Hey Junis

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

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

Jakob Junis (SF) vs ARI (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 101 pitches.

I absolutely love it when a starter pitches to their full potential and that’s exactly what we saw from Jakob Junis tonight against the Diamondbacks, returning a glorious 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 101 pitches line. No, Junis hasn’t tossed more than 80 pitches since mid-June, which was also the last time he went five full innings.

This came out of nowhere as his slider returned 11/49 whiffs, his changeup returned 40% CSW, and the sinker tallied 28% called strikes. I will note this had a feeling of Blame it on the Diamondbacks, but to see Junis have his elite breaker and have both of his sinker and changeup working is something I’ve missed and still hoped we’d see this year.

The question comes if it means he’s worth a pickup. Well, no. It’s a pretty easy decision given Coors up next, and I don’t think I’d jump in after with the Twins following. Still, Junis isn’t likely rostered in your leagues and you can add him to the list of possible streamers in September. If he’s still tossing this many pitches, there will always be a chance.


Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:


Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 99 pitches.

Look, in the game of “which will overcome? The disaster of the Pirates or the disaster of Pivetta’s command?” I chose the former. Pivetta did what he could with spotty heaters and breakers that fell across the zone without a whole lot of precision, but ultimately, the Pirates just couldn’t do anything with the mistakes. That’s baseball, Suzyn. I wouldn’t start Pivetta against the Orioles.

Charlie Morton (ATL) vs NYM (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 97 pitches.

Ahhhh, lovely rebound Morton, earning a Gallows Pole as you finally went 50% curveballs. As the PL+ Discord was saying, “throw your best pitch more often and good things will happen.” 35% CSW and eleven whiffs on that breaker as the cutter got shelved and rightfully so. Now another challenge awaits against his former Houston squad and I’d love for him to carve them up as well. GO GIT ‘EM.

Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

Despite earning just seven whiffs on the outing, sitting only 92 mph, and returning just 55% strikes with his changeup, Kelly cruised through seven frames against the Giants. Sometimes, you just can’t explain it, shrug your shoulders, and keep starting the dang man. He and Martín Pérez are the two clearest Vargas Ruleof the year.

Sonny Gray (MIN) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ohhhhh dang, that’s a King Cole for Gray as – get this – his CURVEBALL HAS FINALLY WOKEN UP. We saw 8/31 whiffs on the pitch with a 39% CSW, allowing his sinker and four-seamer to land in the zone for called strikes aplenty. The slider is still – how do you say it? – bad, but as long as the curveball is this good, things will be just dandy for Sonny.

Justin Steele (CHC) @ WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! The slider is still good (and even came in a tick harder) as he commanded it effectively down-and-gloveside, while the heater was…not as good as last time, but hey, it’s Natty Lite! The Cardinals will give him more trouble so don’t jump into that one blind.

JP Sears (OAK) @ TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 76 pitches.

Another successful outing for Sears despite mediocre command and just two strikeouts. I know it’s a Sears discount, but you don’t want to buy in.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) vs SD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

The legend of Edward grows as he earned seven strikeouts across four shutout frames. He needed 91 pitches for just twelve outs though, and that should concern you a bit. He’s not as efficient as we want, but hot dang I love that changeup, and his slider has been performing well, here with a whopping 41% CSW. And now he gets the Athletics?! Yeah, I’m so in.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ ATL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 32 pitches.

Walker left this game early with back spasms. I imagine he’ll be able to make his next start against the Phils.

Garrett Hill (DET) @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.

I think I just hurt my left eyebrow as I raised it too quickly after seeing this line. No joke, but as I type in my odd pain, I keep staring at all of these fastballs and sliders in the middle of the plate without repercussions. Don’t go up the Hill here, I don’t care if that well is filled with Fiji water.

Zack Greinke (KC) @ MIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

Against the Twins, I’ll endure the 1.50 WHIP from Greinke if I needed to roll with it. Not sure I would have, though, but the Rays next should ease your stomachs. That’s fine in 12-teamers.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ NYY (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 78 pitches.

I’m glad this worked out despite the four-seamer being a bit chaotic in this one. I’d start him against the Royals next – that changeup was pretty and the slider is working well.

Dean Kremer (BAL) @ TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Kremer did an excellent job sticking down-and-gloveside with his pitches, including a cutter that returned 36% CSW and 74% strikes. Huge props here, and there’s a chance he repeats it against the Sawx next. Not my favorite chase, but if that command sticks, it could happen.

Robbie Ray (SEA) @ LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The slider returned a 25% SwStr rate, the four-seamer a blissful 54% CSW, and the sinker was precisely placed armside all night. I dig this a lot and I don’t take for granted how Ray found his answer to a productive year back in the spring. You had us going a bit in the first half, not gonna lie.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s a good day when I can sit back and watch Woodruff earn 11 whiffs on 97 mph heaters, especially the Dodgers. Maybe I was wrong to remove you from Tier 2…

José Quintana (STL) vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 75 pitches.

Yep, that’s a solid Quintana. Pretty decent pitch separation as we’ve seen and it’s all standard Quintana stuff here. I’m so happy he’s a Cardinal.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs TB (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 97 pitches.

