Say It Ain’t Joe

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

What has gotten into Joe Musgrove? He started the season strong with a 1.54 ERA and 18% K-BB rate through his first five starts, then he took a step back against the A’s for 5 ER followed by last night’s atrocity of 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks against the Cardinals. This one hurt. And I know what most of you are likely thinking: Musgrove’s velocity was trending down and it caught up to him! What’s wild is that he was throwing a 92./93 early, which is exactly what we want to see, but his two-seamer was 90 mph and he was gassed in the fourth having thrown over 70 pitches for just nine outs. I watched a good amount of this one and he wasn’t as precise as I’ve seen him before. Well duh, five walks! It’s more than that. The second frame had a pair of 0-2 pitches that landed as hits, one a fastball well-tugged glove-side and the other a changeup that stayed up inside the zone.

It was particularly frustrating since he looked so good in the first at-bat of the frame to Marcell Ozuna who walked on ball three (1-0 was easily a strike), but that’s not an excuse. It’s more that I’m not considering Musgrove as broken. Sure, he flew open with his shoulders a little too often in this one, and lost some steam as he was punished and doing this two starts in a row is going to give it a bigger spotlight. The Diamondbacks are next, though, and I’m not too scared of them, even if they have the 7th best wOBA out there. If you want to bench, by all means. I think Musgrove figures this out quickly.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Luke Bard1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Yeah, whatever Luke, the crazy thing is Felix Pena coming in as the False Starter and going 7.0 IP of shutout ball, 3 baserunners, and 7 Ks. WHOA BABY. It’s the first appearance this year over 5.0 IP and the third over five strikeouts, but it’s hard not to consider this. It’s his second Win of three False Starts and it seems the Angels are believing in this method for Pena. Good luck playing the game of predicting when Pena pitches next, but monitor the situation and throw him out there if it’s not a tough matchup.

Carlos Carrasco5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Carrasco allowed 4 HRs last time out and had an ERA around 5.50. Now it’s sub 5.00. In one month, it’ll be sub 3.80. Don’t worry about Cookie, buy low and keep cruising.

Patrick Corbin7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Let’s just forget about last week, okay?

J. A. Happ5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Finally. FINALLY.  6/57 whiffs on his four-seamer works for me as Happ got the strikeouts we were looking for. I’m not completely sold he’s fixed n all, but you certainly can do worse in 12-teamers. Here’s the hoping he’s more than your standard Toby.

Tanner Roark6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, whatever Roark. I want nothing to do with you like waking up at 5:00 to some ridiculous animal screeching its head off. I feel like this referencing something. Ahhh, the Youts probably won’t get this. The Youts? Are you ok—MY BIOLOGICAL CLOCK.

Yu Darvish4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 6 BBs, 7 Ks. This is ridiculous. I guess I’m happy with this…ish…but that WHIP is terrible and we want more frames from Darvish as he walks everyone. Just 25/97 CSW here against the Marlins and we’re still in the middle of the woods. Which way do we go to get out of here? The man simply can’t control his fastball like he used to and this is going to take time. At some point it’ll click, but like learning guitar or riding a bike, you won’t know when your body says “hey, this is easy why was this hard before?” He gets the Reds next and it’s risky but the Reds have been hot and cold all year. I may just go with it and see what happens.

Mike Leake7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Leake has the #1 HR/9 rate in the majors yet was able to stave off the Bronx Bombers. Don’t let this go to your head.

Mike Soroka6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s not as overwhelmingly amazing as we’ve seen before, but Soroka continues to thrive and make owners excited. If you’re looking for another gear in the K department, it may take some time, though. He still needs a touch of polish on both the changeup and slide piece.

Luke Weaver7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. We’ve been amped on Weaver and this train keeps on CHUGGING. What’s going to surprise you, however, is the 27/104 CSW – blegh – and just 3/22 on his changeup. His cutter is doing work with 14/20 strikes, but this wasn’t as strong of a performance as last week against Coors. He’s not so locked in, but obviously we’re still riding this one.

Wade Miley6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Not only did we get the Win and decent ratios, but seven strikeouts too!  Just the third time since August 2017 that Miley has fanned seven batters. Yeah. Streaming Record: 23-17

Chris Bassitt7.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This is getting nuts as Bassitt currently holds a 31.6% strikeout rate, backed by a 12.0% swinging-strike rate. All of his pitches save for his sinker are earning whiffs, well above 12% swinging-strike rates on his four-seamer, slider, curveball, and changeup in the small sample. Crazy. You could argue his first real test is coming ahead against the Mariners (TEX, @TOR, @PIT, CIN are his four starts thus far), but it’s not such a gauntlet that you should avoid this start. Go for it.

Kyle Freeland5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. We’re all hesitant about Freeland these days, especially in Coors, and if there were ever a team to do well against in Colorado it would be the Giants. I’ve already dropped Kyle, I suggest you do too, but if you don’t I get it. It’s a Free Land.

Rich Hill5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhhh I want a little more, Hill. If I’m enduring your health problems and #Dodgeritis n all, can you give me a sub 3.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP? K, thanks.

