Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Highway to the Ranger Zone

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

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

Ranger Suárez (PHI) vs COL (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 112 pitches.

I want to give major props to Ranger Suárez tonight for returning the second CGSHO of the season: 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 112 pitches…against Rockie Road. Oh no. Yeah, you know what I’m going to say. But Nick, come on. Let us have this! Live whatever life you want, just search your feelings and find the truth. He’s on a Vargas Ruleisn’t he. HE’S ON A VARGAS RULE.

I watched this and absolutely wouldn’t call this the best performance I’ve watched from Suárez. Many sinkers frolicked to the heart of the plate without harm, his four-seamer and cutter were spotty, changeups were floated, and he heavily relied on his curve to come through in this one, which stepped up in a big (outlier) way for 42% CSW and 7/24 whiffs. In fact, I wonder if the Phillies had a game plan to attack Colorado hitters aggressively with curveballs this series – just look at how Aaron Nola demolished them on Monday night with 12/34 curveball whiffs.

It means that this outing shouldn’t be taken as a major showcase of Suárez moving forward, and should dissuade you from a start inside Great American Small Park vs. the Reds next week. I’m not necessarily saying drop Suárez now, but I am suggesting some caution at least for that one start in Cincy. Well, what’s after that. The Padres. UGGGGGGH. He’s still just a Toby to me.


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


Reynaldo López (ATL) @ HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 94 pitches.

It was ReyLo’s toughest matchup yet and he stepped up to the challenge by boasting the most precise slider I’ve seen from him all year, nailing the glove-side corner all game. That precision opened up his four-seamer up-and-armside and he effortlessly took down the Astros. I sincerely hope this is the slider we see every outing from López this year.

Jared Jones (PIT) @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 59 pitches.

The dude is Spencer Strider for a worse team and I love it so much. They pulled him after 59 pitches?! HOW COULD THEY DO THAT. Yeaaaaah, I get it. Look, we know hurling baseballs at 98 mph isn’t good for your arm. They cashed in five unreal frames with an 85% strike rate. Why push the kid? Because the Pirates lost this game after allowing three in the seventh. Totally fair. But are the Pirates really a WS threat this year? Truly? Anyway, Jones is dope and makes us feel dope.

Kyle Hurt (LAD) vs WSN (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 24 pitches.

Hurt made his MLB debut, but we knew this was really just an opener for Ryan Yarbrough. The Fratty Pirate coasted for 2 ER in five frames for the Win. That’s some good vulturing.

Lance Lynn (STL) @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 101 pitches.

You started Lynn for the strikeouts and you got…everything else. Seriously, just one strikeout against the Athletics?! HAISTBMBWT?! It’s like Lynn still wanted to mess with us despite not physically being able to disappoint against Oakland. What the H-E-Lance-Lynn.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs CIN (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

Yessssss. I still give the dirty look to Gilbert’s four-seamer and the splitter, which were absurdly inconsistent, but the slider is working and the cutter is helping plenty. This was a bit of Blame it on the Reds but props to Gilbert for having a decent enough floor among the inability to capture his ceiling.

Jon Gray (TEX) @ DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

Blame it on the Tigers. Don’t get too enamored with Gray, who had his solid slider cooking and got some much-needed help from his curve as the four-seamer fell to 93/94 mph. But right, the Tigers, and I’d be hesitant against even the Mariners next time out. Jonny G isn’t a consistent arm meant to last long on your 12-teamers.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 94 pitches.

Kikuchi. My DUDE. His heater was in the upper half all night, curves and sliders found strikes, and he’s found his rhythm. GET OUT OF HERE CHANGEUP, THIS IS OUR TOWN. Don’t you dare stop starting Kikuchi, even if we all know his floor is still very much present.

Dylan Cease (SDP) @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 110 pitches.

Just two cutters in this one (both at 94 mph and upstairs, one generously called for a strike) and I’ll still hold my breath hoping he can lean into the pitch regularly as a complement to his four-seamer. Why do I care so much? Because having a third pitch he can throw for strikes prevents, oh I don’t know, FIVE WALKS. And yes, I know, this was still a fantastic outing and I’m not upset in the slightest. It’s simply an area where he can improve heavily and the ticket is right there. He’ll get there.

Jose Quintana (NYM) vs PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

His four-seamer wasn’t there and he threw a ton of hittable sinkers, curves, and changeups, but it’s the Pirates. That’s how the ball crumbles. That’s not the phrase. YOU’RE NOT THE PHRASE. He’s not a bad option against the Giants up next.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) @ BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ehhh we’ll take it. Bibee’s heater woke up to jump back to 95 mph after sitting 1.5 ticks down in prior starts, but his slider wasn’t a strike machine (sub 50% clip!) and his changeup was far from precise. I’m still a bit worried, but at least we have one piece of the puzzle found in his heater’s velocity. I’d be cautious in a repeat matchup against the Sawx in Cleveland next week.

JP Sears (OAK) vs STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 82 pitches.

Ahhhh yes. The ole “do well against a tough squad but middling against an easier one. That’s a great ERA and WHIP! Sure, sure, but what a weird outing. Just two punchouts, a ton of sweepers that went 0/28 whiffs (Gasp!) and a whole lot Sears failing to look like a polished arm on the bump. I’m staying away. This is too volatile.

José Soriano (LAA) @ TBR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

H’ok. So. Here is the Earth– Soriano pumps ched and can be difficult to hit, but he really doesn’t have his command in order. Sinkers went just 41% strikes, curves were all this way and that way across the zone (many were just taken for strikes, though, helping return a 56% CSW) and his four-seamer was barely touched at 97 mph. Wait, did he–Yup. 100.9 mph on Soriano’s hardest offering in this one. WHY DON’T WE CARE MORE. Because it doesn’t miss bats – just 2/29 whiffs – and the curve isn’t a magical breaker. I honestly believe the sinker has more promise if he can just get it over the plate more and I’m not confident enough to blindly start him in Cincy next time out. That’s a Questionable start in my book, though surviving there makes the Twins appealing in his following outing.

