Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Knack: MastaPiece

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

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

Landon Knack (LAD) @ WSN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

Even though Landon Knack may be out of the rotation after this, I wanted to highlight his second career start tonight against the Nationals as tossed a MastaPiece of start and earning a Win via 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches. While scouring the wire, you see a Dodger pitcher and raise your expectations: Give me a Win, some strikeouts, and ratios that aren’t a detriment. Knack, you did your job.

After a game like this, you have to wonder if he can do it again. There certainly is a stable SP inside his mix, anchored by a heater with excellent iVB and solid HAVAA that speaks to whiffs when elevated. In fact, he expressed that here with 8/43 whiffs on the 92/93 mph heater…though it wasn’t consistently spotted and became his bane at times. I’m not entirely confident he’ll find that groove to squeeze the most out of it on the majority of nights.

He pairs it mostly with a slider that has its moments, but I wouldn’t classify it as a legit #2 pitch. If his curve or change becomes a proper complement, I think the slider is good enough to make the package complete, though on the nights where Knack is struggling with heaters, I’m not sure the slider can step up to save him.

All in all, Knack has turned into a considerable option as a streamer moving forward. Walker Buehler is expected to take his spot in the next turn, but who knows. Maybe Paxton or Stone struggles and the Dodgers elect to give Knack some more time in the rotation. Don’t be aggressive grabbing Knack in that case (would be the Sneks or Atlanta, blegh), but keep an eye on his opportunities in the future.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Cooper Criswell (BOS) @ CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 72 pitches.

Hey, not a bad BSB with cutters and changeups from Criswell, even if it returned only 6% CSW as it made up for it in outs. I feel like this is the ceiling for Criswell and we should happy it happened without diluting our future expectations. But the Giants are next! In Fenway. I’d rather not, but there are worse streams, definitely.

Sean Manaea (NYM) @ SFG (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.

Manaea got himself into many jams and squirmed out of them, against a middling Giants squad. At least he’s trying a whole slew of new offerings this year with cutters and sweepers in the mix, but he’s just a streamer in my view who should live on the wire. The highs aren’t worth the middling-norm.

Alec Marsh (KCR) vs TOR (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

Alec took Alic on his arm from a line-drive comebacker, bogging down what was a potential Win for Marsh stans. If he doesn’t hit the IL from this, he’ll get another shot against the Jays. I wouldn’t be a smart Alec and muddy up your roster. Please, Nick. We can only take so much. My bad, delirium sets in this early in the AM. NICK. PLEASE.

Josh Fleming (PIT) vs MIL (L) – 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 39 pitches.

Yoooo Fleming, what is happening! Been a while since you’ve been in this role again, and I’ll be honest. I completely thought Quinn Priester would follow. But nope! Chuck Testa The gang was all here with  both Luis L. Ortiz and Roansy Contreras appearing in relief and no Pittsburgh pitcher going a full three frames. Wow, such baseball.

Ryan Walker (SFG) vs NYM (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 22 pitches.

You know, I’ve been pretty spoiled this year with few bullpen games. Sadly, Blake Snell went on the IL with an adductor strain, forcing the Giants to figure out a way to get through this one. They tried.

Reynaldo López (ATL) vs MIA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

ReyLó, you’ve done it again. 13/36 slider whiffs is hilarious, especially when it wasn’t that consistently spotted, but hey, The Marlins. And would you look at that, he gets the Mariners up next. The gift that keeps on giving. I’d consider selling Reynaldo after that start given his two-pitch mix that doesn’t quite preach long-term success, but then again, that’s his third Win of the season. Double-digits are expected at this point.

Matt Waldron (SDP) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer. And yes, I know this was great and seems like I really should re-think that phrase, but the dang thing is a phrase for a reason. If they were always bad, why would you need a reminder? Hot things get colder in the freezer. WOW SUCH INSIGHT.

Kyle Gibson (STL) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 88 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! A King Cole! You know, that’s 3-of-5 games that Gibson has helped your fantasy squads. And yet we can’t trust him. No you cannot.

Jameson Taillon (CHC) vs HOU (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.

Ayyyy, it worked! Kinda! I wasn’t impressed with Taillon’s locations here and he’s sitting at just 92/93 mph (not 94 or flirting with 95) and he struggled massively with his curve. Fortunately the sweeper and cutter earned all the strikes, but I get the sense Taillon needs a little more polish across the year if these results were to hold. At least he’s up to 90 pitches and that may be enough for the Mets next week.

