Sold By The Gallen

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

It was time to get hyped yesterday as Zac Gallen finally made his MLB debut and gave us a chance to understand how he’s been crushing Triple-A this season. The result was 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks against the Cardinals and you’re curious how to feel. The answer is content. I wasn’t over-the-top blown away as I have been in the past, which was a product of his heater. The pitch had its moments like painting the corner to Paul Goldschmidt at 94mph, but it also didn’t come with a refined approach. I didn’t see him elevate consistently or try to go in-and-out with authority, but rather he relied heavily on his secondary stuff. And I understand why as his slider and changeup are two effective pitches (curveball was fine, though the clear #4). In a way, I actually love how much Gallen trusts those offerings and a great example was this at-bat against Goldschmidt that I broke down on Twitter. I’ll do more of those, presented with much better articulation, I promise. Gallen’s slider was thrown as a chase offering, though the Cardinals were reluctant to chase often, forcing Gallen to hint at 100 pitches through just five frames. It’ll come down to his ability to earn strikes with fastballs for him to truly excel this year, though I can see that happening and with an excellent slider and changeup that he trusts in any count and any batter, this could turn out very well.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Chad Green2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Green opened and Nester Cortes did fine after…and has since been demoted. So there.

Julio Urias3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I knew this one would be a short outing, though I didn’t expect Stripling to follow. The question now is if Urias or Stripling takes over for Hill in the rotation. There are reports on Stripling, though I’d heavily prefer Urias to get the gig after these strong three frames versus Stripling’s blegh 2.0 IP, 2 Hits, 3 Runs (0 ER), 1 BBs, 1 Ks as he allowed a bomb to Yaz 2.0. Keep monitoring the situation, grab the guy that gets the official nod next time – those wondering about being “stretched out”, both Urias and Stripling threw roughly 45 pitches here – and I’m still going to side slightly in favor of Urias as the pickup to make based on this performance.

Jeff Hoffman2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, that’s two straight 1 ER games from Hoffman! Okay, that’s true, but this was far from a good outing, giving him the early hook after allowing seven baserunners in eight outs. Yikes. Don’t chase this.

Mike Minor8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It was far from the prettiest start we’ve seen from Minor this year – 28/110 CSW is pretty meh – but he grinded and got through it, given you more production for your squad. Far from enough to suggest that you reconsider Minor and keep rolling him out there.

Frankie Montas8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. When do I hand out the AGA label for Montas? It’s 28 strikeouts in his last three games combined, demolishing Arlington, the Mariners, and Rays, and collecting his fifth game fanning at least nine batters. Fine, I’ll wait one more start. ONE MORE. 17/93 whiffs is super legit (co-share of the Gallows Pole), though, with his slider returning 18/26 CSW. Montas is dope and you should feel dope for owning him.

Charlie Morton6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I’m thrilled he’s back on track. We need this quality of innings before he hits the inevitable IL.

Tanner Roark6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m a little surprised to see Roark owned in fewer than 20% of leagues yet he’s boasting a 3.47 ERA and 23%+ strikeout rate now. I know, the 4.37 SIERA due to his 0.67 HR/9 is likely not going to last, but there have to be more leagues where that’s a risk you’re willing to take, right?

Glenn Sparkman7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Mr. Sparkman now has five straight starts under his belt and we’re only going to focus on the last four as the first was all kinds of terrible and out of whack. Those last four have returned a 3.00 ERA with a…no. Come on. Seriously? A 10.2% strikeout rate. He’s missing bats at a 5.6% rate. So that must mean…yep. a .215 BABIP and 5.71 SIERA. Yeah, don’t do this.

Shane Bieber6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. This was a super fun game and 37/102 CSW from Bieber is everything I hoped for. Slider and curveball were solid save for a handful hung up in the zone, while his heaters were constantly getting strikes to help get ahead. He even sprinkled in some effective changeups along the way. When Bieber is on, the xStats n all don’t matter, y’all. Here’s to hoping he’s more on that off the rest of the way.

