Shopping On Madison

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

(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire)

If you’re like me, you’re losing your patience with Madison Bumgarner, who went 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks last night against the Athletics. While the ERA is solid at 3.19, his 20.3% K rate is far from getting the job done, with a 10% walk rate – this start obviously inflated it but still – that is making us roll our eyes. His lack of success is contingent on a heater that simply hasn’t gotten it done. It’s far from deceiving – 96% Z-Contact rate, 3.7% whiff rate – and a remarkable .275 BAA (with .203 ISO!) as he’s not consistently getting the pitch up-and-in like I’ve preached often with slinging left-handers like James PaxtonSean Manaeaand David PriceHe’s also struggling to get the top of the zone, often elevating too much or it’s settling too close to the center of the plate. Meanwhile, while his curveball has returned plenty of outs (.045 BAA allowed with a .038 ISO is a stupid as it gets), it’s returning just a 13.2% whiff rate. Batters are chasing it out of the zone and could explain a little of the super low BAA, but this is not a sustainable experience. If the heater doesn’t get under control soon, his curveball will not be able to keep picking up the slack and we’re going to see more of a decline. Bumgarner will take a drop tomorrow to the late 20s as a result as I need to see it for a few starts before believing he can dominate like others currently around him. Last note: he’s had a whiff rate above 11% just twice in nine starts so far. That’s not good.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Dylan Covey – 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Huh. I want to say the ole Don’t Covey Thy Dylan and…yeah that still applies. Don’t get suckered in.

Mike Fiers – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m pretty certain that Fiers is only having this success because I finally had the perfect phrase for his starts. Seriously, it’s a 2.47 ERA across his last ten starts now and it’s dumb with a 89% LOB rate. Oh, did I mention that this was the Red Sox? Yeah, it’s wild. Even so, I can’t endorse a start against the Indians, so let’s hang it up for now.

John Gant – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. With Carlos Martinez out with an oblique injury and Luke Weaver demoted to Triple-A, expect Gant to get a good amount of work moving forward. His upside is on the back of a changeup that holds a 20% whiff rate, though I don’t like his breaking stuff at all and his fastball is…okay. I can see a desperate 12-teamer going for this, though I’d back out against the Cubs. He’ll be on The List tomorrow probably around the 70s/80s.

Brian Johnson – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Huh, the Sawx are a type to Shoot To Thrill and Brian shook the Tigers all night long. I really don’t see this working out long term but it does mean Beeks is on the backburner until this falters. Gotta keep twiddling our thumbs for now.

Ryne Stanek – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yarbrough followed an I don’t care. You shouldn’t either.

Justin Verlander – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 37/92 CSW = 40% and life is beautiful. His four-seamer had 30/67 on its own. WHAT. Oh and 18 whiffs is good for a Gallows Pole. Good work bud.

Trevor Cahill – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. 13 Whiffs in 79 pitches is solid from Cahill, especially 8/18 on his changeup. Curveball isn’t the dominant pitch it has been in the past, but I’m liking where Cahill is right now. He gets the Rangers/Jays/Tigers next and I’m on board.

Tyler Chatwood – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. Six walks and just 1 ER allowed. He can’t keep getting away with it.

Alex Cobb – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I never talk about W-L records, but Cobb is 2-13 this season. Jeez. 

Jake Junis – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. DLH here for Junis and his slide piece did good work at 15/35 CSW. Too bad he still doesn’t have a third pitch – or really a second pitch as his heaters are pretty blegh – and his next start against the Yankees is a clear sit. ChiSox after? Yeah sure, I’m down.

Clayton Kershaw – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s TATIAGA and while this is solid, it’s not that incredible outing that we’re still waiting for. He also allowed 3 unearned runs here, which prevented him from going deeper and was a bit of a blemish. He’s still at the bottom of the Tier 1b tier for now and that’s okay. Here’s the hoping we see the real Kershaw soon.

Pablo Lopez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. This is excellent and there may be something here with a sub 80mph EV (sub 80 = great, 85+ = bad). I’m not loving that his 32 curveballs + changeups returned just two total whiffs, though, and I worry that his four-seamer/two-seamer mix will get him into some trouble moving forward without the other pitches to pull him out. He’s become a streaming option and just that.

Mike Montgomery – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Monty had allowed at least 3 ER in each of his previous four games – against the Reds twice, Giants and Twins, mind you – so I think you can understand my doubts that he’ll be able to repeat this.

