Rotten Corey

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

Corey Kluber pitched against the Royals today and it was far from we expected, to the tune of 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the season of falling aces and Kluber enters the fray with this horrendous outing, earning just 23/89 CSW and pulling everything too far glove-side. Are we worried? Not really? I see it as a buy low. The under-the-hood numbers won’t say that Kluber deserved better, but that’s not the point. He was bad and pitched poorly. He’s done that before and it’s over. We’ve seen Kluber pitch better and we expect him to rebound just like in previous years. Remember this, few players are true “clear regressions” in that they rebound when they are supposed to or stay high when they should fall. That’s relative to how they played in that game with the abnormal result. Kluber deserved this, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to keep pitching at this level. He won’t. Buy him for a cheaper price than usual.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

German Marquez9.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. I hear y’all, you want me to put Marquez definitively Top 15 now and maybe he does indeed deserve it. I’m a little hesitant and it’s pretty clear why. This was the Giants in Oracle Park. His previous start was a disappointment…in Coors, the only game at home all year. The other two outings? On the road in Tampa and Miami. See what I’m getting at? Marquez’s schedule is only getting tougher moving forward and while the man flat out demolished this offense – close to a no-hitter! – I question if he can sustain this production against tougher road opponents and inside Coors. He’ll get a bump tomorrow, definitely, just not the one some of you want.

David Price7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Yes, Price. YES. We need this oh-so badly. Just give me one pitcher excelling in the boring 25-40 SP range. Rays are next and that’s mighty fine to me.

Marcus Stroman4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Errors messed up Stroman (himself included!) and while it’s a 0 ER mark, it cost him any sort of volume and plenty of extra baserunners. I want to say he didn’t pitch poorly, but I really didn’t dig it with just 21 CSW in 91 pitches and only eight overall whiffs. That’s not a dude convincing me he’s a changed man. That’s just a dude.

John Means 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. The Orioles are starting John as a Means to an end. The end of what? Their fan support.

Charlie Morton4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Morton should have survived through five, but an error on his final pitch left him out of the possible win. Womp womp. He wasn’t overly impressive here, but he also didn’t do much that made reconsider him moving forward. So there he is, existing in all the wonder that he is. For now. We all know 30 starts just ain’t happening.

Ross Stripling8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Stripling has been shaky and was handed a tough matchup against the Brewers. And he dominated. Okay, not really. 23/88 CSW is average if not below, his slider hung up in the zone, his fastball stayed low, and I’m not really sure how this happened. He’s going to get another outing against the Crew this week and I have a bad feeling it’s going to be plenty worse. 3/19 CSW on sliders? Really?

Julio Teheran6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. He’s keeping up the strikeout per inning, while making sure his HR/FB still hovers around 20%. The good news is that Sean Newcomb is now in the minors, making room for Max Fried to stick and even Mike Soroka (whoa, Soroka!) to get a spot start. What about Touki Toussaint?! I think he’s worth a speculative add, though I wonder if the Braves are going to push Soroka first (who I’m a little wary of given the shoulder injury. Is his command fully back?). Anyway, back to Teheran, whose spot in the rotation is obviously locked now – it was before but even moreso now! – and he gets the Tribe next. Y’all know I don’t like Teheran, but I have to like him for that.

Jose Urena7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m pretty amazed by this start from Urena. Just 7 whiffs in 101 pitches is blegh, but the Phils were patient – 27 called strikes! – and allowed Urena to pound the zone, get ahead, and induce swings on pitches batters didn’t want to offer at. It’s all lovely, but he’ll have to do it again as he faces the Nationals and I’m not down with that. After all, if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Vince Velasquez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Velasquez had an evening with the Marlins and took full advantage. I’m proud of him – so should you – but it doesn’t make you obligated to own him moving forward. Just let him sit out there and everything will be okay.

Brett Anderson6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Should we consider Anderson as a streamer? No, it’s the children baseball gods that are wrong.

Jose Berrios6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I so want to give the AGA label to Berrios…but the lack of changeup dominance is hurting. Is 5/10 strikes good? I guess? That curveball will disappear for long stretches this year and I’m not looking forward to it. At least I’ll slide him up tomorrow and go from there. FWIW, just 3/27 whiffs on his curveball here.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Guess he staves off Snell for at least one more week…Enjoy the Gallows Pole with 19 whiffs – 38% CSW too!

