Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Iron Hayden

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.

Hayden Wesneski (CHC) vs MIL (ND) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hot dang, Hayden Wesneski had himself a day. We’re talking 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches against the Brewers and suddenly our memories of the 2023 pre-season are flooding back. He should be the #5 starter. His breaking ball is so good. JUST GIVE HIM A CHANCE. Well here he is with the opportunity we demanded, taking full advantage of it, and…I’m tepid. Whoops.

Wesneski has a dope sweeper. There are times it crushes like this game against the Brewers, there are times when it doesn’t find the zone enough or refuses to get chases. Left-handers are a bit of a struggle as well, and when digging into his pocket for alternatives, he doesn’t have much. This game featured a four-seamer that the Brewers smacked for a few hits and honestly should have smacked for a few more as well. There’s a cutter in there, too, which has helped in the past but was thrown under ten times here and shouldn’t be expected to save Wesneski in the future.

I’ve made it clear that I don’t chase pitchers who are rooted in a single breaking ball. They will be able to dominate occasionally when the pitch is cooking, but the volatility makes it difficult to predict when forcing us to put our fate in the hands of the great arbiters of baseball. And with Wesneski likely out of the rotation now with Justin Steele returning, remember this when the inevitable opportunity returns – Wesneski isn’t your league winner.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Cal Quantrill (COL) @ PIT (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

COL stor–Wait what. A King Cole?! Oh Cal, you UnQuantrillfiable man. Nine strikeouts on nine whiffs showcases all the ridiculousness of his sinker and its 15/39 called strikes. I wonder if he wishes he was never traded to the Rockies, looking like his best self outside of the elevated nightmare reminscent of a lineup full of Jon Dowd. No, this changes nothing. Yes his splitter and curve earned some whiffs, yes he had good sinker command, no he is not trustworthy. Duh.

Sonny Gray (STL) vs CHW (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

Yes, I’m aware that Sonny has put up ace-like numbers thus far. No, I can’t grant him AGA status quite yet with his cushy schedule as of late. Pretty dang awesome to see him return just 3 ER across his first five starts, though.

JP Sears (OAK) vs MIA (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

He’s throwing more strikes these days – that’s a good thing – but it’s General Disarray instead of a clear approach that would make me amped to start him moving forward. We’re still in Cherry Bomb land here. I’d avoid him vs. the Rangers…unless you’re a chaotic individual who’s only looking for upside. We’ve all been there.

Cole Irvin (BAL) @ CIN (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 72 pitches.

The mad man came through again. Was it the cutter? Or improved fastball velocity? Uhhh, the cutter was thrown just three times and his fastball was down to about 91 mph. This was all about Irvin’s curveball, which was used a whopping 51% of the time for 32% CSW. Whoever wants to spit out metrics about Irvin and how it was clear he was going to succeed in this environment and on this day is deceiving y’all. This was a brand new Irvin who made this work out of the blue and honestly, this could work. That curve found the zone a ton, changeups sat low, four-seamers sat high, and I dig it. Now that Grayson Rodriguez is on the IL, Irvin has more life in the rotation and if you want to spec add for the Sneks, go right ahead. That’ll be a Questionable Start – this was an anomaly of a start we can’t bank on yet – and I doubt you’d be able to grab him after it if we see this approach stick another start. Either now or never, right?

José Soriano (LAA) @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

67% strikes with his sinker + 9/35 whiffs on the curveball. Remember, Soriano’s floor is lower than Jordan Hicks‘, but his curve is more reliable than Hicks’ sweeper or splitter. With the Pirates + Cardinals next, we’re definitely holding and continuing to spin the wheel.

Chris Paddack (MIN) vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.

Ayyyy another solid start from Paddack! His slider came alive as his true primary secondary pitch, landing along the gloveside edge constantly at 35% usage. Just 1/26 whiffs on changeups and curves looks blegh, but they returned plenty of outs and this fuller arsenal is the best version of Paddack you could hope for. It could be here again for the Mariners for those in QS leagues.

Hunter Greene (CIN) vs BAL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 109 pitches.

His command has gotten better this year with his four-seamer and I’ll take the higher walk rate rooted in four-seamers up and out of the zone over heaters lower that get blasted over the fence. He’s a HIPSTER who is starting to earn our trust…I hope. For more on Greene, definitely listen to this past week’s podcast episode of The Craft with me an Eno Sarris. Fun stuff there.

