Purchasing Off-Brand

So we had two MLB debuts last night and I’m sure there’s one in particular that will make people intrigued. Brandon Woodruff went 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 2...

So we had two MLB debuts last night and I’m sure there’s one in particular that will make people intrigued. Brandon Woodruff went 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks against the Rays, but what’s more interesting is that he averaged over 94mph through the outing including 7 whiffs with his Four-Seamer out of 61 thrown. That’s a 11.5% whiff rate on heaters – a high mark. So I watched a bit of this one and…yeah I’m not buying it. He missed spots a ton with all three pitches (Slider and Changeup) and while he certainly flexes upside if he’s commanding, he showed off some pretty messy mechanics. I even made this GIF for y’all. These two Fastballs earned a pair of strikeouts, but wildly missed their spots in pitcher-friendly counts and are a product of questionable mechanics. Notice how far his left arm pulls over toward first base and back toward second by the end – he’s opening up way too harshly, making his delivery more east-west than north-south, creating a much smaller window for his timing to nail the corners. Not a fan of that at all (for reference, Noah Syndergaard and Luis Castillo both did not exhibit this and pitched with their full momentum toward the plate = better overall command) and gives me little faith he’s going to help more than hurt.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Troy Scribner – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Here’s the other first MLB start from last night, which is much easier to label a Cup of Schmo. Sure, he has four pitches, but he sits around 88mph and y’all know I hate chasing low velocity arms that we barely know.

Anthony Banda – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Then there was Banda, who made his second every start. Great to see the Ks rise, though he’s always had those walk problems and that makes me a little fearful. He’s taking Ray’s spot in the rotation, which may spell the end of the line now for Banda as Ray was sent back to Arizona earlier this week. We’ll talk about Banda in the off-season, alright? Long summary short will be “a slightly better Tyler Skaggs” but I’m not sold that he has the consistency.

Yu Darvish – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Oh man, this must be so satisfying for any Dodger fan.

Carlos Rodon – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. I’m sure some were expecting me to lead with Rodon after yet another double digit strikeout game – that’s 31 Ks in three games now – but I’m not sure I need to remind you that he had a three game stretch of 15 ER just two starts ago and while Rodon should be owned, you can’t treat him like a Top 40 arm given how apparent that floor is. What doesn’t help his case is his future schedule of the Astros, Dodgers, Twins, Tigers, Twins, Indians. Yeesh. He’s still a PEAS to me despite the two straight starts and I’d hold off on running with him against Houston.

Kyle Freeland – 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Freeland left the game with a strained groin. Womp womp.

Trevor Bauer – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. If you ran with Bauer it was for the Ks, which showed up alright. You don’t get the term Cherry Bomb without starts like these. No, I don’t think we’ll be seeing plenty of these starts from Bauer, but hey, this is nice.

Jacob Faria – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. So the Official Pitcher of Pitcher List had the major bounce back game we were waiting for after accruing 10 ER and 11 walks in his past three games.

Kevin Gausman – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Well well well. Gausman is continuing his beautiful run and let’s see if those two critical stats that I keep bringing up across his starts: F-Strike rate and Splitter % – are still high in this one…F-Strike rate was 68.0%, that’s good…Splitter rate was…14.4%?! Duuuude come on I want the narrative to fit! He was getting a ton of whiffs with his heater (about 12%) and threw more Slider than Splitters for whatever reason. What’s the reason? It’s a bad one. But it worked! Okay, fair. I mean, alright I guess I can’t hate on this since Gausman got a whopping 20 called strikes with his heater as well, which tells me his Fastball command was rock solid Wood-esque, you could say.

Ivan Nova – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh sure. Nova can still do this, but I feel like the rewards aren’t worth the blegh he often provides.

Asher Wojciechowski – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, I’m not buying that Wpiojdfpoij is now worth your time or my time to spend meticulously spelling his name.

Madison Bumgarner – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Welcome back fella.

James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s kinda nuts how good he’s performing. Even his overall numbers are massively impressive, but moreso are his last six starts: 1.62 ERA (1.20 FIP, 2.25 xFIP!), 11.54 K/9, 1.15 BB/9, 0.82 WHIP, 6.5 IPS. Oh how much we love you Pax.

Tanner Roark – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Ah, there’s the Roark that is just so boring and 1 ER away from being pretty worthless.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Leave it to Erod to give you 118 pitches and get through only six frames. It tells me that these were incredibly deep counts and could have resulted in 5-6 walks with 5 frames and plenty more ER. And this was the best matchup he’ll have against the ChiSox. Can’t say I’m too thrilled here, though I want to be wrong.

Vincent Velasquez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 3 Ks. Man this is bad. Six walks in five innings is like getting charged $20 for a Miller Lite. I didn’t know this was even possible! I will be fair – I’m a just man, like “just good enough” – as this start was in Coors, but I can’t say I want to chase VV much at all.

Justin Verlander – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. In case you didn’t believe it yet, Verlander is back y’all. LET’S GO.

Adam Conley – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Well this start doesn’t really help much in anything, but doesn’t really hurt save for the 5+ ERA. Yep, that’s a tie. Streamer Record 57-40-13.

Jharel Cotton – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I wonder if I can ever be back on the Cotton Gin bandwagon again. He’s just a PEAS until he can actually put guys away with his repertoire.

Jacob deGrom – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. So Greinke fanned 8 and allowed 6 ER. deGrom fanned 8 and allowed 3 ER. Clearly there’s going to be a swap come Monday. Wait, really? Nah probably not. Still loving the battle between these two, but how many Gallows Pole victories does Greinke have? I’m guessing fewer than one, which deGrom got tonight. Just sayin’.

