Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Mad Ladford

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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Cody Bradford (TEX) vs HOU (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

You may have noticed Cody Bradford at the bottom of The List in Monday’s update. Who? The fifth starter for the Rangers I couldn’t fathom was actually in their rotation back in Janaury. He put egg on my face in his first outing and has done so once again via 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches and a Win, this time against a much better Astros lineup. This can’t be real, can it?

Probably not, but there’s a Toby in here. He reminds me of a southpaw Bailey Ober (the good version, stop that) with elite extension at a low 90 mph. Thing is, he also packs nearly 18″ inches of iVB on said heater, helping the heater earn a 78% strike rate in two starts at just a 33% ICR. In other words, his velocity (and horrible attack angle) are getting nullified by his extension and rise. That’s pretty cool.

There are three extra elements that you should be aware of. First, he doesn’t have Ober’s ability to paint the top of the zone red. The intent is clearly there to live upstairs (55% hiLoc), but it’s not quite the same as the deep red of Ober’s heaters at the very top edge. There’s also a question of Bradford’s secondaries, which comprise of a changeup that grades well, though isn’t as precise or as elite as Ober’s + a curve Bradford has been able to spot around the edges of the beautifully thus far. In fact, he’s thrown 26 with just three balls in play – all returning outs and zero hard contact.

It really looks like a Toby for a winning club, with a bit of teetering. This could turn into something more with improved changeup and four-seamer precision, while it could also become catastrophic overnight if one of these pitches take a step down.

You mentioned a third element. Oh, right. The giant jacked dude in the room. Michael Lorenzen is apparently “ready to start” for the Rangers and the assumption has been that Bradford would be displaced when the time came. But why would the Rangers do that now? You’re getting quality from a starter, just ride that out until the dam breaks or one of your other starters needs to be replaced. You should monitor who starts in that Oakland series next week – if Bradford is still there, he’s a solid stream in all formats.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Marcus Stroman (NYY) vs TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 98 pitches.

The velocity is still down 1-2 ticks, though the high cutter usage is also looking like it’s here to stay and I’m all for that. Not his best effort with the pitch at a 50% strike rate and far fewer whiffs, but Stroman needs a proper weapon to reliably pair with the sinker. Pretty wild to see him without an earned run after two starts against the Astros and Jays.

Aaron Nola (PHI) @ WSH (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace…but this was the Nats. Four walks and four strikeouts are not the result Nola should have, let along those whiff and CSW marks. We can point to the 1-2 tick velocity drop, and I’m mostly going to note that the curveball returned just 2/24 whiffs and wasn’t the reliable offering he used to have, nor was he hyper reliant on called strikes, with a super low 11% called strike rate on the night. But here’s the thing: I know why it was a low CS rate – He’s elevating four-seamers. WHAT?! I KNOW. After years of sub-50% hiLoc on the pitch, it’s now near 60% hiLoc. And get this – not one four-seamer returned hard contact yesterday. IT’S HAPPENING. 6/33 whiffs = 18% SwStr rate on four-seamers and all that’s left is the sinker to do its part…which wasn’t all that great against LHB. Save it for RHB and front hip! Use the four-seamer instead! He didn’t get any chases above the zone with the four-seamer, though, and that may be something to work on moving forward to take him to the next level. But hot dang, that low hit rate is kinda real. The high heater from Nola with his extension + elite flat attack angle = less damage done, if he does elevated. The cost is fewer called strikes, but I think this is worth it. I’M STILL IN.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ NYY (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

Much better slider and curveball command here, though I’m still holding my breath hoping for Kikuchi to properly elevate his four-seamer and get the most out of the pitch – it returned just 4/42 whiffs here. That new changeup grip? Yeah, just three thrown and I think it’s the right call. After all, Kikuchi had a fantastic second half last year without it, and to see him go with curves + sliders instead is comforting moving forward. Phew.

Jordan Hicks (SF) vs SD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

Hey that’s some pretty awesome work there from Hicks. So he’s dominating with his sweeper? Not really. Then the splitter or curve or something new? Nah. So he spotted sinkers? Ummm, I’m gonna stop that and tell you he was able to live inside the zone with his sinker, thus seven frames in 91 pitches, while the pitch still refuses to allow ICR.

Brady Singer (KCR) vs CHW (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 72 pitches.

We were obviously going with this one after his explosion of a start last time out and this wasn’t nearly as exciting. His four-seamer was present against LHB again (yay!), though just one whiff this time. The slide piece went from 16 whiffs to just five here as it wasn’t in the zone as much, though I wouldn’t say it was poorly spotted – in fact, better down-and-away locations to RHB than last time. What does this all mean. That Singer is still volatile. The four-seamer to LHB doesn’t appear to be a game-changer, and Singer still carries the same “Will my sinker and slider be great today?” question we’ve always had. I’m scared of his next start against the Astros.

