Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Clarke! The Herald Angels Sing

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

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

Clarke Schmidt (NYY) @ MIN (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 103 pitches.

Let’s give some props to Clarke Schmidt tonight, who has stepped up for Yankee fans everywhere in the absence of Gerrit Coleand did his best impression today against the Twins via 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 103 pitches. It lowers his ERA to 2.49 on the year + a 27% strikeout rate (Gallows Pole tonight!), 1.11 WHIP, and five Wins on the year. That’s like an ace. Huh. It kinda is.

You’re wondering if this is real. Well, this was the most real I’ve seen Schmidt all year and with the Mariners next, you should be picking up Schmidt to see if he can keep it together while carrying a decent floor. His cutter was as good as we’ve seen, facing a LHB-heavy Twins lineup and returning 10/50 whiffs with a 36% CSW. But even better (if you can believe it) was his curve. We’re talking 50% CSW with a 30% SwStr rate across 20 thrown and the cutter/curve tandem devastated batters often. He’s becoming The One.

There are still some faults here. The sweeper was kinda meh (mostly LHB, though), his changeup failed both times he threw it, and the sinker is still middling. However, lefties were his biggest issue and Schmidt just had his first start where he took them down handily. If that sticks, he’s legit.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Cristian Javier (HOU) vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 80 pitches.

Uhhhh, Javier with the antithetical start relative to his Sunday disaster. We’re talking strikes galore with a 65% strike rate, fueled by a 42% CSW slider that was his most thrown pitch. In fact, the legendary heater came third, though we saw mostly an even distribution across the main trio. I’ll take the heavy strike version of Javier all day and that King Cole feels like a sign of the times. Please tell me you tweaked something to make this consistent, Javier. BUILD OFF OF THIS PLEASE.

Brent Suter (CIN) @ LAD (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 16 pitches.

Yeah yeah yeah, this is all about Nick Martinezwho followed this one for 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 68 pitches, snagging a shocking Win from the Dodgers as he replaced the injured Nick Lodolo’s spot in the rotation. Yes that’s the Gold Star of the night, no I’m not sure this is someone we’re picking up. This outing came with cutters, sliders, and changeups that all were spotted effectively around the edges, while his four-seamer (the weakest link) managed to find gloves when it entered the field. That’s the recipe for success that Martinez needs to follow (well, possibly more changeups, but the emphasis is on few fastballs and working secondaries) and I’m not sure we’ll see it often. The Padres are next and even being a revenge game, I’d be cautious there.

Jose Quintana (NYM) @ PHI (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 81 pitches.

Hey, that’s a Win in Quintana’s book. I certainly didn’t expect him to carve out 5+ frames of decency, let alone a 50% CSW on the curveball. That’s the good stuff. He’s still a bit off with his sinker and four-seamer and I wouldn’t roll the die a second time against the Guardians, but I’m happy for you Quintana. Treat yourself to something nice. Maybe add guac to your Chipotle order or something.

Taijuan Walker (PHI) vs NYM (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 59 pitches.

Walker left this one early after taking a comebacker to the foot. It wasn’t his best effort prior, though, and even if he’s cleared to go next time out, there’s no shot I’m chancing it against the Rangers. He’s still searching for the pitch to rely on.

Jared Jones (PIT) @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna be a little weird. Yes, we’re totally fine with a PQS paired with a decent WHIP, Win, and seven strikeouts. But get this – Jones went 0/41 four-seamer whiffs. What. Yuuuuup. He wasn’t able to elevate it as well as he usually does, sure, but it was still 97 mph and the Cubs made contact on 23-of-23-swings, mostly foul balls (16 of them for a 39% foul rate). That means…15/45 SLIDER WHIFFS BAYBEEE. And given how my theory on foul balls equates to “they take away from the majority of swing results” (that is, if it’s a high whiff rate, then it steals from whiffs. If it’s a low whiff rate, it steals from balls in play.), Jones was unlucky not to earn a Gallows Pole tonight. That’s Baseball, Suzyn. And yes, foul balls do keep me up at night.

Cooper Criswell (BOS) vs TBR (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Womp womp. I had high hopes here for Criswell and despite his changeup landing down effectively, his sinker and sweeper did not, and the Rays made him work. And now with Whitlock expected back next week (yes, I’d pick him up as a spec add), we can fare thee Criswell.

Joe Ryan (MIN) vs NYY (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna run into a super hot Yankees offense. The skills are still there (maybe too few four-seamers?) and I actually dug a lot of his sliders and splitters here, moreso than usual. Don’t do anything silly here.

Tyler Glasnow (LAD) vs CIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna get hit around a little more than usual and get struck with a classic “List Curse”. I’m so sorry I made you SP #1, WHAT HAVE I DONE. But seriously, the ratios aren’t that bad and you still got eight strikeouts. Studs give you something to salvage even when it goes poorly.

Zack Littell (TBR) @ BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 91 pitches.

Yeaaaah, Littell is fine. He’s been overperforming to start the year and it’s not a huge shock to see him struggle in a tough situation in Fenway. It’s still a poor four-seamer and the splitter isn’t always there, so Zack strings together outs with his slider all around the zone Littell by Littell. I ranked him in the “streamer” tier for 12-teamers and I heavily suggest you consider him the same. He’s matchup-dependent and droppable in 12-teamers given your circumstance and his schedule.

Justin Steele (CHC) vs PIT (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blegh. A pair of longballs ruined this one, and while Steele wasn’t as polished as we expect of him, it was still better than his last two starts of chaos. He’s fine and shaking off the rust. Buy low if you can.

Joey Estes (OAK) @ HOU (L) – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 89 pitches.

Ah yes, when everyone was grabbing Bradley over the weekend, us commoners were left with Joey, the Estevus for the rest of us. But seriously, Estes isn’t a guy to target and this start was a clear avoid against the Astros. Maybe we can squeeze something out of a start against Rockie Road up next, but that’s just for deep AL-Only leagues.


Game of the Day


Christian Scott vs. Jesús Luzardo – Who has more strikeouts in this one? Can’t wait for this.

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.

One response to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Clarke! The Herald Angels Sing”

  1. Krog3203 says:

    Please do the roundup on Waldron. I know Skenes was legit but you can’t trust a knuckleballer haha!!! Padres fan signing off!

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