Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Thin Gray Line

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.  

Jon Gray (TEX) @ CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches.

We see pitchers who go through hot and cold stretches plenty in fantasy baseball and Jon Gray may be the best example. Sadly, after yesterday’s 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches performance against the Guardians – his second straight game failing to go four innings – it’s likely time to move on.

Sometimes it’s just that simple. Gray has a great slider, but when his four-seamer isn’t in rhythm (well, really, everything yesterday with spotty command all around), it’s a Huascar Rule that should not be broken. With two dangerous starts against the Mariners on the horizon, my hope for his last outing to be a small blip looks to instead be a premonition for the rest of September. Look elsewhere.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Lucas Giolito (CLE) vs TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 100 pitches.

Pfffffft, that’s why you’re still holding on Giolito. The great news here isn’t the King Coleit’s @KCR + CIN left on the schedule that allows you to comfortably hold Giolito as his skills finally get the results they deserve. But he was down to 92.2 mph! Okay, that’s fair. Command was stellar, though, and we’ve seen that go up and down all year. Stick with it.

José Berríos (TOR) vs BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

Gotta love Berríos, still coming through for you this deep into the year. He was so rough last year, looked like more of the same after two starts, and has been gold since. Incredible.

Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) vs CHC (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.

Ayyyy no homers! Pfaadt did a great job landing sinkers inside and getting his sweeper off the plate. Did he get away with a lot of four-seamers over the plate? Absolutely, but at least there’s more direction here with sinkers and sweepers and that’s promising to me. Still gotta figure out how much I like his four-seamer, though. I don’t think I do. He gets the Yankees + White Sox next and it’s hard to deny him those matchups.

Zack Greinke (KC) vs HOU (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 48 pitches.

Greinke does what Greinke does as Angel Zerpa followed for 4.0 IP of production against the Astros, thanks to a fantastic slider and elevated sinkers that worked as a southpaw. This is the quietest final year of a Hall of Famer I’ve ever seen. What about Zerpa? I wouldn’t be shocked if this is the last Win he saw this year.

Logan Webb (SF) @ COL (ND) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 104 pitches.

Whoa, that’s awesome. Suitman whispers in my ear WITH HIS SLIDER?! SOUND THE ALARM. We haven’t seen Webb have his slider dominate in a long time and he made it more in this one (THANK YOU), allowing it to return 10/36 whiffs. That’s a huge deal as it’s the final piece of the puzzle for Webb as he’s turned away from the breaker for a long time. Spotting it well just outside the zone helps, too, but to see him in that rhythm and killing it en route to a Gallows Pole made me sit up in my chair.

Tarik Skubal (DET) @ LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Yes, he should be earning a Gallows Pole against the Angels, though it’s not how you’d expect. This wasn’t four-seamers dominating (just 2/30 whiffs as he struggled to elevate it consistently once again. It’s still 96 mph, though, and that’s wonderful), this was his changeup going nuclear with 11/27 whiffs and beautifully spotting it down-and-armside. It’s awesome seeing the pitch come alive this year and with a legit secondary in his pocket, now he can focus on the slider/curve stepping up, too, while the four-seamer has room to grow, too. He can have his cake and eat it too. Just get two cakes. 

Zach Eflin (TB) @ BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

That’s Eflin with a good cutter, which is lovely to see as it was terrible, better but not great, and now stellar (15/21 strikes with just one hit off a cutter inside off the plate that was somehow a solo shot, the first of Heston Kjerstad’s career). Gotta love him.

Chase Anderson (COL) vs SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 101 pitches.

Oh, NOW you do well against the Giants. Not inside Oracle Park, nooooooo, inside Coors. Got it. Take your Gold Star and think about what you’ve done.

Johan Oviedo (PIT) vs NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.

Oviedo’s slider messed up the Yankees in what I considered a Cherry Bomb situation with a little more upside than usual. The Yankees really are bad against strong RHP sliders. Don’t touch this in Cincy.

David Peterson (NYM) vs CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 95 pitches.

He was cruising until an unearned run in the fifth and a two-run shot in the sixth. It’s a Philly but ten strikeouts after I said “Hey, he’s not going to earn 10 whiffs on his four-seamer again” and…I was right?! Just 1/25 four-seamer whiffs here, with 3/26 on his sinker. But you also said his slider wasn’t good anymore. Oh right! This was awesome to see 8/12 slider whiffs, though nearly all were thrown in two-strike counts and six of those whiffs were as a putaway pitch. Why is that bad? Because he needs to get to two-strikes in order to have a chance for his slider to be spotted perfectly and have these results. It’s still weird and not dependable enough to me to chance it against the Phillies. I know it’s two straight high strikeout games, but seeing them as products of two different skills that were not present in both is often a sign of inconsistency, not breadth of ways to succeed.

Cristian Javier (HOU) @ KC (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.

WE’LL TAKE IT. The slider wasn’t good, but the fastball did enough against a poor offense. Phew. WE GOT ONE. I’m not trying this against the Orioles or Mariners, sadly.

Bailey Ober (MIN) @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ayyyyy, that’s close to a Bailey SpecialI had no expectations for 93 pitches after tossing just 65 in his sole minor league start and I’m so glad to see him be the man he’s supposed to be. He shouldn’t have been sent down in the first place, ya’ll. The skills were there save for his changeup and slider being a little off. Now he has a curve that he’s featuring a little more too and while it may help in the long run, it’s not a gamechanger at the moment. If he is firmly in the rotation now, he heads to Cincy regardless of six or five-man (It could be six-man or maybe Keuchel is ousted). I’m going for it.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna walk three early and then settle down to give you a decent ERA in five. Such a weird game where he didn’t have anything but his fastball, but the best pitchers are the ones who find a way to survive.

