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 Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.
Robbie Ray (SEA) @ BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.
There are times I sit up straight in my bed in the middle of the night, reacting to the wails of fantasy managers irate about a pitcher on their team. It’s an aura of despair and fury that most of the time I fully understand and share in a multitude of ways. However, last night’s midnight interruption isn’t a time for anger. Nay, Robbie Ray’s “poor” performance against the Red Sox – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches – is a time of celebration, not rage.
You see, Ray has become the best buy low I’ve seen in ages. Those four earned runs? A product of a grand slam hit off the blazing Trevor Story on a 1-2 pitch with two outs. This wasn’t a laborious Ray, this was a product of an unfortunate inning where he was one pitch away from six shutout frames. The slider didn’t get far enough out of the zone and it was hit into the hands of Jonny Gomes. I’m not kidding.
Meanwhile, his stuff was just as good as the last time we saw him. Fastballs for strikes at 94 mph, sliders at a 29% SwStr rate and I look at this thinking “oh dang, Robbie Ray is legit once again.” This is the fun point of the season where you can actually take advantage of a buy low situation. It’s a season-long 4.77 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, if you don’t roster Ray, I’d try to get in there and sell him on Logan Gilbert or Drew Rasmussen or whoever they have adoration in your rotation (okay, okay, those are likely not going to work, but you get the idea — guys who have much better ratios on paper) and phrase it as “taking a gamble”. See what happens.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Martín Pérez (TEX) @ HOU (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 108 pitches.
MARTÍN PÉREZ. Hi, I’d like to report the most ridiculous Vargas Rule I’ve seen all year. Okay, please hold for just a moment. THERE’S NO TIME. I don’t know how long this will last, but his command is so dang legit right now. It’s really nuts, look at these changeup locations — that’s across THIRTY-SIX thrown. You can count on one hand how many missed locations across all of them. It’s the true essence of the Vargas Rule and you have no choice but to roll with it, especially with the Athletics next. It’ll fade at some point, but we’ll deal with that later.
Eric Lauer (MIL) vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches.
His heater was down to 93 mph in this one, but still managed to return a 19% SwStr rate, while his curveball was called-strike city. His cutter took a backseat, oddly enough, and it may be something we see more of if Lauer thrived without it here. Something to monitor as we keep starting him without fear.
Aaron Civale (CLE) vs DET (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.
Civale went 67% cutters and curveballs and looked as good as I’ve seen him all year…before he left with a glute cramp. Sadly, he gets the Astros next and I’d bench there, but keep an eye on Civale — this could be something and the Royals after Houston may be a start to circle.
Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 78 pitches.
A prime Toby at home against the Reds? SIGN ME UP. A prime Toby against the strong Angels? SIGN ME FLAT-FOOTED.
Julio Urías (LAD) @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.
Is the fastball back? Nah, it’s down to 91.4 mph. What about curveball whiffs? Nope, just 2/26. His changeup? It gets outs. So he’s bad? Nope, he’s an SP #3 as he’ll continue to induce weak contact for a winning team, while flirting with a 25% strikeout rate. Accept the new Urías and be happy.
Tarik Skubal (DET) @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 66 pitches.
Tarik was looking mighty fine here before taking a comebacker to the leg. Skubal feels like he can make his next start but will get more testing today to make sure everything is fine. He was cruising here with an extra two ticks on his slider and full tick on his sinker, while spotting fastballs all around the zone. If he’s starting normally, he has a true test ahead with the Twins x2 and I’m curious how we’ll feel at the end of it.
Jalen Beeks (TB) @ BAL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 19 pitches.
Beeks opened for Ryan Yarbrough, who went four frames of 1 ER ball and four strikeouts. After all, he is the Friday Pirate. Let’s move on.
Adam Wainwright (STL) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.
Name a better duo than Wainwright against the Pirates. I’ll wait. Brewers are next and you should obviously start him there. Annoying to see just 4/25 called strikes on his sinker, though — that was the impetus in my view for his phenomenal 2021 campaign.
Cristian Javier (HOU) vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.
Sorry Javier, you need to be better to deal with the man, the myth, the LEGEND that is Martín Pérez. Annnnyway, that’s a Golden Goal and everything you wanted out of Javier as he redeemed himself from his 7 ER disaster against the Nationals. I’d want a few more strikes from his breakers moving forward (56% strikes here) but that’s fine when his four-seamer returns a 36% CSW and 11 whiffs. You should feel fine starting him against the Guardians next after this redemption.
