Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Manoah’s Arc

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 Twitch weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.

The story arc of Alek Manoah’s season has taken another turn after his hotly anticipated return to the majors returned 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches in a Win against the Tigers. Things have gotten very interesting.

Just a reminder to everyone, Manoah held a 6.36 ERA and 1.90 WHIP with a putrid 17% strikeout rate and 15% walk rate across 58 innings and 13 starts before getting demoted after his June 5th outing against Houston. It was one of the biggest shocks across the SP landscape and we all wondered if there was a feasible path to redemption.

And here we are, with an eight-strikeout performance without a single walk. I watched all of it and the quick answer is “Sure, pick him up.” Manoah’s struggles were across the board when we last saw him: Four-seamers weren’t earning whiffs, his slider couldn’t be trusted, and the sinker command that disappeared in late 2022 had not been corrected. Here, the four-seamer was located in the upper half often and returned a 23% SwStr rate, the slider was a massive tool throughout the start, collecting a fantastic 83% strike rate, and the sinker…had its moments as a surprise front-door pitch to lefties, but it returned four of Manoah’s five hits. Can’t say I’m too shocked there.

This is good. In my eyes, Manoah has been a four-seamer/slider arm with a surprise sinker when he’s cooking, and while there are still elements that need ironing out, the man we saw in Detroit is certainly worth a 12-teamer pickup. Is this the new normal now? Who knows. There’s room to still grow and the ceiling is too high to ignore, especially if the changeup can be found against LHB and the sinker doesn’t squirm to the middle of the plate so often. Season 4 of Manoah’s arc is just when it’s getting good and interesting. I’m so curious to see what happens next.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Jameson Taillon (CHC) @ NYY (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

This is so cool to see in Taillon’s return to the Bronx since leaving in the off-season. He was able to get strikes with his curveball, earn a whopping 43% CSW on sweepers, keep his cutter low, and move north and south with the four-seamer, keeping the Yankee bats at bay. It’s obviously not a sustainable performance, but the command was as good as I’ve seen from Taillon in a bit and I’m just happy for him. I’d still be a bit careful starting him next time out, though. Let it breathe for a moment.

Aaron Civale (CLE) vs KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 100 pitches.

Well hot dang, look at you! We saw 70% curves and cutters (sweet) with both going 30%+ CSW while the sinker and four-seamer made brief appearances inside the zone for 40% CSW and it’s everything we want for Civale. That curveball took over the bottom third of the zone and it was glorious. This is exactly what you want from Civale.

Luis Castillo (SEA) @ HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and somehow return just three strikeouts. No, I’m not sure why he tossed more sinkers than four-seamers (your four-seamer is ELITE, the sinker is absolutely not) and just 1/8 changeup whiffs still baffles me, but hey, we’re all happy campers as he thrived despite facing the Astros offense.

Brennan Bernardino (BOS) vs OAK (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 31 pitches.

He opened for Nick Pivettawho dazzled for 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 76 pitches. Sure, it may be a Blame it on the Athletics, or it could be the fact he went 100% strikes on eleven sliders, allowing him to pummel the zone with heaters (even if they were far more hittable than we like) for 42% CSW. Okay fine, it’s a Blame it on the Athletics. Those heaters should have been hit a lot harder than they should have, the sliders were okay and not spectacular, and the curve is still its “oh don’t mind me, I feel like hanging in the upper third right now” self.

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) vs PHI (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

My man. I had a small thought while watching Sandy this time around – I wonder if he needs a mid-high 80s offering. It seems like batters are up there timed for heaters and relying on their ability to change height on the change or slider in the low 90s if they get one. Velocity gaps are a huge way for pitchers not just to get weak outs, but whiffs as well. But Nick, he’s been so good without it for a long time! Yeah, that’s a great point. Just a thought when the changeup and slider command aren’t as reliable as they used to be. Movement, velocity, location – the three variables we rely on as pitchers to make life hard for batters. When location isn’t there, I wonder if messing with the velocity can make up for it. Just thinking out loud. It’s highly unlikely some major change like the one I’m describing actually happens, of course.

Cole Irvin (BAL) @ MIN (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 84 pitches.

Ayyyyy it worked! The changeup was great and the, um, well the changeup! Nah, he threw a lot of strikes and while he was fortunate many heaters and cutters found gloves, Irvin put himself in a position to go six frames. That’s some gold ole Toby pitchin’.