Marco Gonzales5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. This is fine, right? It didn’t hurt you, but it didn’t really do anything either. That sounds about right with Gonzales, who is a solid Toby with the possibility to be slightly better, what we call Spiderman. I’m okay owning him, though I won’t jump for joy. For the record, I jump for joy a lot. It’s really fun and highly recommended.

Zack Greinke7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Were you worried about Greinke earlier in the year? Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe it doesn’t matter. Things are just fine having Greinke as your #2.

Carlos Rodon6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Some are really digging Rodon these days. 28% CSW and a sub 10% swinging-strike rate isn’t really my jam, as the Yankee lineup isn’t the consistent bludgeoning of lore we expected given their dearth of health. Band name! At the same time, I have to recognize that Rodon survived the Bronx and has a pretty decent schedule with the Tigers and O’s (twice!) next that I’m all for. Just give us more than 6 whiffs on 38 sliders, okay?

Jacob deGrom5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna…have a 1.80 WHIP and 5+ ERA?! 2019 is the worst, I swear. Yeah, the nine Ks are great, but still.

Eric Lauer5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks.Yeah, this is pretty much what El. O. L. is and it should be nothing you want to be associated with.

Miles Mikolas5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This was looking mighty pretty until the fifth inning, which started with an error and led to a three-run shot from Jesse WinkerLike Taillon, the strikeouts are lacking more than I anticipated and he’s getting beat via BABIP plenty more than last year. We expected the ERA to fall, but without the strikeouts, he isn’t returning the Top 30 value we wanted. There’s still plenty of time to get there – of course – and I think it’s best to stay the course. This will come around.

Max Scherzer8.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace…though you can’t help yourself from wanting more. Sure, he got through eight frames to justify the 3 ER, but is 1 ER so much to ask from the definitive #1 arm?

Jameson Taillon6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. A PQS once again for Taillon and I’m a little disappointed about the lack of strikeouts thus far. His slider isn’t forming into the dominant offering I expected, which means Taillon is solid, but not an incredible #2. He may be as the season progresses, but for now he has to fall a little.

Anthony DeSclafani4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. You came to dance with Tony Disco. Why? I don’t know, but you did. As you step onto the dance floor, you realize it’s an aging man in khakis whose belt is way too big for his pants. Your drive to boogie dies slowly as you realize you don’t want to do this. You don’t want to be here. How could you be this silly, this foolish. How could you forget one crucial thing: disco is dead, my man. 

Derek Holland6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. A three-run HR off the bat of Nolan Arenado did Holland in, nullifying the 32% CSW and 17 whiffs earned. I love seeing him get plenty of swings and misses with his breakers – over 40% thrown! – and a date with the Pirates next should be targeted for all in 12-teamers. Streaming Record: 9-8.

Jake Junis6.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeah…don’t go after Junis. There will be some nice moments, but it’s a Double Bubble when it happens and starts like these will make you wonder what you saw in the first place.

Masahiro Tanaka4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Bleeeeegh. Tanaka was pitching well until the 4th frame, where he effectively walked the bases loaded and allowed a grand slam. Then more damage came in the 5th, allowing three baserunners and getting the hook – luckily just one scored. Tanaka is a bit of a Cherry Bomb, though I do believe he should be good a decent amount more than bad. It’s a hard pill to swallow on days like today, but he is very much worth your roster spot.

Jordan Zimmermann3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Ah yes, the Zimmermann we all know and hate.

Jhoulys Chacin2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Huh. Where was this last year? Ohhh right, it was there, we just didn’t anticipate it. Because, after all, Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. 

Adrian Sampson4.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Sampson made you feel like Rocky if you started him for some ridiculous reason. ADRIIIAAAAANNNN!

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.

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – There are terrible options today, I’ll go with the hot hand against a hurt lineup. The rainout pushed back Minor another day. I hate all the options and can’t even take Trevor Richards as he’s above the 20% threshold, so let’s say Martin Perez vs. Toronto Blue Jays because I have to do this and be sad about it.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – There are terrible options today, I’ll go with the hot hand against a hurt lineup. I prefer Max Fried against the Diamondbacks if that option is out there.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Spencer Turnbull vs. Pittsburgh PiratesYep, I’m back for another shot at Turnbull. The stuff is there, the approach is not. Fortunately, he gets a terrible offense and this could go incredibly well. I’d consider something else, but the matchups just aren’t there for me to easily defer. Turnbull it is.


