Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Taking Down The Houser

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday 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.  

Adrian Houser (MIL) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

If there’s one pitcher that makes me crack a smile when they come through, it has to be Adrian Houserwho nearly earned a VPQS against Atlanta and yet still gets a Gold Star for this ridiculous line: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches. That’s right, ten strikeouts against Atlanta.

How did this happen? Houser has a sub 18% strikeout rate including this game and failed to fan more than five in any previous start this season. The difference here was some precision in two-strike counts, nailing the corners up-and-gloveside and down-and-armside for punchouts and I don’t think I’ve seen that from Houser before. He also increased his slider usage a touch to roughly 23% from 14%, but just three whiffs there doesn’t justify the major swing we just saw.

And in the end, it’s still poor ratios without a Win. Yes, that has to do more with Atlanta being Atlanta than Houser’s skill set, but it does make it easier for us to call this a fluke and not take the dive moving forward. And then again, he allowed just 7 ER across his five previous outings…nope nope nope. He gets Atlanta again this week and you just can’t do that. Please don’t.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs PHI (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 102 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Bibee showed us what happens when everything comes together inside his repertoire, boasting Golden Goal as he elevated his four-seamer, earned strikes with his changeup (even if it was floated a bit…), and got his slider and curveball down enough to return 12 whiffs between them. Can you please do this all the time? I had recently lost faith that we’d see it come together for a legit stretch in the second half and while this is exactly the dream for Bibee, I’m still skeptical he can do it over multiple weeks. I’m so happy y’all can see what the legit potential is now, though. He could be so dang good.

Matt Manning (DET) vs SD (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 32 pitches.

A rain delay ousted Manning and it’s all kinds of annoying. It may mean we see him sooner rather than later in the rotation in Los Angeles, allowing others to get an extra day of rest. We’ll see. What about Mason Englert who threw 60 pitches after him? You mean the guy who allowed 9 ER in 2.1 IP? Oh. Don’t blame him, he didn’t know he’d be pitching that early and that much. Poor guy.

Ryan Borucki (PIT) @ LAA (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 21 pitches.

He opened for 3.0 IP of Osvaldo Bidowho should not be considered in the slightest these days with these limited frames. His stuff isn’t that amazing, either.

Josiah Gray (WSH) vs SF (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

Look at Josiah go, tossing just – get this – fourteen fastballs the entire game. Just 16% usage. Why hasn’t he done this before? Because the slider, curve, and cutter normally don’t return 65%+ strikes each. H*ck, even the 14 changeups + sweepers combined for 86% strikes. His stuff has never been the problem with his secondaries, it’s been the stuff of his fastballs + the location of those secondaries. And yet…just four strikeouts here, with some reliance on balls in play, but if Josiah has actually found a tweak to consistently spin to win inside the zone, then maybe we can talk properly about rostering him again.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ CLE (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 109 pitches.

I have to admit, seeing Wheeler give you games like these is so much fun. Seriously, this is what he should be doing every time he pitches and it’s pure beauty in my eyes. 10/56 four-seamer whiffs, low curveballs, and pure bliss. He got a Loss. Well you can’t have everything. Perfection is the enemy of done good happiness Magneto my fantasy team.

Johnny Cueto (MIA) vs COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 81 pitches.

Oh. This is ridiculous. The Marlins didn’t even want to force Cueto into the rotation again, but here he is, returning 14/40 whiffs on his four-seamer. That’s a 35% SwStr rate en route to a 48% CSW on a 93 mph pitch and it’s unreal. His command of it was absolutely brilliant to the point that it makes Bailey Ober jealous and I’m in complete shock. This does feel like a Blame it on the Rockies, though and he can’t keep it u–Suitman whispers in my earHe gets the Tigers next?! WELP, GUESS WE’RE GOING FOR IT Y’ALL.

Dylan Cease (CWS) @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 96 pitches.

Oddly enough, the heater and curve were the pitches that pulled Cease through this one and I’m all for that. It’s rare to see Cease not have his best slider and have the backup options take over. It’s about dang time, you know? That said, I don’t expect that to be a regularity and I hate seeing his slider fail as it’s far and away his best skill. If it’s not there again, it would be greedy to expect the fastball and curve to take over a second time. But whatever, that’s not gonna happen, right?