Charlie Morton (ATL) @ TB (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

With all the turbulence Morton has endured this year, of course this is one of the smoothest starts he’s had all year. Yep, the one with an 8% CSW four-seamer and few cutters. That one. Nah, his changeup command was great (I know, it’s not normal), his curve was spectacular as always, and he made few four-seamer mistakes. The guy was marvelous.

Bailey Ober (MIN) vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Is this the Bailey Special? 6 innings, seven base runners, one run, and close to a strikeout per inning? I’m here for it, especially when the changeup is still doing good things.

Tyler Glasnow (TB) vs ATL (L) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

Atta boy Glasnow, it really does not matter who you face, does it? That’s cool with me, makes our decisions a lot easier.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The fastball was the called strike pitch you know and love, even if it wasn’t sitting down in the zone as we’re used to. Sadly, the elite loLoc% rates we know from the change and curve weren’t there, resulting in just six whiffs and five strikeouts, but at least they found outs and strikes. Blame it on the Pirates. Just for the fact it was this good of a start, of course.

Cody Bradford (TEX) @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 95 pitches.

Props to Bradford, who I still have zero faith in as he gave us a HAISTBMBWT?! with sub 90 mph heaters and mediocre sliders and changeups. This ain’t it.

Jordan Montgomery (STL) @ CWS (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 66 pitches.

He was cruising and then left with a hamstring injury. This means more than just for your fantasy teams – the Cardinals are looking to trade him at the deadline. Hey, maybe it means The Bear doesn’t have a chance to toss a clunker before getting dealt? And besides, I’d imagine it gets cleared up around the start of August, anyway. Gotta be positive. WHAT ABOUT MY FANTASY TEAM? Oh right. Well, if he hits the IL and you have few spots left, I don’t see him as being a stud through the final two months, but more of a Holly than a TobyUp to you if that’s worth stashing for about 25% of the season – this is all assuming he hits the IL and misses about 3-4 weeks. Who knows.

Corbin Burnes (MIL) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

Burnes is still weird with his cutter, failing to keep it low throughout the outing. He went to it a whopping 67% of the time here and didn’t get much support from his secondaries. So what you’re saying is that Burnes’ two issues this year – worse secondaries and higher cutters – were very much still present? Yeah you got it. That’s not great. Nope, and yet he survived. Thank him for that and give him a pat on the back to be better next time.

Carlos Rodón (NYY) vs CHC (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 69 pitches.

He’s back! And sat 95.5 mph, the same velocity as last season! I imagine he’ll get that mark even higher as he gets more pitches (remember, he ramps up across longer games) and he spotted the few sliders he threw beautifully, without a single one missing horribly – kinda wild to see in a Still ILLGet pumped y’all, the strikeouts will be there.

Justin Verlander (NYM) @ SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

The days of 30% strikeout rate Verlander are gone and I’ve already accepted that. Have you? Get that heater upstairs, bucko. You know you need to.

Austin Gomber (COL) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 82 pitches.

Look at Gomber go, surviving six frames with a ton of BABIP fortune as he earned just one strikeout. HAISTBMBWT?! It feels strange shouting that when I know none of you actually started him. I did. JUSTINE, PLEASE.

Ross Stripling (SF) vs COL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 65 pitches.

I wonder if the Giants are actually going to stretch out Stripling over time. Probably not, especially when his changeup is getting thrown just 11 times for 18% CSW.

Yu Darvish (SD) vs NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 100 pitches.

Another start, another interesting direction for Darvish. It was the first time in two weeks he took the bump, enduring an illness and the only prescription? MORE CURVEBALLS. The man tossed 22 hooks, more than any single pitch type of his eclectic arsenal, and while it worked at first, he lost the feel for it, ending with sub 50% strikes. Huh. The sweeper found the zone but wasn’t spotted well, the slider returned 19% CSW, and the only actual success stories here were the splitter going 10/13 strikes (yes, splitters were thrown 13 times!) and his sinker going 36% CSW. I do believe there is more to be had for Darvish in the future, though you’re likely fed up with him, especially after waiting two weeks for this. It turns Darvish and his 4.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP into a fascinating buy-low option. We’ve seen him go on monstrous stretches in the past when things click and I’m absolutely giving him a TIARA at the moment. Better days are ahead.

Sam Long (OAK) @ BOS (L) – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 31 pitches.

