Seeing Double

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

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

There are things that make me absurdly surprised each season and CC Sabathia’s opening month of 2018 is on the list. After going 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks last night against the Indians, Sabathia is sporting a 1.39 ERA, 18.0% K rate, 3.9% BB rate, and a 0.87 WHIP. What. The. Hell. So there is a great amount of luck involved here – .211 BABIP, 7.3% HR/FB, 81.4% LOB rate – though he’s inducing a marvelous 28.6% soft contact, leading to an xBABIP of .227 (before yesterday). Not that lucky. His cutters are inducing over 50% flyballs with 41% ending as pop-ups – that’s crazy good – and I’m kinda believing in the big guy becoming that crafty pitcher to battle through starts that I wouldn’t award a younger arm. Now he does carry a 4.21 SIERA and that sub 20% K rate is far from amazing. I will say that he should be likely rostered as a Toby in 12-teamers, ready to let go of him in a flash. He did this for a while last year as well and if you want to Vargas Rule this, go right ahead.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Walker Buehler – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. So this was beautiful. His fastball was looking gorgeous, his breaking stuff was as good as I’ve ever seen it, and you should feel awesome if you grabbed him. I’ll be raising him on Monday plenty – especially since he has a crazy smooth path to innings for a very long time with Ryu out til the ASB – probably inside the Top 50. Kid looks legit right now.

Gerrit Cole – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 16 Ks. No I didn’t lead with Cole. You already know he’s dope, what else do you need to know? I’m taking a clear L here as I was down on Cole in the preseason – a 41.9% K rate after never hitting 25% in his career?! – and now I have to wonder where I slot him on Monday. Thor was going to fall to 8, should Cole sit above him? He’s certainly on one of the best tears we’ve ever seen, but how long will it last? Nah, I need to raise him. I’ll pull him down later once he cools down but if someone is offering you Cole for deGrom, I’m pretty sure you take Cole right now. It’s stupid but just how it is. And enjoy your Gallows Pole at 21 whiffs, you absurd man.

Gio Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Atta babe Gio, I gave you a bit more love this past week and now you hold a 2.33 ERA with a 2.58 FIP…fueled by a 0.23 HR/9. Expect that ERA to land around the 3.60 level, but if you keep up anything close to that 25% K rate I’ll take it all day.

Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. You own Kennedy for the strikeout upside. He took care of it against the Tigers. That’s what’s up, just don’t be blind about the matchups and this can be okay.

Miles Mikolas – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I called Miles “The Peanut” during the cast for being M&M and I need to come up with something better. Why? Because I never really loved peanut M&Ms but I LOVE Mikolas. This was his first real test after looking stellar across three weak opponents and he shut down the Cubs, throwing under 100 pitches to get through seven frames. Yes, I want to see his K rate jump above 20% – I think it will sit around 22-23% when all is said and done – but that 50% GB rate with a 1.2% walk rate is so lovely when you’re pumping 94-95 heat.

Jose Quintana – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. The TIARA was removed and Quintana gave you an unexpected WHIP like your ex—well something that you didn’t want. Velocity was a little low – 91.2mph – but I think you’re completely fine rolling with him moving forward.

Garrett Richards – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. YES RICHARDS. YES. After that atrocity that was his start against the Yankees, this should quell your concerns as he made his way through the Mariner lineup with ease. He gets the Twins next and I’m pumped.

Andrew Kittredge – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. It was a bullpen game for the Rays and Kittredge – Kittredge! got the call today. I’m suddenly getting the urge to watch Mission: Impossible again.

Francisco Liriano – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Wait, Francisco Liriano has a 2.97 ERA? Ohhh it’s a 4.95 SIERA with an 18.6% K rate and 11.4%. .211 BABIp and 8.3% HR/FB rate. For a moment there I thought I was back in 2013.

Daniel Mengden – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Our Call Boy got the job done against the Orioles and probably could have survived another inning but got the early hook at 84 pitches. Astros and Sawx are next, so let him go back to the wire now. Streaming Record: 19-11.

Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Dude, Porcello just can’t be stopped right now. Between Cole and Porcello, I’m eating crows like a Thenn. Don’t you dare stop tossing Porcello out there.

Sal Romano – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Romano? Aren’t we supposed to not touch you because of an E. Coli outbreak? Lettuce, Nick. Yeah, let us move on, you’re right.

German Marquez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. During the Reddit AMA, someone presented a wonderful argument talking about Marquez being a must start for this game against the Mets – outside of Coors, two starts of the year weighing down his stats, etc. – And BAM! That dude killed it. You know who won’t kill it? Marquez in a lot of his starts moving forward. Sorry, I totally understand why this one worked, but there’s way too much risk involved here when the variables don’t line up like this one.