Hunter Greene (CIN) vs NYM (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

There was a moment against Pete Alonso to end his evening that it felt like Greene’s outing was slipping away, but he came through and took down the lowly Mets. And guess what? Now he gets the Brewers and Mariners up next and we’re trying not to say anything like this is a no-hitter. …Nick, is he actually consistent now? I SAID LET’S NOT SAY ANYTHING. I do have to note – I was listening to the broadcast and there was an interesting discussion about Greene’s fastball approach. The suggestion was how he threw too many high heaters as A) Batters would sit on it, causing too many balls because B) The middle or low heater sets up the slider better. Oh no. Yeah, you already know my take on that as throwing 33%+ y-mLoc% (i.e. middle height) is where all the damage happens on Greene’s fastball. He gets his whiffs and pop-ups when up high. It doesn’t ruin his slider low. I really hope that he leans more into upstairs heaters in the future and doesn’t return a sub-50 % hiLoc this year. Please.

Jose Quintana (NYM) @ CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 102 pitches.

Wow. I labeled Quintana as a sneaky streamer against the Tigers, but with his start pushed back all the way to a series in Cincy, I was very much out. Props to him for the low ERA (and poor WHIP, you can’t have it all), and those four walks were a clear give-and-take of nibbling around the zone. This is that weird area of “not giving in” vs. “I don’t know where it’s going”. And because I’m me, I’m obviously going to make those into generalized labels, so let’s go with a Neckbeard vs. a General Disarray and the former gets a bad wrap for “poor control” while the second is (hopefully) effectively wild and actually has “poor control”. There’s a huge difference to me – Ragans, Snell, and Keuchel are part of the first crew, while Boyle, Brash, and Cease are part of the second. I know there are better examples, we’ll talk more about it in the future. Just note: This was Quintana as a NeckbeardDon’t expect the walk rate to stay up.

Zack Littell (TB) @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 69 pitches.

Ayyy, props to Littell for surviving Coors! You deserve that King Cole with high heaters and…weird sliders. No not, the ultra weird slider from last time that had him spotting up-and-armside, these were mostly inside the zone like that one guy who becomes absurdly comfortable with hanging around you after just two minutes of conversation. Oh don’t mind me, I just like it here. I’m sorry sliders, you’re not getting my Bud Light. I do wonder if the Rockies are just this bad of an offense, but regardless, you should have Littell rostered for his next start against the Angels. The whole thing still has me skeptical, but that’s an obvious play, even if the Rays are gonna Ray by pulling him before 70 pitches. How could you.

Erick Fedde (CHW) @ KCR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

Yep, that’s some good Toby action right there. @CLE + another KCR are up next and that’s all good for those in deeper leagues.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) @ LAA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Kutter was absolutely dominating until the fifth frame, when he suddenly couldn’t throw a strike. He had found a rhythm of fastball/sweeper/kutter across four and change, and then it just disappeared, like that random Netflix show I was only two episodes away from finishing. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?! It resulted in walking both Anthony Rendon and a run, and while he’s super fortunate the pen bailed him out of three more ERs in the books, he wasn’t able to get that final out for the Win. It felt like one of those weird moments when confidence just disappeared and we move on, ignoring it. He’s no longer on that lonely island we call a mound.

Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) @ PIT (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. A stupid cold day in Baltimore likely caused the two-tick velocity drop and the changeup we saw last weekend was nothing of the sort (zero whiffs, sub 50% strike rate), but the curve came through with consistent strikes down in the zone and his fastball was much better spotted in the upper half. We still have some polish left for Grayson to be the true ace we know he can be, but hot dang, he’s certainly showcasing a floor we love to see, yes, even with a 1.33 WHIP.

Dylan Cease (SD) @ SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

Solid upstairs intent with four-seamers here, while the slider was bounced a little more than last time, but still competitive enough to carry him through with ease. That’s the Cease way and hot dang I want that cutter to arrive eventually. Stop expecting the cutter to happen. It’s never gonna happen. Well maybe it will if this misconception that adding a cutter always ruins fastballs. Is that a real conversation you had? …no. BUT WHATEVER.

Jared Jones (PIT) vs BAL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 80 pitches.

The BSB is alive and well for Jones as he spots heaters up and sliders down + a near even split of fastball/breaker whiffs to earn the Gallows Pole should catalyze confidence that Jones can thrive as a 85% two-pitch pitcher. His four-seamer and slider both hold a 92+ percentile PLV so far this year. It’s so wonderful. Do. Not. Let. Go.

