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

I couldn’t stop talking about Mike Soroka for months. He was going to be healthy and competing for a rotation spot in spring until suddenly, his shoulder injury returned before our dreams could be realized and I was out. A repeating shoulder injury speaks to a long-term problem that won’t disappear, especially for a 21-year-old already having a repeated injury. Well, he threw all that out the window yesterday, tossing 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks against the Diamondbacks. I didn’t expect his velocity to go 95+ (it did fall to 92/93 in the later innings) and I certainly didn’t think his command would be this good so quickly after the shoulder problems. I’ll say this. A healthy Soroka in the rotation for any extended period dictates a Top 50 starter, easily. His skillset is legit with more outings like this one. I just don’t know what the Braves are going to do and how long he can stave off the shoulder problems. My best guess is that Atlanta plays this as safe as possible – remember, 21-years-old! – pushing Touki and Fried in the rotation as Soroka has a smooth and easy 2019 season. But for right now? Well, he could make that next start against the Cincy and I’m all for rolling him out there. Play it start-by-start if you can.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Zach Davies5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Huh. That’s a 1.19 ERA through 22.2 innings. *Suit man whispers in my ear*. Ahhhh right. With a 16% strikeout rate, 10% walks rate, 92% LOB, and 9.1% HR/FB that creates 5.17 SIERA. Yeah, that’s a no from me dawg. 

Kyle Freeland6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Well, well, well. I didn’t like Freeland starting in Coors here against the Phils + hosting the Nats again next week, but hot dang, this is lovely. 37% CSW as he even earned 5/10 whiffs on his curveball (yes, curveball!), pumping the zone with heaters and sliders. There’s a part of me that wants to hold off in that next start against the Nats, there’s another part that feels like Freeland just took off the TIARA and is ready to roll the rest of the way. The one hesitation I have is a 91 mph heater (just 92.9 mph max), which goes against the excitement I had in the spring for his 93-95 mph fastball. I’d play it safe here if Freeland was dropped. If you have the roster spot, sure pick up Freeland and make your decision after the Nats start. It’s a Freeland, after all. You’ve made that joke so many times. SO WHAT.

Julio Urias6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. This was a superb start from Urias, so amazing that the Dodgers are sending him back to the pen. He finally gets past his tough schedule – even excels at the end! – and time is up as Ryu is returning over the weekend. It takes me back to Tony Hawk 2 when I finally made the jump I needed to make, only for time to expire, staring at the magically hovering giant-sized VHS. Sometimes, you can’t have it all. I still stand that Urias is a phenomenal Dynasty asset as his 2020 season and beyond could return Top 30 (or higher!) SP production. 

Luke Weaver5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. I considered leading with Weaver but the Soroka talk is a little more pressing. His strikezone plot is exactly what you want to see out of Weaver, a replication of prime Marco Estrada with Fastballs up and changeups not just down, but right at the very bottom of the zone. Throw in a dash of cutters for strikes and BAM! You have a 33/93 CSW (35.5%!) and a lovely start against a solid offense. With the Pirates next, you best be swiping him up, at the very least for that one start and consider your options for the Cubs after.

Hunter Wood2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Wood was the opener for Jalen Beekswho went three frames of 3 ER. I’m serious, don’t deal with Rays’ False Starters. It’s just a massive headache.

Homer Bailey6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Did you realize how good of a season Homer Bale is having? The man was traded for and released, sending him off the Royals with a tail between his legs, only to currently hold a near 30% strikeout rate and 1.09 WHIP. He’s upped his splitter usage tremendously to a near 27% rate and it’s returned a remarkable 3.8 pVal thus far, with a crazy good 25% swinging-strike rate and .100 BAA on 76 thrown. Small sample is obviously a thing here and splitters are wildly inconsistent, but I can’t hold back the notion that Bailey could be a sneaky play in AL-Only leagues. Still too volatile and with such a horrid track history to touch in 12-teamers, but the desperate may have a decent roll of the die.

Patrick Corbin7.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s fun when a pitcher breaks out and picks up right where they left off. 

Tanner Roark5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. So it’s a 3.60 ERA and…1.55 WHIP?! Roark has quietly been destroying teams this year, even with his strikeout per inning. It can be easy to do that when you have just 20 frames in four starts. Yeeeesh.

Andrew Cashner5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Would you look at that, Cashner has a sub 5.00 ERA! Good for him, he removed the ‘d’ in Cashner. Give it a second, you’ll get there.

Zach Eflin6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Good – not great – rebound from Eflin, surprisingly so inside of Coors. Just six whiffs and just 1/29 on sliders isn’t surprising – Coors diminishes breaking ball movement – and…my lord is that a 17/92 CSW?! Yeeeeaaaaaaah I’m sitting out his next start against the Mets.

Tyson Ross6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s boring but Ross survived the ChiSox and helped those that need it. Kinda. I imagine it didn’t really push the needle either way, keeping your week as it is. But Dad, it’s 5-5 in my H2H league, what would happen if nothing changes? That would be a Tyson. 

Clay Buchholz4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I expected a little better from Bucky, even against the Twins, but he ran into a tough third frame and that was that. Consider him as a streaming option for now with an outside chance to have a repeat of last year’s magical run. So we’re not Big Buch Hunting? I’m afraid not. $3 per game?! Seriously?!