Andrew Cashner – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I Cashed Out. You hopefully Cashed Out. Let’s all throw that dolla dolla in the air because we just don’t care about this stat line. That’s how we celebrate.

J. A. Happ – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. On one hand, 3 ER isn’t as ugly as the rest of the line looks. On the other, his secondary stuff was so blegh that he couldn’t set up guys to chase the high heat. It’s alright, I’m still all in here and keep starting Happ.

Mike Leake – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. Not much to gain here and there’s a reason why Leake is off The List. Wait, so I’m not supposed to get leeks at the supermarket? The Pitcher List, not your grocery list, we gotta have dem leeks. Phew, scared me for a moment.

Joey Lucchesi – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Is this a Lucchesi? Is it a fuhgeyzi? Whatever, it doesn’t change anything. I felt bad he had to pitch in the rain down in Afric—Mexico.

Chris Stratton – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ll take a PQS for Stratton with 6 Ks after his nightmare start last time out. He gets the Phils next, which is okay, but proceed with caution. Don’t forget the floor.

Jose Berrios – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Berrios threw 17 curveballs. He earned one swing-and-miss and one called strike on them. That’s bad and he should feel bad. On the plus side, his changeup did go 5-for-14 on whiffs, but come on buddy, I have to dock you points again because you’re lost, once again. It’s a little harsher than Bundy’s situation unfortunately as I can see this lasting for a longer period of time. Blegh, he’s going down toward the back of the 30s now.

Wei-Yin Chen – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. We are so far away from the golden days of Chen. Don’t let that nostalgia make you do something stupid here.

Bartolo Colon – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. The Groan Ranger allowed four solo shots and that’s about it. I don’t buy him as an arm you want to roster in 12-teamers, but I can see a situation in 15 teamers that Colon is owned. Don’t like, but I can fathom it.

Carson Fulmer – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Yep. You’re going to have to deal with this Carson daily.

Nick Kingham – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A little disappointing in the final line, but he actually still pitched pretty well. 18 called strikes on 58 four-seamers is a solid mark and a decent slide piece earned him that 7:1 K per BB. Keep sticking with him.

Josh Tomlin – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Well, yeah. It’s Tomlin.

Junior Guerra – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. If Guerra wasn’t owned in 40% of leagues, I probably would have picked him as our Call Boy as he faced the Pirates, but this, well, this is bad. Good Guerra is about pumping heaters in the zone and that’s not what we saw yesterday. Don’t count him out yet for future streams, I mean, these starts obviously will happen.

Mike Foltynewicz – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. There’s talk of Folty tipping pitches in this one and it’s 100% right – Nice catch Pitching Ninja! – as he stiffed up his delivery during a good amount of his heaters. I do wonder if that note is a curse, though. It presents a convenient excuse for this bad outing while Folty has been pitching above his weight this season and some regression was innately expected – 29% K rate with a 10% whiff rate? Naaaaah – and I’d actually love to sell high if someone is into the tipping narrative.

Nick Pivetta – 1.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. So this is a terrible start. I feel bad for Pivetta as he allowed two longballs to Bryce Harper and struggled to get strikes with his breaking stuff. We don’t want a Pivetta relying on his heater to get by. This is what that looks like. Some of you will drop him, that’s okay, but I won’t be doing that. Every starter in the bigs has bad starts during the year. It’s about the 2nd and 3rd starts after that really matter. Stick with this one for now as y’all know how good Pivetta can be.

Kris Medlen – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. I wonder if there is a teacher out there who would never have started Medlen, but Medlen’s kiddos are in his class so he put faith in their father. After reading this line, I can see him now, screaming at his phone…And I would have never started you if it weren’t for those Medlen kids!

Zach Wheeler – 6.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Hooooo boy. There is innate risk with Wheeler but this was something else right out of the gate. To his credit, he allowed five ER before getting his second out, and that got into a small groove after. Nevertheless, you can go ahead and drop him for a streamer spot.

Today’s Streamer

Caleb Smith vs. Cincinnati Reds – Dude has fanned 19 in his last two games and gets the weak Reds offense. Go for it. Tyler Mahle against the Marlins on the other side of it can also work out well.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Kyle Gibson vs. Chicago White Sox – He has the K upside against a meh offense to make this work. I’d roll with Mike Soroka as well, but you guys are smart and have already picked him up in over 30% of leagues.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Fernando Romero vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Given only seven games and limited choices, it’s between Romero and Homer Bailey against the Mets. I’m totally undecided, so I’m going with more exciting player.