Spencer Turnbull (PHI) @ CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

And the Phillies want to “limit his innings” and move him out of the rotation. No. Seriously, don’t do that. Why would you do that. WHY. Just put up the red cape and turn this bull around for another start. I don’t want Spencer to be a hot topic for debate, just let him run his course as he’s a clear Vargas Rule with his four-seamer and sweeper. SEE THIS OPPORTUNITY AND GRAB IT BY THE HORNS. Who are you yelling at? You know, them. I swear, if he doesn’t get a start against the Angels…

Jon Gray (TEX) vs SEA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hmmmm. You couldn’t go just one more out, could you. This was mostly standard Gray with a sprinkle of more punchouts – lots of sliders whiffs and not much else – and he could get that final out without a horrific WHIP against the Nationals next.

Shawn Armstrong (TBR) vs DET (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 23 pitches.

NASCAR rider Ms. Robinson over here, Shawn-A opened for Tyler Alexanderwho did his best Fratty Pirate impression to go 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs,  27% CSW, 56 pitches and most importantly, not leave with a Win. I wish scorers wouldn’t reward relievers who blow the lead only for their offense to take it back right after. It always feels so wrong. Anyway, this is a lesson to why it’s not the best idea to chase the follower – the higher chance for a Win can often return stinted games like this one, where you’re questioning if you’re allowed to return to the buffet line. Table 12 hasn’t even gotten their first serving yet. WELL THEN I’LL JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK.

Jordan Montgomery (ARI) @ STL (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Despite sitting two ticks down at just 91/92 mph, The Bear was everything the Sneks could ask for. Was it precision along the edges? Absolutely not. “Deathball” whiffs? lol, 0/27 on the hook. Sinkers in play that found gloves? Nailed it. Y’all know I’m not a fan of that game and with the Dodgers up next, I’d be incredibly cautious starting JorMont.

Dean Kremer (BAL) @ LAA (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 101 pitches.

Ten strikeouts?! Jeeeeez. The splitter? Pffft nah, that went 1/11 whiffs with a sub 50% strike rate. This was all elevated four-seamers + a 48% CSW cutter. Ahhhh, so the best version of himself + a date with the Angels. Wow, you really don’t need me anymore. The Yankees are next and despite this resounding success, that’s too risky for me. Kremer is your standard Werewolf.

Tyler Anderson (LAA) vs BAL (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 105 pitches.

This is pretty great from Anderson. His changeup has been alive a ton this year and this outing was no exception with another eight whiffs for the books, while his cutter was delicately placed enough to get through five frames. I see Anderson as a decent Toby with this start coming through despite the unfavored odds. Yes, that means I’d bench against the Phillies next time out.

Bryse Wilson (MIL) @ PIT (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 75 pitches.

Oh. Whoops. You need to scroll down one more. You misspelled “Bryce”. No, I just found this one because you just typed the correct name. Okay, that’s on me. Hey, I typed Bry-se. Why, mole man. WHY.

Bryce Miller (SEA) @ TEX (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 83 pitches.

Blegh. The Rangers are a tough crowd, sure, but there was a hope. This single distant glisten that Miller would not just step up to the challenge, but fully dive off the board and twirl through the air in a spectacle, illuminating the shade I’ve cast upon him since the start of the season. But the shade lingers. It cackles. It consumes. Miller’s secondaries are still meh and the four-seamer can’t do it all. It should make you sad, too. I think I should get a diving board. THAT’S NOT THE TAKEAWAY YOU SHOULD HAVE.

Joe Boyle (OAK) @ NYY (L) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

85 pitches for nine outs. For someone so inconsistent, you certainly are consistent.

Joe Ryan (MIN) vs CHW (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s another Gallows Pole for Ryan and yet I look at this and wonder how he possibly could allow three runs to the CrySox. Suitman whispers in my ear Ohhhhh that is a really bad splitter and slider. Get that stuff down, Ryan, there are no off-days in baseball.

Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs OAK (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

No, we don’t like the ERA, but the rest is well worth it. Schmidt is still working on that cutter and we’re seeing more and more usage against LHB each outing. It’ll get there. Let’s be happy he had some good practice against the Athletics without sacrificing a whole lot.

