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.
Kenta Maeda (MIN) @ DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.
There are many beauties of the baseball season. One I enjoy thoroughly is the second chances that players get when they are rough out of the gate or recover from injury only to be their best selves later in the year and change their reputations on a dime. I believe Kenta Maeda may be one of those players after going 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches against the Tigers.
After waiting patiently for two years as Maeda endured TJS, I reflected on what affected Maeda most when pitching through a torn ligament. Then I remembered this ancient tweet. I’ve been waiting for his split-changeup to become a thing again and to watch it dissect the Tigers yesterday was a massive joy at a 61% strike rate, allowing the fastball to cruise (38% CSW) and earn outs.
The slider wasn’t as impressive as it has been in the past, though. Just a 57% strike rate with 2/33 whiffs for a former 20%+ SwStr rate offering leaves a little to be desired and I think he struggled to find its feel early (more splitters than I expected in the first two frames), which will likely change in the future.
At any rate, this certainly had some Blame it on the Tigers, but to see Maeda comfortable with his splitter and survive with his fastball is a huge improvement from 2021. There may be some stumbles early if that slider isn’t cooking, though with @BAL and KCR up next, I’m all for it. Here we go.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs PIT (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.
That’s a Golden Goal for Luzardo as he’s finally removing himself from the terrible luck that plagued him. Since May 9th, Luzardo has a 3.86 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 29% strikeout rate and for those who held on strong, you deserve this. 52% CSW slider is hilarious and that pitch separation is to dream of.
Wade Miley (MIL) @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 67 pitches.
Oh look at that, Miley donned his brown suit and returned to the land of the Toby, even adding two ticks to his heater and 1.3 to his cutter. More importantly, he’s commanding those pitches well, while he oddly avoided the changeup much more than we normally see. That’s just gameflow. What, like Jacob deGrom’s old hair? I feel you. And I miss you. I know. I know. Sadly, it’s the Mets next and while I won’t rule out success there too, I’d pass, especially with the low pitch count here (because of IP, but still not stretched out to 90+).
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs TEX (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.
Ummmm, this is awesome with a legit Gold Star for Clarke. That’s another strong outing from Schmidt and now he gets the Athletics next. The curve stepped up for 30% usage, the sweeper held steady at 27%, and the sinker fell to just 19% usage. That’s the ticket for Schmidt in my view and I’m becoming a bit more of a believer as a Toby. Still not quite there on anything more than that with his low SwStr rates, but that’s okay.
Luis Ortiz (PIT) @ MIA (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.
Our streaming pick came through as Ortiz pounded the zone with everything and the Marlins couldn’t handle it. When Ortiz throws strikes, good things can happen, though I worry how consistent that is and whether the sinker can consistently avoid damage. If you’re having a tough time deciding what to do, relax. It’s the Padres + Dodgers + Diamondbacks next. That’s a clear pass.
Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.
The splitter went just 24% CSW but he did get some whiffs on it while the slider was fantastic at 37% CSW and the curve earned a lot of strikes. Weird to see one whiff on the heater and I hope we get that back soon, but it’s not like it was a poor pitch on the night.
Joe Musgrove (SD) vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.
I haven’t had the most faith in Musgrove lately (literally just traded him for Alcantara today) and this should give you a little more confidence. I love the fact he was able to focus on curves (78% strike rate!) and cutters, allowing his four-seamer to be used sparingly and sneak in with a 32% called strike rate. Thing is, I’m a little worried about the slider as its shape hasn’t been the same and was only used six times here. Without it, Musgrove had to rely on changeups for whiffs (5/20) and I get the feeling it’ll inhibit him from being a 25%+ strikeout arm. I’m not as concerned about his elbow bursitis now as I was before, but it still may be a sell high time.
Brayan Bello (BOS) @ CWS (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 104 pitches.
His velocity was down a tick and my hopes for his slider to come alive against the White Sox did not come to fruition (just nine thrown for 33% strikes) but the changeup and sinker are still great pitches and we keep rolling with Bello with Miami next.
Taijuan Walker (PHI) vs NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.
The splitter usage is still high (37% usage) and the velocity was…back down to 93 mph. But he did well! He did and now it’s the Cubs so maybe that works. I dunno, he’s weird.
Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.
Would you look at that, 94 mph heaters and 11/37 slider whiffs for 51% CSW. Imagine how good he could have been if his changeup returned better than a 50% strike rate and 20% CSW…I really hope that slide piece and velocity stick around.
Dane Dunning (TEX) @ NYY (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.
Look at him go. I think he got away with a lot in this one and I’d call this a Birthday Party for the most part. He gets the Tigers next and while that seems like a lovely stream, I’d be careful. Dunning doesn’t have the kind of stuff that overwhelms and it gives teams like Detroit a chance.
Emmet Sheehan (LAD) vs HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.
