Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Eduardo Leviosa

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 Twitch weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) vs NYM (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches.

Yeah, we need to talk about Eduardo Rodriguezwho I rudely placed in the third tier today (but corrected to the second tier on the Plus Pitch Podcast!) before he placed some morning egg on my face with a brilliant 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches against the Mets. Sure, Twitch chat this morning was yelling “you could start anyone against the Mets right now” but obviously Erod is on a roll and we need to talk about it.

The approach is similar to what has been in the past, but he’s refined it a touch. He’s axed the slider in favor of the cutter, which has taken a major step forward this year: Its 15% SwStr rate is double its previous mark as he’s located the pitch down more than ever, while its strike rate is nearing 70% and establishing itself early as he uses it 60% early in counts. This is the basis of Erod’s success, in my view.

Meanwhile, the four-seamer isn’t doing anything particularly new – it’s actually worse by SwStr rate (dramatically so) than his 2021 season – but its hard contact has plummeted to a sub 20% clip and it’s clearly pairing with the cutter well. The changeup is being used out of the zone plenty and carries an elite 92% loLoc (low location), which is absolutely dumb. I love it – he’s not floating them up in the slightest, essentially saying “either I get you on this pitch or you don’t punish it.”

Everything I’m outlining came to fruition in this game against the Mets. His changeup and four-seamer each earned CSW marks above 40%, while the cutter earned a cool 9/33 called strikes and churned outs. I’m impressed and as long as Eduardo stays in this rhythm, he’ll continue to produce against the Guardians, Pirates, and Royals. Hold on tight, and if someone is looking to sell high, I may take the leap.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Zach Eflin (TB) vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 80 pitches.

Yeeeeeesh, this is stupid good. I had Eflin relatively low as I imagine the Rays were going to limit him (hey, they did! 80 pitches!) and the Pirates are a little scary offensively these days. Boy was I wrong and I love being wrong like this. His sinker was incredible at 53% CSW, his curve and cutter kept batters on their toes constantly, and you have to let him fly against the Orioles, Yankees, and Brewers on the docket. Life is good with Eflin right now.

Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs MIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! That’s a Gallows Pole for Giolito as his slider was ridiculous. We’re talking 43% CSW across 35 thrown and 10 whiffs on the breaker. You love to see it. Well, not the changeup being all kinds of mediocre…and the velocity falling to 91.9 mph. But hey, if he’s commanding four-seamers and sliders this well – look at this phenomenal separation! – it doesn’t really matter, does it? It lowers the margin of error significantly. Yeah yeah yeah, I know. It’s a little scary seeing Giolito at 92 mph without his signature changeup, but this slider is legit and the command is looking great. That’s good enough for me.

Vince Velasquez (PIT) @ TB (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 54 pitches.

Sadly, Velasquez was removed from this one early with an elbow injury. Velasquez thinks it’s not a big deal and he could be totally fine – I sure hope so as he was just figuring out his path to success with 50% sliders. I hope he’s alright, but if he hits the IL, it likely means Luis Ortiz is returning to the bigs. I’m not the biggest fan as I think his fastball is too hittable despite its upper 90s heat, but he’s someone to take note of with a fantastic slider.

Pablo López (MIN) @ CWS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 101 pitches.

95.2 mph four-seamers, 36% CSW sweepers, 43% CSW curveballs, and 5/13 called strikes on sinkers. This is the good life. That said, his changeup wasn’t as premium as it’s been for PabLó and I hope that comes back next time. I thought pitching for the Twins meant he’d get more Wins. HE DESERVES BETTER.

Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs CHC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 80 pitches.

The mad man actually did it. HE DID IT. I wonder what he wished for during his Birthday PartyIf you’re wondering how, you can thank his changeup going 47% CSW while the fastballs found gloves. That’ll do it.

Brayan Bello (BOS) vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

Look at Bello surviving against the Jays! He didn’t have his four-seamer or slider working well, but the changeup and sinker inside the zone gave him a chance to get outs and it went his way in this one. I wouldn’t call it a major step forward (especially with Atlanta next) and I’m still waiting for legit excellence to jump on board.

Justin Verlander (NYM) @ DET (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

Aces gonna go the expected five frames and pitch just like he did last year with a 15% CSW slider. It’s good to have you back, now please go 90 pitches next time out.

George Kirby (SEA) @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

This is what happens when Kirby isn’t able to earn four-seamer whiffs – just 1/30 on the night with his signature pitch. It highlights the importance of dominant secondaries and while the slider was able to earn plenty of called strikes and a 47% CSW, it’s not a whiff offering. WE NEED THE WHIFFS. Kirby feels destined to be a Holly and let’s hope the strikeout rate returns enough before a demotion to Toby.