Tommy Henry (ARI) @ ATL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Okay, that’s another southpaw who performed better than expected against the mighty Atlanta offense, especially at 14 whiffs and 28% from Mr. Two First Names over here. He attacked LHB with a ton of sliders, many of which missed terribly out of the zone, while his four-seamer jammed RHB and set up sinkers down and changeups away. It kinda makes sense? I wonder if this was one of those “I gotta step up because it’s Atlanta” games and you shouldn’t expect this to continue, let alone in Coors up next.

Austin Gomber (COL) vs TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

COL story, Bro. But seven strikeouts! Okay, he lived well around the edges with sliders and changeups and yet, it’s four frames and he’s in Coors. Don’t.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs SEA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna ace(ish). Fine, the four-seamer isn’t going to be an 18+ iVB pitch, but 16/17 works for us at an elite HAVAA and extension. And yes, I wanted one more out and one fewer run, too. Be happy with the rest and his health. Don’t take it for granted with the implosion of injuries we’ve had in the last week. Eury, Bieber, Megill, Strider, etc.

Tarik Skubal (DET) vs OAK (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna pitch in snowy weather and look fine until the end of the game, where his velocity suddenly took a dipIt’s a bit worrisome as he was able to have that velocity earlier in the game and it’s important to be aware of it, but for now, we just have to hope the weather was making things awfully annoying for Skubs. Look, with Strider, Bieber, Cole, Eury, etc. all making us awfully sad, we’re now hyper aware to a velocity dip like this. Let’s hold our loved ones close and be thankful for what we have.

Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

That’s a 2.00 WHIP with a 6.00 ERA as the cutter, the one thing that could save Corbin, was thrown just seven times. Look, I’m not saying it will save Corbin, but it’s something new that has shown promise. Why settle for the same turbulence of the past when you can go for something new with potential? HAVE THE COURAGE TO CHASE HAPPINESS.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ MIL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.

Oh cool, we’re back to 1/26 four-seamer whiffs again. Cool cool cool. The slider is earning strikes galore at a 74% strike rate with a fantastic 48% CSW, and paired with a new cutter that I dig, I think it’s fine that he floats the thing into the zone a decent amount. But until that heater overwhelms properly, you’re going to have these bouts with his ERA and I JUST WANT TO STOP SAYING THAT. Gilbert could be so dang good at an absurd 7.8 extension, he just needs to take more advantage of it with his fastball. But is it getting hit? 46% ICR so far in two starts, its highest of his career (in this ultra low sample).

JP Sears (OAK) @ DET (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

Womp womp. I’m shocked to say Sears has returned one of the first HAISTBMBWT?! of the year as his command was an atrocity. He either chucked pitches in the very middle of the zone or missed around the edges, leading to just one four-seamer whiff. You know, THE pitcher that gets us excited for Sears. He should stay on the wire now, especially with Texas ahead, and when the Sears discount appears during the seasonal update, you’ll be able to rip out that page and cash it in.

Griffin Canning (LAA) vs BOS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 91 pitches.

The velocity is still down and he’s missing too few bats to suggest there are two marshmallows waiting for us if we just hold out another ten minutes. Let me just eat this one in front of me now and go find another dang marshmallow. And yes, I will always type marshmellow first before Grammarly fixes it. I’d rather computers comply with the incompetent laws of the English language.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

It was the Dodgers. You shouldn’t expect anything else.

Spencer Strider (ATL) vs AZ (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Oh no. Strider looked off and is now getting an MRI on his elbow. BASEBALL. WHY MUST YOU DO THIS. Should it be Burnes or Wheeler as SP #1 this week on The List?

Hunter Brown (HOU) @ TEX (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 80 pitches.

Blegh. It wasn’t a good matchup and it was a coin flip if Brown would continue progressing or if he’d stagnate. The splitter was effective, the cutter was not, the curve was hung, and his heater was a mix. The Rangers make this a start we shouldn’t dissect too much and we’re going for it against the Royals.

Bobby Miller (LAD) @ CHC (L) – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

Ummmm, this was horrible. Miller was at 98 mph (which is hilariously a full tick down) and hurled as many heaters over the plate while all other pitches collectively went 9/23 strikes. Yikes. There are many reasons we could give for why Miller was off, but at the end of the day, all you can do is exhale and put him back in the lineup next week. A bad ole One Night Bland.


Game of the Day 

Bryce Miller vs. DL Hall – Two arms I’m hoping take steps forward consistently this year.

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 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.

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