Signing The Cease

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Dylan Cease @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 98 pitches.

It feels like we’ve been waiting a decade for Dylan Cease to deserve our attention and tonight may be the night after going 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks against the Reds, boasting a Golden Goal with 17 whiffs and a 37% CSW. Keep in mind, this follows an outing of 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 BBs, 9 Ks against the Tigers and a successful test versus Cincy seems awfully like a green light for your fantasy squads.

I want to agree. His slider was fantastic as he located the pitch arm-side all game, pushing its CSW to a ridiculous 54% clip across the 24 thrown. His changeup returned 7/12 (!) CSW as well and it all points to legitimacy, though I still have my hesitations. His four-seamer isn’t a well-commanded pitch. When it is fired inside the zone, it has success, but this outing wasn’t quite like the last, sitting arm-side often but coming with plenty mistakes. It puts me in a tough position as I think Cease will retain his Cherry Bomb status as he wrestles with the fastball once again.

But at least the slider is in check and that makes him a decent add in 12-teamers. He gets the Twins next and I’ll put that on you to make the decision. I imagine he can keep the strikeouts afloat, but the ratios could get dicey. Be careful.


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


Keegan Thompson vs LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 61 pitches.

Keegan was called upon for this double-header and returned one whiff in 61 pitches. That’s a Cup of Schmo alright.

Dinelson Lamet vs PIT (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 30 pitches.

Why are we playing this game with Lamet? I just don’t understand it, and oh great, yay, he pitched two frames. Without a strikeout. Can we really expect him to go a full six any time soon?

Mitch Keller @ SD (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 83 pitches.

You son of a Mitch I’m in. Wait. No I’m not, like at all. This is a ridiculous outing where he elected to move away from the slider almost entirely in favor of his curveball and was fortunate on his four-seamers’ balls in play. Seriously, that’s really it, the man earned four whiffs. Keller hasn’t turned the corner, y’all.

Huascar Ynoa @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to resist raising Ynoa in the ranks as his slider earned 41% CSW here with over 50% usage. Sure, his 97 mph fastball somehow earned just one whiff, but it returned outs galore and he relaxed on a gondola through seven frames. At some point I want to see if his changeup can make some headway, but for now, just enjoy as the man swats a grand slam just for funsies. Ynoa is a prime example of what we preach during draft season: you’re not drafting a best ball team.

Shane McClanahan @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 63 pitches.

I am in absolute awe of Shane. Pick him up, I don’t care if the Rays aren’t letting him go 80+ pitches yet. He’s just so dang GOOD. Upper 90s heat, ridiculous sliders, and even a fantastic low 80s curveball that is sure to miss bats and earn strikes. Just add him and deal with it, he’ll get his bread soon enough. It’s not like these four innings harmed you, either.

Alex Cobb vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

Ayyyy The Thing is back! I’m so glad to see it, earning 11 whiffs across 48 thrown and pushing Cobb across five quality innings (go away 1.40 WHIP, YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE) against his former club. As with the heavy majority of splitters, this one will likely go in-and-out through the year and you might as well avoid the tough opponents along the way, like Houston next. He’s a streamer with that splitter, not an ace.

Trevor Bauer @ CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna flounder like Kershaw and get pulled before the end of the fifth. What a weird day for the Dodgers, this isn’t actionable in the slightest and we’ll move on.

Sandy Alcántara vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

As promised, we’ll wait one more start for the AGA label, but that’s another six frames for Alcántara, here earning a co-share of the Gallows Pole at seventeen whiffs. It was good to see his slider get a few more whiffs in this one as I think it’s the last piece of his repertoire that Sandy needs to figure out for him to truly rise the ranks. Just 4/23 whiffs, but it was solid. Show me a double-digit whiff game, and I’ll be in heaven. Just once.

Phil Maton @ KC (ND) – 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 29 pitches.

