Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – A Gold Ryne

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 10 am-12 am ET.  

Ryne Nelson (ARI) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

After being very much out on Ryne Nelson at the start of the pre-season, he found himself with a spot in the rotation out of camp and after tonight’s 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches performance against the Marlins, there may be some hope that he can be the man we saw dominate across three games in the fall of 2022.

Here was an example of Nelson pounding the zone with four-seamers and cutters and getting away with it. I wish I had never words for his slider, curve, and change, but their low strike rates and just 1/20 whiffs have me wanting more.

I don’t think you need to go out and get Nelson after this one. The Padres are next and already tagged him for three runs early this season + Nelson needs his breaking balls to start cooking for him to legit produce for your 12-teamers. Until we see that, Nelson will just have to settle for a third first name – Toby


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Hunter Brown (HOU) vs TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

Hunter is still going ultra secondaries, featuring fastballs at just a 30% rate. You love to see it. There’s still work to be done on said secondaries with heavily questionable slider locations, and I imagine the curve and fastball can improve with more time on the bump. Nick, he’s good now! Ain’t that a pretty thing?

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

There are times watching Ashcraft that I’m a believer – his slider can be so dang pretty when he gets it under the zone – and then I watch him not know where the next pitch is going to go and it drives me up the wall. We’ve made it past the gauntlet of Atlanta + Philadelphia now relatively unscathed and we’re rewarded with the Pirates. Lovely. I can’t get out of my head that Ashcraft is destined to be a Cherry Bomb throughout the season but we’ll hold those thoughts for another time.

Jameson Taillon (CHC) @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.

I imagine some of you are beating yourself up for moving on from Taillon, but honestly, I may be still dropping Taillon after this one with the Dodgers and Padres up next. In short, I didn’t see enough here to suggest he’s figured things out. The slider & curve aren’t doing exceptional things (only one strikeout came on a breaker) and I think those seven strikeouts were a bit favorable with some mistakes inside the zone. THis isn’t the breakout start, more like one of those “oh hey, sweet, I guess that worked” kind of nights.

Domingo Germán (NYY) vs MIN (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 78 pitches.

By now, you’ve heard all the controversy about Germán having too much rosin and needing to wash his hands. Sure, that likely aided his Golden Goal and his spin rates were lower after washing his hands, but I’m not going to read into that much for two reasons – who knows how gassed he was later in the game + washing your hands makes it harder to grip the baseball. There’s a reason pitchers don’t wash their hands before pitching – you don’t want smooth hands to grip a baseball, ya’ll. Either way, Germán had his best curveball in this one (53% CSW with 9/30 whiffs!) while the fastball and changeup played their parts beautifully. We don’t quite know what Domingo will bring to the table each start, though, and if there’s a spotlight on him now for “too much rosin” (which sounds ridiculous given that’s something they provide on the mound), it may mean this was a peak and not sustainable.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs TB (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.

Oh, it was one of those games. Kikuchi was able to elevate his four-seamer while keeping his slider down and good things happen when he actually puts the ball where he wants to. It’s why he’s a Cherry Bomb and sadly I can’t get behind it as something to actively roster. As a weekend play to chase strikeouts? Sure! Knock yourself out kid.

Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs ARI (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 81 pitches.

The slider was spotted beautifully and the sinker snuck over the plate for plenty of called strikes. It’s what you want to see from Braxton, though if you’re getting any ideas of picking him up, I’d caution against it heavily. His floor is is a horrific time at the park and he’s destined to face the Guardians, then Atlanta twice in a row. I still don’t think there’s enough here for you to chase.

Michael Grove (LAD) vs CHC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 79 pitches.

Grove did a much better job of pitch separation here, getting his four-seamer mostly upstairs as his slider dominated in the lower half. That approach works and if I believed Grove could execute it every five days, he’d be on all of my teams. There’s a chance he’s made a tweak that sticks and he produces against the Cubs + Pirates up next (yes, Cubs twice in a row!). He is tossing 44% sliders now, after all. I’m kinda tempted.