Wade Miley (MIL) @ COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hey, a PQS from Miley in Coors is pretty dang cool with me. It shows that he’s still carrying the skills that turns a start like this into solid ratios when not in silly elevation. Sadly, he has a horrid schedule ahead, so we leave him on the wire for another two weeks or so. Sidenote: It’s guys like Miley when I talk about “there’s always something new on the wire next week.” He’s not a target now, but his time will come. Everyone has their time and you have to believe in the wire. The Wire provides. The Wire is my friend. The Wire is always there for me. The Wire is a show I need to go back and watch again.

Dylan Dodd (ATL) @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

That’s a VVVPQS for Dodd in his return to the majors and I guess let’s be happy he earned his first Win in the majors…? What sold me in the pre-season was Dodd’s ability to land his slider inside to RHB and pair it with well-located heaters and changeups. While he did have some solid sliders in the mix, his four-seamer command needs work (great control, though) and there’s no way I’m jumping on this after returning just one strikeout against the Marlins. HAISTBMBWT?!

Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs ATL (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 106 pitches.

Blegh. Not fun to see Luzardo enduring Atlanta and he served a Philly that almost became a VVPQS. I really loved his four-seamer locations here at 96/97 mph, but the breaker and changeup weren’t as good as we’ve seen in the past. He’s still really good y’all, I know it’s hard to hear that after some of his recent stumbles, but when I tell you he’s going to hold his 25%+ strikeout rate with a generally low walk rate, I think you can grasp that he isn’t destined to carry a WHIP above 1.30.

Connor Seabold (COL) vs MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 75 pitches.

C. What are you doing? I’m sorry, I figured this is what Rockies fans did for each strikeout he earns during games. Well that’s a pretty easy job. It is, Connor, “HAISTBMBWT?”!

Jameson Taillon (CHC) @ WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 42 pitches.

This was a Still ILL for Taillon as we anticipated the Cubs playing it safe and that they did with just 42 pitches. I kinda dug his schtick in this one, separating his cutter and curveball from his heater well. Encouraging signs for when he’s fully stretched on in…two? Three starts? No need to hold, of course.

Griffin Canning (LAA) @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blegh. At least he scored a Win, but everything else is rough as Canning floated some changeups, and turning to his four-seamer 41% of the time led to a few too many hits off the pitch. There’s a good run waiting for Griffin in the future, but now as the schedule gets tough, it’s best to avoid.

Drew Rucinski (OAK) vs SEA (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 77 pitches.

Maybe at some point he turns into the Tobybut like Urlich, he’s so far away from the reality he wants. Yes, I’m watching Dark and it’s AWESOME.

Jordan Lyles (KC) vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 102 pitches.

It’s time we put JL on the JLD. The JL? You know…Just, like, don’t. Got it.

Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) @ KC (ND) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Fast and I talked on our On The Corner podcast about our worries surrounding the other Rodriguez despite his nine-strikeout game against the Tigers. Those fears came to light here, as he chucked everything down the pipe. Seriously, everythingWe haven’t seen a start yet where Grayson has wielded his arsenal properly and it may be time to lose our patience properly with the Rays + Angels + Jays up next. It feels weird to give him the TIARAbut that is the case here – once Grayson grasps the feel he once had in the minors, he’ll dominate in the majors. He may need a trip back to Triple-A first, though. It’s a sad day y’all.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) @ BOS (L) – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna…NO COME ON. The heater was back down to 92/93 (it went as low as 88 mph, but then climbed back up) and the Red Sox were able to pounce for 10 hits as all we can do is throw up our hands in frustration. What’s wrong with Gausman?! Getting Singled Out is part of it, though he didn’t locate his fastball as well as it could be. Still, he doesn’t deserve this and it’s one of those days. Again. Whatareyagonnado.

Jack Flaherty (STL) vs LAA (L) – 2.1 IP, 10 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

Yiiiiikes. The fastball fell back down to 92 mph and this was roooough watching him struggle to find strikes and outs. The Cubs + Brewers are up next and I’m not going to rule out a bounce back in either start, but Flaherty has cemented himself as a Cherry Bomb with this one. I generally hate to roster those.

Game of the Day 

Chris Sale vs. Zack Wheeler – So many excellent duels set for tomorrow, but I’ll be focused here as I want both of these arms to be their best selves.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch 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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