Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – I Fried, A Hero

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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Max Fried (ATL) @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 72 pitches.

If you’re not familiar with all of the ridiculous terms we’ve come up with at PL over the years, I have a rule called Still ILLthat is rooted in pitchers often needing time to shake off rust and ramp up their pitch counts when they return from the IL, making them a general avoid in their first start back.

I have acknowledged that this rule applies a little less recently as we have more information than ever before with Triple-A Statcast data at our fingertips. We can check their velocities, individual pitch success, command, and how stretched out they are before they return, making it easier to determine if the rule actually applies. In addition, I have given exceptions to former aces as the floor during their return is higher than those who had success pre-injury but don’t have a long track record.

This is all to say that I considered Max Fried Still ILL yesterday due to just 60 pitches in his last rehab start + not looking at his peak in that start + the Cubs being an incredibly hot offense, which had me place him in the top of the Questionable Start tier. And he made me look dumb, as he earned a brilliant Win against Chicago: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 72 pitches.

His four-seamer was harder at 94/95 mph, he earned strikes with his curve, his slider was deadly, and the change…well that needs a little refinement. This is the ace we wanted when we drafted Fried in March and with such a great offense behind him, I’ll have him at the top of Tier 3 for about two more starts before likely giving him the AGA tag (assuming he doesn’t do anything to suggest otherwise). Fried is the hero we need for our fantasy teams down the stretch. Welcome back.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Zack Littell (TB) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

That slider was not a pristine offering, but the Tigers being the Tigers, it earned 34% CSW while the four-seamer was chucked down the middle for plenty of outings and enough called strikes. You already know what I’m going to say – the dry toast against a free-swinging team like the Tigers should’ve been a dead giveaway (HAISTBMBWT?!– as we don’t chase this one against the Guardians next. He’ll get the starts with McClanahan on the shelf now, though. I still can’t believe they didn’t get one more starter at the deadline.

David Peterson (NYM) @ BAL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 52 pitches.

He’s in the process of getting stretched out and you can likely tell this isn’t the thing to chase. Three walks and one strikeout and like in the fourth year of wearing velcro sneakers (no, they didn’t light up and I always wish they did), there’s nothing to latch onto here.

Bobby Miller (LAD) @ SD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 82 pitches.

Blegh. Weird seeing me say that with just 1 ER, but Miller wasn’t efficient, forcing an exit after 82 pitches across just eleven outs. His slider returned a 46% strike rate, the changeup just 50%, and he earned just three whiffs on secondaries. It’s frustrating as I know Miller has all the tools and is often so close to executing it all, it’s just a little off. It’s normal for rookies and I’m excited to be in on Miller for 2024, but I’m recognizing that I need to bake more of this lack of polish into my expectations for 2023.

Yu Darvish (SD) vs LAD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 82 pitches.

The Dodgers are strong y’all and it’s cool to see Darvish once again be opponent-agnostic as he does what he does regardless of the players in the box. He leaned hard on the sweeper in this one and it came through for 40% CSW, while the sinker was the fastball of choice and everything else showed up here and there. If Darvish has that brilliant breaker, he has a chance each time he pitches, so we give him the thumbs up and keep starting him. That’s now four brilliant outings in his last five.

Jordan Montgomery (TEX) vs MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 80 pitches.

It’s a wonderful feeling for fans to get a strong outing in the first start of their newly acquired pitcher. It must feel great for The Bear as well, earning a Win (yes, a Win!) and the adoration of his teammates and fans. I still think your changeup needs more work, though. He should be a borderline Holly moving forward.

Hunter Brown (HOU) @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Yesssss. The four-seamer stayed mostly up, the curve got strikes in the zone, and the slider was incredibly effective, even if it wasn’t the whiff-heavy pitch we want it to be. It’s a better approach from Brown, not perfect, but better, and I hope he keeps taking small steps like this one. The whiffs will come in time.

Logan Allen (CLE) vs CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

That’s a Dusty Donut with a poor WHIP, four walks, and under a strikeout per frame as Allen’s velocity is still struggling to sit 91 mph. I really loved the changeup and sweeper approach, though, and the command was better than the four walks would suggest. It was an approach choice, not a pitcher struggling to find strikes. There’s a huge difference there.

Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

Okay good, we’re all set with Kelly now. Sure, it was just 3/23 whiffs on the changeup, but the pitch earned a ton of strikes and the fastballs + curve did the rest. He’s past the injury stuff now.

Dean Kremer (BAL) vs NYM (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

We’ll take it. We saw very chaotic command here from Kremer as he dug deep and found a way to get through five frames without his best stuff. I really do like that cutter, though, and that pitch alone makes me more of a believer than in the past with Kremer. Sadly, it’s the Astros up next and we avoid that one. I think you’re safe for the Padres after it, though.

Bailey Ober (MIN) vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ahhhh, we’re much closer to the Bailey Special now than the weird start last time out and it’s good to have it back. One more frame and a few more strikeouts next time, k thx.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs WSH (ND) – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 106 pitches.

At least the sinker is back in the mix and was spotted well for called strikes and a few outs. I’ll take it. It looks like a Vargas Rule for now with Ashcraft and the slider was fantastic (5.52 PLV!), so if he has decent enough cutter command, he still has that chance to do well (4.92 PLV here is fine with me). I just don’t think he’s more than a PEAS for the long term. I hope I’m wrong.

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ BOS (W) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 89 pitches.

