Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – FreeDS

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

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

Drew Smyly (CHC) vs LAD (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 103 pitches.

We saw Drew Smyly feature the BSB in his previous start, but he had the Dodgers and Padres next. Surely he wasn’t going to–oh my. 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 103 pitches. The man had a perfect game in the eighth inning, only for it to come to a close by his own catcher running over him while fielding a dribbler down the line. Obviously something is up.

Don’t forget, Smyly cruised at the end of the season in 2022 with his sinker at 92/93 mph and solid pitch separation between curve and sinker. While he’s at just 91 mph here, the command is absolutely there and this feels like a proper Vargas Rule at this point. Smyly leans heavily on the feel of these pitches and if he’s in a rhythm, he will succeed.

That said, the Padres have Tatis Jr. back and it’s still a risky proposition tossing Smyly out there. However, it is the Nationals and Marlins after and you may need to get him now if you want those spoils later. You don’t need to jump over everyone to grab him in FAAB on Sunday, but you should consider him in your 12-teamers at the end of your rotation.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Joey Lucchesi (NYM) @ SF (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 97 pitches.

Is it time to bring back Lucchesi or Fughesi? I’m not sure what to make of this start outside of some really well-spotted sinkers. His curve and cutter got strikes but didn’t really impress me and while this makes for a great story I don’t love buyin–Suitman whispers in my ear Right, he’s taking Carlos Carrasco’s spot…uh huh…Nationals, Tigers, AND Rockie Road next??? Jeeeez. Carrasco had it made, didn’t he? I guess you pick him up for the Nationals and hope there’s something legit here that I’m missing. The floor can’t be that poor after this, right?

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. You’ve earned it bucko. The changeup and curve were perfect as they landed low consistently and the four-seamer fell in for strikes. This is peak Gallen and if you’re not a Gallen Gal, WHY ARE YOU MAKING POOR CHOICES?

Tyler Wells (BAL) vs DET (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

Atta boy Wells. He did a great job keeping heaters up, changeups armside and sliders gloveside, and we get to do it all over again next week. Tigers + Royals should work well for trusting managers.

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) vs KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Am I too low on Ohtani? My worry is the workload for the year but hot dang, 22 whiffs (Gallows Pole!) with his slider acting as good as ever. He’s something else.

Bryce Elder (ATL) vs HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

I had little faith this was going to work for Elder, but he was able to work the sinker/slider combo effectively in this one, even with some decent changeups along the way. Your trust has now been rewarded in a start against the Marlins and we’re good for that one. I still feel he’s too risky against lineups like these moving forward, but that Miami stream works for me.

Michael Lorenzen (DET) @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 68 pitches.

Hey, he survived! And earned 2 whiffs on cutters and not more than one on any other pitch! Is that bad? It’s not good. I understand it’s because he has a wide repertoire and tossed just 68 pitches, but still. That should tell you the lack of dominance here from Lorenzen (he also hung quite a few pitches) and it speaks to my lack of enthusiasm. The Orioles should fare better in a repeat matchup next weekend.

Taylor Clarke (KC) @ LAA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 22 pitches.

I don’t trust people with two first names. Joe RyanFine. He opened for Ryan Yarbrough, the Friday Fratty Pirate who was…something. Let’s move on, please.

Tyler Mahle (MIN) vs WSH (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

His heater is at 91/92 mph and I’m scared. Just 2/53 four-seamer whiffs as well and while the line looks great, I’d be selling high. It feels like the shoulder isn’t what we want it to be and it’s gonna get worse.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

Kikuchi was able to avoid mistakes with the fastball while getting sliders and changeups over the plate. That’s a huge deal for Kikuchi and not a skill I’d bank on consistently. I’m still sitting against the White Sox next.

Noah Davis (COL) @ PHI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

This is a surprisingly good start for Davis and I still have zero interest. Sorry Noah, I need a better arc from you.

Seth Lugo (SD) @ ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

Yessss that’s a solid redemption start for Lugo with a much better curveball and fastball. Keep starting him against the Giants next, but don’t get too attached – he’ll get the Dodgers twice after that and that isn’t too fun.

Mitch Keller (PIT) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

Hosting the Reds? Not a problem! Much better start here from Keller, though I’m sad to see a lack of swings and misses on the slider and curve. At least he was able to attack the zone with sinkers and cutters effectively, but this approach won’t work as well against the Dodgers and Rays up next. Oh I so badly want to be in, but I just can’t yet.

Trevor Williams (WSH) @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

It’s happening again. Should we just call it the Williams Rule instead? That’s a 3.38 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this season with a…16% strikeout rate. This can’t possibly go wrong…

George Kirby (SEA) vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.

