Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Keep Strahm and Carry On?

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday 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.  

Matt Strahm (PHI) vs COL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 82 pitches.

Here I am, telling you that Matt Strahm won’t pitch more than 70/75 pitches and he elects to earn a King Cole across 82 pitches via 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSWTo be fair, it may have been best for him to end it after five with his final ER coming in the sixth, but with or without it, this start has everyone suddenly interested in Strahm and we need to discuss.

really want this to be something we can hold onto and there are rungs to grasp. Strahm’s hook returned a blistering 48% CSW across 25 thrown, his slider earned 82% strikes, and the heaters played their parts around the zone.

That said, this was Rockie Road + Strahm is still limited to roughly 75 pitches (he was pushed here) and now gets SEA + @LAD next. This has all the signs of a peak instead of a plateau and while I want to Keep Strahm and Carry On, I feel like it’s best if we don’t. Boy do I want to be wrong.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Ryan Feltner (COL) @ PHI (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 84 pitches.

Feltner, I had a root canal + a deep cleaning today and I’m in no mood for this. I’m glad your slider did well (despite its horrid command) and there was a bit of four-seamer/changeup BSB work here. There’s no way I’m trusting you next time out. You know this, I know this, why am I still typing.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) vs CIN (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 93 pitches.

It’s a wonderful start and yet it changes nothing. Oh come on Nick, eight strikeouts! Against the Reds on the road. His slider was elite! 46% CSW! 54% usage! 14 whiffs! We already knew his slider was fantastic, his four-seamer is the problem. 0/37 whiffs even in this strong outing and now he has to face the Dodgers, Rays, and Jays. As a dyslexic Ackbar would say, It’s A Tarp! Don’t bet on a guy with a tough schedule on a losing ball club and just one elite pitch.

Kenta Maeda (MIN) @ BOS (L) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 28 pitches.

Kenta gave us a scare in each of his first two starts, took an extra pass of the rotation to get some rest and…left this game after taking a 111-mph comebacker straight to the ankle. NICK, WAS HE YOUR STREAMER?! No, don’t you worry, I didn’t get a pitcher injured for three straight days. The good news is that Maeda seemingly avoided any serious injury and he should make his next start, but when are we actually going to get regularity from Maeda? I can feel everyone’s impatience surrounding Maeda, wondering if they should hold onto him over whatever next prospect is coming up and I get it. What I’ll tell you is May 15th onward equates to a strong SP #4 in Maeda. That’s what I believe we’re gonna get.

Kodai Senga (NYM) @ SF (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 80 pitches.

Blegh. The forkball didn’t do a whole lot with just 26% CSW, and while I’m happy to see the four-seamer return a fantastic 42% CSW, the cutter and sweeper leave a lot to be desired. I know, we all want him to have that Kodai Moment, but he’s too much of a Cherry Bomb for me, y’all.

Javier Assad (CHC) vs LAD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 62 pitches.

With Jameson Taillon getting scratched with a minor groin injury, Assad stepped up and did what he could for the Cubs. Props to him. As for Taillon, I’m not concerned it’s going to be a while. He’s fine living on the wire, but keep an eye on him when he does return. He’s only going to get better as we get deeper into the year.

Michael Grove (LAD) @ CHC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 67 pitches.

Sooooo…Looks around…When are we getting Gavin Stone?

Tanner Houck (BOS) vs MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ohhhh so today is the day we get something good from Houck, including a Gallows Pole as the splitter and slider each returned six whiffs. It all starts at the slider for Houck, and a 73% strike rate on the breaker dictates the effectiveness of everything else. I’m glad to see it come to fruition and considering the Red Sox want to do a six-man rotation, this could be the turning point for Houck. Maybe he’s actually found a way to set the foundation with his slider? What about the splitter? Nah, that thing is gonna come in-and-out whenever it pleases. I don’t think I’m running to pick up Houck as his next start against the Orioles seems a little risky to me. I’ll scrutinize from afar, that’s more of my jam.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

I wanted a little better than a PQS but I’ll take it. Cortes isn’t dominating quite like his Top 20 SP peers and I blame the four-seamer’s lack of whiffs this year, returning just six here (albeit, a 13.6% SwStr rate, but I need a GREAT outing to make up for the middling ones, you know?). Let’s hope he takes a step forward with the pitch and keep this solid floor in the meantime.