Hunter Greene (CIN) @ SEA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

If you ever needed a distinction between Greene and Jones, look at their PPO – Pitches Per Out. Jones needed 3.93 PPO. Greene? 8.17 PPO. Efficiency, y’all.

Casey Mize (DET) vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

THERE HE IS. Much better outing from Mize here with four-seamers mostly upstairs, sliders actually earning strikes, and even some strong splitters in the mix. There’s even room for more growth here if he can nail that slider in/out of the zone better while getting his splitter consistently down more often. Yes, we’re rolling with him against the Twins and Royals for his next two. YOU GOT THIS MIZE.

Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) vs MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. No, Grayson still can’t locate his changeup effectively. Thanks for asking. Great fastball spots, though.

Hunter Brown (HOU) vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Is this the start of the redemption arc? Probably not, but at least he’s adjusting…by spiking all of his secondary pitches instead of leaving them heavily in the zone to get incessantly bombarded. His four-seamer was as good as we’ve seen, though, sitting up high consistently and giving him a shot. There’s still work to be done, of course, but it’s a start.

Ryan Weathers (MIA) vs SFG (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! A Golden Goal for Weathers against the Giants, finally featuring a start where both his slider and changeup made waves. But his sweeper went 15/31 strikes with just a handful of whiffs. Errrr where his changeup and four-seamer made waves. But his changeup was hung a lot. Where he mixed up his pitches effectively to get the most out of them…? Okay, that’s better. I am a bit skeptical that this is a huge step above Blame it on the Giants, but props to Weathers for pounding the zone with heaters and changeups while featuring a fair number of effective sweepers to seal the deal. It’s not a start that makes me completely convinced he can stave off the Cubs (I need a better sweeper and more than 3/26 fastball whiffs), but steps, not leaps.

Jordan Hicks (SFG) @ MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Sinkers are finding enough strikes as the rest simply are not. Sub 50% strike rates once again for Hicks’ sweeper and splitter and while I’m a believer that his sinker is just too dang hard to hit in the zone, there will be games where he either gets Singled Out or the pitch can’t carry a start on its own. He can’t do this forever with just that 96/97 mph heater.

Garrett Whitlock (BOS) vs CLE (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 54 pitches.

Bad news y’all: Whitlock left this one early with an oblique injury. It’s being classified as a precautionary move that “shouldn’t” prevent him from starting next time out, and until we get news of an IL stint, we have to take their word for it. Sure hope that’s the case, even if my gut says otherwise.

Aaron Civale (TBR) vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 101 pitches.

PQS is a little disappointing given how well Civale pitched in this one He’s rolling this season and NYY + CHW up next does little to stop this train.

Austin Gomber (COL) @ PHI (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 89 pitches.

COL story, bro. He did have a nice hook at times, though. That was cool.

Carlos Rodón (NYY) @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 101 pitches.

Blegh. I’m glad it’s 95.7 mph on the heater, but isn’t that supposed to come with a good start for once? Suitman whispers in my ear 4 FOR 14 CUTTER STRIKES?! Yeeeeesh, that’ll do it. Rodón had to hurl said heaters over the plate as nothing else was earning strikes (or any balls in play, for that matter). It’s hard to keep the faith that Carlos will suddenly click into place.

Wade Miley (MIL) vs SDP (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 66 pitches.

We didn’t expect a ton of pitches, nor Miley to come through in a major way against a solid crew. At least it’s the Pirates next, who could roll over in 75/80 pitches from Miley. Sadly, like a dog an hour late to rush hour, there’s not a whole lot to chase.

Patrick Corbin (WSN) @ LAD (L) – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 96 pitches.

The cutter is back to 15% usage while the sinker laughs at the top of the charts, 39% usage n all with an 11% CSW. CORBIN, I BEG OF YOU.

Tommy Henry (ARI) vs CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 74 pitches.

Two. First. Names. But seriously, I kinda like his command and approach as he tries to squeeze the most out of his arsenal. You still need to have good enough stuff to make that work, sadly.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) @ ARI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 78 pitches.

I’ll ask again. How much longer do we think the Cubs allow Hendricks to keep starting? Are they really keeping him in the rotation and moving on from Ben BrownAre you sure about that?!

Chris Paddack (MIN) @ BAL (L) – 5.1 IP, 9 ER, 12 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

At least he’s getting his changeup low. Don’t be super shocked if Paddack comes through next time out against the White Sox – he’s good enough to be a Toby.


Game of the Day


Marcus Stroman vs. Kevin Gausman – This is really to watch Gaus. Are you okay? Please tell me you’re okay.

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

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

Featured image 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.

4 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Highway to the Ranger Zone”

  1. Babbo B says:

    Good stuff, but FWIW Hurt did not make his MLB debut – he pitched in one game last season and two previously this year, though this was his first “start.”

  2. RM says:

    Damn. That is a sweet Earth.

  3. N says:

    I would just like to commend the reference at the beginning of the Soriano roundup. Maybe he’s le tired.

  4. James Goley says:

    I’m just curious why Ranger Suarez is a “Toby” or “Vargas Rule”, because he hasn’t shown this much success before, and someone like Kikuchi is a “Start always” player? Kikuchi hasn’t come close to this either, or at least just as much a Suarez has, in the past. Is there something else that your using to gage Kikuchi vs Ranger? Thanks!

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