Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Pains Of Sand

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 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ WSH (ND) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 93 pitches.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the horrific 2023 campaign of Sandy Alcantara this season (is it bad luck? Is it his changeup being weird?) and last night felt like the real showcase of what’s going on with Sandy as he went 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 93 pitches against the Nationals. HAISTBMBWT?!

I watched all of it (duh) and he’s just not in a groove. What made me adore Sandy for the past three seasons is his ability to maneuver around the zone with ridiculous stuff, calling upon the change or sinker when needed while keeping the foundation of his four-seamer for consistent strikes. He’s fighting himself instead of the batter, and it’s opening the door for teams like the Nationals to get hittable changeups and fastballs and survive for at-bats longer than they should.

The strike rate itself looks okay, but his journey through at-bats was painful to experience and I could feel his frustration with each pitch. It reminds me of when I did this headline back in 2021, which had the same great graphic designer (Aaron Polcare), making for a fun one today. The good news here: Sandy was able to calibrate and soar in the second half of 2021 and maintained it through 2022.

It’s the middle of June with more than half of the season left to go. I don’t believe Alcantara to be an arm that has suddenly lost it and can’t reclaim it. H*ck, it may even be his next start, and I think it makes for a legit buy-low situation. Consider it – command is a finicky thing that goes both ways. You can lose it, but it can come back in the blink of an eye.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Patrick Sandoval (LAA) @ KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Phew. The WHIP ain’t pretty and he went just 19% CSW on his changeup, but he got through it with his 40% slider. When will we see the slider and changeup be there for a single start again? What about next time? IN COORS?! Okay okay, not next time.

Andrew Abbott (CIN) @ HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.

He did it! With just two strikeouts! I think this earns the Gold Star of the day as I had zero expectations for Abbott to come through against the Astros and with just four whiffs and a whole lot of middle-middle pitches, I still can’t quite believe that he came out unscathed. Many will look at Rockie Road and be all in, and while I’m not saying that’s a massive trap, I think we need to recognize that Abbott isn’t all that great. He doesn’t have the command nor the overwhelming electric stuff that I wanted to see from the highly touted arm. But hey, maybe I haven’t seen it yet and it clicks. Take a shot.

Emmet Sheehan (LAD) vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 89 pitches.

Look at this, another MLB debut of no-hit ball as Sheehan cruised through the Giants lineup. It’s kinda difficult to nail down his heater as a four-seamer or sinker. I’m going lean toward the former, though it does come with a fair amount of horizontal movement and less rise than you’d want. I watched all of this and I felt like I was watching Brady Singer without his best slider but a slightly better heater. Is that okay? I’m not sure, and with Houston + Coors up next (if he sticks around), this may not be what you want. Or maybe the changeup and slider are better than this and he cruises through it. Not the worst spec add still, but not the guy I want him to be at first glance.

John Brebbia (SF) @ LAD (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 16 pitches.

Oh hey, Sean Manaea is in relief again and went 3.2 IP of 4 ER. Cool cool cool.

Will Vest (DET) @ MIN (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 45% CSW, 11 pitches.

Bill over here sounds like the guy who refuses to wear a jacket but needs to stay warm on every hike. Yes, Will VestThis is the most entertainment I can provide during bullpen games. You’re welcome.

Taijuan Walker (PHI) @ OAK (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.

Fun fact: Walker had thrown just 10% cutters before last night, but came out with 32% cutters out of nowhere to the tune of 31% CSW and an 81% strike rate to make up for a terrible splitter. He’s also maintained the 94 mph heater he showed last time (well, it was 95 mph last time, but this is okay with me) and it allowed for eight innings of righteous dominance against the Athletics. Walker was a target for this start and now there’s a temptation to hold him, but it’s Atlanta next and I’d avoid that. Sorry.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs CLE (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 95 pitches.