Tyler Chatwood4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Are you impressed? I sure am that Chatwood was able to allow just one walk in this one, but honestly, I was more upset since I was waiting for Adbert Alzolay to get his chance and I had to wait five innings. NOT COOL TYLER. As for Alzolay, he went 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks and I like him and you should own him in your 12-teamer. I’m not completely sold, though. His fastball was a bit wild – possibly a product of making your debut, possibly a product of his mechanics where he falls off toward first, lowering his arm angle as he slings the ball more than staying over the top and true toward home – though it certainly looked overpowering at times. Secondary options are…okay. Changeup had a few moments, curveball could be tight and could also float in the zone as well. Everything seemed a little rushed, though, and I’m waiting until seeing his second start to really get a sense of him. I want to see him in a calmer environment.

Erick Fedde3.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. Nah, don’t trust the Feddes. Seriously, I just don’t see where I’d begin to gain trust for Erick.

Taylor Scott0.2 IP, 2 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Mr. Scott, we have actual business to discuss today. Wade LeBlanc was the False Starter and went 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks, which is all kinds of impressive, Orioles or not. Okay maybe a little Blame it on the Orioles but at least we can consider LeBlanc again after his horrendous 6 ER outing last time against the A’s. Don’t expect the ridiculous run like last year, but consider that maybe this could work some days.

Robbie Ray6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 9 Ks. Sure, it’s a VPQS, but he served you nine strikeouts along the way. Look, it’s always going to be purgatory for Ray owners, but he’s so consistent with strikeouts, he’ll avoid the ridiculously terrible clunkers because of that strikeout ability and he’ll balance it out with some sparklers along the way. Sure, he won’t be Top 25 because of that, but he’s not going to be out of the Top 60, either. Likely inside the Top 50 all year, honestly. He did have 37/99 CSW with 17 whiffs for a co-share of the Gallows Pole, after all.

Adam Wainwright5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. It was a DLH and just overall hesitation given Waino n all, but then again, the Marlins are bad and feel bad. If Wain is wright, then I definitely want to be wrong. Only for the rare stream against a great matchup like this would I consider Wainwright again.

Dylan Bundy5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Eight strikeouts! And just one ER through his first five frames…but per usual, Bundy couldn’t handle the third time through and it crumbled in a hurry. Still, 32% CSW with 7/17 whiffs on his changeup – he threw more changeups that sliders! – is a wonderful sight. I’m still kinda buying here, crazy, I know. I wonder if his next start against the Padres will turn heads across the league.

Jake Odorizzi4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Uh-oh. That’s two straight 4 ER games after allowing 4 ER just once the entire year prior (and on April 5th!). The good news – or maybe it’s bad news? – is that he faced the same team on back-to-back games. Maybe they had his number and he can reset after. Thing is, that team was Kansas City. Yeah. Odorizzi wasn’t the same extreme high fastball pitcher we’ve seen prior and it resulted in just five whiffs total for this game. Super weird, this isn’t the guy we’ve seen all season. You have to imagine he gets back to it soon. I’m buying if people are selling based on these two games.

Clayton Richard5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! I’ll give you a moment to guess Richard’s ERA for the year. No, I didn’t forget to put it in. You’ll understand later.

Jimmy Nelson5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Look, I understand if you wanted to wait just one more start before giving Nelson the ax, but just do it already, okay? In each start, Nelson has gotten worse with his heater – 92.4 mph, 92 mph, 91.7 mph last night. This is a guy who was throwing 94 mph in his breakout 2017 season. It’s a sad state of affairs, but we just have to move on.

Jose Suarez5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. This was looking good for a moment…and then crumbled in our faces. Streaming Record: 51-29. His changeup still has potential, but overall everything was just…blegh. Keep an eye on him, but I’m taking a back seat on Suarez for a little bit.

Framber Valdez3.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It was two solid starts prior, but Framber faced the Yankees and this wasn’t a start to jump at. Good news now is he may be dropped and you can pick him up for his start against the Pirates. I’m all over that.

Madison Bumgarner3.2 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It was the day of drama as Bumgarner faced the Dodgers again and…yeah. He’s close to being a Toby these days, which means he’ll have these bad starts against strong teams, but don’t fret too much as an owner. If someone wants in on Bummy, by all Johns let him go. I imagine you can’t really do that, so hold tight. It’s a 7.46 ERA for Clayton Richard.

