Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Sears of the Kingdome

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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.

JP Sears (OAK) vs SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

Can we talk about JP Sears for a moment? He’s a guy with one of the flattest four-seamers in the majors, but has been plagued by questionable command for quite a bit. However, the past few weeks have showcased a gradual shift to more breakers and Sears’ four-seamer usage has been dropping massively. The end result was today’s 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches against the Mariners and that’s pretty dang awesome.

First of all, Sears’ fastball is made to dominate a team like the Mariners, who have struggled against fastballs upstairs this year (what don’t they struggle against?!). After floundering at spotting his four-seamer in recent games, the heater came through in a major way in this start, sitting at the top of the zone often and returning a 21% SwStr rate. You love to see it.

The secondaries were a bit different, too. Sears elected to lean into his changeup as his most thrown pitch – not the sweeper or slider – and it was gorgeous for a 38% CSW. Meanwhile, the two breakers that had become a proper tandem for Sears lately? They shifted from “just get me into the zone” to “let’s try to be pristine down-and-gloveside”. And it worked. Incredibly well.

In short, Sears located all four of these pitches and I don’t think I’ve seen that before. In the spirit of Radiohead, everything was in its right place, allowing Sears to have one of his best starts of the season against a weak ballclub. It would be unwise to suggest tonight’s command sets a new standard of expectations moving forward, but at least we know it’s in him. I sure hope he can do it a second time against the Padres up next, even if I have serious doubts that he can.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Bryan Woo (SEA) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.

Phew. The arm injury is still a huge haze surrounding Woo, but with easy matchups like these, we’ll continue to start him. That four-seamer is still super flat and well-spotted, and he’s making it work with just the heater and a sinker, electing to go with just nine non-fastballs total in this one. Unreal.

Cal Quantrill (COL) @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 96 pitches.

Sooooo this is kinda ridiculous. Not that it’s Quantrill or the four walks with a HAISTBMBWT?!but the fact his splitter was actually bad and he still kept his run alive is CLASSIC UNQUANTRILLFIABLE. But seriously, the splitter was bad and I’m jumping off this train before the inevitable blow-up.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! I’ve been preaching all the doom and gloom about Kikuchi and here he goes, earning a Golden Goal against a premier offense. The slider came in harder this time around (not 86 mph but 89 mph), though it was generally ineffective as it either landed over the heart of the plate or missed down low. The hero was his four-seamer, a pitch I’ve been dreaming would live in the wondrous lands of hiLoc%. We saw the pitch thrive upstairs for 11/49 whiffs and he’s been selling us for over a month that he’s capable of spotting more fastballs than previous seasons. His curveball was a proper #2 in this one as well, and fortune favored Kikuchi for the rest. It’s not ideal for Kikuchi to face the Brewers next, but I think we go with that and the Sawx after. He’s earned it and I truly wish my worries could be put to bed.

Mitchell Parker (WSN) vs ATL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 71 pitches.

He did in fact bring back the slider to be his second most-thrown pitch, but just one whiff on it was a major departure from last week’s destruction. No, this start was against an aggressive Atlanta team that allowed Parker to waltz across seven frames in just 71 pitches. Wow, so kind of them. With the Tigers up next, I think I’m cool with picking up Parker for the stream, even with the low whiff total here. Atlanta is a very different squad than Detroit.

Tanner Houck (BOS) @ CHW (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.

You slot a hot pitcher against the White Sox and you know it’s going to be a lovely outing. I’m awfully curious to see how Houck performs next week as he finally gets properly challenged by the Phillies. Succeed there and you have your coveted AGA.

Reynaldo López (ATL) @ WSN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

He deserves more Wins. Classic BSB here and we’re still feeling great with ReyLó on our squads. Do you start him against Baltimore? That’s a tough call, but yes, I think we do. Heater is strong, slider and curve are good, and the Atlanta offense still gives him hope for a Win. Hope is all we have on nights like these.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs KCR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 94 pitches.

The arm angle wasn’t as low as we saw before and the slider failed to get down a ton, but he threw said slider incessantly and it worked out well. I guess I’m fine with Bibee these days, but his approach is stuffed with volatility and weird command that I wish didn’t give me such anxiety. But WHATEVER, we start him against the Reds in Cin City.

Brady Singer (KCR) @ CLE (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 70 pitches.

He got the early hook after getting Singled Out, though his slider wasn’t missing nearly the same number of bats we usually see. Singer is a Cherry BombHe is? Always has been.

Randy Vásquez (SDP) vs ARI (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

We’ll take a PQS all day from Randy, who was able to earn seven whiffs on his four-seamer, rooted mostly in some solid locations upstairs. That said, I don’t see it returning a ton of whiffs often given its heavy reliance on location and the rest of the package is far from exciting. I’d gamble with other arms before Vásquez.