Calvin Faucher (TB) @ TOR (ND) – 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 42 pitches.

Word was he was the opener but Calvin went 2.2 innings, then Trevor Kelley went two, with Josh Fleming closing it for 3.1 frames. But how did they perform? Does it matter? Fine, Fleming had four walks and one strikeout. Oh. YOU JUST HAD TO ASK.

Jon Gray (TEX) @ HOU (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 29 pitches.

Gray took a comebacker to the arm and left this one early. He’s optimistic that he’ll make his next start and what we start in the small sample was his slider getting whiffs and his fastball…still at 95 mph. At least he gets Oakland next.

Anthony DeSclafani (SF) @ DET (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.

Tony Disco was picked up for his early schedule bliss and it’s wonderful when things actually go to plan. Now’s the tough part – has he done enough to earn our trust with NYM, STL, @HOU ahead? That’s awfully tough. I like the slider and I do trust the sinker as a called strike pitch…would we trust Kenta Maeda, Brady Singeror even Drey Jameson in the same situation? How are they relevant? They all earn called strikes with sinkers to set up their slider. I’m not sure that I would. Explore the waiver wire, but I’ll mention that I do believe Anthony DeScalfani to be a solid Toby throughout the year. You may not want to lose that.

George Kirby (SEA) vs COL (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

Is Kirby truly destined to be a sub 24% strikeout arm who racks up quality starts? The fastball is what we know it to be, but the lack of legit secondary is still haunting his potential strikeouts. Kiiiiirby, KIIIIIIRBY…I am the slider you never had…It’s not like Kirby isn’t helpful and the chance of development is still there, but he doesn’t belong with the other potential Top 15 SP on The List.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

The slider was excellent, the four-seamer was not. More at eleven. Y’all know the story by now and I don’t chase pitchers with an elite slider and nothing else, especially on the Pirates.

Steven Matz (STL) vs PIT (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 110 pitches.

Ugh, why are you walking five batters? Sure, I dig that the Cardinals will let you toss 110 pitches, but this is the Pirates! You don’t need to walk the plank, those weapons are balloon swords, ya dingus. In truth, Matz wasn’t able to get on top of his changeup as it sailed up and armside frequently, but his sinker was constantly effective and his curve was…fine as it found a fair number of strikes. I’m still a believer here.

Zach Plesac (CLE) @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

Despite the 1.40 WHIP and just one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!), I’m kinda satisfied with the low ERA and Win as Pleasc went 50%+ sliders again and did his part against the Nationals. It’s hard to argue against this new heavy-slider approach being the norm moving forward, which means Plesac will continue to be an interesting stream against the Marlins and Rockie Road up next. I’m not saying you should prepare for a Black Friday FAAB session for it, but don’t overlook it.

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Honestly, this is a fantastic start for Carrasco as he didn’t burn you at all. Sure, you wanted a Win and more strikeouts and his fastball is still 90/91 mph and his changeup and slider each returned only two whiffs apiece, but at least we know it can work, right? This doesn’t seem very reassuring. I wonder why…He gets the Giants + Nationals next and there’s still a chance Carrasco is worthwhile. I hope you know how to cope with your anxiety.

Tyler Mahle (MIN) @ NYY (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

His heater was 93/94 mph (that’s cool!) but he wasn’t able to find the top of the zone as he normally does and oddly stayed outside to right-handers with said heater. Huh, I’ll have to look into that for Mahle as I generally don’t endorse that approach. Slider and splitter looked pretty decent, though, and I’m generally encouraged by this start despite the rough ratios. I’m still holding and starting against the Red Sox.

Shintaro Fujinami (OAK) vs NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

What good is a Cherry Bomb if he can’t be good every so often? A PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and nearly a strikeout per inning is generally good and let’s be proud of Mt. Fuji for limiting the walks to just two today. At the same time, 4/28 CSW on the splitter is awfully low and we’re still very far from actually trusting him.

