Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Skip To My Lugo

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

My apologies for the late Roundup today – we had a bug in the system that prevented the lines from being created.

Seth Lugo (SD) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 99 pitches.

When it comes to winning fantasy leagues, you obviously need to have heavy hitters at the top of your lineups to push you over the edge. However, it’s almost equally important to have dependable players who don’t drag you down and set a foundation for your stars to push ahead of the pack.

Seth Lugo has turned into one of those latter players, showcasing those skills yesterday against the Tigers via 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 99 pitches. The WHIP was high and has been through the season, though those walks are a bit strange given how good Lugo is earning strikes with his curve and nailing his four-seamer around the zone.

In fact, that four-seamer is near 90th percentile in CSW given its heavy called strike rate (and ability to elevate with two strikes), while shockingly being a 95th percentile PLV pitch. Yeah, a 10% SwStr rate four-seamer is holding a 98th percentile Quality-Bad Pitch rate because he’s so good at spotting the pitch.

Mix that in with a solid curve that he throws 35% of the time and pitching in front of a solid defense that should improve upon his season-long +6 Hit Luck (he’s allowed six more hits than expected based on the pitches he’s thrown), and you have an arm who should stick around on your squad through September, making it awfully strange to see a sub 30% rostership rate. Just don’t start him against the elites, okay?


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Zach Eflin (TB) vs BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 87 pitches.

I know some of you were worried about this one after Eflin’s weird outing last weekend + the Orioles being a dangerous crew, and I’m happy to see him quell all your fears for the second half. Just start the man.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ SEA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 78 pitches.

Kikuchi is still going heavy on sliders and curves, but the four-seamer took over for nearly 50% usage and it worked. I don’t think it’s the sustainable path to success, but when Kikuchi has that heater going where he wants to, it’s a fantastic pitch. The curve and slider were also different today, each exchanging speed for movement – the ole Bugs making the wrong turn at Albuquerque, he’s moving more and going slower than expected – and it absolutely worked with 63% CSW on the curve. Looks like we’re starting him Friday against the Angels.

Peter Lambert (COL) @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 77 pitches.

That’s one h*ck of a line for the clear Gold Star of the night and a product of some great east-west command as the Marlins couldn’t handle his heaters and sliders. No, it’s not something for you to consider for your fantasy teams, but this lamb had some chops for a night and it was a lovely Birthday Party.

Bryce Miller (SEA) vs TOR (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 75 pitches.

It’s back to 77% four-seamers and they were excellent, sticking around the edges constantly, while the slider + changeups went 65% strikes. That’s the Bryce we know and love.

Gavin Williams (CLE) vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.

Too often I see the old skill failing before the new skill develops and here we have Williams’ four-seamer failing (3/50 whiffs and horrible command) while the breakers were all over the place. That explains the WHIP and he should feel fortunate to have allowed just one run in four frames. I see this as a valley for a day trip as the four-seamer should be better in future outings, which should make him fantasy viable against the Royals next, but please Gavin, you need to get the breakers working before you face the Astros after.

Justin Steele (CHC) vs STL (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.

Honestly, the command wasn’t much different than the horrific game he had last week and at the end of the day, That’s Baseball, Suzyn. Yes, I’m making the point that last week’s start is the anomaly, not this one.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ TB (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

You know I love seeing Bradish go nearly 60% sliders and curveballs and he did just that with only two four-seamers in play. That’s the ticket to success for Bradish and he’s winning me over with each start he has, even with the number of hard-hit balls he allowed here.

Kodai Senga (NYM) @ BOS (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 63 pitches.

The dang rain ruined this one for Senga as the game was suspended and continued on Saturday. Not much else to say here except that it’s possible Senga could go on shorter rest with just 59 pitches here – we just saw that from Mikolas, after all.

Jake Irvin (WSH) vs SF (W) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 111 pitches.

Well this is interesting. You’d think it would be 95/96 mph velocity with a legit step forward with his curve or another secondary, right? Yeah, no. His fastball was just 94.3 mph, but it returned a whole lot of foul balls, allowing him to elevate in deeper counts to get its nine whiffs and propel his strikeout total. The curve was…fine and couldn’t get located down. In fact, nothing was located down. I heavily suggest not chasing Irvin after this one – he’s not taking the steps forward (in fact, they are going backward) from the exciting arm we saw about a month ago.

Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs KC (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 64 pitches.

Remember that peak cutter and sweeper command we saw before? Yeah, this was not that. He was worthwhile as a streamer with a near 1.00 WHIP and a Win with just one extra run as punishment, and that’s all nice and good, though it does little to make me encouraged about starting Schmidt moving forward. Do we start him against the Orioles in Walltimore? I’m not sure. I guess…?

Ben Lively (CIN) vs ARI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 76 pitches.

The slider was a little more present, but the massive 60%+ fastball reliance just doesn’t work for Lively in my book.

Tommy Henry (ARI) @ CIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 88 pitches.

Oh hey, another start with just six sliders and a lack of production. WHY DID YOU STOP THROWING IT.

Joe Ryan (MIN) vs CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

It’s a Dusty Donut with a ton of strikeouts and a Win paired with those horrible ratios. I think the sweeper needs to be better and wouldn’t rely on the splitter growth. One day.

