hope for a de facto SP #1 may be fading, but even if he falls to being something like a Max Friedthat’s still pretty dang good.

Mitch Keller vs CIN (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 80 pitches.

But it was the Reds! BUT IT WAS MITCH KELLER. Touché.

Zack Greinke @ COL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

I put Greinke at the very bottom of yesterday’s streaming rankings and…well I didn’t expect 11 whiffs after his hilarious lack of strikeouts this year. Still, you should be moving on from Greinke if you didn’t back in, oh I don’t know, January.

Josiah Gray vs HOU (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

Gray is not polished yet and a date with the Astros placed him in the Do Not Start tier. Fortunately it’s Miami next, but even that is questionable as you’re mostly chasing strikeouts — his slider went 42% CSW here across 40% usage. This isn’t a Gray area, it’s pretty clear.

Aaron Civale @ MIN (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Sooooo he went 65% cutters and curveballs…and this was the result. Sigh. Man, I really dug his curveball in this start and I think it’s the correct approach still, but he made some mistakes that were slapped by the Twins and it made for a tough day. Just 3/61 cutters + curveballs returned hits and it feels like the right move. I believe in you Civale, just some small tweaks to prime yourself for a great summer ahead.

Kyle Freeland vs KC (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 12 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 12% CSW, 75 pitches.

Womp womp. Coors comes for all. There will be a few days here and there to stream Freeland, not right now though. Absolutely not with the Giants in town next.

Kyle Gibson @ LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 69 pitches.

Gibson is a Toby and he faced the Dodgers. We don’t start Tobys against strong offenses, because they leave our bread dry. HAISTBMBWT?!

Vince Velasquez vs NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 101 pitches.

Womp womp. The Yankees are too dang good at the moment and VV needed to be his best. He wasn’t.


Game of the Day 

Eric Lauer vs. Trevor Rogers – We all want to see 10+ strikeouts again from Lauer, while I’m hoping Rogers’ changeup and slider come through.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Simona Sergi/Unsplash | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

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.

3 responses to “Pablo, Picasso”

  1. theKraken says:

    Why would anyone move on from Greinke? You got him for cheap and he is several tiers above anyone in his tier in terms of production. What about his entire track record is so off-putting? He is one of the better pitchers in MLB but he doesn’t get Ks. Even after that tough outing in COL he still has good numbers. I came here to say that his line from yesterday is pretty misleading. He literally struck out the third out in the 5th inning but Sal Perez being the DH that his is let the pitch get to the backstop and three runs scored after that point. Greinke literally struck out the third out and the runs didn’t even count as unearned because score-keeping has its problems. If Sal Perez makes a feeble attempt to block a swinging strike, then Greinke gets a win and allows 2 ER. There were two other error s behind him as well. He wasn’t great yesterday but he was good. There is not a better value in MLB than Greinke. There is no better option to drop him for. I will pick up every share I can everywhere. Ratios matter as does an elite track record. Greinke and Rich Hill can do a lot to help your ratios. It is a shame that BOS is so committed to letting their bullpen puke away Hill’s starts. Those are two great guys for just about any team. They pair particularly well with an RP heavy staff if you just need quality IP and are not trying to win Ks and wins.

  2. theKraken says:

    How good would STL be if they didn’t waste starts on scrubs? I think it is amazing that they are competitive every year but also committed to lost causes like Hicks. I get that FG liked his velocity several years ago but he is just not a good pitcher. The same is true of Dakota Hudson. I don’t understand why they don’t make an effort to get some better pitchers and pull the plug on some of the guys they have. Maybe that is where their success comes from… a real commitment to their own guys as opposed to a bunch of rentals. I can’t help but think that Greinke would be a great fit in STL. It blows my mind that competitive teams don’t want good pitchers. Greinke was great for the a WS favorite last year but in 2022 nobody wants a real pitcher. I can’t believe Hicks is getting starts.

  3. Perfect Game says:

    I’m in a 5×5 roto redraft that uses QS. Lauer has looked awesome and all the underlying metrics support what he’s done to date. Added velocity has remained constant and looks to be sustainable.

    Question- for K, QS, ratios in my type of league would you take Lauer or Fried? Lauer also plays in a more favorable division with weaker opponents.

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