Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Steele, My Sunshine

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 weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.

Justin Steele (CHC) vs LAA (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Sometimes you just gotta appreciate a man for what he is. An ace. Well, a man about to become an ace. Justin Steele made himself one start away from his AGA tag last night with 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches against the Angels, boasting four-seamers incessantly over the plate and a 44% CSW slider that we’ve been wanting to see for weeks.

Since returning from the IL and shaking off the rust, Steele has been as dominant as anyone in the bigs. He boasts a 1.67 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 25% strikeout rate, and sub 6% walk rate across his last eight starts and 54 frames, averaging just under seven innings per outing. He even holds a 33% ICR in that time and any manager who hasn’t expected greatness is not looking close enough. Or probably not looking at all.

It was a tough blow to watch Steele get hurt on opening day, but here we are at the halfway point, thrilled about the days ahead. Just don’t Steele our Sunshine.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Michael Lorenzen (TEX) vs TBR (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

Lorenzen is one of those guys that generally has enough things to choose from where none of it is particularly great, but it’s annoying as a hitter and it leads to 5/6 frames when it’s against a poor offense. Those five walks are frustrating to the fantasy manager, yes, but just think of the hitters who just want a pitch to hit, you know?

Erik Miller (SFG) @ CLE (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 13 pitches.

Sup Erik, who is it today. Yo yo! Spencer BivensThe young kiddo with sinkers and a few sweepers and changeups? That’s the one. Anything we should know? He’s doing everything he can with what chances he’s got. There’s a fire in this one. Uh huh. Just three innings, wasn’t it. Yeah, 64 pitches. I really should stop talking to you. Not my words.

Kyle Freeland (COL) vs KCR (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Freeland went opposite Ragans so obviously he allowed just one run. Enjoy the Gold Star you rascal. The curve went 7/12 whiffs and his heaters found a ton of outs, elegantly placing them along the east-west edges. That command is somewhat real and it isn’t outlandish for him to do well in Cincinnati…Don’t do this to me Nick. SORRY. Don’t do that.

Luis Castillo (SEA) vs TOR (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. You can feel Castillo’s smirk as he took down Gausman and earned the dub with a good WHIP Kevin wanted so badly. And y’all doubted me. For those who have been thinking this was the end for Castillo, I hope this brings y’all back in. Pitchers go through stretches during a season. This was a fantastic BSB game and everything is cool y’all.

Drew Thorpe (CHW) @ MIA (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

Changeup was good and his cutter went 14/17 strikes. That’s what’s up. He’s a Toby and will frequently exploit poor lineups, like the Pirates up next. Make sure not to push it when the schedule gets tougher.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs BOS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 97 pitches.

Huge props to Nestor for enduring the rain delay and coming back out to continue where he left off. This was the best outing of the season in my view, going 12/19 cutter strikes without a ball in play, 42% CSW on the sweeper, and 6/41 whiffs on the four-seamer. If not for a two-run shot in the ninth, he’d have secured the Win you were looking for.

Reese Olson (DET) @ CIN (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yessss. Remember when Olson was dropped and you were the wise manager who picked him up? 1.88 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP over his last four starts with a 30% strikeout rate and here we saw the changeup come back when the slider wasn’t on point + fastballs living on the edges. THAT’S OUR GUY.

Tanner Houck (BOS) @ NYY (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 68 pitches.

This was the product of a dumb rain delay. Like Kobe guarding the inbounder, don’t react to this.

Bryan Hoeing (MIA) vs CHW (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 46 pitches.

He opened for Roddery Muñoz after all, who went four innings of 2 ER ball and can continue to be forgotten about. Remember when this Marlins team had eight options in the pre-season? What is going to happen when Cabrera and Braxton and Rogers return? Hahaha…poor Miami.

Cole Ragans (KCR) @ COL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna PEW PEW PEW. He allowed a HR that probably should have been called a catch, while earning a co-share of the Gallows Pole because of course he did. I thought he would be pulled after six, then came out and went 1-2-3, including fanning his final batter. That’s a 3.28 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 30% strikeout rate across the 10th most IP in the majors this year, sitting third in the MLB with 134 strikeouts behind Glasnow and Crochet. My man.

Paul Skenes (PIT) vs NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 107 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. We really expect no less these days, do we. Is he SP #1 entering next year? You decide.

Randy Vásquez (SDP) vs ARI (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

There’s another productive start for Vásquez marking four of his last five tallying a total of four earned runs. The heater wasn’t hit and he had a decent curve down, but yeah, I still can’t latch onto this…even with the Mariners next. It’s too pedestrian of an arsenal and while he should be in your backpocket as a possible arm in a desperate moment, I’d move away from chasing him in 12-teamers.

Albert Suárez (BAL) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.

Atta boy Suárez. He served a ton of strikes and the Athletics obliged. Nothing special, just some good ole “I don’t need to do much to earn a Win.” Let me preach some caution before trusting him to replicate this against the Cubs.

Kevin Gausman (TOR) @ SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 104 pitches.

Bwhahahaha. Here’s the thing. If you’ve followed my analysis of Gausman, it comes down to one thing: His splitter isn’t earning whiffs. You open up the roundup after a ten strikeout game and a co-share of the Gallows Pole (three-way tie!) and you have a huge grin. They’re back! But here’s the the catch: Gausman earned 17 whiffs on his four-seamer. It’s the Mariners, y’all, they can’t hit four-seamers in the zone and Gausman seized the opportunity. Wait, that means…Yep. 2/27 whiffs on the splitter. He’s not fixed, is he. Absolutely not, but look on the bright side! You got 10 Ks and a 3.00 ERA with the Giants next! And a loss with a 1.33 WHIP. I SAID THE BRIGHT SIDE.