R.A. Dickey – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. PQS from Dickey, who told me that it stood for “Perfect Quality Start”. No, it doesn’t. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.

Jason Hammel – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. And another QS from Hammel. It’s so boring, super lame, and not really something you can bank on, but I can’t deny that 11 of his last 12 starts have been 3 ER or fewer.

Kyle Hendricks – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. Okay that’s undeserved as it’s a 1.00 WHIP with 5 Ks. That helps, though I see this really close to his ceiling as opposed to a tip of the iceberg.

Mike Leake – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. This is a bad kind of Leake (the more common Leake), not the good kind. Is there a good kind? Um, yeah, the vegetable. DUH. Or sometimes media that is released early.

Bartolo Colon – 9.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Wait, what?! The Twin Peak (it’s the best I’ve got for Colon so far) went a full complete game in Minnesota and needed just 106 pitches to do so. Hot dang. Can’t say this changes anything in the grand scope of it all, but good for him.

Travis Wood – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s the wrong Wood! Speaking of Wood though – PUT IT AWAY BRIAN – during yesterday’s AMA, Redditor soccerperson illuminated Alex Wood’s declining velocity through the season and I would be lying to say I wasn’t worried about it. Now, it’s not like Wood’s performances were slowly trending down as it’s really just two starts that have given us concern. Nevertheless, it makes me raise a serious eyebrow for ROS and those in keeper leagues should reconsider if Wood can give us a repeat performance in 2018.

Jaime Garcia – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. No one really thought Garcia was going to suddenly be fantasy relevant now that he’s with the Yankees, right?

Brad Peacock – 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. With all the talk about PLEASE KEEP PEACOCK IN THE ROTATION I admit I never really thought about what would happen if Peacock ran into a clunker. Now, the Astros won this one easily since Valdez obviously can’t deal with the Houston offense and the Jays’ pen isn’t any better, and Peacock allowed a trio of HRs here that accounted for 6 ER. You can imagine that won’t happen again if he does start – please do – and I’d hold him until we here he’s legit leaving the rotation. Please Hinch, he gets the ChiSox next!

Martin Perez – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, that’s Perez alright.

Cesar Valdez – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Did you start Valdez against the Astros? Let me guess, you also enjoy watching re-runs of that Geico Caveman TV show.

Today’s Streamer

Luis Castillo vs. St. Louis Cardinals – He’s still owned in under 25% of ESPN Leagues and y’all know I love this start. Dinelson Lamet against the Pirates is the other solid option if Castillo is taken.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. New York Mets – Here’s to hoping he keeps this start given all the Dodgers being Dodgers things and the every present possibility Ryu gets hurt from a gust of wind.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brent Suter vs. Minnesota Twins – Just seven games on Monday, and with the few choices I’ll go with Suter despite not liking him much at all.

Game of the Day

Jordan Montgomery vs. Danny Salazar I’m curious if Salazar really can keep this up and I would love for The Bear to take full advantage of his spot in the rotation.

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.

16 responses to “Purchasing Off-Brand”

  1. Scott says:

    Darvish threw 99 pitches and had 10k and went 7 innings. I know the NL and getting out of Texas is good, but let’s also touch on that he doesn’t throw to lucroy anymore. Grandal is a much better catcher and pitch framer, one of the best. Darvish would run his pitch count up in Texas a lot and not go that deep in games despite having a lower walk rate than he’s had during his first 3 years in the league. I think some of that issue is attributable to the catcher, because the stuff is still there.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Definitely! We actually went in depth on that very thing during the latest podcast if you’re interested.

  2. Tabernathy says:

    I have 3 starts left this week and I have to choose between Charlie Morton (vs. TOR), Luis Castillo (vs. STL), Taillon (vs. SD) and Manaea (vs. LAA).

    Leaning towards sitting Taillon and rolling with Manaea, Castillo and Morton. What do you think?

    • Tabernathy says:

      Up by 2 points with 1 start left. Either taillon or manaea. Opponent has nolasco and berrios going

      • Nick Pollack says:


        • Tabernathy says:

          luckily, i accidentally left taillon in so i had to bench manaea. taillon got me 16, manaea woulda gotten me -7. and i won!

          2nd place in my league with a lot of help from you. my rotation is: verlander, degrom, paxton, morton, castillo, manaea and eickhoff.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday.

      Would have told you to do that same trio, though.

  3. Soggy Arm says:

    To be fair to Peacock, he sat a looong time between the 5th and 6th.

    • The deisel says:

      He was bad early and often… Not just the 6th

      • Soggy Arm says:

        Escaped up to the 4th. 2 run bomb in the 5th. Then sat for the never ending run explosion. But you’re right. His lack of elite velocity makes him have to hit his targets with more consistency. I think the long layoff between starts is not a good thing either.

  4. Soggy Arm says:

    So, Woodruff, Sims, Boyd, Newcomb, Pivetta all more streamers (even then, maybe) than holds? Because I’m about to shame myself and pick up the Cashner manperm. My Clev, Taillon, PeacocK are all soiling the bed. I’m in 2nd place but barely hanging on as I hear for the playoffs. Are these even speculative adds with some possibility for consistency?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry to say, yeah I don’t see any of those five being guys you want to give rosters spots to. I’d dance between Newcomb and Sims, though.

  5. Benivan Stanciano says:

    Nolasco or sims today?

  6. sticki says:

    That Asher writeup was the best writeup I have ever seen. You crack me up Nick

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