Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Cease (mis)Fire

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

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

Dylan Cease (CWS) @ KC (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.

It’s the curveball and fastball. Oh, I’m sorry, please forgive me, we’re talking about Dylan Cease after his sixth straight start of six strikeouts or fewer and a blowup 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches start against the Royals. THE ROYALS. His ERA is hovering 5.00 now with a horrific 1.50 WHIP and you have to wonder what the h*ck is going on.

But I already told you. It’s the curveball and fastball. In short, these pitches have always been the issue for Cease as his slider has been a fantastic pitch through the years (10/38 whiffs with a 68% strike rate here), but it’s been tough to rely on his four-seamer and curve to get the job done. In his previous starts, these pitches have been okay, while the slider has actually failed him a fair amount – Cease’s slider has dropped six points in CSW and to a ridiculous sub 60% strike rate before today. However, this was classic Cease failure, not the new stuff. The ole “my slider will be well located but the heater will still get hit and the curve can’t be trusted.”

Now, this was the most Singled Out of the bunch and dare I say encouraging simply because that slider was far better and the fastball locations weren’t so bad. That said, Cease held a 24% strikeout rate in the final three months of last season and outside of his explosive opening day start, he’s matched that mark. It may be time to recognize that Cease is a new man. What, he prefers to be called Dy-Lawn? No, he’s a Cherry Bomb who may not hint at a 30% strikeout rate again, yeesh.


Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:


Mitch Keller (PIT) vs COL (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 103 pitches.

Y’all have been talking about “The List Curse” with Mason Miller getting examined with a forearm injury (here’s my eulogy ICYMI) and here’s Keller, going the distance like Hercules, after I made him the featured pitcher today. The man took a look at Rockie Road and threw strike after strike with four-seamers, cutters, curveballs, sinkers, it didn’t matter, they couldn’t make hard contact. Well, actually they made a decent amount more than usual (25% hard contact) BUT STILL, it’s exciting stuff. And yet…please don’t do it Nick. I dunno, is it possible to sell high on Mitch? I’ve expressed my concerns for ages and just watching him chuck stuff over the plate without the same precision or filthiness as his contemporaries is always gonna perturb me a touch, but I imagine there’s a general haze of disbelief about Mitch that would prevent you from selling high after a game like this anyway. So we hold. Each other. And hope.

Jake Irvin (WSH) @ SF (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

I really underestimated this possible stream and yet, I’m still not impressed. Quick, what does Irvin do that is in any way exceptional? The answer is earning strikes with his curveball at a 63% rate and 30% called strike rate, but even that is above-average and not fantastic. He throws a lot of strikes? Not even, it was a 58% strike rate that led to those three walks. I’m out of ideas. SO AM I. The Mets are next and let’s put this on the backburner.

Tony Gonsolin (LAD) @ MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ayyyyyy IT’S ALL COME BACK TO HIM. Everything saw a 1.5 tick boost in velocity from splitter to slider to four-seamer and curve, the slider returned a 56% CSW, and the splitter went…58% strikes. But the velocity! That’s a great thing and that breaker being a legit pitch again! Maybe he’ll reverse the splitter and slider usage next time and make me more convinced than a Blame it on the Brewers. Super encouraging with that velocity back, is it enough to endure the Padres next? Ehhhhh, that’s a third tier play without that splitter.

Shane McClanahan (TB) @ BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 102 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He didn’t have his best slider or changeup here, but powered through it for six shutout frames. What. A. STUD.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He’s comfortably inside the Top 10 now and he’s supposed to take down teams like Marlins…even when his cutter goes 8% CSW and he only tosses six changeups (100% strike rate!). Kinda wild he still earned 56% strikes on curveballs, too, as that pitch was bounced so dang much. All hail the 41% CSW four-seamer!

Jon Gray (TEX) @ SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 89 pitches.

HOT DANG LOOK AT YOU. That’s a Golden Goal for Gray as I’ve checked out on him this year. And here he goes, being a completely different pitcher in a blink of an eye. He’s been a 94/95 mph four-seamer guy at near 50% usage all year with an 83/84 mph slider. Tonight? 95/96 mph heaters at 31% usage while his slider was chucked 40% of the time at 87/88 mph. That breaker was stupid good at 10 whiffs and 50% CSW, the heater got a ton of effective strikes, and even the changeup was killing it at 38% CSW. Hot. DANG. It’s really hard to suddenly believe Gray has figured it out, but then again, he may have figured it out. And it’s Oakland + Rockie Road next! THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I feel terrible that I was so out on him, but for everything to come together in a blink of an eye like this…who could have predicted it?

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

He’s two games away from his AGA label – KCR & @TBR – and the heater cooked like we know it should. Tough to watch 53% strikes on his curveball, though. Pick that hook up, Peralta. Anyway, be happy with him (especially with his health intact) and let’s get him that label soon.

Miles Mikolas (STL) @ CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

You really shouldn’t be starting Mikolas. The Cardinals are in shambles without Molina behind the dish and Mikolas simply doesn’t have a whole lot to offer on the bump. There has to be a better Toby out there or at least use the spot to stream instead.