Reese Olson (DET) @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Great job Olson. Sliders and changeups stayed low and got outs and the four-seamer + sinker did enough to survive. Keep rolling with him against the Guardians.

Dylan Cease (SDP) @ ARI (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 102 pitches.

That’s a Gallows Pole for Cease with fantastic BSB action gloveside against the Diamondbacks and it’s so lovely watching him pitch when he’s on. He’s still experimenting with his other offerings and nothing to report there. For now.

Brady Singer (KCR) vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.

It was prime Singer time with 14 sinker called strikes and 11 slider whiffs. What about the four-seamer? You mean the 5/12 strike pitch? Oh. Yeah, this is Singer, Mr. Cherry Bomb who is opponent agnostic. You do you.

Michael Lorenzen (TEX) @ KCR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

That’s some good Lorenzening with fastballs, changeups, sliders all around the zone and a shrug on release. The Royals found a ton of gloves, Lorenzen pitched around some batters, and that’s your ball game of six frames. He’s a Toby at best with a decent Win chance and I don’t like trusting him. Five whiffs on 86 pitches is a tough way to live.

George Kirby (SEA) @ HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Just 4/30 four-seamer whiffs this time around and a whole lot of hittable pitches that didn’t burn him, fortunately. I don’t think we can expect that heater to be that strikeout force in future outings, putting the pressure on his secondaries to discover a path to whiffs. Please get there, Kirby.

Gavin Stone (LAD) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

This is lovely from Stone against the mighty Atlanta offense. His changeup was as good as ever at 9/30 whiffs and a 40% CSW and he was able to navigate at-bats with sliders, curves, well-spotted sinkers and…”here you go” four-seamers. With Miami on the horizon, I’m all for grabbing Stone and rolling with him there, if only for the solid Win chance.

Joe Ross (MIL) @ CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Another solid outing from Ross, who destroyed with his slider for 8/33 whiffs and was as precise as you could hope with the offering. With more LHB, Ross turned to more four-seamers than sinkers and the pitch returned an .800 BABIP…it’s the biggest hole in his approach and fortunately, it didn’t burn him here. I’m not quite ready to tell you to pick him up, but he should be considered in NL-Only formats given his ability to earn whiffs on the slider and a 6+ IP leash.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ WSN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 100 pitches.

Atta boy Kikuchi. His slider woke up for 60% strikes and 6/25 whiffs as the curve dominated in the zone for 40% CSW. Sadly, the gains he made with his four-seamer upstairs disappeared (2/32 whiffs), but it’s pretty remarkable how Kikuchi has returned to his second-half self once he reverted to the same approach. Hold tight.

Marcus Stroman (NYY) vs DET (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Stroman did what he could without any secondary pitch working for him. When you’re a sinkerballer, you can wiggle out of weirdness like this. That is two straight without a proper secondary helping him, but I think I’m still going for it against the Astros. Questionable for those who are trying to preserve your WHIP and don’t need the strikeouts. Go for it if you need the Win chance.

Charlie Morton (ATL) @ LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

Phew. Curveball was working well down, fastballs lived upstairs effectively, and he was able to survive against the Dodgers. I still wouldn’t trust it, sadly.

Aaron Nola (PHI) vs SFG (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna be all kinds of weird. The curve was all over the place and didn’t get the reliable strikes, changeup was meh, fastballs weren’t so good…yeah. A start against the Marlins should be better.

Jordan Hicks (SFG) @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blegh. The splitter was far worse and the sinker didn’t do enough. I’m not scared of Coors that much and think I’m still starting him there. It’s a process.

Ronel Blanco (HOU) vs SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

Is it weird that I’m disappointed by a Bailey Special from Blanco? We’ve become so spoiled. His change and slider were plenty worse than usual as everything hung up and didn’t land low per usual, and that should be more of the exception moving forward.

Ryan Weathers (MIA) @ OAK (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

PQS is fine and dandy, but when it’s against the Athletics and we’re looking for major reasons to latch onto Weathers, it’s a bit disappointing. THAT SAID, he had a 53% CSW on the sweeper + 9/29 whiffs on the changeup, with the latter coming with elite precision down-and-armside. Throw in 16 foul balls on his four-seamer that prevented him for putting away batters and it makes me still a little intrigued…but fine. The Dodgers are next. Talk later.

Patrick Corbin (WSN) vs TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

PQS from Corbin is a glorious day, thanks to 12/40 called strikes on the sinker. 82% cutter strikes is cool too, and I won’t kill the bit. THROW MORE THAN ELEVEN CUTTERS.