I feel like Phil is asking someone to fill his giant barrel with water. Hey man, Phil Muh Ton. This is incredibly uninteresting, and I’m sorry, I was just trying to mimic my thoughts on this start. He was followed by Sam Hentges who pumped 95 mph…and returned 5% CSW on 37 four-seamers. I think that’s all you need to know. Okay fine, there’s actually some intrigue there as his curveball is a solid offering and I have to think his heater performs better moving forward, but I really don’t like his slider. It just doesn’t do enough. There’s some upside here, I’m just not riding to dive in.

Kyle Hendricks vs LAD (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

Well of course as I continue to slot Hendricks down The List, saying he has the hardest hill to climb and now looking square at the Dodgers, this is the moment Hendricks straightens his back and gets into gear. It’s a bit strange, though, his curveball and changeup weren’t the overwhelming CSW pitches we’re used to, but instead, the Dodgers were incredibly passive on Hendricks’ sinker (15 called strikes!), allowing him to get ahead quickly before darting to the edges. The best news here is Pittsburgh is next and you have to think Hendricks can repeat this performance then…right?!

J.A. Happ vs TEX (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 101 pitches.

Happ needed 101 pitches and failed to go six frames, but all of this helps your squads and we can’t really complain. It’s just kinda…boring. Welcome to Happ. The Twins finally have it tough again as they matchup vs. the ChiSox next and I’d be letting Happy go.

Justin Dunn vs BAL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 88 pitches.

Despite the four walks — get it together Dunn — that ERA and six punchouts should earn another streaming victory. Streaming Record: 20-11. He’s still 93/94 and that slider…wait. His curveball earned seven whiffs and 46% CSW?! Huh. Dunn threw just eight sliders in favor of the traditional deuce and it worked. You love to see that kind of adjustment and it paying off in a big way. Now he has two breakers he can choose between on a given night, wonderful to know. Still just a streamer, though, and he’s off the roster now with the Dodgers ahead.

Jorge López @ SEA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 76 pitches.

It’s as good as you realistically hope for López, even if it’s against the Mariners. Yeah.

Aaron Nola vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 114 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Nola Day is always such a joy as that curveball once against was dope at a 47% CSW. Never leave us.

Cole Irvin vs TOR (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 102 pitches.

Whoaaaa mate! Steve Irvin gave the performance of his short career here against the Jays (of all teams!), and you’d think it would outline a pick-up in all formats. I’m not ruling it out with the Rays next (why does it feel that the Rays –> Jays or vice versa happens all the time?), but this start here? Not something I’m banking on repeating anytime soon. I watched a good amount of it, and I stand by my original assessment of Irvin as a hopeful Toby. Those strikeouts? A product of the best pitch separation I’ve seen from him, with four-seamers up-and-glove-side opposite his changeups down-and-arm-side. He had a slider he missed in there too, but it was more of a “get me over” than a true facet. I think we saw Irvin at his best here and save for below-average offenses (like Tampa), I wouldn’t roll with him. But hey, if you need that start on Sunday, Cole could carry this same command one more time.

Alex Wood @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 81 pitches.

You didn’t start Wood in Coors and may have even held onto him instead of letting him rest on the wire. I wouldn’t say he was so dazzling here that I’m super confident moving forward, but whatever, he should get the Rangers next (and not San Diego), and that’s a clear start.

Ryan Castellani vs SF (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 65 pitches.

That’s a near 3.00 WHIP. I know it’s Coors, but daaaang.

Michael Fulmer @ BOS (L) – 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 33 pitches.

Sigh. Why must you taunt me so.

Joe Ross vs ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

You really couldn’t ask for more from Joe against Atlanta from a results perspective, but I can certainly ask for better than 20% CSW on his slider. But who cares if the other stuff was great,  you say. Sure, his heaters boasted a 35% CSW but I don’t think they’re all that amazing and then there’s nothing else. Don’t be so quick to forget his blowup and with the heating up Yankees next, the swing isn’t worth the diamond. That’s not a phrase. YOU’RE NOT A PHRASE.