Kyle Freeland (COL) @ PIT (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 100 pitches.


Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs TEX (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Here I am, spouting off about how I don’t believe Gilbert is a man who can carry you in strikeouts and BOOM! Ten strikeouts arrive at your door. Sadly, it’s all fastballs doing the heavy lifting as the curve and slider had good CSW marks, but weren’t filthy breakers. Just fellas who were able to find the zone often, like two dudes at the pub getting settled after a hard day’s work. It makes this seem like a peak than a plateau, but it’s not like you were benching Gilbert anyway, right? So let’s hope I’m wrong and he’s unlocked something legit here.

Marcus Stroman (CHC) vs STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

Stroman has been cruising this year and now has a 2.28 ERA for the season. Sure the BABIP and LOB rate and whatever will get a little worse as the season goes on, but in a year where seemingly everyone has flopped in some fashion, watching Stroman get his work done every five days has been a joy.

Kyle Gibson (BAL) vs TB (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ayyyy, you did well against the Rays! And no one started you because they couldn’t risk it! Yay! Everything was a tick up (two for the changeup, sweeper, and cutter) and it may speak to a more consistent Gibson in the future. Kinda doubt it, but it’s not the worst play hosting the Pirates next time out.

Joey Wentz (DET) @ CLE (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Wentz served you a Philly with a Win and nothing hurting you. What a pleasant day this is. His heater jumped up once again to 94/95 mph with a solid cutter and it’s fine. Not something for me to target save for the deepest of leagues, sadly.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.

Nestor openly said he didn’t feel like he had his best fastball in this one, and yet, he still survived. That’s what good pitchers do. Sadly, the Rays and Jays are up next and it’s gonna be a tough run of it. I’m likely still starting Cortes but boy oh boy does he need to get that pitch back.

Zack Greinke (KC) vs CWS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 81 pitches.

At least he tossed more than 45 pitches this time. You know what, I wish he didn’t – I’d settle for a cool five frames instead of whatever this is. Seriously, the only benefit you got was two strikeouts. What a ridiculous man you are.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs HOU (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

The Astros are a tough card to be dealt and I can’t say I expected a whole lot different. Do you hold for the Orioles? I’m not entirely sure – his slider nor changeup are returning a 30%+ CSW this year and without those acting elite, it’s hard to buy in. This doesn’t seem like the year of the Irish Panda. More like the Canadian Hare. Who would that be? Why, Sonny Grayyy of course.

Braxton Garrett (MIA) @ ARI (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

The slider went 8/24 whiffs and the cutter returned 37% CSW, and yet this still failed. Huh. I imagine hosting the Reds + @SFG will go better than this.

Hunter Brown (HOU) @ LAA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.

Blegh. Once again, Brown had to focus on the four-seamer as the breakers let him down. We’re talking 0/48 whiffs down. That’s not down, that’s Downtown on a brown clown with a gown frown. What’s a gown frown you ask? It’s a frown so hard that it drags on the floor. Brown is better than this. We know he is. It’s two rough starts, but fortunately the schedule opens up for him now with @CHW + OAK + @OAK. He’s so very worth that three-game stretch at the very least.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs DET (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

Uggggggh. He got Singled Out but also wasn’t able to lean as heavily on his secondaries as he did in his first two, forcing him to hurl 48% four-seamers, which he still doesn’t have the best command of. AGAINST THE TIGERS. I’ve said that Bibee may be my favorite prospect this year because of those secondaries + the ability he unlocks once those four-seamers are located up (Stay Verty), but we saw the other side here and it ain’t pretty, especially when things aren’t going your way. Don’t do anything rash here – it was obviously an unfortunate day – but keep an eye on it.

Anthony DeSclafani (SF) vs WSH (L) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Bleeeeegh. Just when I come back around on you, this is how you repay me?! The man got Singled Out as he didn’t allow a single longball, but at the same time, just five whiffs from Tony Disco is far from what he should be doing. Maybe he should stop throwing everything down the middle? There’s yer problem. I think this was an off night and not an indictment of regression.

JP Sears (OAK) @ NYY (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.

Womp womp. This was actually pretty solid for those 5.1 innings, until a HR, a single, and another HR ruined his night. Careful, IcarusI really love his fastball/slider approach these days and I see better times ahead…when he doesn’t get the Rangers and Astros. Let’s wait until June, okay?

Game of the Day 

Jesús Luzardo vs. Brandon Pfaadt – I know, Luis Ortiz is returning to the bigs, but this start looks like too much fun. Here’s to a fantastic pitching duel.

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.

2 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Cease (mis)Fire”

  1. kuff6 says:

    Is Cardinals’ problem really a matter of no more Molina? Or is it that they put together a staff predicated on pitching to contact and letting their excellent defense vacuum things up, but now the defense is hamstrung by no-shift rule and therefore not as efficient at turning all those batted balls into outs?

  2. Jaybird says:

    lol great artwork and titles as always this year. love it

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