Luke Weaver (CIN) @ PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

It was a Still ILL for Weaver and despite showcasing worse velocity, his changeup was stupid good at 42% CSW as he kept the pitch down the entire game. I just wish the four-seamer was better spotted and the cutter/curve were better complements. You’ve been saying this for more than three years. And yet I’ll keep dreaming for Weaver.

Ryne Nelson (ARI) vs SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

Womp womp. You’d think the introduction of Tatis Jr. back in the Padres lineup was the issue, but Ryne had no problem there. No, this was a matter of his secondaries looking like blegh and his four-seamer command being non-existent, so the Diamondbacks eventually took him out for Kyle Nelson. Sidenote: Having Nelson follow Nelson and neither of them actually called Nelson cracks me up (they even have four letter names with _y_e too!). He gets the Royals next and I think you’re alright with that stream. He’ll adjust.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) @ NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Bleeeegh. The changeup actually looked GREAT in this one (it’s about dang time), but the slider…yeah that was terrible. Like a fast food critic at White Castle, he needs a good slider. Things get messy relying heavily on the four-seamer and it’s what makes him a Cherry BombBut don’t worry, he gets Las Vegas Oakland next and that should be better.

Michael Wacha (SD) @ ARI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 81 pitches.

Ten strikeout game? What ten strikeout game? At least his velocity was up close to 93 mph this time around, though it doesn’t make up for the glob of pitches near the middle of the plate. Welp, there’s yer problem. Don’t rule out a bounceback against the Cubs next time out as he’s a Cherry Bomb with the chance at 90+ pitches each time he hits the bump.

Sean Manaea (SF) vs NYM (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.

Uggggh. This was a day where I got all the streaming rankings backward, with Manaea coming up far shorter than I expected. His heater sat 93/94 (still good, just not as good) and was terribly supported by his changeup. That thing floated more than Willie Nelson on tour. It’s all to say his approach didn’t come together and without that cohesion, Manaea wasn’t able to do what we want him to do. The stuff is still there and I expect him to be solid throughout the year (maybe even next start!)…but you may want to wait past the Cardinals and Astros next.


Game of the Day 

Seth Lugo vs. Zac Gallen – I’d love to see Lugo rebound while we all better be Gallen Gals by now.

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.

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.

5 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Keep Strahm and Carry On?”

  1. Jim says:

    Give up on Manaea, Nick. Please.

  2. OneRegend says:

    Nick, you should probably give the Pirates a little more respect. They are 13-7, good for 2nd in their division, and they currently hold the 2nd wild card. They are not a losing team, lol. At least, not now anyways.

  3. Jesse says:

    You do realize Contreras throws a curveball as well that is almost as good as the slider? Also he’s 23. His fastball has above average spin & starter velo. Also the pirates are 13-7. The lineup seems pretty legit even with cruz & Oviedo & Keller are doing well so I don’t know love your site but kinda disagree with u on Contreras and Pittsburgh

    • OneRegend says:

      Agreed. I know the Pirates have a bad rap but I know when a team needs credit where credit is due. I’m a Marlins fan and even I couldn’t take any further Pirates slander lol. Being a baseball fan is fun.

  4. The Rocket says:

    I agree with you on Senga being a cherry bomb, however the stat line is incorrect. Yesterday was 5 IP (W) 5H, 4BB, 4ER (2HR), 4K. You may have captured his previous outing. I think there is room to eventually get to another level this year. He seems like he starts to tire later in the game and is not trusting his stuff at the moment. I think by the end of the year he will be relevant for both the Mets in real life and for fantasy owners.

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