Questioning His Paddackolades

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

There are some pitchers that I didn’t really expect to talk a whole lot about in 2020, simply because they are doing just fine and there’s no reason to change our course for analysis. I had thought that Chris Paddack would be one of those arms but after last night’s destructive 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW performance against the Dodgers, it may be time to take a step back.

Want to know something crazy? Paddack’s fastball, this luscious pitch we fawned over last season (myself very much included), the offering that was to set the foundation for his ultimate success, nodding along as his changeup and curveball gave us a montage worthy of 80s action films, that Paddack heater is currently ranked as the worst fastball in the majors. That’s a -7.6 pVal through five starts and, ho boy, that’s a problem.

He’s not throwing it along the edges like he normally does and what’s a bit odd is that it’s not a product of his changeup. In fact, that pitch is excelling at the moment (maybe because batters are selling out for the heater? Eh, not sold on that). The question becomes “does this mean Paddack is done for?” and the answer is a resounding no. It’s still a great fastball, it just happens to hold a 35% HR/FB rate that is 20 points higher than his 16% clip last year. Sure, it’s not getting the same O-Swing or SwStr rates either, I think that changes as its command improves in future starts (five games does not make me retract a full season of performance!) and we should hold tight here. And yes, I’m aware that he’s getting worse spin on it than last year, but that’s not something that is cemented for the next six weeks. Not to mention, this was the Dodgers, you know, and Betts hit a fastball out of the park that wasn’t even a strike.

This will get better…but maybe not Top 15 SP better, which would take a full swing of the pendulum the other way. Adjust accordingly, but don’t sell low.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


David Peterson vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSWThe southpaw did it! Streaming Record: 12-9. He went slider heavy here for 37% CSW across 27/74 thrown, which is what you want to see from a guy with a meh sinker. I don’t think you can really bank on Peterson as a true Tobybut yeah, I’m down to keep streaming him next time against the Marlins. Let it ride…let it ride…

Yu Darvish vs MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW. Aces gonna ace as Darvish won himself a Golden Goal carving up the Brewers lineup. His cutter returned a 42% CSW despite throwing it over 50% of the time. Mmmmm that’s what you want. 15/55 SwStr. UNREAL. Oh, and his fastball is still averaging 96/97. You should be feeling very good about Darvish.

Julio Urias vs SD (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Ah yes, the standard “he allows two ER in the first and Twitter goes wild saying he’s overvalued before cruising through the rest of his outing” start. It wasn’t pristine Urias overall with just a 25% CSW on his excellent changeup and a fastball that found a lot of the plate, but he’s still a strong asset for your squad. Just give me at least five strikeouts next time, okay?

Thomas Eshelman @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSWI see Thomas’ last name and I can think of is someone who somehow took Mary’s job of selling seashells and turned it into e-commerce. No need to go to the shore, anymore! What a slogan! You’ve got my dollar, Thomas, the E-Shell-Man. Oh, and I guess he pitched too. Not bad for someone with just four whiffs.

Brett Anderson @ CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The Brewers are making a habit of piggy-backing Corbin Burnes with Anderson and while it’s a bit annoying to not get a proper start from Burnes, he keeps coming in before the sixth inning, which means you want to own him. That’s Win potential + decent ratios and strikeouts. Well, it wasn’t great yesterday from Burnes (25% CSW across 69 pitches with 2 ER in 3.2 IP), I think he gets better and is worth your time over the standard TobyWhat about Brett? What about him? Should I roster him? You know the answer to that. …Yes? Okay, maybe you don’t.

Trevor Williams @ CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Oh hey, it’s Williams. I have to say, he’s doing his best to squeeze out the most of his repertoire, featuring a ton of pitch separation between his four-seamer, changeup, and slider, but even executing that effectively returns…this. So yeah, you don’t want this.

