Stan, He’s Lee

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 Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Jonathan Heasley (KC) vs BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

There are times when I see a pitcher flash something great for one start and I can’t do much about it given the chance of it being a DennisNo one wants to be met with a floor of spikes thinking they’re stepping into some lovely hardwood floor suburban home. Jonathan Heasley was one such man after sitting 95 mph in his last start and looking toward a date with the Orioles. Well, it worked out in a major way via 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches and you have to wonder how real this is.

First of all, Heasley didn’t carry the same velocity as his last start. In fact, this one was lower than his season average at 93.8 mph. He didn’t have pristine command of it, and while many of his outs came on the pitch, I wouldn’t say this is something new and exciting. It was kinda normal for him.

The changeup has been his primary secondary pitch all year and it was better than usual, but again, nothing spectacular. The curveball found the zone enough and the slider existed. So wait. I shouldn’t pick up Heasley everywhere? Nope, I wouldn’t. Sorry for the deke with the headline (it was too fun of a pun), but he gets the Giants next and considering his velocity came back down to Earth without anything else standing out here, I’m cool calling this a fun day at the park and moving on. Maybe we take interest again in the future, but now is not that time.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Paul Blackburn (OAK) @ CLE (ND) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 101 pitches.

That’s a Toby taking advantage of a good matchup proper. Y’all know you can’t trust a man earning just three punchouts via three whiffs across eight frames and with the Red Sox next, I’d even consider benching him there. I know you want me to say nicer things, but he’s like a younger (but I guess still old?) Rich Hill who doesn’t get strikeouts with his curve and heater. That’s not a comp you want.

Joe Musgrove (SD) vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 109 pitches.

Aces gonna ace as Musgrove earned a King ColeIt makes you wonder, does Musgrove belong in the top tier with Sandy and Shane’s graduation on Monday? This was Rockie Road

Spencer Strider (ATL) vs PIT (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

We waited 15 days for this start. FIFTEEN. DAYS. We sat through the limited pitch count outing and the time at Coors just to roster you against the Pirates. And it was worth it. That’s a co-share of the Gallows Pole (shared with his opposing starter, Contreras!) as his heater was rarely erratic and POUNDED the zone. It overwhelmed as the slider earned a 47% CSW in its own right and it’s everything we dreamed of. Now he gets the Nationals and our eyes are already bulging in anticipation. I hope he’s so good it makes the following outing against the Giants a bit easier to trust.

Andre Pallante (STL) vs CIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 78 pitches.

Huh. Pallante kinda reminds me of Kyle Bradish as he throws ~96 mph four-seamers with cut action, with a delivery that gives me a touch of Zac Gallen vibes. Weird. He escaped the first inning despite a single and walking the bases loaded — it could have been a disaster from the start — but then he settled down and was kinda great. It’s a solid slider, a curveball he was able to flip into the zone well, and that fastball I’m not sure if I love or not. The cut action made it a bit easier to hit than a typical four-seamer (3/39 whiffs), but it does come in at 96 mph…Huh. If he were to find himself starting against the Pirates on Wednesday, I’d go for it and put him in the questionable start tier. I’m not sure what he’d have to do to be much more exciting, though. The stuff across the board resulted in what I feel is his ceiling, sadly. The heater isn’t that kind of pitch.

Wade Miley (CHC) @ NYY (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 42 pitches.

He returned from a back injury and left this one with a shoulder injury. When will it end?

Reynaldo López (CWS) vs TEX (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 24 pitches.

He opened for Davis Martin, who went 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches and it was the outing I’ve been hoping to see since I first saw him take the bump earlier this year. The slider is good, the heater is fine, and the changeup did decent work. There would be something here as an AL-Only play, if Lance Lynn weren’t expected back this week. Keep an eye on Davis if another spot opens up later in the year.

Matt Bush (TEX) @ CWS (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 12 pitches.

Welcome to a bullpen game, where the starters aren’t real and their stats don’t matter.