Marcus Stroman – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Stroman’s best start of the season came against the Manny-less O’s – SURPRISE! – as he threw 46/107 sliders. 36 CSW here and it’s nice, but I’m giving the clear Blame it on the Orioles here. While I can’t buy into a good second half ahead from Stroman, I will say that his next start against the ChiSox looks mighty appealing.

Nick Tropeano – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. It was a DLH and I’m glad it wasn’t horrendous. Still don’t trust the Trop, but hey, this is fine.

Chase Anderson – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. No injury here, just 104 pitches and a fifth frame that started with walking Kershaw, a hard-struck grounder up the middle that was called an error, and a single to load the bases. His changeup is looking decent, but there isn’t enough across the board for me to get excited. 29 Foul balls here really did him in as he just couldn’t end at-bats sooner.

Carlos Carrasco – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s nice to see Carrasco look like himself, you know?

Sonny Gray – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. The Mets being terrible helps, though I’m a little surprised to see Sony have success with his heater, while still backing up tremendously on his slider – just 8 thrown! It’s a Hail Mary play right now to chase Sonny and I’m not seeing a guy locked in here – especially with just 3 whiffs on 32 curveballs thrown.

Nick Kingham – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He just had to allow a 2-run shot in the seventh frame and it kicked him out of the game despite throwing just 79 pitches total. He was cruising and looking sharp and even if the strikeouts weren’t there, I’ll take Kingham confidently carving up a lineup on a given night. Mets are next and that’s lovely…too bad it’s the Cubs and Coors after, womp womp. Streaming Record: 58-32.

Anthony DeSclafani – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Tony Disco was pulled with just 64 pitches to his name for whatever reason. Seriously, he had just struck out a batter and they pulled him. Anyway, maybe he turns into a Toby, I hope he does. For now, I’m staying away.

Zack Godley – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. It was another game of Godley electing to abandon his sinker – just 12 thrown with just 3 CSW – in favor of curveballs and cutters. Curveball was great, cutter…not so much. He’s tinkering and that’s a good thing, but it’s hard to watch him fail to get into a rhythm that lasts a significant amount of time. I think we’re at the point where even if I see it, I’m going to question its longevity. These are sad times.

Felix Hernandez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Those seven strikeouts are cool, but it’s really hard to get behind this given everything else. Don’t chase the fallen ruler.

Lance Lynn – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 6 Ks. Chatwood, this is how it’s supposed to go when you walk six. LEARN SOMETHING.

Luke Weaver – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Weaver was demoted shortly after as he was completely lost here. I wonder if we’ll be considering him a sleeper in 2019 as people will completely give up on him. Watch, he’ll have something like a 22/3 K per BB in three Spring Training starts and he’ll fly up draft boards.

Kyle Freeland – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. And here is why Freeland is a TEEs. He threw 77 pitches and earned one whiff. ONE. 16/77 CSW. Hooooo boy.

Bartolo Colon – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Remember when you wanted to consider The Groan Ranger for your team? HA Ha ha…

Steven Matz – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Matz got the Yankees and this was everything we expected – low strikeouts, terrible ratios. Y’all know I’m not the biggest Matz fan, but it’s Pittsburgh next and that’s fine, I guess.

Today’s Streamer

Ivan Nova vs. Cincinnati Reds – There may be a better one popping up as we get closer to it as teams are still solidifying their weekend rotations. I don’t love this one, but you could get a Super Nova and that’s cool.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brett Anderson vs. Texas Rangers – This will probably change as ten starters haven’t been claimed yet. This is bad.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Ryan Borucki vs. Minnesota Twins – Do I expect much? Not really. Borucki could turn into a Toby though and the Twins don’t scare me.

Game of the Day

Andrew Heaney vs. Lance McCullers – If Heaney kills it against the Astros, it’ll be a marvelous day. Then there’s also McCullers prime to do McCullers things. Should be fun.

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 “Shopping On Madison”

  1. J.C. Mosier says:

    No Sit/Start for this weekend, so: Heaney a “maybe” against the Astros?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry about that! There were just too many undetermined starts.

      Yep, a maybe. I’m benching wherever possible, I might go for it in a roto, though.

  2. Steven says:

    How do you feel about Zach Wheeler tomorrow at home vs the Padres.

  3. CC says:

    Is Kingham more of a streamer than someone to roster ROS? Or are the starts against CHC and Coors just benches and we should be cool after that?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Definitely a guy I want to own ROS. Too bad he gets a pair of tough outings, but he’s an easy start otherwise.

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