Wait, didn’t we already cover the Giants? I know, right? Long is now with the Athletics and I completely missed that one. Anyway, he opened for 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 84 pitches of Luis Medina and I’m as shocked as you are that Medina fanned so many. It was still mostly fastballs/slider with the occasional curve that went 5/11 strikes, which wouldn’t normally spell nine strikeouts as neither pitch is exceptional, except the slider was in this one. We’re talking 52% CSW and 9/23 whiffs as he located that thing beautifully. I didn’t think he had it in him. It’s likely a small blip of a peak and nothing to act upon – 52% CSW never sticks around – but at least we know there’s something exciting lurking inside.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

PQS is worse than we wanted from Wheeler, but that second frame was dumb and still frustrates me. At least the sweeper was good and his fastballs are still phenomenal.

Daniel Lynch (KC) @ CLE (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 73 pitches.

PQS is very welcome from Lynch as we finally saw more sliders than changeups once again. THANK YOU. The slowball was just 19% CSW with 1/16 whiffs while the slider was…a higher CSW but horribly located down the middle. I think we’ve found our problem. I just want one start of Lynch nailing his spots. I want to see what we get when there’s a proper TriForce of high heaters, gloveside sliders, and armside changeups. Is that so much to ask? Yes, that’s incredibly hard to do consistently. WELL I’M STILL ASKING FOR IT.

Trevor Williams (WSH) vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 110 pitches.

Ah yes, the good ole “wait, why would I ever consider this?” outing.

Tony Gonsolin (LAD) vs LAA (W) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 77 pitches.

A pair of homers allowed these runs as Gonsolin overall pitched decently well, keeping his heater up and splitter + breakers down. This is the actual regression we talk about, not the monster clunkers of games. This could have been a 1 ER game or so if luck went the way it had been for so long.

Griffin Canning (LAA) @ LAD (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 56 pitches.

Womp womp. We benched Canning for this one against the Dodgers, but I didn’t expect zero strikeouts in 2.2 frames. Sure, his secondaries weren’t as great as they normally are as he failed to move them east-west, but he’s not this poor. Monitor his upcoming matchups past the break, there’s still a whole lot to like about Canning in 15-teamers and as a streamer for 12-teamers.

Rich Hill (PIT) @ ARI (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 95 pitches.

Avoid Hill for the foreseeable future. Do not…grant Hill your favor.

Hunter Brown (HOU) vs SEA (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Hooooo boy. It’s a Dusty Donut as Brown earned eight-of-nine outs via way of the K, en route to a share of the Gallows Pole but the problems we’ve been outlining all year are still there. Mostly the question of “what is the best approach?”, this one featured legit four-seamer and curve separation, but the fastballs that fell to the middle were demolished as the slider failed to keep batters too honest with their poor upstairs locations. I see all of this and find it fascinating. Brown started as a low four-seamer guy, relying on called strikes to set up the curve and slider. As the season has progressed, he’s suddenly earned four-seamer whiffs as he’s traveled upstairs instead, and while the swinging strikes have come, it’s made his low fastballs more of a target for batters. Honestly, I think both approaches work for Hunter, he just needs to lean into one and perfect it. And regardless of the fastball, you have to get those sliders and curves in order. To make a long story longer, Brown has all the potential in the world and pitches for an organization I’m sure is outlining all of this to him. Keep the faith in the young arm – the Astros need him and he’ll get these weapons sharp in due time.

Dylan Cease (CWS) vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 107 pitches.

Ah yes, the ole Golden Goal with horrific ratios. If you need something else to scream “terrible BABIP” to you, I’m not sure what else I can provide you outside of the actual number. The slider was everything we wanted it to be, but the man got Singled Out and his curve and heater weren’t at their peaks. This is the life of Cease and what we accept for those luscious luscious strikeouts. Okay fine, not this as the ratios will be better, of course.

Andrew Abbott (CIN) @ MIL (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

Ah dangit. I really wanted to see the changeup soar again. I wanted the fastball to continue being the magical pitch that didn’t get clobbered when located well over the plate. I wanted the slider and curve to rack up the whiffs (2/27 combined here). I wanted the 100% LOB rate to…okay fine. This was a start that seemed inevitable for Abbott given what he’s gotten away with thus far, but against the Brewers? Really? Be happy he still gave you six strikeouts and this swing of the pendulum shouldn’t be too aggressive as you likely already understood he had zero shot of maintaining the fantastic stretch he already had. Abbott isn’t destined to be waiver wire fodder as you already know so hold tight and hope he makes the right adjustments for next time.

Alex Faedo (DET) vs TOR (L) – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

When you’re not too familiar with what a guy does, you definitely don’t start them against the Jays. For the illuminated, the slider is everything for Faedo and it was fine, not stellar. We move on.


Game of the Day 

Spencer Strider vs. Taj Bradley – This whole weekend of Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta is a ton of fun and it just keeps going here.

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: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.

Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx 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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