Bryce Elder (ATL) @ KC (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

After stepping up in his last start, Elder was a hot topic for a Saturday stream and…he’s not that great? Don’t get me wrong, I had him at the top of the Questionable Start tier and he got a bit Singled Out here, but Elder isn’t an electric arm who demanded success here, even if it was the Royals. I’m still disappointed like many of you, I was hoping he would be some delicious Bryce cream. He now gets the Astros and even with the Marlins after, I don’t think holding onto to him is the way to go now. His command is his best asset, but the stuff is still lacking just a bit.

Michael Kopech (CWS) vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 97 pitches.

Hmmmmm. The fastball is 95/96 (at least not 94?) but his command isn’t fixed with a ton of wasted pitches that frustrate all of us watching the game. We don’t want you to be the Oprah of at-bats – You get a Hitter’s count! YOU get a hitter’s count! – and seven whiffs in nearly 100 pitches is not the Kopech we dream of. Now the Rays + Jays? This ain’t it.

Seth Lugo (SD) vs MIL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

Blegh. While he did get Singled Out a bit, Lugo wasn’t harnessing the most of his repertoire. The curve wasn’t landing low as often as we’d like and his new slider was barely touched at 6% usage. He’s better than this and I’d keep starting him. There’s more to the man.

Matt Strahm (PHI) @ CIN (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 67 pitches.

Womp womp. I wonder if Rockie Road is worthwhile next time out. I’m leaning avoid given the limited pitch count and general inefficiency, but there will be worse options out there. I also heard during the broadcast that Strahm is “pitching like a reliever” despite starting games, which screams “hey, I shouldn’t pitch over 70 pitches” as he’ll be gassed by then. You’re better off elsewhere. Sorry, Strahm. This isn’t 2019.

Kyle Gibson (BAL) @ CWS (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ouch. One strikeout ain’t what we were looking for here (HAISTBMBWT?!), but let’s forget everything and appreciate the Tigers are up for two straight starts up next. Surely that’s worth your time for a guy who can flirt with 100 pitches on a winning (yes winning) ballclub?

Freddy Peralta (MIL) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 98 pitches.

Oh dear. The padres got to him a fair amount here and I wouldn’t read much into it. He looked pretty normal to me, it was just one of those days.

Kris Bubic (KC) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 100 pitches.

This was likely the most anticipated start of the week in fantasy land and after sitting 92/93, he fell down to 89/90 mph as it later came out that his forearm tightened during the start. Yeah, that’s a drop. It was a fun ride, wasn’t it?

Chad Kuhl (WSH) vs CLE (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 96 pitches.

The Kuhl WHIP strikes again. There is nothing sweet about it, don’t let that perfect swirl fool you.

Ryan Feltner (COL) @ SEA (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 75 pitches.

I thought the Roundup was about me today. Feltner, please.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

Huh. Maybe we should be naming Pivetta “The Great Undulater” instead of Berríos…this is the risk you’re taking with Pivetta each time and we need starts like these to remind ourselves of who the man truly is behind the mask.

Tyler Anderson (LAA) @ BOS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 81 pitches.

Hmmmmm. The changeup hasn’t nearly been the pitch we saw last season and if you’re still holding onto Tyler, I’m not sure you should. Sure, he’s capable each day of going six strong, but what’s the ceiling? A premium Toby Is that what you want?!

Michael Lorenzen (DET) vs SF (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Ayyyy welcome back! Now that we’ve got your Still ILL out of the way, at least now we know to definitely avoid you until there’s a sign of excitement. Maybe that’ll come against the Brewers in two starts?


Game of the Day 

Zac Gallen vs. Sandy Alcantara – There are so many fantastic games, let me go with the one featuring my two loves.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 10:00 am – 12:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Brandon Sloter/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.

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