Nick Lodolo (CIN) vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

Lodolo didn’t have the slow ball (10/21 strikes) and his curve wasn’t as magical as we’ve seen before. Ah, he is Cherry BombWell, this was the Phils in Cin City. Cherry BombOkay fine, he probably is, and a start against the Padres doesn’t look to be a fun one. Cherrrrrrry. Don’t finis–Boooooommmbb. That just sounds like you’re a ghost. Is it the sheet I’m wearing? Why are you wearing a sheet? I wanted to excel. Oh no, I’m pulling the plug on this.

Yariel Rodríguez (TOR) @ KCR (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 69 pitches.

Is this the last we see of Yariel or does he get one more against the Royals? Does it matter? Just 2/25 slider whiffs and the rest of the arsenal isn’t too impressive. Throw in a four-seamer that sat just 92.8 mph after sitting 95+ previously, and you’ve got yourself a Oh No stew brewing.

Sixto Sánchez (MIA) @ ATL (ND) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 59 pitches.

Sixto! It’s awesome to see you starting again. Pretty dang cruel of the team to give you this opportunity against Atlanta, but cool nonetheless. Welp, back to the pen.

Ty Blach (COL) vs SDP (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 76 pitches.

Blach. Nothing like going 15/15 outs in play, leaving us without any butter on our bread. Seriously, if you started Ty you salvaged literally nothing. COL. Story. Bro.

Jack Flaherty (DET) @ TBR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

The Rays hit some poor fastballs, yes, but also an array of super low sliders and that’s just how it is sometimes. Man, I really wish Flaherty could learn to spot his heater better. Like, not over the heart of the plate, perchance. Per. CHANCE.

Spencer Arrighetti (HOU) @ CHC (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

The Pasta Pirate gave you seven strikeouts, but the rest is as expected. 12/58 whiffs despite a full tick drop in velocity is kinda wild until you notice his ultra precision at the top of the zone. With his heater? Well…everything, sadly. There’s yer problem. I wonder if the Astros skip Arrighetti in the next turn of the rotation, then replace him with a potentially healthy Framber Valdez after that. Sooooo drop him? Yuuuuuup.

Carlos Carrasco (CLE) vs BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

We talked about how his last start was a Birthday Party (A Cookie Cake, if you will) and Carrasco isn’t the type to have a Birthday Week. We thank you for your rationality, Carlos.

Garrett Crochet (CHW) @ MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 87 pitches.

After allowing just four ER total in his first three starts, Crochet has tallied at least five in each of his last three. That’s bad. It sure is. The culprit? His slider’s unreliability. He featured the pitch roughly 30% of the time in each of his first three outings, yet it has dropped under 20% in each of his last three, returning just 15% usage here. I’m honestly not sure why (it had a solid strike rate!), and I’d point to the four-seamer’s horrific command as the larger flaw of his arsenal, yet Crochet elected to keep chucking the fella over 50% of the time despite its clear struggles. Soooooo. I know, you want to drop him now. I don’t think I will – his previous two games are understandable, this one is the weird one – but I don’t blame you. It’s such a small sample that we can’t tell if he’s just a Cherry Bomb or if the fastball/slider combo will return to form more often than not. You originally told us he was a Cherry Bomb and now when he’s actually looking like one, you can’t tell?!  Ummmm, that’s fair…? I guess I’d try one more time before letting him loose. I want to see if he recovers from the adversity – once a young arm comes out of their first valley, they don’t return to the floor. But he won’t get Wins. I dunno, he got one in three good starts, there are worse options, right?

Jake Irvin (WSN) vs LAD (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 12 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

Y’all know I never want to see a pitcher do poorly. I also need to acknowledge the quiet peace of a line being exactly as expected. The world continues as it should.


Game of the Day


Yoshinobu Yamamoto vs. MacKenzie GoreYeah, I know it’s Ragans day, but this is pretty dang awesome, too.

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.

Photos by Guglielmo Basile/Unsplash and Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

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.

3 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Knack: MastaPiece”

  1. Joseph Mulvey says:

    Nick, I thought for sure we were going to see “Get The Knack” as the lead, with a superimposed Knack head on the album cover.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You see, that would have been too easy. Same with My Sharona or He Has a Knack For Starting. Nothing like a super niche Dunkey reference instead!

  2. David Bandy says:

    That Dunky reference is incredible. I use that frequently and feel lame because no one ever gets it. I feel seen. Thank you Nick.

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