Aaron Nola (PHI) @ STL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 97 pitches.

Sigh. I’ll stop. He’s now 38% sinkers vs. 20% four-seamers and while I appreciate that he’s trying to find something that works, it’s clearly not this either. I should mention, that may have been reactionary to his four-seamer command being horrible and needing to turn away from it, rather than a mental shift. Poor guy isn’t there right now.

Brayan Bello (BOS) @ TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 101 pitches.

Ummm what. The slider was helpful, but this was really sinkers and changeups at their peak. This is the ultimate ceiling you should not anticipate with regularity from Bello with his approach, but hot dang is it wonderful to see.

Seth Lugo (SD) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.

PQS isn’t ideal, but this is still great as Lugo is arguably beating Hendricks for the Spider-Man this year. Maybe he’s more of a Holly though…

Bobby Miller (LAD) @ SEA (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

We had some Careful, Icarus here as Bobby 100 ran into trouble in the sixth as the wax dribbled off the side of the envelope. What does that mean. HE DIDN’T SEAL IT WELL, OKAY? Ahem, Miller’s biggest flaw is lack of heater and slider dominance, flaws that I expect to get better with more time on the mound. His curve has developed plenty across the season and seeing his changeup look filthy with 43% CSW was an absolute joy. However, just six sliders and a pair of heaters that aren’t getting the easy outs you want for just 4/43 whiffs and 26% CSW isn’t quite enough. He’ll get there, making a potential Alcantara/Wheeler rise to dominance in future seasons.

Wade Miley (MIL) vs WSH (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Yep, that’s Miley. He’s a Toby and while you got a Philly here, it’s a Win and nothing to get excited about. He’s always about one run and two baserunners different each start.

Hunter Greene (CIN) @ NYM (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

Uggggh. He had this until a three-run shot with two outs in the sixth. COME ON. Don’t worry about the tick down in velocity, it’s still 97/98 mph and all good. I really do love his general BSB command these days as the pitch separation is fantastic. I do wonder if he can introduce something like a sinker to surprise batters at times to keep them from crushing four-seamers when he makes mistakes. Yes, everyone should have a sinker for same-handedness batters that lands off the plate. It’s generally easier to introduce than a new secondary, but I know, it’s not for everyone.

Jack Flaherty (BAL) vs TB (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 79 pitches.

Jeeeez, he’s throwing harder with some fantastic breakers down and yet, it’s not working. I really don’t get it. I think he’s pitching super well and the results just aren’t there. Feel free to drop if you want (that makes all the sense), I’m going to start him against the Guardians. I believe in him. The curve and slider are there.

Johnny Cueto (MIA) vs ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 70 pitches.

We were close to Cueto magic and some solid four-seamer command, but yeah, it’s Atlanta. Womp womp.

Griffin Canning (LAA) vs DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 109 pitches.

We all circled this outing and while he did give us the strikeouts we wanted, an ER worse than a VPQS is pretty dang bad against the Tigers. It was a constant struggle from solo shots to a run here and there, all thanks to everything landing far too high. Hung curveballs and sliders galore, while his changeup rarely landed under the zone (albeit, mostly a great pitch, though, just away enough in the lower third to left-handers). He was so close to dominance here, he just couldn’t make the adjustment to get out and get those pitches down. I’m still going for it against the Twins next + the Athletics after.

George Kirby (SEA) vs LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 81 pitches.

The Dodgers are stupid good and that’s how it is. He nearly pulled it off before two more in the sixth (Careful, Icarus) but at least the strikeouts and WHIP are all good. He had some pretty moments with the slider, and I hope we’ll see more games of it taking over down the road – it’ll turn those 15 whiffs into 20+ and create an absolute monster of a pitcher. Just gotta get that thing consistently down-and-gloveside.

Zack Thompson (STL) vs PHI (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 89 pitches.

The Phils are good, yo. Thomspon is an interesting 2024 arm, but for September, it’s a bit of a Cherry Bomb scenario without the best ceiling. The Brewers x2 ahead is for consideration mostly in NL-Only, not 12-teamers at this point.

Bryce Elder (ATL) @ MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

He’s a Toby against middling teams and sadly this one didn’t go his way as he struggled to get the slider working as he normally does, leaning more on changeups than usual. Not really his game and we now move on with the Phils + Cubs up next. Those aren’t the matchups you want.

Jake Irvin (WSH) @ MIL (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

The curve was solid, the rest wasn’t. Welcome to Irvin at 94 mph (and even at 95/96, it’s likely the same).

Sean Newcomb (OAK) vs SD (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 79 pitches.

Well yeah, it’s Newcomb against an elite LHP hitting offense. Still so weird to see him getting MLB innings again.

Jesse Scholtens (CWS) vs MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

There is one person who is excited for Scholtens when he pitches. It’s Jesse’s girl!

Justin Steele (CHC) @ ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.

Oh. Ummmm. He threw a ton of pitches down the heart of the plate and got punished for it, mostly on the slider that floated up often, including two homers. I feel weird talking about this. We’ve seen Steele without his best command for over a month now and yet there’s been a sense of “welp, batters can’t punish it so surely it’s okay” and here’s a start that throws that idea out of the water. Makes you wonder, you know? Nick, it’s just one start. Oh, absolutely, so we keep starting and ignore all of it. Just interesting.


Game of the Day 

Clayton Kershaw vs. Bryce Miller – Young vs. Old in this—IT’S COLE RAGANS DAY Y’ALL. Also really curious about Sawyer Gipson-Long

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 Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on X)

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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