Sonny Gray (STL) vs COL (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna walk four against Rockie Road and make us sad. He was a touch off, but nothing far out of the ordinary and it feels like a shot that tips the net and makes you lose the point. Whatareyagonnado.

Slade Cecconi (ARI) @ SDP (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.

The Slade Brigade won’t be happy with this one, but then you have to ask yourself a simple question. Is this the brigade I belong in? Do I really need to be in a brigade? Is there a BringAide Brigade? Okay that was three questions, but all equally – YES EQUALLY – important. The truth is, this isn’t the Slade Brigade after all, it’s not even the Slade Parade, it’s the Slade Façade. That doesn’t rhyme. Only because you lack imagination.

Walker Buehler (LAD) @ PIT (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

It’s a little better…? Yeah okay, he’s still trying to figure out an approach that he likes and sticks with throughout starts. His stuff is legit and with a solid game plan, I think we’ll see Buehler come into his own over time. But Nick. The Pirates. I know. This hurts and it could be worse against the Rangers next week. He’s wearing the TIARA, but it may take a bit before he takes it off.

Hunter Greene (CIN) vs CHC (W) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 111 pitches.

Home runs got to Greene and y’all knew this would be the thing to keep Greene’s ERA high over the season. That said, we actually saw 4/17 splitter whiffs for once, his slider was well located down-and-armside for a 25% SwStr rate, and his heater is still a tough pitch to hit when it doesn’t fall too far down over the plate. He may be a HIPSTER, but he’s our HIPSTER and that means you let him fly against the Guardians and Brewers up next.

Javier Assad (CHC) @ CIN (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Gasp. IS IT OVER?! I think it is…but he had solid pitch separation and gets the Rays next. Maybe just try one more…? That can’t be that poor of an outing, right?

Marcus Stroman (NYY) vs MIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

Blegh. Stroman elected to go more cutters than sinkers, but the focus should be on his breakers, which he failed to meticulously place and led to most of his damage. It happens, we press on.

Bailey Falter (PIT) vs LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 76 pitches.

It’s the Dodgers, yo. It’s also the same Falter and he may be a decent stream in deep leagues if you’re looking for volume. That’s the best I’ve got.

Cade Povich (BAL) @ TOR (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 100 pitches.

I’ve been looking forward to Povich making his MLB debut and unfortunately, this one didn’t go as planned. He doesn’t pack a haymaker in his arsenal, making his poorly shaped four-seamer at 92 mph that much more reliant on command as he mixes in cutters, curves, and changeups – the Three Cs of pitching. I saw the makeup of a solid Toby for a winning team (better than Cole Irvin, for example), but he’ll need to prove that his inconsistent locations here were a product of the moment, not of an innate lack of talent. No need to stash him for now, I’d wait until he shows more promise and has a rotation spot locked up.

Pablo López (MIN) @ NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Sigh. It was a difficult matchup to begin with and it made us all hesitant, but six walks with seven earned runs (were all those really earned?!) still stings. I was a bit shocked to watch Pablo constantly go with his sweeper over his change or heater, though it makes sense in the context that he clearly intended to nibble as much as possible against the top of the Yankee lineup (Soto and Judge, obviously). Throw in some bad luck on a Torres “double” and a two-run shot from Grisham (I thought that was illegal) and that’s your ballgame. I want to drop him, Nick. How can you rank him so high?! Because he has a TIARA and I just can’t believe his changeup is destined to go 8/17 strikes moving forward. I’m buying low wherever I can, especially with Rockie Road and the Athletics up next. If there were ever a place to get your confidence back, it would be facing them.

Jake Woodford (CHW) vs BOS (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hard to expect much different from the Amish Mustang, sadly. Not a whole lot else for the White Sox to try, though, so get used to it.


Game of the Day


Justin Steele vs. Nick Lodolo – Two legit southpaws who both have something to prove.

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

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Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)

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: Sears of the Kingdome”

  1. FRANK says:

    Surprised you didn’t mention the defense behind W Buehler on Thursday. 3 errors in the first 3 innings forced Buehler to throw an additional 30 pitches easy. Not to mention, bring out pitching coach for a breather. His sequencing was totally off and he could not get the flow despite having 98mph gas in the tank.
    Not worried at all about Walker. He will find his game. Still got a lot of road ahead of us this season.
    If someone drops in your league, POUNCE.

  2. Rick says:

    Sonny Gray hasn’t had a QS in over a month. 6 starts worth, starting to feel like that AGA label is a little off the mark.

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