Eric Lauer @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’m sorry, what. Lauer performed exceptionally well with his cutter at 90.5 mph, a pitch that normally sits at 87 mph. Yeah…what. It returned outs and kept the Phils at bay, forcing them to be passive and take sliders and four-seamers for strikes. I know this is strange, but if Lauer can keep that high-velocity cutter alive, this could actually be something. I feel very strange typing these words, but it’s right there in front of us. I have no idea what happened and why he’s suddenly doing it, all I wonder now is if 90+ mph cutters are here to stay. That would be pretty cool.

Nick Pivetta vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Believe it or not, I picked up Pivetta in a few 12-teamers for his two-start week and I’m satisfied with eight strikeouts and a win to kick it off. Sure, the ratios aren’t great but I’ve got others to deal with that. Here’s to more of the same against the Rangers, especially with his slider returned 8/36 whiffs at the bottom of the zone.

Riley Smith @ MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

I’ll be honest with you. No, that’s not an exception but I need to convey that tone to start this blurb. Riley? I think his stuff ain’t so bad. There’s some intrigue in his sinker and changeup and I’ve seen a worse set of breakers. I mean, there’s no way I’m touching him in 12-teamers and even in my 15s, but he’s not the worst one out there, and it could get better if that command comes with more experience. It’s hard throwing just 92 mph these days, though. Wait, he’s hard-throwing?! 92 isn’t hard! No, it’s difficult. Ohhhh, why didn’t you just say that?! Because I wanted to write more, that’s why.

Zack Greinke @ NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.

Oooof this isn’t the Greinke you want. I’m a bit torn here as I can see some degradation in Greinke’s stuff, but I still trust him to be a consistent innings eater without harming your ratios through the year. It’s not of ace caliber, though, and I think I have him slightly too high now. I should note, this isn’t really in too much of a reaction to this outing — the Yankees are back to being a scary offense again — but more of a deeper internal look of my own assessment and how I’m expressing it on The List. Think close to #40 and please don’t overreact to a tough matchup…that he gets again next time vs. Toronto. Blegh, that’s annoying.

Domingo Germán vs HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

Welp, Germán is still sitting at 93/94 mph and I’m back in. His curveball was legit as well with 37% CSW, and all the fears I had in that Cleveland start have dissipated in a flash. Blamo. Yes, that’s the word I’m choosing and we’re going to live with this choice.

Kyle Gibson @ MIN (ND) – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 107 pitches.

It’s unbelievable, but Gibson keeps cruising. I went over on the OTC Podcast with Fast about how Gibson had his best command last time out against the Red Sox, and it was more of the same here against Minnesota. Excellent pitch separation while avoiding the heart of the plate and all I can wonder is how long this is going to go for (after a brief moment of shock and joy that I was wrong). Who cares, Vargas Rule this and we’ll figure it out later. Oh, and congrats on a co-share of the Gallows Pole too. That slider was legiiiiit.

Mike Minor vs CLE (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

Minor has had wonderful matchups fall into his lap, and he’s too busy failing to throw over 91 mph. Let him loose onto the wire already.

Aaron Sanchez @ COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.

This was Coors. We don’t start decent arms in Coors, let alone those who have an okay curveball and a sinker missing about three ticks of velocity. And what’s that? It’s San Diego next? Now is not the time. Okay fine, there’s a chance it’s Texas instead so maybe consider him there. Maybe.

Anthony Kay @ OAK (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 71 pitches.

You had no expectations and yet you’re still disappointed. I am too – I wish he walked two more so we could have the full fours on this special day. May the fours be with you.

Clayton Kershaw @ CHC (L) – 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 39 pitches.

Wait, what. The line is real, there was no injury, and Kershaw was pulled after one given he tossed nearly 40 pitches in a frame. It stinks and we’re all terribly upset. We gotta move on.

Jeff Hoffman vs CWS (L) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 63 pitches.