Game of the Day

Charlie Morton vs. Zack Greinke – Can Morton keep it up? Will Greinke silence the haters?

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.

28 responses to “Seeing Double”

  1. Michael says:

    Does Mikolas move inside the top 40 after this week, if so how high?

  2. Glenn says:

    If Mikolas is moving that high, can’t wait to see where Porcello goes!

  3. Chris says:

    Hey, but what about Yarbrough? He’s the one who set down 15 in a row and got the win. And he’s the one heading for the Rays rotation in place of Chirinos.

  4. PitcherList Superfan says:

    Nick, what do you do when you have two of your pitchers facing each other? I’m in that spot tonight with Greinke and Morton, and my thinking is always that one of them will not do so well. I have a slight lead in ERA and WHIP in a close matchup. What would you do?

  5. Oister says:

    Hi Nick. Who you like more as sparp? Buehler/Minor/c Smith. Thanks!!

  6. Swfcdan says:

    Why Afric—Mexico?

    Would you trade K Seager and A Wood for Rendon now he’s back? OBP league and Seager is really hurting that.

  7. JAG says:

    80 Grade Toto refrence.

  8. Joe says:

    Roughly where do you see David Price landing on your next Pitcher List? Last Monday’s list was made (obviously) before his disastrous (3.2 IP/7 ER) Tuesday outing — and both he and Luis Castillo are on the waiver wire in my 10-team league. Whom do you think is the better pick up?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Price is the better pickup still, I need to see more from Castillo first to believe he’s truly on the upswing.

      I imagine Price will hover round the low to mid 30s.

  9. Jim says:

    “Carson daily”…. haha, well done.

    Berrios in a keeper league… with a potentially bright future, do you think he’s starting to become a good buy low target? Or wait another bad start or two?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m amazed I haven’t made that joke before…

      He’s so inconsistent it bothers me a lot, making me wonder if he will ever fully mature to remove that terrible floor. Depends what the $$ is as I do think he will give you solid starts moving forward, but I’m hesitant to say “yes, go get him.”

  10. Ionescorhino says:

    Severino for Sanchez? Dude’s offering. 12-teamer. Thanks.

  11. Tears_for_Fiers says:

    It felt like watching David Ortiz try and score from 1st base on a wall ball double at Fenway with that Medlen joke, but you snuck in below the tag. Well done
    When is the appropriate time to roster Alex Reyes with a really short bench? Is he even guaranteed a starting pitcher slot upon his return?
    Great article, better website, thanks

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I will always go as far as I can to try to make a joke land, no matter how dumb.

      Thanks for the kind words! I wouldn’t be rostering Reyes until there is confirmation that he is starting. I’d imagine Flaherty gets the innings before Reyes at this point.

  12. Play Ball says:

    Would you trade Thor for Cole ROS in a standard 5×5 season-long roto league?

  13. TheKraken says:

    Does Siera worship ks and pretty much regress babip towards an average? Seems like what era estimators do in general… Skills are always what get lost in the compund metrics.

  14. T Needs Help says:

    Pham for Carrasco in a standard yahoo league???

  15. TheKraken says:

    Berrios wasn’t bad yesterday. The few mistakes he made led straight to runs. The ball was really flying in that game and the ones he gave up were cheapies. 100% chance outs in a differnet park or a different day. Abreu got jammed and hit one 10 rows deep… I thought it was an encouraging start and I watched it. With any good fortune it would have been a quality start and probably a pretty good one. Nothing to be concerned about – it could have happened to anyone.

  16. TheKraken says:

    Does anyone ever talk about tipping pitches when a guy has a good outing? If a guy was and the other team cared/knew can you imagine how effective it would be to fake the tell a few times? If a pitcher executes there generally arent any excuses. Kind of like the struggling pitcher or hitter that people like to blame on the organization. Even if we or they can spot a tell it is an entirely differnent thing to put 100% trust in it… Mid delivery no less.

  17. TheKraken says:

    Just for fun, poor game management in pit. Let taillon hit with 2 outs… Ks of course… 3 up three down inning then pull him? They let the pitcher hit and then yanked him after his best half inning with 85 pitches… What? I guess they can’t wait to get to that bullpen in the middle of a 3 game set and they like outs on offense. Maybe they dont want taillon to have a shot at a qs. They must have just made up thier mind that he was only going 5 a few innings ago.

  18. m&m slot says:

    Publish the blog with RSS feed and allow others
    a subscription for your informative content. Saving you time, and supplying you with an option to temporarily disable them, rather
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