Hogan Harris (OAK) vs BAL (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 103 pitches.

This is surviving. That’s a tough Orioles lineup and I wouldn’t say that Harris had his best changeup or slider or curve in this one. So all his secondaries. FINE yes, the secondaries were in-and-out. He gets Fenway next and I’m tepid on that too. After all, this was only good for the 3.60 ERA – the rest was not.

Aaron Nola (PHI) @ ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace with a co-share of a Gallows Pole. Two longballs were the problem while the curve is still gorgeous and the four-seamer located upstairs incredibly well. This is the best stretch of ball I’ve seen from Nola in a long time. Appreciate the golden moments.

Shane Baz (TBR) @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Welcome back you wonderful man. He was pumping 97-99 mph heaters in the first, but then falling all the way to 92-94 by the fifth and sixth. Sixth?! I know! I can’t believe the Rays left him in so long. I generally dug what I saw with a solid heater and slider for 67% strikes, though I have to wonder how he looks without the early velocity for a whole game. There will likely be some bumps in the road here and he’s not sporting the same elite stuff as it was in 2021. Still great and worth your time with average-to-above-average command, but not that guy.

Patrick Corbin (WSN) vs STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 91 pitches.

Soooo close to a PQS. Just couldn’t provide any value today, could ya. He really did try to go BSB, though, and at least that’s cool. Slider/sinker instead of the cutter doing a whole lot like last time, sadly.

Shawn Dubin (HOU) @ MIN (ND) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 51 pitches.

The fans got a slugfest here as the Twins nearly came all the way back in the ninth frame. Kinda wild to score seven in the ninth and to come up one short. ANYWAY, the command was blegh and we’re out on Dubin until we see something legit to latch onto.

Aaron Civale (MIL) @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 102 pitches.

I’m not surprised to see more sinkers in his first outing as Civale did the same in his first start with the Rays last year – just throw standard pitches and get through the short turnaround from trade-to-start. Eight strikeouts certainly is a surprise, though, including a sweeper that Teoscar should definitely not have swung at, and some precise cutters at the very corner of the zone. Don’t read into this one (for real, just eight curves y’all!) and you can dance with Civale against the Pirates if you’d like. I don’t think we’ll see any actual shifts for being on a new squad until after the break when there’s time to get acclimated.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs SFG (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 99 pitches.

Bibee led the way of many disappointing outings from Friday’s games, though this wasn’t a performance of horrific command that the line may suggest. Sure, fastballs weren’t at their best and the changeup was all over the place, but when isn’t it? The positive here are the breakers – lots of strikes, generally low, and curveballs are still a thing. I’m on board. Wow, you’ve really done a 180 on Bibee. The curveball is a difference maker to me and I’m a Bibeeliever.

Carson Spiers (CIN) vs DET (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 89 pitches.

Womp womp. Don’t rule out Rockie Road next time, but yeah, this is the floor you’re risking for a questionable reward.

Griffin Canning (LAA) @ CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 89 pitches.

Blegh. Nothing new, really, and it’s the Rangers next. Just the changeup not being quite as good, but this is normal Canning. It’s why he isn’t rostered everywhere.

Max Fried (ATL) vs PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 103 pitches.

Noooooo. Fried wasn’t sharp around the zone as he normally is, leading to a Singled Out start that was somewhat deserved. It happens, we move on.

Tyler Glasnow (LAD) vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna return a King Cole and allow a grand slam on a middle-high heater to Hoskins. That’s Baseball, Suzyn. 

Sonny Gray (STL) @ WSN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blegh. The cutter wasn’t much and the heater was fouled off plenty, refusing to earn whiffs or outs. Whatareyagonnado. No signs of caution, even with a small velocity dip.

Slade Cecconi (ARI) @ SDP (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.

Y’all don’t mean. I so badly want there to be a Slade Brigade, but we’re just watching a Cascade instead.

Pablo López (MIN) vs HOU (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

This looks terrible, but it’s a tale of two innings. A dumb second inning, and a sixth frame with three straight hits –> all came in to score after getting relieved. I watched all of it, he’s better, y’all. It wasn’t smoke and mirrors. Believe in the Pablo.

Luis Severino (NYM) @ PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.

He’s a Cherry Bomb where sweet is the non-descript candy your grandmother gave you. On the real, who wrapped those things? What actually was in there? HOW DID MY GRANDMOTHER GET THEM?! We’re living in a world where Severino goes 55% sinkers and 0/15 four-seamer whiffs, without a whiff heavy breaker. It’s not a world we want for your fantasy teams.


Game of the Day


Hunter Brown vs. Joe Ryan – I’d love to see Hunter continue to cruise + Ryan rack up the strikeouts without a longball.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning 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: Steele, My Sunshine”

  1. J.R. says:

    Avid reader, really enjoy your stuff!

    You have talked repeatedly about Gausman’s splitter and I have three questions on it.

    1) Is it just not moving compared to previous years or is it the control?

    2) Is there something hitters are seeing so they lay off? I know everyone throws around tipping pitches, but in his case is that something? Or they just see no fastball and dare him to throw a strike?

    3) Is it fixable in some way?


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