Hoffman is questionable against a poor squad and a clear sit against someone like the White Sox (regardless if I’m thinking their offense isn’t so good with Robert + Eloy out). I’d feel uneasy starting him at all for the foreseeable future.

Germán Márquez vs SF (L) – 0.2 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 36 pitches.

Ohhhhhh no. Two starts ago, Márquez had it. The sweet forbidden elixir of life as he had both his curveball and slider inside Coors. It all seems so distant now. Márquez is pain, Márquez is joy, Márquez will have excuses made for him when you’re considering him in a week or two. The true Cherry Bombthe box of chocolates you want to give to another. You don’t need to live this life.


Game of the Day 


Johan Oviedo vs New York MetsI’m itching to see more of Oviedo, even if I don’t expect his command to suddenly click this soon.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

9 responses to “Signing The Cease”

  1. Brett says:

    Do you think McClanahan can get to 6 innings in a QS league?

  2. BBBOSTON says:

    Nick, I suggest you dig out “inside” Indians commentary on Sam Hentges. From Spring and Alternate Site observations: 1) Francona is predicting big things and 2) Bauer says he’s a total bitch to face. My personal observation of curveball is that its a knee-bender and that his height, as a lefty especially, could make his heat and secondaries play up. I won’t predict great things, but it sounds like his nervousness impacted the fluidity of his motion and pitch movement. As you well know, nervousness prevents lanky pitchers from snapping off their curves/sliders, so I’m holding out hope that even his slider impresses you next time out.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks a lot! I watched more of him since and I am wondering if there is something here long term. Much more intriguing than I expected!

      • bbboston says:

        From Cleveland.com article:

        “But things turned around for Hentges last season. Players at the Indians’ 2020 alternate training site in Eastlake raved about the work he put in there, while hitters made it known that facing him in live batting practice was no treat.

        “That dude is the real deal,” said Jake Bauers, who faced Hentges routinely at the alternate site. “That’s not a fun at-bat. But at the end of the day, seeing him 20 times in a month, I’m that much better for it.”

        At this year’s training camp, Francona joked that president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti was chiding him around the team’s Goodyear facility calling the left-hander “Sam Francona” because the Indians manager talked about him so much.

        “I told Sam, I said, ‘Sam, there’s gonna be day where you’re as good as we think you are,’” Francona said. “And when that happens, that’s going to be a pretty fun day.”

        Francona said Hentges looks the part of a major leaguer already at age 24.

        “He’s got plenty of velocity and his cutter is really maturing,” Francona said. “His breaking ball — he’s got all the tools. He needs repetition for consistency. That has eluded him so far. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen now.”

  3. Craig says:

    At this point would you take McClanahan over Paddack long term?

  4. theKraken says:

    The Dodgers put a clinic on yesterday. They got nothing from their SP and ran out of bullpen arms by the 6th inning en route to getting swept in a double header. This a few days after losing May to a few years of abuse and minimal production. The good news is that they made some really progressive decisions. I really wonder how much of their game-plan revolved around undermining the greatness of one of the best closers of all time. That analytics department is so destructive to the pitchers on that team.

    The bad on McClanahan – arm health has always been a concern. Just because a guy is pumping some gas in his first few innings doesn’t mean that this will come together as a reliable starter. He seems like a prime Rays guy – a guy that has no prayer at pitching deep. I think TB might even value that as it gives them the opportunity to micromanage the game at an early point (see Dodgers, LA). I am just pointing out that this is exactly what he was on draft day and most teams shied away. Factor in how poorly TB treats their arms and this isn’t a huge buy. Granted, I am always slanted towards the longer-term formats. I personally avoid all TB arms and have never regretted it – this seems like an easy case of that.

  5. David says:

    I appreciate your input as always. I was just offered Sale for my Cease. How concerned are you with Sale and do you think that’s enough value for Cease? I have an IL spot and trust my rotation to carry me until Sale comes back.

  6. Lindorphins says:

    How would you rank Plesac, Eovaldi and Cease ROS?


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