Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Pestor Cortes

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

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

Nestor Cortes (NYY) @ TEX (L) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.

I haven’t felt incredibly secure about Nestor Cortes this season and I was hoping today’s outing against the Rangers would get me encouraged for the next five months. I don’t think 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches was what I was looking for and it’s time we asked ourselves – what is going on?

In short, I think Cortes is struggling to find his footing with his four-seamer. There are some starts where it’s exactly what we anticipate, but then games like today where it goes just 1/44 whiffs and flails around the zone.

The cutter is more like the pitch we know it to be, I just worry that Nestor is struggling to find a rhythm and maybe it’s as simple as his slider failing to earn the same number of strikes, forcing him to do too much with his four-seamer and cutter – just 8/18 strikes here between sweepers and sliders. Do I think he’s finally coming down to Earth after 18 months (second half of 2021 + 2022) of success? Not necessarily, but there is a pit in my stomach that has that fear. It doesn’t help that he has to endure the Rays x2 + Jays across his next three starts, either, and while I feel you have to start him, it’s going to fill me with all kinds of anxiety. Good luck everyone, I really hope this works out.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


José Suarez (LAA) @ MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 77 pitches.

I’ll take King Cole awards I never expected to see for $400. Suarez killed it with his changeup once again while sneaking in heaters upstairs and the Brewers elected to ask if it wanted some tea. Why yes I—wait, I HATE TEA. Seriously, it’s just worse water and I cannot thank Ted Lasso enough for spreading the truth. Annnnyway I’m glad he found a new weapon for right-handers that could make him serviceable against full lineups with consistency. Fun fact: he tossed just five pitches against lefties in this entire start. Hmmmmm. Still don’t buy it, but I’m paying attention at least.

Chris Sale (BOS) vs CLE (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.

Watching Sale touch 98 mph was a pleasant surprise and he cruised with the heater + slider in this one. It wasn’t a fun day to pitch in Boston and it may have contributed to just 1/9 CSW changeups, a pitch that I hope returns against the Phils + Cards up next. How do you feel about Sale now? I think this is more of what to expect when BABIP is horrifically against him, but I also think he got a little fortunate here without that slowball. The rollercoaster continues and I’m wondering if I’m having fun.

Austin Gomber (COL) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

Props to Gomber for the Birthday Partywe all need a light to get us through the dark tunnel of Colorado. Nick, it’s beautiful here! Sorry, I only acknowledge states for their ballparks. Nothing else exists inside of it. Well, what about Idaho then? Is that a Pokémon?

Sonny Gray (MIN) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.

The dude cannot be stopped. His curveball has been one of the best pitches in baseball in 2023, here boasting a 52% CSW across 21 thrown, while the slider went 5/21 whiffs and the cutter earned plenty of strikes along the way – as long as Gray isn’t forced to pump heaters, things work out well. I’ve been the skeptic on how long Gray can keep this up (he has a history of volatility) and there’s a part of me that wants to sell high. That said, he could keep soaring against the Guardians and Cubs up next if he still has that glorious hook.

Josiah Gray (WSH) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.

Huh, another start where Gray soared with his four-seamer, here returning 37% CSW across 35 thrown. Thing is, it came with much better command than previously, keeping the breakers down while he jammed right-handers with the heat. Okay, I’m more interested now and may have him in the probable start tier for the Diamondbacks. Maybe. I might be wishcasting that he’s finally the guy we wanted him to be two years ago and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Martín Pérez (TEX) vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.

Pérez was given a gift of the Yankee offense sans Judge, allowing him to soar in the wild west with his standard stellar sinker/cutter/changeup command. He’s a Tobywhich makes the Angels + Athletics up next a decent run for 15-teamers and questionable for 12-teamers.

Justin Steele (CHC) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 81 pitches.

Yeah okay. I wasn’t impressed by Steele’s fastball this time around and I won’t tell you he had the best slider command, but it’s the Marlins and you’re fine with this, even with a 1.33 WHIP. Let’s hope he can truly dominate when he faces them again.

José Urquidy (HOU) vs PHI (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 84 pitches.

I was iffy on this start and I’m glad it went his way. Lots o’ strikes with the change and curve while the four-seamer found its way into the zone like a skipping flower girl. Let those petals fly! I wouldn’t say I’m content with Urquidy on my rosters against the Mariners, but there are worse options out there. It could be totally fine.