Nope. His slider was better as he located them down more consistently, but the sinker and four-seamer are not what we want and the changeup is the friend you invite to be nice. They aren’t mean or anything, but they just do their own thing. Invite that friend, y’all. You have no idea what it means to them. Anyway, I don’t trust Manoah improving those heaters enough to become reliable down the stretch – I checked after I wrote this, PLV hated it too, with a 4.50 PLV (6th percentile) on his four-seamer. Yikes.

Patrick Corbin (WSH) @ CIN (ND) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 83 pitches.

That’s as good of a start as you could ask for from Corbin. On a day like today, I guess this earns the Gold Star with the PQSSure, why not. Enjoy, Patrick.

Mike Clevinger (CWS) @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.

Yeah, that looks right. Nothing to salvage here and I’d avoid him completely.

Chris Flexen (COL) @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 72 pitches.

They let him go five frames and while it’s obviously rough and should not be trusted, at least he gave himself the chance for that dub and maybe there’s some rare hidden streamer value down the road when he goes more than 80 pitches? Okay fine, probably not.

Quinn Priester (PIT) @ MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.

Nope. If you’re looking for some fun, it’s hardly Quinn. Ayyyyyy.

Jesús Luzardo (MIA) @ TEX (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 90 pitches.

I so wanted to give Luzardo the AGA tag after this start, hoping he’d come through against the Rangers. And here’s the thing, he allowed three solo shots (two from Adolis) and it hurt my soul. He’s right there y’all, much better than it was last time out against the Tigers. You don’t get a Golden Goal against the Rangers when pitching terribly.

Reese Olson (DET) vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Blegh. I’m waiting for the changeup to overwhelm and fastballs to make me fans again, but the heaters are sub 20% O-Swing and the changeup went 1/16 whiffs. This wasn’t just the Rays doing all the work. Olson needs more.

James Paxton (BOS) vs TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Blegh. No AGA for you. He pounded four-seamers into the zone, but they were lower than ideal and the rest of his stuff wasn’t reliable enough to save him. I still love Paxton and this start doesn’t change it, but I so wanted to give him that label. So it goes.

Jordan Lyles (KC) @ PHI (W) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 91 pitches.

Hey, he got a Win. That’s a Win. Obviously. No, like a Win for him. Right. Okay I’m just going to avoid this and move on.

Aaron Nola (PHI) vs KC (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

It was four-seamer/curve again (80% of his pitches) and yet four of his eight hits came on the rest of his offerings, including both of the home runs he allowed. Frustrating, isn’t it? Literally the ONLY cutter he threw was a home run. Don’t think we’ll see more of those. What about the other longball? Funny you ask, it was also an exception as it was the only HR he’s allowed on a changeup all season. Ouch. It was one of those nights.

Luis Severino (NYY) vs HOU (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 87 pitches.

Don’t write this off because it was the Astros – Severino didn’t deserve success regardless of the opponent. It really is incredible how his secondaries are just so ineffective these days. His slider here returned a PLA of 6.32 (PLA takes the pitch’s PLV and puts it on the ERA scale to be more relatable), even with decent locations. It’s just been that poor of an offering and it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense how these pitches have gotten so much worse. He’s not worth the stash.

Colin Rea (MIL) vs PIT (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh no. I was excited by Rea’s sweeper last time out and thought this was a decent shot at success against the mediocre Pirates and it went south like NYC grandparents on their 70th birthday. The very best label I can give Rea is a Cherry Bomb and even that is weird since it was just one game of skills I’d actually want him to have.

Luis Castillo (SEA) @ LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 100 pitches.

This game was supposed to be the most fun and it was instead an absolute nightmare. What’s bonkers to me is that it featured some brilliant pitch separation from Castillo, command that just isn’t normally seen from a full-start perspective from Castillo. It doesn’t mean he didn’t make mistakes at poor times n all, but the raw skills are very clearly there. In fact, we saw 33% SwStr on his changeup as it went 7/21 whiffs. THE ONE START IT WORKED. There’s your Gallows Pole and I’m still stoked for the future.

Reid Detmers (LAA) vs SEA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

Everything was down a tick – likely because he tossed 29 pitches in the first and labored through this one as his velocity dipped across the outing – and Detmers didn’t have the slider command we want. It has been a horrible four-week stretch from Detmers now and I was believing it was due to rough opponents, but to see him come out of it and still struggle makes it so hard to keep the faith. And now he gets the Astros and then the Rays?! Ugggh, that’s another bench or two as we twiddle our thumbs and hope he’s able to help down the stretch. I don’t blame you for dropping as every start matters more these days, especially if you’re fighting for a playoff spot. Get the stream you need – I can’t tell you it’s a lock for Detmers to come through after.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 72 pitches.

Go easy on him. It’s Atlanta and he didn’t have terrible command. You’re not supposed to start Hendricks here. I really don’t think we consider starts like these enough when we look at a player’s ratios at the end of the year. You didn’t start him Hendricks here and it shouldn’t be considered in the grand scheme as Hendricks isn’t in the tier of “set and forget” pitchers. I started Hendricks. Oh. I’m so sorry and I hope you’ve learned something. You’re allowed to make a mistake once, not twice.

Adam Wainwright (STL) vs COL (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

It was Rockie Road and still an obvious avoid. Don’t.


Game of the Day


Corbin Burnes vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I so hope this is the day Burnes regains his AGA label.

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 courtesy of MLB Photos | 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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