Austin Voth @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW. So the velocity is creeping back up as his sat 92 mph in this one and he did a decent job of avoiding the heart of the plate. The bad news stems from his secondary stuff that is still oh-so-blegh, earning just 1 whiff on 30 thrown. Man, it’s so weird to see that after his brief stint last year showcased three – three! – pitches above a 15% SwStr rate. I’m very much out until we see a resemblance of that secondary stuff again.

Jake Arrieta vs BAL (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Arrieta did just what he did last time – pounded the zone with sinkers and sliders – and it’s just not that great of an approach given his stuff just isn’t what it used to be. I don’t see a reason to risk your ratios each night with Arrieta.

Tyler Glasnow @ BOS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSWThis was probably the most disappointing start despite Paddack and DeSclafani’s clunkers as Glasnow is still struggling to get it done. His curveball earned a fair share of whiffs, but with a fastball that is getting clobbered, the pitch needs to find the zone a bit more to keep batter’s honest. I think that happens and we see prime Glasnow more this year – keep starting him – but it’s not a great moment. Don’t overlook that he’s over 80 pitches now, so at least he has that going for him.

Kyle Hart vs TB (L) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSWYou have to have some sympathy for Hart as he made his MLB debut. I’m sad to give him the Cup of Schmo label as he sat 90/91 mph (for a debut?!) and while his slider can be a solid pitch, there just isn’t enough here for me to latch onto. The kid does have an intangible though. He’s got a good Hart. I’m so sorry. I sat here for a few minutes debating if I should do it or not and eventually I just wanted to get on with my life.

Anthony DeSclafani vs PIT (L) – 2.0 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 15% CSW. Tony, no. No no no. He shockingly didn’t throw too many meatballs, but yeah, this was really bad. He there 17 sinkers and earned a 6% CSW – just one. His slider is normally the ticket to success and he just couldn’t do what he wanted with it. Bleeegh. Against the Pirates, too! I know it sounds wild, but I’d hold for the Royals next. I just don’t expect this to be a thing, you know?


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.



Framber Valdez vs. Seattle MarinersI Don’t love Framber long term, but it’s the Mariners with the Astros offense behind him.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Alec Mills vs. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers aren’t in a great spot offensively and Mills can spin a decent one. I’d also consider Kevin Gausman against the Athletics as his increased velocity and elevated heaters are making me wonder if we should take him more seriously.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Adam Plutko vs. Detroit TigersI see at least five innings and a Win here for Plutko as he doesn’t destroy your ratios. That works for me.


Game of the Day


Sonny Gray vs. Chad Kuhl – Gray is dope and Kuhl can be dope. Don’t forget, I just want every pitcher to be dope.



(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/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.

6 responses to “Questioning His Paddackolades”

  1. Perfect Game says:

    I traded Flaherety for Darvish. Was concerned about the number of starts Flaherety will get, especially if they don’t make up all their games and throw in a handful of double headers. Flaherety did go 7 opening game, but I think with the 3 week layoff since his last start they will be cautious with him considering their position. Good move to trade him for Darvish?

    • theKraken says:

      I think so. That schedule down the stretch for STL is going to be super weird for SP. Its a weird deal but there are weird times. What I find really weird is that whenever STL threatens to play a game JF gets his start pushed back – it has happened twice. I really don’t know what to make of that but it can’t be good.

  2. J.C. Mosier says:

    All you really need is Hart!

  3. Johnny C says:

    Who do you like more ROS Eflin or Gausman? Both have excellent peripheral stats. I would be dropping Canning. I know you said in your roundup with Canning you think it will get better. But his peripherals look terrible and he’s just not he same guy he was in 2019.

  4. Chelsa says:

    Hey Nick!

    Another great SP Roundup article! Look forward to reading them throughout the season! Love, love, LOVE the detailed info that you give on each pitcher. VERY informative and helpful. I asked you if I had a champion starting rotation (Bieber, Fried, Gallen, S.Gray, M. Kelly & Maeda) and you said yes, but to ditch Kelly for someone else on waivers. Currently available SPs are: Glausman, Canning, Davies, Dobnak, Hoffman and Plutko. Any of them worth replacing Kelly with?

    I appreciate all that you do!

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