Mike Clevinger (CWS) vs TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Props to Clevinger here – he allowed a pair of longballs in the fourth and scattered hits here and there, but was able to tally eight strikeouts with just 2 ER against a super hot lineup. Instead of going two-pitch, we saw a cutter enter the mix for 21% usage…which returned sub 50% strikes and just 16% CSW. The changeup was helpful at least at 6/8 strikes, but the heater and slider finding the bottom of the zone was the ticket to success in this one. I don’t think it’s a legit change to make us consider Clevinger once again – after all, that 1.60 WHIP hurt plenty.

Bryan Hoeing (MIA) vs CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

Wait, he’s still pitching? Not bad today with his sinker, four-seamer, and slider all returning a 30%+ CSW. Still wish it were Eury Perezthough, and I’m not trusting this success to replicate in a repeat matchup next weekend.

Logan Allen (CLE) @ BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

I love how the Guardians let Allen battle against Devers to get the final strikeout and end the fifth frame as he labored a bit on a dreary day in Boston. While his debut featured the splitter as his primary #2, this version of Allen with 43% slider is more of what I expected and makes me breathe a little easier. You see, what makes me not like splitters is their volatility. If a pitcher relies on them too often and doesn’t have a backup, you get what Kodai Senga is going through right now. However, seeing Allen fail with his splitter here – 21% CSW, 2/19 whiffs – and have the ability to turn to his slider for success is exactly how it should be. I’m a fan…though I still favor Tanner Bibeewho has a much deeper repertoire. I wonder how the Guardians will treat them inside the rotation through the month of May – what happens when Civale and McKenzie return? These two guys are better than Plesac and Quantrill…

Colin Rea (MIL) vs LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.

Yes I find it weird Rea earned nine strikeouts (AND THOR HAD ZERO). He did a great job jamming right-handers with sinkers and the sweeper looked pretty cool…nah, I can’t buy this, right? He gets the Giants and Royals next and was throwing a tick harder…no no no, I just can’t. He’s not this good y’all.

Spencer Turnbull (DET) vs BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches.

I really don’t understand Turnbull. He has a four-seamer with cut-action so what does he do? Jam left-handers up-and-in? Nope! He stays up-and-away with shockingly good precision. I really don’t get it, that pitch is so dang good eating lefties inside and he just says “hey, how about I throw it in a place where it’ll fall back down into your barrel?” Nick, the pitch returned a 44% CSW with 13 called strikes. Okay okay okay, that’s incredibly fair and I’m likely overreacting that it worked for him with this approach. But it could be better! Those called strikes could be outs! And it sets up sliders down-and-in for whiffs! And maybe you’re not pulled after four with a high pitch count! I’m just ranting as I sit in my chair in front of a computer, y’all. Don’t mind me.

Ken Waldichuk (OAK) vs CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.

THERE’S WALDI! It took Waldichuk to feature sweepers 44% of the time to unlock his potential and what’s even Van wilder is the fact his four-seamer wasn’t very well spotted. In fact, nothing really was. He just got pitches in the zone and they worked. Huh. Makes you wonder if he can repeat a seven-strikeout performance and near 1.17 WHIP against the Royals next time, with potential for more if he actually executes the BSBIt makes you think.

Noah Syndergaard (LAD) vs STL (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Zero strikeouts. ZERO. HAISTBMBWT?! Why even give us a knife if there’s no butter for this bread? But he got us a Win! I’m sorry, I already left the table in disgust. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTERED.

Alex Cobb (SF) @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 94 pitches.

This was a clear avoid given the 16-11 travesty on Saturday and let’s give Cobb praise for keeping the Padres to just three runs. Fun fact – remember the slider I was excited about at the start of the year? Yeah, like the main character of Hunter x Hunter, it’s Gon(e). That’s a deep cut, Nick. So is removing the one thing I was pumped about for Cobb this year. Not a single one thrown and we’re back to the Cherry Bomb nature of 2022. Makes me a little less excited to roster him, personally.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) @ CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 97 pitches.

