Steele The Show

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

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

Justin Steele (CHC) vs WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

We’ve seen a lot of pitchers take down Natty Lite as of late and it may mean you’d like to brush off Justin Steele going 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches tonight against the Nationals. I get it, he’s not this good, right?

Well, that’s 19 strikeouts in two games now. Last time, we saw incredible pitch separation and while this one wasn’t nearly as spectacular, his four-seamer still earned 10 whiffs, while the slider earned a solid 62% strike rate and made life tough for Nationals batters. I’m buying more into Steele these days as that breaker is returning just a 13% HC rate (league average is 23%!), meaning he needs to survive with his heater on a given night for success. I’m a little skeptical in that regard – the pitch holds an 8% SwStr rate for the year and the 16 total four-seamer whiffs between this start and last seem more like an anomaly than legitimacy – but at least there’s promise for matchups like these.

And speaking of which, guess who he faces next week? That’s right, Natty Lite again. Sign me up.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Touki Toussaint (LAA) @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 71 pitches.

Oh dang, it’s Touki! Huge props to him for nailing his curve and splitter down in the zone, but the heater is still all kinds of mediocre and I can’t believe this precision is here to stay. This was a mix of having an exceptional night + facing the Athletics and I wouldn’t test it against the Mariners. I imagine some will see the name and wonder if he’ll repeat the success he had a few years ago, and I have to preach caution there. His stuff isn’t good enough and the command is still in question.

Kyle Wright (ATL) @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 77 pitches.

The curve was great, the fastball was…slow. We’re talking two full ticks down to just 92.5 mph and it’s obviously worrisome. He gets the Mets next and it may be wise to sit him for it – the Mets are a strong squad and that velocity drop is abnormal, even if he performed well with it.

Kris Bubic (KC) vs CWS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches.

Hmmmmm. I’m so conflicted. That WHIP is terrible because his changeup is all over the place, but the curve did its job inside the zone and the fastball sat not just 92 mph, but a firm 93. If only he weren’t facing the Twins next. If he holds 92-93 mph there, I’m in for the Rays after.

Robbie Ray (SEA) vs NYY (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 115 pitches.

Phew. Sure, that WHIP ain’t great, but he survived the Yankees and that’s a cool thing. The four-seamer was terrrrrrrible as he couldn’t spot it in the zone nor elevate it, leading to plenty of sinkers armside to navigate through the lineup. Expect that pitch to be back against the, who is it? The Angels. OH THANK HEAVENS.

Josiah Gray (WSH) @ CHC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 96 pitches.

Solid rebound from Josiah, even if he earned just 5/56 whiffs between his slider and curve (1/14 CSW on the curve, blegh). He was able to throw the slide piece for strikes on demand, but the rest of his approach was a bit too erratic for my liking. But he pitched well! He sure did. Oh no, don’t make me say it. The truth will set you free. Sigh. Blame it on the Cubs.

José Quintana (STL) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.

Wow, Quintana showed Mikolas how it’s done in Coors…even if it came with a 1.50 WHIP. His BSB is still alive and I wonder if some of y’all would have started him if Mikolas hadn’t been made an example of on Tuesday. Just a thought. He gets Rockie Road next and we’re all here for that.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) @ KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 96 pitches.

The magical season continues…well, magical ERA season as the WHIP climbs to a respectable 1.22 clip after this, but hot dang, the man is doing his best to save the White Sox season. Don’t let the man down, Chicago.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’m glad Walker was able to take advantage of the Reds on the road, but this wasn’t a proper redemption start, sadly. Atlanta is next and I’m a little hesitant there as the velocity is still down + the splitter and slider are nothing special.

Noah Syndergaard (PHI) vs MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

I’m glad Thor was able to rebound from Natty Lite, but that WHIP is a problem once again and I’m getting flashbacks. He’s such a thrower, not a pitcher.

JP Sears (OAK) vs LAA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 72 pitches.

With Paul Blackburn going on the IL, Sears made his first start for the A’s and it worked…despite throwing many hittable heaters, floating his changeup, and having little to zero command of his slider. There’s no need to visit Sears right now on the wire, I don’t trust it against Texas. Not the worst flier for AL-Only leagues, but what I saw tonight ain’t it.

Glenn Otto (TEX) @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

That’s a Dusty Donut alright, but I’m digging Otto’s curve and slider these days as he’s trying to pull off the BSBI wonder if his next start against Oakland is the start to jump in on. Like Ollivander, I wonder…

Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 85 pitches.