Yep, that’s Kirby alright. Good ratios, great Win chance, and under a strikeout per inning. He’s turning into the premium Tobybut there’s still a chance he breaks out of it. But he earned 9 called strikes on curveballs! I’m glad they fell into the zone, we need whiffs y’all. SHOW ME THE WHIFFS.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Even against the Pirates, Ashcraft still can’t figure out how to soar. Sure, this isn’t bad, but that’s just six whiffs and a 22% CSW. I really think we have to sit down and reassess the realistic ceiling of Ashcraft this season. Be careful: the Rangers + Padres + hosting the White Sox are next. That could be serious trouble.

Aaron Nola (PHI) vs COL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

The curveball just isn’t dominating batters per usual (20% CSW, 4/35 whiffs), and without that pitch in his back pocket, it’s making for tougher outings. It’ll come back, it always comes back. I’d buy low. But what about the odd-year curse? I’LL SHOW YOU A CURSE. Gasp.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ MIL (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 100 pitches.

This is the most Pivetta start Pivetta has ever Pivetta’d.

Jon Gray (TEX) vs OAK (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Oh dear. Gray tugged his slider a ton while the fastball went wherever it wanted to. I’m still generally out on Gray for the long term given my lack of trust in his four-seamer and without him taking advantage of matchups like these, it makes it even harder to hold. Yes, hold. Call me dumb, but I’d be tempted to swap him out for someone like Logan Allen

Calvin Faucher (TB) vs CWS (ND) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 46 pitches.

Take Faulkner and Fauci and you get Calvin. No wonder he did poorly, that’s a doctor and a writer, not a pitcher! …that’s a great point, honestly. No notes. Stupid Rays and their openers.

Domingo Germán (NYY) vs TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.

Ehhhh, it was the Jays and we didn’t want to chase this in the first place. I’m glad his curve and changeup looked good and he’s a decent play against the Twins next time out.

JP Sears (OAK) @ TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.

Yooooo this is COOL. Sears elevated his four-seamer for 11/50 whiffs (!) while his breakers returned over 60% strikes. And now he hosts the Reds in Oakland?! SIGN. ME. UP.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs BOS (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 99 pitches.

Blegh. That’s two disappointments in a row now for Peralta as we nervously tap our feet on the ground. The breakers weren’t as devastating as we normally see, but there’s nothing new here to really report. Just keep starting him.

Steven Matz (STL) @ SEA (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

18 whiffs, seven strikeouts, a near 1.00 WHIP and…4 ER. He’s so close and with the Giants + Angels + Tigers ahead, it may be time to jump in and welcome Matz. He deserves better. They took away his ERA, now it’s time to…GET. STEVEN.

Anthony DeSclafani (SF) vs NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 80 pitches.

We liked Tony Disco when he faced weak lineups. For all the jokes we make about the Mets, they swing a mean bat. Next up are the Cardinals and Astros and we can leave him on the wire for now. Play the burn and churn game, y’all. DeSclafani isn’t worth it to hold.

Hunter Brown (HOU) @ ATL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Womp womp. He’s still going breaker heavy and I’m here for it, but he hung a few breakers and couldn’t get the fastball where he wanted to. This was a team that jumped on the mistakes, and that won’t always be the case…but the Rays are next. I’m still starting him there and I’ll be crossing my fingers for all of us.

Michael Kopech (CWS) @ TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 104 pitches.

Huh. Kopech had the best fastball I’ve seen from him for a long time, sitting 97 mph and returning a 17% SwStr rate on it, while his slider was spotted well when he wasn’t wasting them. And yet, he still struggled. Sure, it was the Rays, but I feel like this was an outing where Kopech really leaned in and it still failed. I’m not touching that next start against the Jays, even if this is encouraging from a skills standpoint.

Julio Urías (LAD) @ CHC (L) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

I guess Urías is the latest stud arm to get hit by the disaster start. When will it end? There was a whole thing back in 2016 I called the Plague of the 19 where all aces dealt with issues in the opening month or two of the season and it feels like the Bubic Bubonic hath returned. As for Urías himself, we keep starting him and hope the 92 mph velocity creeps back up to 93+ soon.


Game of the Day 

Dylan Cease vs. Shane McClanahanPffffft if you don’t like this we can’t be friends. But what if I know nothing of baseball? I DON’T CARE.

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 pm ET Monday through Friday.

Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx 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.

2 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – FreeDS”

  1. Ryan says:

    Lucchesi or Smyly over DeSclafani?

  2. Dale says:

    Isn’t Sears’ next start going to come against the Angels?

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