Sure, we’ll take it, but just three strikeouts against the Rays? His cutter returned to action after going four-seamer/slider last time, but I think that’s more because the four-seamer command was off and he needed more fastball-esque pitches to jam right-handers inside. The Jays are a challenge and you’re still gonna start him.

Justin Verlander (HOU) @ CWS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna allow 3 ER for the second straight start and I’VE HAD IT UP TO HERE. The WHIP wasn’t great, either, but no, this isn’t the shoe “finally” dropping for Verlander. He still tossed seven frames and was served a Careful, Icarus with his final two runs coming in the final frame. He’ll carry you through the finish line.

Kyle Gibson (PHI) @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

Sure, it’s a PQSbut that’s a Win with a 1.00 WHIP + 11 strikeouts and you’re dang happy about it. We don’t see Gibson’s slider on very often, but when it is, by golly, 9/23 whiffs and 57% CSW is fun to watch. I’m glad he still has this in the tank and he’s earned your love for a repeat against the Reds, this time in Philly.

Kyle Freeland (COL) @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 100 pitches.

PQS from Freeland ain’t such a bad thing, but in standard leagues, you’re hurting if you did this. Sorry Kyle, I don’t know who Mr. Land is, but you’re going to have to free him without me. Really Nick? Really?!

Kohei Arihara (TEX) vs OAK (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

It’s Arihara! I kinda dug his cutter falling off the plate + the changeups and splitters (different pitches…?) falling in and out of the zone, but the fastballs are kinda whack and his slider is too hittable. There could be some promise here over time, just not now as he was one out away from a VVVPQS.

José Suarez (LAA) vs SEA (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 82 pitches.

He’s a deep streaming option and he nearly got there. It’s part of his spectrum of outcomes and it could be better against the Rays – don’t give him the José quite yet.

Dylan Cease (CWS) vs HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.

The streak hath come to an end as Cease showcased his floor against a strong offense. The slider was great, the four-seamer and curve were not, returning a 9% and 10% CSW respectively. Added together is a 19% CSW. Not combined, ADDED! He’s done so well that he’s deserved a One Night Bland nearly more than anyone, but I can’t help myself but worry. This is the fear, after all. Naaaah, it’s just one(ish) start. He’s fine. Well, he’s fiiiiiiiine.

Ryan Pepiot (LAD) @ MIL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.

Did you see this coming? No? Seriously?

Sean Manaea (SD) @ MIA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 64 pitches.

Blegh. Manaea, you have a lovely schedule. Can you please figure out your heater and secondaries? Suitman whispers in my ear 89.1 mph on his heater?! That’s two ticks down and pretty scary to see…but he also gets Natty Lite next and he still earned 35% CSW on said sinker…ugh, I don’t like this.

Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 97 pitches.

Corbin was pretty dang consistent in locating not just his sinker, but his slider armside, too, as he tried to backdoor the pitch instead of his old methods of sitting down-and-gloveside. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. What a year, credit to him for at least trying something new.

Alek Manoah (TOR) vs BAL (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 107 pitches.

Aces gonna struggle against Oriole magic. The slider hasn’t been returning the whiffs nearly as much as it should as of late (2/29 here) and while the four-seamer is still great, his sinker wasn’t spotted well either and this wasn’t peak Manoah. I think he’s going through his adversity now and once he’s on the other end of it, he’ll be locked in the rest of the year. Could be as soon as the Yankees up next given how cold their bats have been.

Zach Plesac (CLE) vs DET (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 103 pitches.

Oh dangit. It’s the Tigers and Plesac has had a good slider & changeup as of late. You’ve seen how many pitchers waltz through the lineup, twisting and turning as they elegantly snatch a strikeout here, one-two…a strikeout there, three-four…Now he gets the Padres and while that could work out, it’s fringe 12-teamer. Likely not worth the risk.

Mitch Keller (PIT) vs BOS (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 46 pitches.

He does host the Reds next…nah. You can do better.

T.J. Zeuch (CIN) vs PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

Oh dear. Three whiffs? One strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?! It’s not every day you see a manager allow their pitcher to give up 11 hits, you know.


Game of the Day


Roansy Contreras vs. Boston Red Sox – He’s back! And I don’t want to start him! But I’m still excited to see how he’s looking on the bump these days.

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.

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 “Hey Junis”

  1. Jayson says:

    Cease awful outing against the Astros just demonstrated that a large part of his success over the last 2 months was thanks to the fact he didn’t face a strong offense like the Astros. He faced an elite offense and he got destroyed. Chapter closed. Just like with Skubal during his elite run before to become destroyed here and there.
    Now that said, I wouldn’t worry for Cease. We just need to bench him anytime he will pitch against the few strongest offenses. But at some point does it mean he really is an AGA? Not sure.

    Manaea is a trap. When it will be written? 4.83 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. 128 Ks in 123 IP which means there isn’t any awesome K potential. Safe drop for me even in 12 teams leagues. You better stream someone than rostering him.

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