Brandon Williamson (CIN) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

He’s maintaining the velocity jump – now at nearly 94 mph compared to 92 and change – and the command was solid enough to get through the Diamondbacks. There may be a Toby in here after all, but not against the Dodgers. Absolutely not.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) vs HOU (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 99 pitches.

Look at Paulie Punchouts go. He sat 1-2 ticks harder on sinkers and cutters and sat down-and-gloveside with nearly everything as the Astros struggled to punish him for it. Is it something I’d buy into? Nah, that’s peak Blackburn command and it’s Coors next. But at least he’s showing some of that ceiling again.

Michael Fulmer (CHC) vs STL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 29 pitches.

He opened for 3.2 IP and 4 ER of Drew Smyly as we wait for his text message telling us that his curveball is fixed. I’m right here, waiting for you Smyly. I haven’t forgotten. The sinker and cutter were delicately spotted, by the way. It’s just the consistency on the curve that’s missing.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs KC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Gerrit Cole’s last nine starts: 2.59 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 29% strikeout rate, 4.5% walk rate. No wonder he’s the Pokémon equivalent of Mew.

Sonny Gray (MIN) vs CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

I saw this as a potentially exciting matchup for Gray with the White Sox’s tendency to struggle against RHB breaking balls and…the curve went 1/15 whiffs while the slider went just 3/20. Dang command couldn’t come through on the day it would be most advantageous, but that’s just how it goes.

Brady Singer (KC) @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 98 pitches.

Yep, that’s Singer. You can’t be a Cherry Bomb if you’re only exploding left and right. Just remember, whatever he does on a given day – disaster or bliss – it changes nothing about the game after. You never know.

James Paxton (BOS) vs NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

Atta boy Paxton, you’ve now started twelve games and tossed 65 frames to the tune of a 3.46 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 29% strikeout rate with a 50% win rate. If that’s not money, I don’t know what is. Yeah, but he won’t survive the rest of the season. Does it matter? You start him until it falls off and in the meantime celebrate the production you’re getting, and who knows, maybe he actually survives.

Cristian Javier (HOU) @ OAK (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.

Six walks against the Athletics as he allowed more runs than hits. Javier, they can’t hit the dang ball. The good news is that his four-seamer was elevated much better this time, sadly nothing else was close to the zone. Seriously, his slider held a 34% strike rate. Dude, we need to double that. Can you imagine how good this start would have been with his fastball going 16% SwStr rate if he had it? And that’s the thing: Javier is closer than it appears from the results. It’s just one tweak left to make, but what is that tweak? How does he get his slider control back? I dunno, I’m over here and not in the Astros clubhouse, but I have to imagine they are diligently trying to fix it.

Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) @ TB (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Duuuuude. This had a bit of Careful, Icarus as he struggled in the sixth and allowed both his runs then, but he FINALLY did the thing in this one, going changeups and breakers down consistently. Just look at them. Now, the fastball was both up and down here, but that’s alright as long as it’s not sitting middle, and it’s the first time I’m actually hyped about Grayson. I sincerely hope he can build off of this start.

Reid Detmers (LAA) vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.

Hmmmm. Obviously I’m cool with his 3.60 ERA and nine strikeouts, but this didn’t feel like the dominance I wanted him to have, needing 100 pitches to get through five, which could have been worse as he escaped a jam on his 100th pitch. The slider and curve did their thing, but the fastball command was terrible, forcing him to grind through at-bats constantly, even if he wasn’t chaotic outside the zone. Okay, that’s a bit of a lie as he bounced so many sliders and curves. But you get the point and I hate that I feel like I’m making excuses for Detmers. The thing is, there’s something new that’s slightly off each time. First it was the curveball, then the slider locations, and now it’s the four-seamer command. I really hate that a start against Toronto is up next given his recent turmoil, but at least he’s making tweaks and if it comes together, he’ll soar.

Allan Winans (ATL) @ MIL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 71 pitches.