Oh cool, that makes an even 50% chance of Rasmussen helping or hurting your team. This one is especially painful as it came against one of the coldest offenses out there. Blame the slider and curve combining for a whopping 1/23 CSW and all we can do is hope he can rebound against a Yankee offense that could be without Judge.

Nick Lodolo (CIN) @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 70 pitches.

Sure, it’s one earned run more than you’d like, but a 1.00 WHIP with seven strikeouts is cool with me, even against the Athletics. 40% CSW y’all, with 42%+ on both the four-seamer and curve. He’s destined for a better ERA.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ DET (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 78 pitches.

Womp womp. Bradish’ slider wasn’t the problem – 44% CSW! – but the focus on heaters and overall tendency to throw pitches down the middle hurt him plenty. That doesn’t sound like a good plan. No, it doesn’t. He also looked a bit lost with his curve and change at times and it wasn’t his best day at the park. I have zero interest against Atlanta + Pittsburgh up next.

Jake Woodford (STL) @ LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

I can see the Amish Mustang at the dealership now, hoping to finally leave the lot and find a home. This bad boy slaps roof can prevent a promising southpaw from returning to the big leagues for a good four weeks! I’LL TAKE IT.

Yu Darvish (SD) vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 97 pitches.

Despite earning a Gallows PoleDarvish wasn’t able to stave off the elevation to ruin your ratios, but at least you were able to salvage nine strikeouts along the way. Will we ever see the dream of high heaters, cutters for strikes, and sliders for whiffs from Darvish? I dunno, I can’t recall the last time I saw Darvish spot his heater and (this is regardless of this game in Mexico City) I guess he’s the same premium Cherry Bomb of previous seasons. Such is life.

Chris Bassitt (TOR) vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 96 pitches.

He had a dumb first frame, then gave fantasy managers four great frames after. It’s a representation of the 2023 season in one game and you just gotta keep rolling with it. Keep slappin’ da Bassitt.

Bailey Falter (PHI) @ HOU (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Without Barnum, he’s just a show on Earth. The only times we’d trust Falter would be against weak teams and even if the Astros are missing Yordan, this definitely didn’t qualify.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) @ TOR (ND) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

I really do find Gonzo more intriguing than ever right now as his command is fantastic – four-seamers and cutters along the edges and changeups + curves down – and when he faces non-elite offenses, I’m legit interested. He’s feeling it, which seems so strange to say after a line like this. Sit him out against the Astros but I’m circling the Tigers after.

Ryne Nelson (ARI) @ COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 75 pitches.

Well yeah, it’s Coors. I wouldn’t even start a podcast in Coors.

Johan Oviedo (PIT) @ WSH (L) – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 64 pitches.

After getting away with pitches down the heart of the plate in previous games, regression turned its ugly head as the Nationals made easy work of sliders and curves over the plate. We all see the potential here, but it’s that lack of precision that opens the door to starts like this. Toronto + BAL are next and I think it’s easy for us to leave him on the wire and wait for the development to come.

Brady Singer (KC) @ MIN (L) – 2.2 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

Oh dear. He’s a Cherry Bomb and while I thought you were safe in this one, the Twins had other plans, looking like those girls from The Shining. Please just let zoom off in the other direction. Looking at Singer’s arsenal, he’s pretty much the same guy as previous years – tons of called strikes with sinkers + ~20% SwStr rate with his slider. If one of those fails in a given night, it opens the door to disaster (just 4/26 whiffs on the slider today, for example). You can give up on this spin of the wheel if you like, though he will have a lovely stretch that makes you rethink everything at some point in the near future. That’s just the way it works.


Game of the Day 

Drew Smyly vs. MacKenzie Gore – I want to watch Smyly still have the BSB while Gore could take another step forward. I’m super curious how this game goes.

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.

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 – Pestor Cortes”

  1. BabboB says:

    Worth noting that 1) Urquidy departed with a sore shoulder and his status for the Mariners start is uncertain, and 2) Rea may have made his last start for now with Houser coming off the IL.

  2. Nick fan says:

    I chuckled at the Barnum & Bailey line, then felt relief that nobody witnessed it.

  3. N says:

    Is there a chance Cobb just avoided sliders in MXC (the city, not the show) specifically?

  4. Vincent says:

    Never question, when you start with something that it will end in disappointment. Our thinking is changed as picture in our brain.

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