Game of the Day


Aaron Nola vs. Noah Syndergaard – I know it’s anti-ace season, but this is such a fun start. There’s also Trevor Richards vs. Yu Darvish that I’m obviously curious about as well.


(Photo by Keith Gillett/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.

14 responses to “Rotten Corey”

  1. Brandon Heikoop says:

    Marquez’s last start was not terrible (yes, 5er in 5ip is bad, but it happens). Consider that none of his pitchers were particularly crisp and that even in that event it was only one inning that got to him. Also, Atlanta is a top 10 hitting team.
    You hear this time and time again, the great ones do what they are supposed to when they are supposed to. Which means beating up on lowly teams on the road.

    • Lion says:

      Completely agree. Degrom gets lit up by atlanta and gets a pass but Marquez goes 24 out of 25 starts at AGA level and still the hesistation.
      To come back with a 1 hit CGSO 9k performance against any team in the majors, regardless who they are, should say it after how many starts he has had at this level. Im affraid it will just never be enough for him. What does he need to prove? Everyone that owns him knows you throw him out there every start. That’s AGA to me. Every Ace has the days they get knocked around, thats what the TIARA is for. But marquez doesn’t get the same courtesy?

      • theKraken says:

        IMO there is a pretty big difference between throw him out there every time and AGA. if Nick did what everyone told him to do, then his rankings wouldn’t be worth much. I have no doubt that if he strings together several performances like last night he will get his meaningless label.

        • Lion says:

          “Nick knows best” is what beleive in. I don’t expect much of a rise in ranking for marquez. Just curious more than anything. I benched Marquez last year in so many of his Coors starts and just ended up regretting it one after another. Nick’s list is my go to for trade talks in my league and so just want to make sure I understand that he would take wheeler, flaherty, taillon, etc for marquez if offered, and if thats because of the ‘fear of coors’. Or is it something with his actually pitching? Is he a perfect sell high guy?

  2. Jake says:

    Thoughts on Toussaint? Prefer him over Eflin or Strahm?

  3. Chucky says:

    I have a standing offer, my Sale for his Kluber. I gotta do that, right?

  4. Todd says:

    Hi Nick,

    Stay on the Strahm train, or take a flier on Touki?


    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m okay chasing Touki, both pitchers are not my favorites at the moment.

      I think Strahm has a higher ceiling, but Touki is in a better place at the moment.

  5. Matt says:

    Can’t believe the Game of the Day isn’t Kershaw!

  6. theKraken says:

    Standard April Shenanigans for Kluber. Crazy to me how that well-established narrative has faded quite a bit.

  7. theKraken says:

    That is 5 HR allowed in 2 games for DeGrom. HR allowed has way too much weight in modern metrics – this is a good example that it is not the most measurable skill. HR aversion is kind of a skill, but the hitters have a lot to do with it. DeGrom allowed 10 last season and that was the primary reason that we considered his season historic, while Scherzer’s wasn’t. Here we are a handful of games later and that HR aversion and coincidental run prevention looks to be at least somewhat unsustainable. Look at the gaps in WAR and all of the “advanced” metrics, then go look at the components that feed into those metrics (counting stats and rates) and realize that it was mostly luck that separated “historic” from not. We dismiss hits allowed as luck and regress it to an average, but the luckiest hits are a big component of the one-size-fits-all metrics, which is absurd in my opinion.

    Put another way, Scherzer had a much higher K/9, slightly better H/9, slightly worse BB/9 – that’s a wash in WHIP for those following. The final WAR was 7.4 v 9.0 which is an insane conclusion. Yeah, Max threw a few more innings too, which should help his cause. Basically the only thing DeGrom did better was not allow HR and somehow allow a few other less earned runs despite the same number of base runners allowed. The man with the demonstrable skill (Ks), somehow didn’t any credit for that. So, ER trump K rate is what I think we can conclude from pitcher WAR at FG – that doesn’t sound right to me. This does not mesh with saber-metric advances at all. I thought ERA was a bad metric? I thought that we were even talking about killing errors – guess who had more unearned runs in his historic campaign. My point is not that DeGrom did not have a great season, but that our modern metrics have some very easy to identify problems.

  8. larry says:

    JA Happ was dropped, Do you think he is a good pickup long term?


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