Mike Minor5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Well we knew Minor wasn’t going to be this ridiculous through the year, but I don’t see this as a start to get off the boat. After all, he gets the Royals next and don’t overthink this. Just hold and keep on keeping on.

Trevor Richards5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. On the positive side here, Richards is featuring a cutter that had some success last night. On the negative, his fastball is getting crushed and his changeup was hung often. If you haven’t dropped yet, please do. There has to be something else to chase.

Michael Wacha5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Finally Wacha had a matchup that he could take advantage of…and he did the opposite. I’m out like Voit stealing second.

Manny Banuelos4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s uncanny how Banny Manny is slamming all and any teams. This was a train wreck. Well, so is he. Touché.

Ryan Carpenter5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. This carpenter needs a few more days before he can rise in the ranks. Easter isn’t until next year. Welp, it’s going to be a while then.

Derek Holland2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Holland was Still ILL and in Coors so this was a clear avoid avoid avoid. I know it sounds crazy, but I haven’t dropped Holland yet as I do believe he will be a solid asset through the year, but maybe give him one more start to get back on his feet.


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.


Pablo Lopez vs. New York Mets – It’s the only real choice I have and I don’t love it, but PabLo obviously has the ability to have a productive night.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Pineda vs. Detroit Tigers – It’s a double-header and all of my favorites – Tony Disco, Turnbull, Perez – are well above the 20% threshold now. Womp womp. Pineda’s slider hasn’t been terrible during his rough stretch, so I’ll take the chance it works against Detroit.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Lucas Giolito vs. Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays are bad and feel bad and Giolito is looking solid.


Game of the Day


Zack Wheeler vs. Pablo Lopez – We want velocity up for both and this could be a strong pitchers’ duel.


(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/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.

16 responses to “Say It Ain’t Joe”

  1. Jon Walker says:

    Would it be too reactionary to drop Musgrove for Eickhoff? I guess my real question is – who do you like better ROS?

  2. OldMilwaukeePounders says:

    Hey Nick,

    Would you consider this a good time to buy low on Musgrove in deep 12 team leagues?

    Similarly, do you think it’s time to move in shallower 10 team leagues?


    • Nick Pollack says:

      It always depends on the options on the wire.

      I want to say yes to buying low in 12-teamers and holding in 10-teamers as I legit believe this is a blip and not a collapse.

      But if there’s someone like Weaver, I’d rather him vs Musgrove when they face each other next week.

  3. Andrew says:

    Do you think Darvish could thrive in a bullpen role? The stuff is still there, and he looks amazing in short bursts. Maybe Chatwood or Montgomery can hold down the fort as the 5th starter? Maybe they “open” for Darvish? Clearly Yu is no longer a 6+ inning guy (was he ever?)

    Thanks as always. Best fantasy baseball site out there.

    • theKraken says:

      I would imagine that a bullpen role would mask most of his problems and he would be a beast. He is an awful expensive bullpen piece though… and they have quite a few pieces already. What would an opener fix? I think the only purpose of an opener is to test whether the other team is dumb enough to change their starting lineup to optimize match-ups for one inning vs the opponents 5th best RP. Yu certainly was a 6+ IP guy at one point – he was a great SP for a long time, but that is all well behind him.

  4. P-Mac says:

    No Glasnow vs German for Game of the Day?

  5. KYEONGHAN KIM says:

    Hi Nick. I asked about trading my Cain + Musgrove for Merrifield.
    But with poor outing from Musgrove, he offered Cain + Darvish and I accepted.
    Please say it is not too much paying……………………………….
    I want a speedy 2B instead of my current 2B, Chavis, since I already have enough power hitters (Voit, Story, Judge, Franmil, Eloy and Yordan Alvarez) in a 14-team league.

  6. James Newburg says:

    Keeping the faith with Holland in my 12-teamer, especially considering he had 24/73 CSW.

  7. Mike P says:

    I’m really surprised you’re not more concerned about Musgrove. HIs XFIP is not at 4.45. I watched his last two starts as I own him. Granted the first one was not completely his fault as the pirates defense is horrendous. But in both starts he cannot put guys away when he gets to 0-2 and 1-2. Driving his pitch count up and then either walking guys or giving up hits. He gave up a bunch of hits last night on 0-2 counts. I am personally very concerned but I couldn’t trade him for much or anything after these two starts so I guess I’ll bench and see if it gets better which I am not sure if it will. Why/how do you see him improving?

  8. Slowmez says:

    Musgrove just hit the wire. (10 team H2H 5×5 Categories, keeper) Worth grabbing and stashing to see if he figures things out? I’ve got so many young arms already!

    Current rotation: Scherzer, Strasburg, Castillo, C Smith, Boyd, Hamels, Fried, Soroka, Canning

  9. Jack says:


    Any reason you like Whitley better than Luzardo?

  10. theKraken says:

    I think Pena is taking regular turns in the rotation. He has been effective since being called up last year – I really don’t know why they don’t lean on him more. He was pitching well without an opener too. I don’t get it…

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