Whoa, Springs earned a King Cole on the back of his changeup looking like the pitch that wow’d us when he first got the starting gig. We’re talking nine whiffs and a 42% CSW, allowing the four-seamer to land in the zone comfortably for a 46% CSW of its own. Throw in some sliders with a 61% strike rate, and you’ve got yourself a stew going. I think he’s over the hump that plagued him around the All-Star Break, but I can’t tell you I feel comfortable starting him against the Yankees next time out. That’s a questionable start for me.

Aaron Civale (CLE) @ DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 62 pitches.

Awww, LET THE MAN PITCH. This could have easily worked out if they pushed him just a little more, but that’s why I coined Still ILLI should have listened to my dang self. Good news: He gets them again and I’ll make a phone call to make sure he goes 75 this time. Don’t worry, I got this.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs TB (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s one glorious WHIP you’ve got there. Velocity is still flirting with 97 mph and while the sinker didn’t earn whiffs, it did its job earning strikes. Blame the curve and change, if you must.

Justin Verlander (HOU) vs TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna fail to go 1 ER or fewer AND IT’S A DISGRACE. But seriously, he’s dope and makes us feel dope.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) @ SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 93 pitches.

That’s a Gallows Pole for Cortes as the four-seamer was cooking at nearly 93 mph, earning 43% CSW and eleven whiffs. Meanwhile, he axed the cutter in favor of breakers and it absolutely worked, making me wonder if we’ll see a hint of this BSB in the future. I’m glad we have dope Cortes back.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 108 pitches.

You’ll absolutely take a PQS from Pivetta here. It’s not a resurgence of fantasy relevance in my book, but if you’re a desperate manager, this felt good. Yes, the command is still blegh.

Mitch Keller (PIT) @ ARI (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 97 pitches.

I’m glad he got a Win – yay – but just four whiffs is all the collar-tugging awkwardness I need to turn around and nope out of here. That just ain’t right.

Sean Manaea (SD) vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

This barely helps ya’ll with the four strikeouts. I’m glad his changeup is waking up and hey! He remembered he has a slider. I just don’t know how that heater will perform on a given night and makes me wonder if he’s ultimately a Cherry BombAt least he gets Miami next and that seems safe. But so was this start against the Giants! True, but Miami is like barking dog – it’s rooooough.

Drew Hutchison (DET) vs CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

You’re not actually leaning on Hutch to get through your season, right? Right. Okay, cool. Welp, see ya later.

Sonny Gray (MIN) @ LAD (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 80 pitches.

Womp womp. The breakers are still lacking – 14% CSW between them – and Sonny isn’t pitching like the man of old, which doesn’t play against the Dodgers. Fortunately, it’s the Royals next so that should be fine. We should see the slider/curve come back at some point soon.

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ PHI (L) – 7.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna Careful, Icarus as he allowed 3 ER in the eighth inning, effectively losing the game for the Marlins. Life is pain. I’m ready to see a stat about how Sandy allows the most runs in the eighth because he’s faced the most batters in the eighth. Get ready for it and keep starting the man.

Ryan Pepiot (LAD) vs MIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 84 pitches.

We didn’t even know it was him until recently and we weren’t interested. I’m still amazed how well regarded his changeup was in the minors for it to be pretty dang mediocre in the majors. Maybe that’ll click one day.

Madison Bumgarner (ARI) vs PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 104 pitches.

The curve and cutter were good enough against the Pirates to earn eight strikeouts, but the cutter and heater got smacked around as he located a fair amount in the heart of the zone. Can’t do that, especially with just 90 mph heaters. This was a questionable start against the Pirates and it means we don’t look toward Bumgarner save for the best matchups moving forward. The Giants are not one of those matchups.

Kyle Freeland (COL) vs STL (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Here at the bottom, there isn’t much else to do but mutter “yep, that seems right,” sigh, and move on.

T.J. Zeuch (CIN) @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Ah yes, TJZ, the UCL surgery of the future.

Jakob Junis (SF) @ SD (ND) – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 61 pitches.

Ouch. You jumped off before this one, yeah? Good.

Game of the Day


Edward Cabrera vs. Kyle Gibson – Cabrera held just an 18% zone rate last time out and it led to eight strikeouts. I’m super curious how this one goes.

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.

Photos by Dustin Bradford//Icon Sportswire and Char Beck/Unsplash | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

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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