Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Skenes From A Memory

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

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

Paul Skenes (PIT) vs CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 84 pitches.

It’s about dang time we saw Paul Skenes toss a baseball in the majors and don’t be alarmed by his final line: 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 84 pitches. MLB Debuts are special moments and come with a slew of emotions and lack of experience that obstruct performance. The dude is legit and will be rostered everywhere indefinitely.

His four-seamer command was pretty blegh, though. It’s not a major concern (again, jitters n all) and what’s more interesting is its profile more like a sinker than a proper four-seamer. His ultra-flat arm angle paired with 100 mph velocity in turn suggests throwing upstairs, but the lack of drop on his heater makes me wonder if it succeds down instead – bat paths low are coming down to the ball, which can make a sinker dive under the bat, especially if it’s coming with 100 mph where a late bat misses over the ball instead of under.

But who cares, it’s 100 mph and that’s obviously great. His main breaker is a solid slider at low-to-mid 80s, which won’t turn heads massively, but gets the job done. The splitter (also referred to as the Splinker) is the real gamechanger at 95 mph, enabling three separate velocity bands across Skenes’ arsenal. I was massively impressed by Skenes’ ability to keep the pitch down and once the fastball is normally located, he’ll become far more efficient and dominate. He’s legit.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Max Fried (ATL) @ NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 109 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Still not the best version of Fried yet (lots down the middle, changeups failing to dominate, etc.). Wait til you see him AT THE MAX. That’s too easy, I wasn’t gonna do it. YOU’RE TOO EASY. Wow. Let’s move on.

James Paxton (LAD) @ SDP (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Much better pitch separation this time for Paxton, who was able to flirt with 94 mph on his four-seamer as well. I guess I was wrong counting on Paxton…? He does get the Reds in Los Angeles up next, after all. i guess we’re keeping you around just a bit longer…

Triston McKenzie (CLE) @ CHW (L) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

How does he keep it together, I don’t know. Even with just one curveball whiff, he was able to spot it down effectively, with enough fastball and slider strikes to nearly go seven against the CrySox. I’d be afraid of a start against the Twins, though if you want to Vargas Rule this, I guess you can do that. I feel weird typing that.

Taijuan Walker (PHI) @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

He’s still 91 mph and he found a way despite a 1.50 WHIP. Maybe he can do it against the Mets, but at the very least, we’re out for the Rangers after. I really don’t want to do this.

Joey Estes (OAK) @ SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 61 pitches.

The line looks great, the stuff…not so much. It’s a mediocre heater with a decent slider and I’m a little worried given the team context and low pitch count. Now is not the time to jump in.

Mike Clevinger (CHW) vs CLE (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.

This is a decent line, even if just under five frames, but I still feel that we shouldn’t play with the Treble Clev.

Mason Black (SFG) vs CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 78 pitches.

Sure, this was something, but just so…boring. Maybe they’ll let him go comfortably over 80 pitches against Rockie Road next time out, making for a solid 15-teamer stream. Maybe even a deeper 12-teamer stream, too.

Jake Irvin (WSN) @ BOS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa. A Gallows Pole?! This is pretty dang wild for the Gold Starespecially when he chucked so many pitches down the heart of the zone – this wasn’t ultra precision Irvin demanding dominance. Four-seamers, cutters, and curves all scooting around the strikezone like a Catalina Wine Mixer and deftly missing bats as they schmoozed with reckless abandon. Props to him, I just don’t think 9/42 whiffs is a sustainable thing, let alone this kind of line against the Phillies next.

Tarik Skubal (DET) vs HOU (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace, I’ll never get used to his sinker/changeup dominance, but it obviously works and I’m not gonna question it.

Bryce Miller (SEA) vs OAK (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ayyyy he took advantage of the Athletics as he dominated upstairs with four-seamers + sinkers and was able to throw enough secondaries for strikes to keep Oakland hitters from keying into high heaters. I’m not sold he can do that all the time, but I love watching Miller embrace the High Life.

Ryan Feltner (COL) vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

Hey, that’s almost Gold Star worthy! Cool cool cool, I’m glad you had a lovely Birthday Party.

Zack Littell (TBR) vs NYY (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ehhhhh, sure. It’s pretty boring, but you got the Win and his four-seamer was meticulously placed at the top of the zone to great effect. Littell by Littell, he found a way. Still a bit questionable for a start in Fenway up next.

Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs PHI (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! A Golden Goal for Luzardo against the Phillies in his return from the IL. His slider was incredible with a 50% CSW while the changeup and four-seamer did their part. Obviously, we’re sticking Luzardo in our lineups with confidence moving foward.

Matt Waldron (SDP) vs LAD (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 82 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer. Yes, even if he oddly came through here. You know, there’s something to be said about “The Dodgers are great but this guy throws this super chaos pitch that doesn’t care how good you are.” That is, because it’s a knuckler, Waldron had a chance to perform well that other waiver-wire arms don’t have. The sides of the dice don’t change, but it’s still just two numbers that hit.

Kyle Gibson (STL) @ MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 104 pitches.

Gibson is still performing better than expected and I can see y’all riding this in 15-teamers. In shallowed formats, I think I’d avoid the Red Sox outside of QS leagues – he’s allowed to 104 pitches, after all.

Andrew Heaney (TEX) @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 85 pitches.

Oh snap, Heaney returned 14/57 four-seamer whiffs as he went BSB once again and obliterated the top of zone wth heaters. We have one more glorious matchup left against his former Angels and count me in once again.

Cooper Criswell (BOS) vs WSN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Criswell dominated with changeups against a poor Nationals offense and would have earned a Win if it weren’t for some Irvin magic. This can work against the Rays a second time, though the limited pitch count is a small concern still.

Tyler Anderson (LAA) vs KCR (W) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.

We’ll take this all day from Anderson. It’s the Rangers next and we’re obviously not starting this Toby there.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ehhhh a VPQS ain’t it. Four-seamer is still doing work

Christian Scott (NYM) vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

The dude looked good. Sure, it’s a PQSbut it’s Atlanta with eight strikeouts + his four-seamer was still top notch. His slider and sweeper were a bit less precise than ideal and his splitter is still a work in progress, though Scott is obviously a must-roster at this point.

Ryne Nelson (ARI) @ BAL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 87 pitches.

The four-seamer is still cool, the command is not. And the Orioles. I’m super curious to see how he develops this year and there’s a chance it comes together against the Tigers, though I suggest caution and generally would wait until we see it.

Nick Lodolo (CIN) @ SFG (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 98 pitches.

Not his best, which is actually what we’d shout when pitchers would have a slow pickoff move to first. Blame it on the Giants is not just for poor pitchers doing well, it’s also good pitchers pitching poorly and not having as bad of a floor as the performance would suggest. Definitely bench against the Dodgers.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) @ TBR (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

So many wasted pitches. We didn’t see that kind of chaos from Cortes in previous starts and I don’t think it’ll last. Keep letting him fly.

John Means (BAL) vs ARI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Blegh. I don’t think Means pitched as poorly as the line suggests and I still feel confident moving ofwrad, especially with the Mariners next week.

Simeon Woods Richardson (MIN) @ TOR (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

Womp womp. Too many hittable pitches here, though his four-seamer is still earning whiffs based on some great precision here and there. I’d leave him on the wire until those secondaries are precise.

Justin Steele (CHC) @ PIT (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 74 pitches.

His first start back from the IL wasn’t sharp and neither was this one, sadly. I trust Steele to find his command again and I’d give this another shot in a repeat matchup against the Pirates.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) vs MIN (ND) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.

Oh no. Thing is, he generally located better than usual here, but the Twins jumped on some mistakes and that’s your ballgame. Whatareyougonnado.

Cole Ragans (KCR) @ LAA (L) – 6.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ugggggh. A terrible frame with a poor slider to Adell for a 3-run shot merged with some unfortunate hits for another two runs + a Careful, Icarus as he pitched too deep into the seventh (ROYALS, STOP DOING THIS TO OUR MAN). I am a little worried that he’s not reliable with his slider or cutter and became too changeup reliant at times here. That said, he’s still dope and this wasn’t a fun one. So it goes.

Cristian Javier (HOU) @ DET (L) – 1.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 50 pitches.

Look on your keyboard between J and L. That’s one more strikeout than Javier had in this game. It’s pretty obvious that Javier couldn’t figure out where his pitches were going in this return from the IL. We did see Hunter Brown come in after for some legit pitchin’ after, though – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches. It was a strike-a-polooza, which I think we’ll take from Brown after either horrific locations in the zone or demonstrably terrible outside it. I wonder how this works moving forward with both Javier and Brown, but you can keep Hunter on the wire while I hope Javier can brush this off and get back on track.


Game of the Day


Walker Buehler vs. Yu Darvish – This is old-school acedom fun.

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 Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login