Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: The Wishing Kell

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. 

Mitch Keller (PIT) @ WSH (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

I say it often in the pre-season and I need to say it again now. You need to be able to make some quick decisions during the first two weeks of the baseball season. Mitch Keller is a perfect example of a HIPSTERwho you could be stuck with for a fair chunk of the season before you finally elect to move on, or you could see tonight’s 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches line against the Nationals – THE NATIONALS – and deduce that Keller just might be a guy who will oscillate all year and not be the sturdy arm you want him to be.

Go look at your waiver wire. Considering we’ve seen Casey Mize, Tanner Houck, Seth Lugo, Logan Allen, Reynaldo Lópezand Garrett Whitlock all rostered in fewer than 20% of leagues in the last week, I’m sure there is someone you can stream for their next outing over the weekend, if not an arm you’ve been having your eye on to swap with Keller. It’s okay, if Keller actually happens to turn into the man we’ve always wanted to be, you can be emotionally stable enough with a different strong arm you picked up to be happy for him. The greater chance is you’ll look back in August with sweet relief you didn’t hold on for too long.

It’s important to recognize when we expect success to come and when we’re wishing for it instead. It’s something I struggle with constantly and it’s important to isolate the realistic ceiling that has you holding onto them. Is that ceiling demonstrably greater than the options on your wire? With Keller failing to command his arsenal, relying on fastballs over 40% of the time, and returning just 5/47 whiffs on cutters + sweepers + curves + changeups, you really can’t sit here and say it’s worth the shot.

But he gets the Tigers next! The Nationals, y’all. This was the Nationals.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Nathan Eovaldi (TEX) @ TB (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Eovaldi’s split was magnificent (12 whiffs on splitties catalyzed that Gallows Pole) and he did his best getting strikes with everything else. I think I overheard a Tampa Bay fan in the crowd discussing their offense: “Are we the baddies?” You might be, Tampa. You might be.

Logan Allen (CLE) @ SEA (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 93 pitches.

Add another streaming victory to the tally with a co-share of the King Cole (yes, exactly the same 33/93 CSW). Allen has a flat attack angle on his heater, though his low 90s velocity, middling extension, and average iVB mean it doesn’t have a ton of hope of becoming a legit whiff offering. He’s adapted by embracing the cutter, a pitch featured twelve times here for an incredible 60% CSW and it helped him take down a pedestrian Mariners offense. Feel free to hold for the ChiSox next, though I think the Yankees will result in a more challenging outing.

Cole Ragans (KC) @ BAL (ND) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Those two walks came in the seventh inning and his sole hit was a flare as he allowed just one batted ball above 95 mph all game. Pew pew pew, y’all. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

We want more strikeouts in a bout with the Athletics, but a Win is a Win and those ratios certainly work. Just 1/18 whiffs on the whirlybird here and it’s clear we should be thankful Pivetta had an off day against Oakland and not a worthy offense.

Cristian Javier (HOU) vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 97 pitches.

What’s kinda funny about this one is how none of his pitches were their best selves. His changeup went 50% strikes, the slider returned 1/25 whiffs, and his heater held a 24% CSW. And yet, he survived. That changeup, even when it’s not pristine, bolsters Javier into the land of shocking reliability. I’m in.

Joe Ross (MIL) vs MIN (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

With a walk rate like that, Joe is looking more like his brother every day. This ain’t it and you already knew that.

Luke Little (CHC) vs COL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 14 pitches.

Ahhhh, so we did get Ben Brown as the bulk reliever after all, going 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks across 52 pitches and that’s pretty fun. Brown’s curve was stupid good at 56% CSW, though the real leader is that 96 mph four-seamer, which does look like a sturdy heater to support the man. With Taillon back after a week or so, we could see Brown for another bulk spot, though I’m not sure he’ll exceed 60 pitches there. And after that, would he take Javier Assad’s spot? Probably not? If he does get confirmation as a rotation piece, I’m intrigued and would spec add him then. However, it’s not enough of a leash to chase him against the Padres next week.

Ross Stripling (OAK) vs BOS (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

Say what now. Strip is down 1.5 ticks on his heater but deftly navigated around the Sawx lineup with a ton of sinkers that found plenty of called strikes and gloves. Oh, so this is one of those days. Yup. This isn’t sustainable at all.

Joe Musgrove (SD) vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

And that lovely draft you feel from the West Coast is all of San Diego exhaling in unison. He’s still a tick down and I don’t care – we needed this tonight. Thanks Musgrove.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and add another King Cole to the mantle. He’s all the way down to 93 mph, though, which is a bit concerning (I normally don’t see it this low), but hot dang, I love how he was dope regardless. But yes, I am a touch worried. We shouldn’t react to the velocity dip unless it appears for another start, though its steady decline here wasn’t fun to witness.

Aaron Civale (TB) vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.