Devin Smeltzer (MIN) @ KC (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.
Smeltzer got another start and managed to go 1 ER in 16 outs despite zero strikeouts. HAISTBMBWT?! Y’all know you don’t want to make this Grave Mistake.
Zach Thompson (PIT) vs STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.
Ayyyy not so bad Thompson! Your curveball has disappeared, though, so I ain’t jumping back in at all. Frozen Banana for sale!
Luis Castillo (CIN) @ TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 94 pitches.
I was wrestling with this one —would the Castillo be able to shake off enough rust by his third start to endure the Jays’ bats? The answer…yes and no? This wasn’t prime Castillo with 4/32 whiffs on changeups (though some were pretty!) and a low 20% overall CSW for the night, but at least his heater is back to 96/97 mph and his slider went 65% strikes. There’s a good chance he takes another step forward against the Cubs.
Erick Fedde (WSH) @ MIL (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.
Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes. But Nick! He did well! I SAID DON’T TRUST THE FEDDES. Okay okkkkaayyy.
Paul Blackburn (OAK) @ LAA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.
Blackburn is a Toby and struggled against the Angels because it’s the Angels. I wouldn’t say this Vargas Rule is over now, but it may be tough to keep the faith with Seattle + Houston next. Feel free to explore others if you haven’t yet.
Michael Wacha (BOS) vs SEA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 75 pitches.
Wacha returned from the IL and was alright. His changeup was solid, but the heater was down to 93 mph and I’d wait out until we see a start that looks truly good…and then wait another one or two after that. So…never? Yeah, probably.
Charlie Morton (ATL) @ MIA (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.
Blegh. The curveball was great, the fastball…not so much. It’s not something to think his redemption tour has been canceled, just a hitch. The Phils + Sneks are next and I’d keep rolling.
Humberto Castellanos (ARI) @ CHC (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 82 pitches.
Honestly, with the way the wind was flying out of the stadium, this is pretty dang good for Castellanos. Maybe he’s a deep streaming in NL-Only leagues when he doesn’t start against, I don’t know, the Dodgers like he does next week.
Tyler Wells (BAL) vs TB (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.
Honestly, not bad from Wells, but he’s not at the point where we’re looking to him for streams. Can a Wells dry up if there was no water there to begin with?
Chase Silseth (LAA) vs OAK (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.
Nooooooo. Silseth’s splitter wasn’t as good as last time, but honestly, I was kinda impressed here. His slider was way better this time — 12/22 CSW! — and his heater earned a lot of called strikes at 96 mph for the start (it wasn’t just MLB debut adrenaline!). If he can be a little more consistent with the splitty and with tossing this slider, he can absolutely make it work. Sadly, it’s the Jays next so you’re not holding for it, but don’t forget about Silseth.
Ranger Suárez (PHI) vs LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
Suárez is a Toby who faced the Dodgers and didn’t ha—wait. His changeup went 7/19 whiffs! FINALLY. Huh, I wonder if this will jump-start a wonderful run for Ranger given he hasn’t had the slowball all year. Nick, he gets Atlanta + San Francisco next. Oh. Well ain’t that a shame.
Jakob Junis (SF) vs SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 76 pitches.
Yeah, this wasn’t great. His slider wasn’t nearly the elite pitch we saw across his first three starts, while the changeup was once again non-existent. I’d move on with the Mets up next.
Sean Manaea (SD) @ SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.
Blegh. It didn’t go his way against the Giants, but it was one HR away from a PQS with a solid WHIP. Nothing to see here, keep starting Manaea.
Daniel Lynch (KC) vs MIN (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.
Womp womp. The tools are still there, maybe this Frozen Banana will thaw this summer.
Trevor Rogers (MIA) vs ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.
Ugggggh. Atlanta is better against southpaws than right-handers, FWIW, but he’s still not there with his changeup and slider. You know this drill. I’m not going to sit here and say he’s going to be great tomorrow or the day after. Do I believe that Rogers becomes a legit starter at some point this year? Absolutely. Up to you if you want to wait and spin that wheel or swap him out for something else. Personally, I’m spinning the wheel.
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.
Hendricks is a Cherry Bomb regardless of opponent these days…though I will mention the Chicago winds were ridiculous yesterday. Don’t judge him too harshly for this one, but he was already understood as volatile, for what it’s worth.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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(Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)