Walker Lockett2.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. You’re asking who this is. It’s the Cup of Schmo the Mets called on to replace Syndergaard in the rotation. Instead of locking it down yesterday, it was more like Lockett Down! Yep, that’s the best you’re going to get today.

Nick Pivetta5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Pivetta. Pivetta Pivetta Pivetta PIVETTA. We tried to keep emotions in check after the complete game. We tried to recognize that he is a Cherry Bomb and whatever changes he made for that start were suspect to be gone after. And here we are. Want to know the funny part? This ALSO changes nothing. You should still own Pivetta. He’s not always like this just as he’s not always a stud that warms our hearts. You endure these nights for the elation tomorrow.


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.


Cal Quantrill vs. Pittsburgh Pirates A little risky, I think Quantrill’s start in Coors should be ignored and he can pick up where he was prior. Stop it San Diego, stop changing things on me. Mike Leake vs. Baltimore Orioles – I hate this but the upside is there with a decent floor given the O’s.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tommy Milone vs. Baltimore Orioles – He’s had at least six strikeouts in all but one of his games thus far and now gets the O’s. It’s the best we’ve got under 20% owned.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Pineda vs. Kansas City Royals – It’s Pineda or Kelly vs. the Giants and I didn’t like what I saw last time from the latter.


Game of the Day 


Matt Boyd vs. Trevor Bauer – Oh heck yes. I definitely sound like this in public. Definitely.


(Photo by Tim Spyers/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.

27 responses to “Sold By The Gallen”

  1. bossmanjunior333 says:

    Would you drop Pivetta for Urias/Stripling (whoever gets the nod)? Pivetta might have a tasty 2 start week next (NYM, @MIA), but given that it’s a H2H league with playoffs, I want the best overall talent down the stretch. Thanks Nick!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d hold back. Who knows what Urias/Stripling will be doing come September, let alone July/August.

  2. J says:

    I think you’ve got a typo in Alzolay’s line. He only gave up one hit (a solo shot).

    I’ve also never seen a pitcher work at that quick of a pace, outside of maybe Mark Buehrle. Love his mound presence.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks for that! I was getting too amped about the strikeout numbers.

      He was super antsy and I honestly think it hurt him a little. Rushed mechanics a bit.

  3. Jim says:

    Nick, Urias numbers this year; 3.66 ERA as a starter in four starts, bullpen 2.49 ERA. Stripling has a 2.65 ERA in six starts, out of the bullpen a 4.61 ERA. Do you put any credence in these numbers moving forward, or is it more of a gut feeling on Urias? And since we’re talking Dogeritis isn’t the most obvious choice the last choice? ty!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You can’t do much better than gut feeling with the Dodgers!

      It could go either way at this point, Stripling will likely get the first start given Friedman’s quote about him earning the opportunity, but who knows how long that start will be and if he keeps it.

  4. D says:

    Nick, I’ve been one stashing Gallen for months and was pretty ok with the start yesterday, especially since I also had Pivetta who tanked. Just spitballing on where Gallen will be on the list Monday? I’m hoping that Gallen can be the ratio-focused guy I need, especially with rostering the likes of Jon Gray, Pivetta, Nola, Wheeler this year.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’ll have Gallen inside the Top 50 on Monday.

      • quimmy says:

        Thats insane. Top 50? Lance Lynn has been raking for 6 weeks and you just recently moved him to 48. The amount of influence “hype” has on your rankings is no bueno. Thank you though for the awesome and free content. You guys are great.

        • Nick Pollack says:

          Hey there! There are a few things to unpack here.

          – The rankings are all relative. Don’t think of “Top 50” as a uniform and consistent entity, it’s relative to the other options out there in 12-teamers.

          – There is a massive cliff from the mid-to-late 40s going to the 50s and beyond. Even starting at 51, a new tier begins with question marks like Skaggs, Matz, Lucchesi, Turnbull, etc. mixed with meh but better floor Tobys like Quintana and Lester.

          – Considering how replacable a lot of those arms are, to me it’s worthwhile to chase the ceiling of Gallen.

