Brax Effort

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 Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ummm, I’m sorry Braxton Garrettbut WHAT?! The man went 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 102 pitches against the Pirates, securing a Golden Goal across 23 whiffs. Sure, The Pirates, but this is spectacular and came from Braxton Garrett.

This was a story of his sinker and slider — the former earning 9/22 whiffs and 59% CSW as he commanded it armside with precision (and is incredibly rare to see at 90.8 mph) and the latter going a whopping 49% CSW with 11/35 whiffs. Miraculous, I know. He mixed in some excellent changeups along the edges as well as four-seamers elevated with intent and suddenly he was through six with eleven strikeouts.

And no, I don’t buy it. The sinker isn’t destined to earn this many swings and misses, the command seemed simply too dang good to be a regular thing, and his slider isn’t going to go 11/35 whiffs again. It doesn’t mean Garrett shouldn’t be of consideration as a stream moving forward — I almost made him my streaming pick of the day before slotting Kutter ahead of him. Sigh. — but he isn’t a must-add, either. Well, maybe if the Marlins let him get the third start after the all-star break. Who are the Marlins facing in that series? …The Pirates. Oh. But I’d go for Max Meyer instead, who just got the call to start on Friday. This feels like a peak for Garrett while the ceiling is a plateau for Meyer.



Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Triston McKenzie (CLE) vs DET (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 109 pitches.

Look at Triston, doing exactly what he should be doing against the Tigers. The curveball was RIDICULOUS with 10/24 whiffs and 50% CSW and spotted down with consistency, while the heater pounded the zone for 75% strikes. I do wonder if the heater will face more trouble if this command faced against a team that doesn’t rhyme with Metroit, but you love to see the curveball feel at the very least. Oh, and the stupid good line, of course.

Tyler Anderson (LAD) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

Atta boy Tyler, I’m glad you were able to make it worthwhile even when your changeup went just 3/27 whiffs. I’ll continuously admit I was wrong about Tyler when he began his dominance back in April as he now carries a 2.96 ERA. That’s pretty dang wild to me and it should be to you as well — he hasn’t carried an ERA below 4.35 since 2016. That changeup simply has been that much better this year.

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

Carrasco did exactly what he was supposed to do against the Cubs, cruising with a 40% CSW on his slider. By the way, there’s a new stat we just unearthed that beats CSW across all the important metrics…can’t wait to share that with y’all. ANYWAY, if you roster Carrasco now, you’ve likely been through all the ups and downs of the season (4.27 ERA after this start) and here’s to a smooth three months ahead. You deserve it.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs CIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

It hasn’t been too smooth across the last month for Cortes and while four strikeouts isn’t going to get y’all super pumped for him again, let’s all celebrate those luscious ratios. Great to see him sit 92.7 mph as well — he normally sits around 91.5 mph.

Luis Castillo (CIN) @ NYY (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 114 pitches.

Phew. I was pretty concerned about this one, but Castillo sat 97.7 mph on the heater and overwhelmed. The changeup didn’t earn a whole lot of whiffs, but was down consistently enough to keep the Yanks at bay (70% strike rate!) and I’m still digging the fewer-sinkers approach he’s taken as of late. I know it took a moment before Castillo made his season debut (May 9th), but he’s had just one start above 4 ER all year, with this outing bringing his season-long ERA to just 2.77. Pretty dang cool.

Zach Thompson (PIT) @ MIA (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Thompson went super hard on the cutter — 58% usage! — and it worked out. I don’t quite buy the whole approach, sadly, and I’d be incredibly cautious streaming him in the future. There really isn’t enough there unless he’s cruising with cutters and curveballs.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) @ MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 118 pitches.

Cueto, you wonderful man. Sure, that WHIP n all, but the Win? 1 ER? And h*ck, I’ll take five strikeouts as well. Don’t try to truly understand it — the fella needed 118 pitches, after all — and simply embrace that he still has some magic in that right arm. Good luck figuring out when he’ll sprinkle some on his box score.

Carlos Rodón (SF) vs MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That WHIP hurts and he nearly allowed a three-run bomb, but he got through it with seven strikeouts and a solid ERA. Be happy the man made it work when he wasn’t at his best.

Angel Zerpa (KC) @ TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 73 pitches.

Despite being supported by a depleted offense and getting 0/35 fastball whiffs, Angel returned a Win. That’s Baseball, Suzyn. Or, you know, a Toronto team in disarray.

Martín Pérez (TEX) vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 102 pitches.

Well well Tyler well, Pérez ain’t done yet. His changeup command is still stupid amazing and he was able to hug the east-west edges effectively with cutters and sinkers. That’s the M.O. of this 2022 renaissance for Pérez and it’s lovely to see this rhythm intact. Makes me think this can continue to work in the second half — hopefully he gets Oakland during the first turn of the rotation after the break.

Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ SF (ND) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 115 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Yep, that’s why you’re the #1 arm. That cutter is stupid good, but it also helps having a changeup that goes, oh I don’t know, 60% CSW. 

Kyle Wright (ATL) @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.

Wright got out of a few jams here and he featured a lovely commanded hook in this one — what I’d call his most important skill on a given night. It’s been a pretty solid year of a 2.95 ERA and 1.15 WHIP thus far, and while I’d expect that ERA to sit comfortably above 3.00 by the end of the year, I think you’re okay holding if there aren’t fun trades to be made. But yes, I’d explore the market here.

Reid Detmers (LAA) vs HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Hmmmm. The slider saw heavy usage again — 28%! — but it didn’t feature the growth I’m chasing with just a 44% strike rate (yuck). His curveball wasn’t all too pretty and while the four-seamer did come in a bit higher (which is the main reason why the line above ain’t so bad), we’re still not there with Detmers. Getting close as the slider isn’t so off command-wise, just not quite where it needs to be. He’s still on my radar as a possible second-half breakout.

Framber Valdez (HOU) @ LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

It’s not the explosive outing we were hoping for from Valdez, and it certainly doesn’t showcase the recent growth he’s had in the WHIP department, but this will do. Like a director working through improv, keep it rolling.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) vs KC (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna go 88 pitches but hurt your WHIP against a horrendous offense. Simply put, his heater was more hittable than usual (just three whiffs on 29 swings ain’t great) and I wouldn’t look much into this. Let’s just be happy the whole “will he or will he not start” game is over.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) vs BOS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 89 pitches.

He fanned four in a row from the first to the second and ultimately survived with four-seamers and cutters, benching the slider for the most part. I think it works leaning on those two offerings more than cutter/slider and I hope he gets a start against the Royals after the break. I’d start him there.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) @ TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! Ish! A PQS ain’t ideal, but the WHIP and strikeouts help and I’ll take it as a stream. Decent four-seamers and kutters with a curve spun in for 40% CSW and 75% strikes — and it worked. I’m not awfully excited about him, but I’m cool playing the matchups as he should make The List on Monday.

Elvin Rodriguez (DET) @ CLE (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 94 pitches.

I’m surprised he went 94 pitches, but that’s like getting surprised you saw a chocolate chip in today’s mystery meatloaf. It’s still mystery meatloaf.

Dakota Hudson (STL) vs LAD (L) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 94 pitches.

The velocity was still down (90.9 mph vs. 92.1 mph for the season) and while I can’t judge him much for a start against the Dodgers, I can tell you I’m not willing to start The Dime (he’s a coin flip and a dime a dozen) moving forward.

Aníbal Sánchez (WSH) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh dang, it’s Aníbal! Savant humorously doesn’t quite know how to handle his changeup, marking it as a 12 mph jump from the last time he pitched (he essentially tossed the “butterfly” changeup in previous years, meaning a sub 70 mph slowball vs. this year’s 81.8 mph clip) and it helped him not get completely destroyed here. This isn’t a Cueto resurgence, sadly, so let’s move on.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) @ TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Womp womp. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas the Rangers are a solid offense, making this not as strong of a Toby start as it would seem. Still, Marco got a bit Singled Out with too many pitches over the plate and all we can do is hope he avoids that early series against the Astros after the break.

Keegan Thompson (CHC) vs NYM (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Keegan couldn’t defend his title as the premier Thursday Thompson today as he delivered a HAISTBMBWT?! across a near 3.00 WHIP against the Mets. Sigh. Sure, this was the Mets n all but did it really have to be this bad? He’s a questionable streaming option against weak teams, that’s all.

Kyle Freeland (COL) vs SD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

I mean, yeah, you don’t start Freeland in Coors against the Padres. H*ck, you don’t start Freeland on the road against the Padres.

Blake Snell (SD) @ COL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 99 pitches.

Sigh. He fanned 23 batters in his last two starts, I was really hoping he could make it work despite Coors. Nope, his fastball command was off and that’s all you really need to know. A near 50% strike rate at 31/60 four-seamers just ain’t good enough. At least the changeup is still mostly out of the question? Don’t give up on Snell yet, this was Colorado.

Sonny Gray (MIN) vs CWS (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 79 pitches.

I went over Gray’s concerns last time out and little has changed with just 5/32 whiffs across his breakers here. Gray needs those to come through or we’re going to see a whole lot of heaters and he isn’t a guy made for 50% fastballs. I imagine it’ll click at some point in the second half, but you really don’t have to cling onto him if you have enough decent options already in your rotation.


Game of the Day 


Max Meyer vs. Philadelphia Phillies – We’ve been waiting a while for this one and I guess I’m okay seeing Sandy pushed back a day for this.

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.

Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire | Adapted 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.

One response to “Brax Effort”

  1. Omar says:

    Meyer not pitching until tomorrow.

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