José Berríos (TOR) @ DET (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

HE IS THE GREAT UNDULATOR. After fanning thirteen, it’s a touch underwhelming to see just five punchouts against the Tigers (I blame the heaters’ poor command in the middle of the zone), but the curveball was good and you gotta keep the faith. He gets the Orioles and White Sox next and despite those heaters, I don’t expect this from falling apart.

Luis Castillo (CIN) @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 102 pitches.

I can’t help but chuckle that even in these productive starts, Castillo still returns a 1.17 WHIP. The man is incapable of allowing fewer than one baserunner an inning. The slider was killing it, carrying the load for a decent changeup that got outs but just 2/21 whiffs. I want the slow ball of old. At least it was four-seamers instead of sinkers again, but his locations were back to the east-west game, for the most part. What a day that was against the Jays…Sigh.

Luis Severino (NYY) vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

Mmmmmmmm that’s a luscious start and makes me want to give the AGA label in the near future. Sevy’s slider was sexy as he spotted them down and flirted with the bottom of the zone (52% CSW!), cutters didn’t get the results but teased the corner, his heater sat 96 mph and laid the foundation, and changeups did work with 20/24 strikes. I still think there’s another gear if the cutter and heater take a step further but just with that slider and changeup working in tandem is absolutely good enough. I’m so glad about how this has turned out after too many injured seasons. He deserves this.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) vs OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.

Phew. McKenzie couldn’t take advantage of the Tigers last time and I’m glad he stepped up against the Athletics. The heater was oddly heavily armside as he couldn’t quite nail down his command, but the breakers were stellar with consistent low locations, both in and out of the zone. I love seeing that. He gets Coors next, sadly, so take that one off.

Jakob Junis (SF) vs LAD (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

Junis left this one with a hamstring injury, though he was already at 92 pitches. It’s rough since he’s in a great place — this was against the Dodgers! — and has his momentum coming to a halt as I doubt he makes his next start on time. I’d let him go, even if it’s an IL stint, unless you have an open IL spot with no one better to stash.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs BOS (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 102 pitches.

Bleeeeeeegh. Six walks?! Seriously?! That puts his WHIP at 1.37 for the year and I think we can comfortably say whatever Vargas Rule this was has hit the wall, even if this was Boston. I’d avoid against the Twins next.

Rich Hill (BOS) @ SEA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

Sure, it’s six strikeouts, but was it worth it? At least the Athletics are next and that should be a calm five frames, but you always need to ask yourself if rostering Hill is truly valuable enough. I’m not sure for the next few weeks, but fine, I’m starting him there.

Pablo López (MIA) @ HOU (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 78 pitches.

Pablo left early after taking a liner to the wrist. Bummer. The changeup was its normal self, though he did get punished for launching too many pitches in the heart of the plate. Such is life.

Tylor Megill (NYM) @ LAA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 64 pitches.

HE HATH RETURNED. The Tylord sat a wonderful 96.4 mph and kept his slider down, even sporting a cutter as well. That’s everything I wanted to see, LET HIM FLY.

Devin Smeltzer (MIN) vs TB (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ayyyyy it worked. That’s a PQS with a Win and a decent WHIP against a mediocre offense as Smeltzer has certainly fallen into his label of TobyThat’s what happens when you have an 89 mph heater without a major whiff pitch.

Kyle Gibson (PHI) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 100 pitches.

Yeah, sure. You started Gibson because it was the Sneks and you got a PQS with a dub. Not much more you can ask for. Spin it again versus the Marlins, why not.

Erick Fedde (WSH) vs MIL (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.

Remember Kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) @ ATL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.

Despite earning a share of the Gallows PoleContreras got a bit Singled Out and had a rough day on your ratios. That’s not totally fair — his four-seamer wasn’t well spotted at all in this one — but the slider was filthy and warrants your hold even against the Cardinals. Just don’t hyuck heaters down the middle, okay?

Walker Buehler (LAD) @ SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 70 pitches.