Look at Civale go, putting my whole “play the early matchups!” strategy into the trash with strong outings against both the Jays and Rangers to kick off the year. High sinkers galore with curveballs underneath and I’m starting to believe Eno is right about high sinkers. Pretty dang cool.

Frankie Montas (CIN) @ PHI (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Wow. Even at sub 94 mph velocity (2-3 ticks down, yikes), Montas willed himself to throw 100 pitches and keep his splitter low enough to generate a ton of whiffs. You have to hand it to him – that’s a solid Phillies lineup and losing that much heat on your fastball should not have worked out so well. Just to clarify, you don’t need to hand him a roster spot, only the generalized “it” awarded to the special few.

Merrill Kelly (AZ) vs NYY (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Great job from Kelly once again. The only blemish was an Aaron Judge blast on a poor sinker over the plate. Whatareyagonnado. Keep starting the man.

Corbin Burnes (BAL) vs KC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna come back down to Earth after their Baltimore debut last week. Maybe it was the massive delay, maybe it was going just 5/14 slider strikes. That’s probably it. At least that’s a decent ERA on an off day.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) @ MIA (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ayyyy the Irish Panda came through! He kept his heaters around the edges and landed changeups + sliders consistently only to terrorize managers everywhere with a Philly. I’m not a huge fan of Sandoval, though the extra tick of velocity does help a touch and maybe he has good enough feel of the whole arsenal now.

Trevor Williams (WSH) vs PIT (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.


Carlos Rodón (NYY) @ AZ (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.

Ok. So. He averaged 96.1 mph and ramped up throughout the start. That’s classic Rodón. HOWEVER, featuring 59 four-seamers and earning just three whiffs is not. He didn’t spot the pitch incredibly well, nor did his cutter or slider keep the Sneks at bay enough to keep them from making a whole lot of fastball contact. I’m more encouraged than before given the velocity, but he’s still not quite there yet. There’s something still missing as his heater can’t seem to get the whiffs of old.

Chris Paddack (MIN) @ MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 82 pitches.

It took us a week to get a glimpse of Paddack annnnnnd meh. I dug that he aimed for high heaters and low changeups, though the latter went 13/30 strikes and I’m not convinced it’s an elite four-seamer yet. It needs that extra bit of oooomph to get me in on Paddack more than the occasional stream.

A.J. Puk (MIA) vs LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

Like Hall, it’s right for us to consider Puk a TobyHe’s not explosive and he even acknowledged that he raised his arm action in an effort to get a better feel for his split. Well, you threw ten of those and by changing that arm angle, you’ve made your fastballs combine for just 6/55 whiffs. THANKS. I’m not joking – his HAVAA went from 1.5 last year (elite!) to 0.6 in 2024 (horrible!) and it changes his whole outlook. He got Singled Out in the first and didn’t pitch well in the third, but what we saw today is an arm who can go 5/6 with a 20%+ strikeout rate and something like a 1.20 WHIP. That’s a Tobynot an arm to push the needle massively. He can certainly blossom with more time, however, it’ll require his former release angle + more than 3/22 slider whiffs to get there.

Tyler Glasnow (LAD) vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna give ya a PQS and make you deal with it. Blame the slider – he featured it just 16% of the time for some reason.

Zack Thompson (STL) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Now he’s down even more on his fastball and that’s a scary thing. But you know what isn’t scary? Thompson throwing a forkball. Not a splitty, a FORKBALL. Okay it looks a lot like the splitter and doesn’t have the huge hump of a legit forkball, but LET ME HAVE MY FUN. It’s super rare to see Savant give that classification and thanks for giving me this tonight, Thompson. There was some good in this after all.

Kyle Harrison (SF) @ LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

Uhhhh, it’s the Dodgers. Let’s hope he can be a little more precise next time out in an effort to take advantage of the lowly Nationals. That should work, but a Cherry Bomb like Harrison may have other ideas. Why would he have any other idea? People are weird, man.

Chris Bassitt (TOR) @ HOU (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Blegh. The sinker is still ridiculous and you have to roll with the punches here. I’m not giving up hope, especially after a matchup against the Astros. The Mariners help make for a far better result.

Cal Quantrill (COL) @ CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

COL story, Bro.

George Kirby (SEA) vs CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 72 pitches.

Uhhhh, at least he didn’t walk a batter? Kirby was 1-2 ticks down on his fastball, though that may be more of a product of fatigue after laboring across just eleven outs. He was off his game a bit here, with some wild misses we normally don’t see from Kirby, merged with pitches well inside the zone. He isn’t this man and don’t do anything rash.


Game of the Day 

Casey Mize vs. Adrian Houser – I know, it’s Pablo vs Bibee, but this is our first true look at Mize, and they kept it from us for two days. Plus, Manning goes in game two! WHAT A DAY.

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 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.

One response to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: The Wishing Kell”

  1. CrimeDawgEsq. says:

    I need to be talked off of the ledge as to why in my keeper league I chose to keep Kirby at round 8 over a free agent (round 15) Ragans.

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