          – Lance Lynn is another story. It took him a while because it’s kinda blowing us all away how ridiculous he’s been and we still question its validity through the rest of the year. I’m likely pushing him up further on Monday and there’s understandable criticism about my hesitation to elevate him faster.

          Does that clarify it? I don’t think anyone who watched that start yesterday would deny that he Gallen should be owned in all 12-teamers right now to see where this goes. That elevates him tremendously on The List.

          If the discussion is “#48 vs. #55” then I think we’re dealing with a pretty small difference in opinion, as well.

          Glad you enjoy what we do here! Thanks for the kind words.

  5. Benjamin Tilghman says:

    LOL, I love how you posted Clayton’s ERA in Bummy’s line like the number was just burning in the back of your mind as you were writing and you couldn’t hold it in any more. You just needed us to know.

    Fair enough. I wasn’t gonna look =P

    Go Judges!

  6. joe blanquie says:

    who had the gallows pole? i seem to be missing it

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ah right!

      Robbie Ray and Frankie Montas each had 17 whiffs for the Gallows Pole. Just added it in!

  7. Chris says:

    Nick, understand you put out an amazing amount of info with little time, but not sure you wanted to say you would “heavily” prefer Urias to Stripling and then you would “slightly” prefer Urias in the same paragraph.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I should written a better paragraph!

      I do heavily prefer Urias between the two if there were both SP right now.

      With the condition of Stripling or Urias getting one spot, I’m slightly preferring Urias as a pickup.

      I’ll clean it up, sorry for the confusion!

  8. Nick says:

    I watched Frambers start and he looked great through 3.

    Gave up just a walk and single with 3 Ks with the fastball consistently at 94 MPH.

    Then Gary Sanchez, who had the single for only hit off him at the time, led of the 4th with a homer on a fastball on the inside corner (not horrible location). Then all of the sudden it started absolutely pouring rain, the stands emptied out and I thought game should have been called right then. But the umps let it go and that’s when the wheels really started to fall off, so I’ll give Framber a pass on this one.

  9. Bob SHAW says:

    With more and more managers going with openers I suggest that points should be allocated for QUALITY GAMES instead of QUALITY STARTS. This wat any pitcher who goes 6 innings and allows 3 or less earned runs would be credited with a quality game.
    What say you and your followers?

  10. Swfcdan says:

    Not too worried about Snell though I am worried about the walks returning lately. Don’t think it will be fixed easily, that said would you consider moving him for a big prospect haul if you could? (my team is in sell mode this year). He’s signed for $15 through 2021 so very valuable, but if I got a prospect haul of Hiura and Pache and maybe another like Waters, would that tingle your waters?

  11. Dave says:

    Frankie Montas – suspended 80 games for testing positive on PEDs. So much for the AGA label.

  12. Jason says:

    Should we be considering dropping Hill in a 10 team H2H league?

  13. Ryan says:

    I’ve got both Boyd and Bauer. Is what it is, but tonight was definitely a disaster.

  14. Ryan says:

    Montas: AGACS (Clemens Style)

    Or maybe I misremembered.

  15. Ryan says:

    “Charlie Morton – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I’m thrilled he’s back on track. We need this quality of innings before he hits the inevitable IL.”

    Again, getting a little tired of this injury tag on pitchers who have been injured before. If it wasn’t for your constant belittling or Ryu this year I would have picked him up. Dude, seriously, you’re great at what you do, but stop judging pitchers on their past injuries. I’m serious with that. Get a clue and stop with the “he’ll pull a hammy next time out” stuff. That’s just no way to judge talent. Feel me?

  16. Ryan says:

    Tell you what: I missed out on Ryu.

    Because I don’t believe in this injury stuff in evaluating pitchers, I’m willing to bet you $500 that Morton doesn’t land on the IL this year.

    My email you’ve received is my PayPal and I’m always good for it. Let me know if you want to start backing up these injury deadlines and we can have some side fun. Not everyone is Cal Ripken every season, but I don’t put as much past history weight as you do into future seasons. Drop me a line. I’ll front the money.

  17. Chris says:

    Enjoying the humor in the writeups. The list isn’t gospel to me but it’s very entertaining and it’s directionally correct. I appreciate the constant and on time content.

  18. Sherbs says:

    Montas is definitely still Dope though……

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