The four-seamer/curve machine was fantastic as he avoided the heart of the plate a ton, earning him a King Cole and nearly a Golden GoalIt’s about dang time we saw this command return, and it’s interesting to see him toss just three cutters and he simply didn’t need to. 9/12 changeup strikes is cool, too. GALLEN GALS, RAISE YOUR COFFEE MUGS.

Shane McClanahan (TB) @ SD (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. McShane, I just made you #1, can you give us something better than a 5/3 K to BB? Thx.

Tylor Megill (NYM) vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.

Has the Tylord risen again? Eh. Just 3/18 whiffs on the slider without much of a change, the four-seamer got called strikes and just 24% CSW and while I’m happy he had a decent curveball, it’s not a game-changer. We can stay away easily with the Astros up next and be happy for this Birthday PartyBlame it on the Cardinals.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I know, those weird starts from Gausman are scary and this was the Rangers. But this is why you always start your studs.

Jared Shuster (ATL) vs COL (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 93 pitches.

Zero strikeouts against the Nationals, two against Rockie Roadand one disappointed Nick. Just 14% CSW on slider with three whiffs ain’t it.

Michael Kopech (CWS) @ SEA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ah. Now there’s no chance we start Kopech against the Rangers next, which makes you wonder if he’s worth holding for the next ten days. The four-seamer was just 95.3 mph with 3/61 whiffs, after all. Hooooo boy. I kinda don’t think so, but these things are weird and Kopech could wake up for another good stretch regardless of opposition. Ah, the life of a Cherry Bomb.

Tanner Houck (BOS) vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 59 pitches.

Houck took a liner to the face and fortunately, he maintained consciousness and he’s doing okay. Poor guy. His cutter and splitter before then were non-factors as he pounded the zone with sinkers and sliders and there’s nothing new to pull from the small sample.

J.P. France (HOU) vs CIN (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

See, this is what happens when France doesn’t walk six batters. He’s really good when he doesn’t walk the farm. That said, it may be the Dodgers + Rangers up next and that’s a clear avoid for both. You may want to move on from it.

Martín Pérez (TEX) vs TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

Huge props to Pérez coming through here against the Jays. He had solid command (not the greatest) and while he may have gotten fortunate, you have to give him credit for at least putting himself in a position to get lucky.

Julio Teheran (MIL) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.

Shh. Stop. Just Vargas Rule it and do nothing else. It’s the only rational thing to do.

Bryan Woo (SEA) vs CWS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 91 pitches.

Well well well. The White Sox are prone to RHP sliders and Woo increased the sliders to 24% usage to lovely success – 7/22 whiffs – while the four-seamer and sinker each returned 36%+ CSW. Yeah, but was the slider actually good? …Not really. He hung the thing a ton and it’s not the pitch we want it to be. Seriously, look at these locations (from our player page). Not great. I’m a little conflicted as I don’t believe in that breaker, but the fastballs are looking pretty with better command each start, and I want to keep it going against the Yankees + Nationals in the short term. Maybe there’s another secondary pitch that wakes up?

Brady Singer (KC) vs LAA (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Eleven called strikes on the sinker, eight on the slider, and 0/6 CSW on the changeup. Yep, that’s Brady, the Cherry Bomb.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

Sure, that’s a HAISTBMBWT?! as Hendricks still doesn’t have his curveball and failed to earn a single whiff on 32 changeups, but outs are outs and he gets the Pirates next. I guess we’re going for that one.

Touki Toussaint (CLE) @ ARI (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 82 pitches.

Wait, I thought this was supposed to be Triston McKenzieSadly, he’s dealing with elbow pain and may need time on the IL. GAVIN WILLIAMS?! Maybe. As for Touki, this ain’t it and you know it isn’t.

Rich Hill (PIT) @ MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

Come on Hill, six walks? Really? Did you have to? I think he’s still a streaming option against the Cubs next as he walked six in his three previous starts combined.

Cole Irvin (BAL) @ CHC (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches.