Michael Soroka (ATL) @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hey Soroka, can you not throw four-seamers and sinkers over the middle of the plate? And maybe get your changeup down? Sure, the slider looked great, but I want you to have the skills that made us so excited about you. Hard to be a Toby with those heaters not landing along the edges.

Jack Flaherty (STL) @ CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 104 pitches.

I see the ratios and I know you’re not happy, but Flaherty pitched pretty dang well outside of a rough third frame that came with a pair of home runs. I think it’s right to keep starting him with Arizona up next.

Framber Valdez (HOU) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Duuuuuude. It’s the Athletics. I know you’re destined to have your WHIP higher than other aces and we can find a time to talk about that, but this ain’t that time. What’s up with your cutter? I’ve been infatuated with it this year and you threw it just five times at three ticks slower for some reason. Why did you change it to get extra drop you didn’t need? Because it returned a 60% SwStr rate. THEN WHY JUST FIVE TIMES.

Andrew Heaney (TEX) vs LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 72 pitches.

The slider didn’t get down and the four-seamer was not competitive often with pitches too far up and out of the zone. He’s a spin of the wheel for strikeouts on a given night and not one I’d like to roster.

Tony Gonsolin (LAD) @ TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 92 pitches.

He sat harder at 94 mph instead of 92/93, but it’s the Rangers and Gonsolin is just a Toby. We move on.

Ranger Suárez (PHI) @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

We’re still avoiding Suárez until we see a dominant outing that deserved its results with precise pitches around the zone. This hinted at that, but without the results, I’m not leaning into it.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) vs NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 65 pitches.

He went just four innings due to the rain, though maybe it’s for his own good as the four-seamer wasn’t missing bats, the cutter wasn’t spotted like we saw in the previous outing, and I’m still waiting for his slider & sweeper to get a larger focus. One day…

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) vs PIT (W) – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Four home runs. He’s sweeper heavy once again and looks like the man we want him to be and yet…Four. Home Runs. Against the Pirates. Baseball can be so dumb.

JP Sears (OAK) vs HOU (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 95 pitches.

It’s simple. You don’t start Sears against top-tier offenses. The four-seamer would have to be at its best and it absolutely was not at 1/41 whiffs. Just follow that rule and you should be fine with Sears. So we’re starting him in Coors? Seriously?

Alec Marsh (KC) @ NYY (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

The line is terrible, though the slider and curve each returned 40% CSW marks and were all kinds of wonderful. The four-seamer was the liability and without it getting past bats or sitting far upstairs, you’re going to see tough nights like these.

Reese Olson (DET) vs SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Ah dangit. The slider is still a legit thing – 40% CSW and 20% SwStr rate – but the changeup that I fell for isn’t falling as it failed to earn a whiff in twelve thrown. Meanwhile, I love when Olson is able to locate fastballs inside to right-handers, but the sinker was hit when it missed and the four-seamer was more wild than he needed it to be. I see Olson as a dart-throw streamer for now as we keep an eye on him for skill growth.

Johan Oviedo (PIT) @ LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 75 pitches.

Velocity was down across the board and despite going 50% CSW on his elite slider, he still needed support. That’s a Cherry Bomb for you.

Alex Wood (SF) @ WSH (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 75 pitches.

Even against the Nationals, Wood lasted just four frames with the reward of horrible ratios and just one strikeout to salvage. HAISTBMBWT?!

Lance Lynn (CWS) @ MIN (L) – 6.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.

Hahahahaha. Four home runs and three more unearned runs as well and trying to figure out Lynn is silly at this point. I wanted to believe he was trending in the right way, but I don’t think I’ll be convinced he’s anything more than a Cherry Bomb unless his secondaries become much more of a routine asset. Yes, you can drop him and even if you’ll feel some FOMO on the good days, it’s the right move.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

Atlanta, so hot right now. Sure, his slider + curve returned just about 50% strikes and the four-seamer wasn’t as dominant as we’ve seen, but it’s Atlanta. They are the bane of my existence right now.

Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs COL (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 59 pitches.

I’ve been worried about Garrett’s command across his previous three starts and it’s more of the same where he can’t take advantage of Rockie Road. Drop him if you haven’t yet, you can’t trust Braxton at all right now. Look for the slider to get a higher focus moving forward as he figures out his sinker and cutter command.


Game of the Day


Max Scherzer vs. James Paxton – Get back on the horse Paxton and go do wonderful things, Scherzer.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Playback.tv livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm 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.

One response to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Skip To My Lugo”

  1. Jayson says:

    Gavin Williams has had so far only ONE good start out of 6. In the 5 others either his ERA was over 5.00 or his WHIP was over 1.50, when it wasn’t a mix of both. At some point, it may be time to admit that he’s not a good option for now. Not the first time you stick with preconceived ideas that fall flat like crazy. Alex Wood from a hold if he will be fine to a safe drop. Tyler Wells from you don’t trust him at all to one of the best SPs fantasy wise this season. And so on…

    I don’t want to be rude, but fantasy wise a lot of your advices have become counterproductive. Let me take Gavin Williams. 4-5 fantasy weeks depending on the platform. You have one good week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login