Domingo German6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. A pair of longballs against the Royals isn’t expected, but German recovered for a PQS with nine strikeouts and we’re plenty happy. 19 whiffs on the night earned himself a Gallows Pole and I don’t think this will be the last he earns. Please keep holding on tight to German as he gets the Angels and Giants (in Oracle Park!) next.

Chris Paddack6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He allowed a solo shot to Joey Votto out of the gate and settled down nicely. He’s providing all the value you hoped for, save for the strikeout rate sitting a little lower than his minor league numbers suggested. We understand why – lack of major breaking pitch – and that’s quite alright. This PQS but with a 0.67 WHIP is welcome in this house. That’s a cardboard box. Tomato, tomato. You didn’t pronounce those differently. YOU DON’T KNOW THAT.

Felix Hernandez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Every party has that one person spitting off something that you just can’t listen to. You don’t know enough about starstuff or whatever he’s talking about to dispute it, but there’s no way it’s legit. Welcome to our feelings about Felix’s first start of the year.

Drew Pomeranz4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. The Dirty Cheerleader is back to full-on heat and curves and while it did earn him some strikeouts, his stuff isn’t good enough to prevent his mistakes from getting scorched. I’m not joking, I saw Nats players pull out a lighter and ignite the ball before smacking it around. That really happened. Pom Pom gets the Jays next and that’s not the worst option out there, though. The Jays really don’t have a good team.

Ivan Nova6.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Dude, no. No no no. Baseball is weird where Nova can throw effective strikes against the Yankees, but get BABIP’d to death against the Tigers. Such is the life of a streamer. Streaming Record: 12-9.

Michael Pineda3.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Blegh. The man is a Cherry Bomb and sadly we saw it come to fruition for the first time today, knocking out the inkling that we could avoid it this season. Poor inkling, he deserved more. This doesn’t constitute a drop in itself, but I understand if you don’t want to start him against Houston and the Yanks, forcing you to move on.

Chris Stratton5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. The only reason you should get your Stratton is if you’re trying to act like Hendrix. 

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.

Anibal Sanchez vs. Miami Marlins – There are a lot of streaming options. Lyles against the Giants could work, Junis against a weak Yankee offense, Jay-Z against the ChiSox for the desperate, Strahm could be out there and excel against the Reds, etc. Anibal seems like the safest against a poor Miami lineup. I’m also assuming that Touki Toussaint is already gone in your league.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Derek Holland vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I love Holland and pitching against the Pirates. And love that no one else loves him so I can get a taste of that sweet-sweet hipster feeling. How have I lived in Brooklyn forever and never felt like this?


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dereck Rodriguez –  vs. Pittsburgh PiratesSure, why not, it’s the Pirates. Again.


Game of the Day


Touki Toussaint vs. Corey Kluber – Will Touki steamroll through the Tribe lineup? Will Kluber bounce back? I WANT TO KNOW. Also Curious how Jordan Lyles looks against the Giants.


(Photo by John Adams/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.

18 responses to “Soroka-Ching!”

  1. Johnny says:

    Drop Freeland? Who would do that.
    Would you spend a 2 waiver rank in a 14 teamer w QS on Peacock. I’m concerned with his being shifted between the rotation and the pen. I do need pitching tho

  2. Gus says:

    Nick is Frankie montas usually as accurate as he was against the Astros or what?

  3. Bob says:

    Do you like Leake against LAA on sunday?

  4. Frank says:

    Struggling with Eovaldi vs. German. I was half hoping for a bad outing from one or the other to make this easier. Plz help me Nick

  5. Mike P says:

    Who’s upside do you like more Luke Weaver’s or Efflin’s? I am personally now leaving towards Luke Weaver. I think he has the higher ceiling while Eflin probably has the lower floor.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If that Felix Hernandez write-up was a reference to a bit about burning trash, I got the message. Literal garbage fire :(

  7. Dan says:

    Thanks for always doing this. Always my favorite read each morning. Have Touki in a dynasty so glad you are equally intrigued with today’s game!

  8. Perfect Game says:

    I know you don’t typically throw out season projections, but I was able to get Folty cheap in a trade since he’s on the IL.

    What type of K, ERA, WHIP and QS numbers do you see him ending up with at end of season after he comes back?

    • theKraken says:

      Nobody can predict health. His mixed track record makes an accurate prediction impossible. Nice upside play though.

      • Perfect Game says:

        If he could replicate his K rate and WHIP from last year and an ERA around 3.50 I would be more than pleased for being my backend SP.

  9. theKraken says:

    I watched a lot of that Soroka start early and I didn’t see it the way you did. I was surprised at the velocity, but also the lack of command – I don’t think he knew where the FB was going and I think he got lucky that they took a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate for strikes. The breaking ball looked good, but I thought the CH was quite bad. I was expecting much more of a polished arm than what I saw. In any case it is odd that his velocity was up 2 ticks in his first start back from injury. I wonder if he ditched the command for some extra velocity – it had a Pivetta feel in that regard – throwing v pitching. It was the complete opposite of what I expected and I don’t know what to think of it. The DBacks are really bad…

  10. Desperate says:

    Deep League – Desperate for SP on wire with Clev n Pivetta pinching me… Who gets more of my $100 FAAB attention Sunday night with Touki, Weaver, and Homer available? And would you stash Duplantier if I cheap out on snagging those?

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