This was one of two MLB debuts on Saturday and it’s hard for me to hate a 56% CSW slider with a 33% SwStr rate, but it’s a product of stellar command down with everything he throws and I wonder if it’s actually sustainable when Winans actually gets a rotation spot in the future – Max Fried should return later this week in this rotation spot. Winans may be a sneaky streamer in the future (i.e. 2024) as he’ll be overlooked with his 90 mph heaters, but the ceiling just isn’t high enough when it’s so reliant on command and not stuff. Also, Blame it on the Brewers.

Chase Anderson (COL) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Hey, a PQS isn’t so bad for Anderson, especially with six strikeouts. It’s the little things, y’all. Way to get that cutter armside, sinker gloveside, and changeup down.

Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) @ CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

How cruel it is to make Pfaadt make debuts from the minors against the Rangers, Rays, and now inside Cincy. Huge props to him for coming through here until a barrage of back-to-back-to-back HRs in the sixth that ruined his day. There was a larger focus on sweepers and changeups here, which helped him plenty as they each returned 37%+ CSW, though I still don’t think the four-seamer is the pitch I want it to be at just 3/33 whiffs and I wish I could feel more encouraged moving forward. It would be more believable if it were the four-seamer dominating, not the changeup and sweeper. It’s still risky against Seattle next.

Bobby Miller (LAD) @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 85 pitches.

There was some trouble in the fifth frame as I held my breath hoping he wouldn’t get the hook before securing the oh-so-easy Win, but he came through in the end. The velocity was down a tick or two across the board as I wonder if he let himself not go max-effort to focus on locating his secondaries, which were far better this time around. We’re talking 72% strikes on the slider, over 50% on the curve, and timely changeups (3/4 strikes, rare but effective), and I like this version of Miller plenty. He gets the Reds in LA + Oakland next and I think we may be seeing him turn the corner.

Jackson Wolf (SD) @ DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 75 pitches.

He chucked 89 mph heaters with a 2/25 whiff slider. HAISTBMBWT?! I don’t think we’ll see much more of Jackson, and I don’t think he’s a star, Wolf.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) @ SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 87 pitches.

Aces gonna allow four solo shots. The velocity was down dramatically throughout the game, but he ramped it up as it went on and I’m not concerned. We’ve seen the ups and downs all year. And while y’all may be upset at the ERA, he nearly had a Win + it was nine strikeouts and a sub 1.00 WHIP. Be happy, you have a stud with 9/34 splitter whiffs – the pitch is back y’all.

Max Scherzer (NYM) @ BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna allow four home runs and make us all upset. That’s all there is to say here, everything else was great except for allowing so many home runs. Noisy things, those are.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Yikes. It’s the Jays, sure, but the old skills of the four-seamer and splitter are not back while the new skill of sliders and curves didn’t share the load. Well, maybe the curve at a 53% CSW, but just 15 thrown, while the slider was meh. Gilbert, that fastball cannot be located down the plate like this often. Please get that thing upstairs again.

Miles Mikolas (STL) @ CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

I really have to stop considering Mikolas in the Questionable Start tier, don’t I?

Shane McClanahan (TB) vs BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna get two outs in the fourth with a man on first and allow five runs before getting the third out, all without a home run. That’s baseball, Suzyn. Welp, it happens.

Dane Dunning (TEX) vs LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 79 pitches.

It’s the Dodgers. You didn’t want to start Dunning against the Dodgers, even with the weird sub 3.00 ERA he’s had this year. Maaaaybe against the Padres next instead, but definitely not the Dodgers.

Logan Webb (SF) @ WSH (L) – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 51 pitches.

Wait wait wait. This is not how it’s supposed to go. Webb got jumped on by the Nationals, concluding with a two-run shot in the second and that’s just how it goes some days. Whatareyagonnado. No, there’s nothing to actually be worried about here.


Game of the Day


Alek Manoah vs. Bryan Woo – Manoah has a lot of eyes on him (and I don’t expect it to go well), but I’m curious if Woo can make the adjustments from last start to come through.

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.

Photo by Larry Radloff/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.

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