I’ve called Sheehan a better version of Brady Singer and I hold onto that with his lateral four-seamer going 26% CSW (but with some whiffs!) and a 30% CSW slider and…three changeups thrown. He’ll have those Singer-esque nights with high strikeouts in the future, and hopefully a slightly better floor with a more dominating heater. I hope that slider can have a double-digit whiff night at some point.
Kodai Senga (NYM) @ PHI (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 102 pitches.
The splitter returned a sub 50% strike rate (terrible WHIP), but 32% CSW and I hate playing this game. I just can’t do it, even with the Brewers up next. That’s your call.
Logan Webb (SF) vs ARI (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.
You have Webb? Great, just keep starting him. But he keeps allowing 3 ER and it’s annoying. Who cares, he just went 11/25 called strikes with his slider for so much free real estate while the changeup was thrown fifty times. Yes that’s absurd and I love it so much. Throw your best pitch more, y’all.
Zach Eflin (TB) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 98 pitches.
That’s a VPQS against a terrible offense. Welcome to Eflin, the man who can be oh-so-good but doesn’t have that overwhelming stuff that ensures destruction against poor lineups.
J.P. France (HOU) @ LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 93 pitches.
That’s a VVPQS against a good offense and is exactly what France is made to do. He’s not the superstar, but he’s a solid Toby for a (should be) winning club. Like the fact they gave us the Statue of Liberty, that’s all you need to know about France. Sidenote: I love France as a country and don’t mean this at all. Seriously, the French accent is sugar to my ears and it’s a home of wonderful culture and brilliant minds. AND THE CHEESE.
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 88 pitches.
Yep, that’s Freeland.
Patrick Sandoval (LAA) @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.
One inning away from a VVVPQS (and thus being worse than that) is kinda expected from The Irish Panada inside Coors, even with the whiffs. At least they were spread out between fastballs, sliders, and changeups…? Is that a good thing? I’m actually not so sure. I may want one pitch to soar and hope that the others catch up instead of three of them being good-not-great.
Joey Wentz (DET) vs MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.
Fewer foul balls, more balls in play, fewer strikeouts, more sadness, fe–please stop. Recognize the noise of his last start and move on.
James Kaprielian (OAK) @ TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.
I genuinely believed that Jimmy Hat has elected to pull back his velocity a touch to help him find the zone more with his heater and slider and for the second straight outing, he’s been a much better pitcher for it. Not all arms can make that adjustment and with the Yankees + Tigers up next before the All-Star Break, I’d be tempted to take a chance in 15-teamers. For shallower leagues, I’m not sure it’s worth the gamble.
Shane Bieber (CLE) vs MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 82 pitches.
EIGHT STRIKEOUTS?! IS HE BACK?! Maybe? The other nine-strikeout affair had me skeptical as neither the slider nor curve was exceptional, but that wasn’t the case here. The slider went 47% CSW with 7/19 whiffs, while the curve, a pitch that has been atrocious this year, was phenomenal like the old days at 6/18 whiffs and 44% CSW. Meanwhile, the four-seamer held a 27% called strike rate and it sure felt like the old days once again. It was just one outing, though, and while I want to believe he made a tweak, it’s a clear peak among a sea of mediocrity. I sure hope it was a TIARA getting removed. That would be so awesome.
Chris Bassitt (TOR) vs OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.
Uggggggh. Fine, Tyler Wells is better than Bassitt. At least the velocity came back up here for Bassitt, but the sinker went just 3/20 called strikes and that needs to change. He still has a fantastic schedule for a winning club, though, and we keep trekking forward.
Luke Weaver (CIN) vs ATL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 82 pitches.
Weaver isn’t it. I actually don’t remember the last time weavers were a thing people pursued. When was the last time you met someone studying to become one? Weavers exist, Nick. I know, Luke is one. No no no, you know what I mean. DO THEY THOUGH.
AJ Smith-Shawver (ATL) @ CIN (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 73 pitches.
I have to mention that pitching in Great American Small Park against one of the hottest teams in the majors isn’t ideal. That said, AJSS did not pitch well here with his secondaries – change, curve, slider – returning just a 43% strike rate. It forced him to throw terrible fastballs and it was rough. I don’t think this is the guy we’ll see all the time and I also think it’s a tough gamble to expect a full recovery so soon for the 20-year-old.
Kyle Gibson (BAL) vs SEA (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.
Womp womp. Did you try to predict what Gibson was going to do? WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!
Zach Davies (ARI) @ SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 79 pitches.
The changeup is still good, but it needs to be the greatest for him to mask everything else. I’m sad he’s Mild Davies and I wish he were Miles-Ahead Davies. His last name was Davis, not Davies. YOU’RE A WRONG LAST NAME.
Patrick Corbin (WSH) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 91 pitches.
We know, Corbin. We know.
Zack Greinke (KC) @ TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 82 pitches.
Greinke does what Greinke does. You say that every time and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. It means he’s not someone in any way we roster but hey, maybe Greinke decides to be worthwhile once in a while and that’s cool.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)