Buehler left this game with elbow discomfort, and he’s getting an MRI. I think we’re all feeling as if it’s an explanation for the worst heater this season and wouldn’t be shocked if an IL stint were to follow. Or maybe, he just has a bad fastball and a barking elbow. Either way, it’s not fun being a Buehler manager and I feel for you — I should have reacted quicker in April/early May. You never know who turns it around and who doesn’t.

Jhonathan Diaz (LAA) vs NYM (L) – 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 41 pitches.

Okay so this happened. On the wire. Away from everyone. If a Diaz falls on the wire and no one is around, does it make a sound? By the way, the answer to that common question is so obviously YES and I need to get that off my chest. The idea that humans are necessary for sound waves to propagate is so ridiculously egotistical it infuriates me. OF COURSE IT MAKES A SOUND, YOU DON’T NEED HIKER STEVE FOR THE LAW OF PHYSICS TO EXIST.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) @ MIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 81 pitches.

Jeeeeeeeez. The Twins are strong, that’s true, but Rasmussen, you’re not supposed to return a near 3.00 WHIP. The slider and four-seamer weren’t as good, while the cutter was the only one trying to actually get water out of the boat. It’s hard not to feel a little scared by the Yankees next, your call if you want to start him there.

Zac Gallen (ARI) @ PHI (L) – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 66 pitches.

The Phillies are no easy matchup, but things are looking rough for those with Gallen. I actually don’t think this was terrible, though the changeup was a bit more hittable than I’d like and he made some legit mistakes across his heater and curve, too. The good news is he hosts the Reds this week and that can be a wonderful palette cleanser to get him back on track.

Luis Garcia (HOU) vs MIA (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 88 pitches.

That’s a co-share of the Gallows Pole as Garcia FINALLY THREW HIS SLIDER. Nick, it was a poor ratio start. Shhhhhhh the Slider went 5/15 whiffs and 53% CSW. I AM GOING TO TO REJOICE. The heater also sat 95 mph (sweet) and the man got unlucky here. This is the most excited I’ve been for Garcia is a while – PLEASE DO IT AGAIN.

Chad Kuhl (COL) @ SD (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 96 pitches.

Jeeeeeez Kuhl. Five walks and one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!) as your breakers went 5/50 whiffs is all kinds of rough. Not Kuhl, Chad. Not Kuhl.

Aaron Ashby (MIL) @ WSH (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 13 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 104 pitches.

NOOOO. Ashby had some poor defense behind him here, but that’s not to say he pitched incredibly well otherwise. I’m sure you’re frustrated he’s not panning out after I’ve been gushing about him for ages but I really don’t see this start as an indication of Ashby being a “bust”. Give the kid time as he nestles into the rotation. You’ll be so happy you did.

Bruce Zimmermann (BAL) @ KC (L) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 76 pitches.

Sooooooooo. Yeah. Yeah.

Elvin Rodriguez (DET) vs TOR (L) – 4.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

Mom, can we get Erod? No, Jimmy, we have Erod at home. On the real, Eduardo should be back either this or next week so this should likely come to end very soon.


Game of the Day 

Edward Cabrera vs. Justin Verlander – The rook vs. the vet. This is the fun stuff.

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: 9:00 am – 11:00 am 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 “Stan, He’s Lee”

  1. Steve says:

    Was frustrated with Ashby’s catcher in the 3rd inning. Way too many curveballs in the leadoff walk to Robles. Plus, if you watch closely Ashby is set and ready to throw the next pitch and the lazy catcher is still adjusting. Seemed clear to me Ashby wants to work quickly and his preferred pace is being slowed down. Maybe it’s just me but I turned the game off after that and then saw later he blew the lead

  2. Joe Mulvey says:

    Struggled with the Stan Lee title a bit. I guess the floor of spikes ties in but I usually “get” all the roundups.
    Was thinking maybe Bruce Lee, using the Fists of Fury cover, ‘He’s Lee’. All good. Lots of fun, and cool graphics, everyday. Thank you

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