We saw 75 pitches from Irvin last time out, hoping we’d get to 85+ in this one and instead…we got fewer pitches. Womp womp. Let’s wait until we see Irvin do it.

JP Sears (OAK) vs PHI (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.

And here I was, worried that the whiffs wouldn’t return. That share of the Gallows Pole was brought to you by 12/46 four-seamer whiffs and a sweeper coming in a tick harder with four inches less horizontal break. Wait, isn’t that bad? ..maybe. It’s a tighter pitch now and I want to think that Sears can wield it better now. I’m a little skeptical that he can keep this up, though his four-seamer whiffs were when he was able to sit up-and-away from RHB and get them swinging underneath it. That may be something that sticks, especially if he can nail that changeup down-and-armside with ease. I think we’re cool starting him against the Guardians next time out.

Trevor Williams (WSH) vs MIA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Let’s all thank Trevor for preventing Sandy from earning a Loss in yesterday’s game. Thanks T-Ells.

Joe Ryan (MIN) vs DET (L) – 7.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

Wanna know what’s funny? The Gallows Pole and six ER? Nah, that’s too easy. It’s the fact he allowed seven hits and only three of them came off of fastballs. That’s right, his splitter and slider returned the same number of hits as whiffs. The four-seamer is still stupid good, it just needs one legit secondary pitch to show up to turn this 6 ER game into flirtation with a CGSHO. He’s so dang close.

Miles Mikolas (STL) @ NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 87 pitches.

It’s the Nationals next and there’s a touch of temptation, isn’t there? Sigh. You QS league people, do what you must. The rest of us, you’ll be happier to flat-out avoid Mikolas.

Yu Darvish (SD) vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Another start, another day of eight different pitches thrown by Darvish. I can’t quite figure out what direction he should go at the moment. Seeing the ultra-sinker usage is a new thing that could work, and it’s just a matter of figuring out if that’s the pitch Darvish can steal called strikes with. 7/33 is okay, but it’s not so good that I’m excited by it. Not to mention, 1/16 sweeper whiffs can’t be a regularity. Once we see the whiff rates jump up on the sweeper/slider again, then the path forward will open up. For fantasy, it’s awfully hard seeing Darvish with a 4.74 ERA, but I guarantee you that will come down in time. He’s not so lost and his stuff is still pretty dang good. It’s just the little adjustments and hey, this was the Rays.

Domingo Germán (NYY) @ BOS (L) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 56 pitches.

Ouch. The masterful curveball was horrendous at 11% CSW and got walloped inside the zone by the Red Sox. Makes you wonder if he was tipping a bit as we just don’t see that often from Germán. I think you’re okay starting him against him against the Mariners next as this felt like just a bad day we’ll quickly forget.

Dinelson Lamet (COL) @ ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 89 pitches.

Like me talking like a duck constantly as a kid, he’s not the guy he used to be. Those were the days…


Game of the Day


Lucas Giolito vs. Logan Gilbert – I want both of these arms to be their best selves. Show me 94 mph from Giolito and Gilbert’s splitter back to form.

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.

Photos courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx 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.

5 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Pains Of Sand”

  1. Guy says:

    I dropped Alcan’tra before he got through the 1st yesterday. If you can’t trust him against the Nationals and A’s…who can you?

  2. Brady D. says:

    LOL at continuing to back guys like Sears and Blackburn on a team that is worst in the league and completely disregarding what a guy like Abbott has accomplished YTD. Love your material usually but don’t get it…do you play in leagues where wins, ERA and WHIP don’t matter? Please explain, thanks

  3. josh says:

    its Sandy that’s why you don’t drop him. if you don’t want him shop him for a closer. I’m sure someone would jump at that. there is a whole 2nd have still.

  4. Joshua Baughman says:

    He’s ranking and reporting on STUFF! not potential for wins. Its your job to figure that out with daily changes to lineups, weather, IL stints, etc.

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