Martín Pérez (PIT) vs COL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

Hmmmmm. This isn’t nearly the start you wanted for Pérez given his Vargas Rule and elite command to kick off the season. Welp, it’s not enough to pull us away from his next outing against the Angels, so we keep going.

Brad Keller (CHW) @ STL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 102 pitches.

Oh snap, it’s Keller! And he’s still ultra slider at 45% usage! And we should still ignore him! Wait, why?! 31% CSW and a strikeout per inning! He didn’t finish the fifth with 102 pitches, has just two pitches, and his 93 mph fastball is more like a dipping cutter than he tries to do the “Cannibal McSanchez” with and is too unreliable. Oh. Well okay then.

Tanner Houck (BOS) @ MIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

Blegh. His sinker was massively armside, but maybe a bit too much at times, the slider went just 1/37 whiffs as it cluttered the zone instead of acting as a temptation pitch on the gloveside edge, and his splitter barely sat above 50% strikes with just 3/30 whiffs. And he was close to being productive for six frames. Yep. I do worry that his locations aren’t ideal and caps his ceiling for the year, but we’re obviously not worried about stable production.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 91 pitches.

Bleeeeeegh. His heater was absurdly precise in the upper third, but the secondaries didn’t do their part, rarely landing low in the zone. It meant batters looked mostly middle-middle with a tendency for high and laced hit after hit. Remember, that fastball is not meant to be elevated with its massive steep angle and only works if he’s pulling off the BSBEither Bibee has to get better slider & changeup command or pull off the Gallen approach of low fastballs for called strikes. We should expect the mentality of the former, and let’s hope he pulls it off.

Slade Cecconi (ARI) vs SDP (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Yeaaaaah. Let’s not go after Cecconi, y’all. 11/68 four-seamer whiffs isn’t terrible with high heaters that have elite horizontal break, but that doesn’t speak super reliability to me, especially with the mediocre secondaries.

Aaron Civale (TBR) vs NYM (ND) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 77 pitches.

Yiiiiikes. That’s three straight duds from Civale and it’s totally justifiable to run away. That said, it’s the Cry Sox next and honestly, a 35% CSW and some excellent pitches around the edges suggests that he’ll regress back to normal. I’m still holding. We’ll get through it together.

Jose Quintana (NYM) @ TBR (L) – 2.2 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 65 pitches.

Oh no. Every hittable pitch out of Quintana’s hand turned into a base knock, even some that were well out of the zone. This was some absurd Singled Out shenangins mixed with some deserved destruction (as always, some) and it’s rough that it happened to be on a day where Quintana was the clear streamer. Womp womp. Thing is, the Cardinals are next and I don’t think Quintana pitched so poorly that he’s “off the list.” That’s still a Questionable Start.


Game of the Day


Logan Gilbert vs. Framber Valdez This was the game of the week for me and Sporer on our weekly episode of the Fireside Chat podcast and I’m so curious how it pans out.

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.

4 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Iron Hayden”

  1. Brody Singer says:

    When will you admit defeat with Brady Singer? We get your personal biases against him, but all he does is perform, week in and week out. He has had one bad game.

    • Jeremy Pink says:

      I agree. Singer is a post-hype guy that still gets knocked for, what, not being peak Aaron Nola fast enough? He’s increased his IP in every season in the bigs, and he might set a career high this year. He’s shown flashes of dominance in the last few years, and he’s sporting a career-high K rate. He’s attempting to craft new pitches, do better, and stay in the game, and the Royals have stuck with him. In an era of pitchers blowing out their arms, give me the worker trying to grow (and those IPs).

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yo! Just took a larger dive on Singer and two things popped out: More damage this year on the slider, but less on the sinker. More arm-side locations with sinkers + a *much* higher putaway rate on the pitch that is likely unsustainable.

      I’ll be the first to admit if I have a bias, after all, I want to rid those as much as possible! I have no reason not to change my tune if I feel I’m wrong and have done so plenty.

      Let me know how I’m assessing Singer incorrectly that isn’t simply the ERA/WHIP results. What I’m seeing right now are the same skills we’ve seen across the previous three seasons, *maybe* with a small tweak on sinker approach that actually is a proper change. If the latter is true, I’ll be changing my tune with a larger sample of success!

  2. Max says:

    LOL your hate for Cease is so pure. He’s having a fantastic season.

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