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.
Shane Bieber (CLE) vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.
With a drop in velocity and underperforming breakers in 2022, Shane Bieber battled to get to 200 strikeouts in as many innings. Entering this year, we were hoping for a return to form with his secondaries (velocity was a longshot), but we were met with a continued decline, leading up to an early July injury. After waiting over two months, we finally got more Bieber as he took the mound against the Orioles and it was…not great: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.
Save for a lovely matchup against the Tigers next (I think you’re okay starting him there, you don’t need to read on), I don’t have great news. What we want to see from Bieber is two things: curves & sliders earning all the whiffs + cutters and four-seamers earning called strikes. What we don’t want are a lot of balls in play off heaters (six here is meh) and a fastball sitting near 90 mph without his breakers supporting him. Welp, that’s what we got with just 3/22 breaker whiffs (18% CSW), a decent but unexceptional cutter, and a changeup that was detrimental when sparingly thrown.
He’s not there. We saw him in 2021 in a similar situation, throwing two uninspiring starts before having himself a fantastic campaign the following year. It’s possible he repeats that script, though I think Bieber’s curve and slider are far from their former selves and it makes for an awfully mediocre arm.
Let’s hope it’s just a Still ILL and he exhibits the man we want to see against the Tigers.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Sean Manaea (SF) @ LAD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 85 pitches.
Duuuuude! I can’t express enough how much joy it gives me to see Manaea take full advantage of the opportunity the Giants are FINALLY giving him after enduring a season of bulk relief. He’s doing far better at pitch separation than in the past, though moreso with his four-seamer and change as this was a step back with his slider (50% were excellent, FWIW). Manaea has taken his horrid schedule and turned it into a Gold Star each time, but with all the BABIP on his side here, are we willing to spin the wheel one more time against the Dodgers? I just can’t. I really wish I could, but I can’t. He gets very little vertical break on his four-seamer and it makes me skeptical that he can keep getting away with it. Womp womp.
Jameson Taillon (CHC) vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.
YES. I’m super proud of Taillon here as he’s been getting a lot of negativity despite improving his skills (not results) prior to this one. After getting pushed back, he took full advantage of this start against Rockie Road, nailing a double play in the sixth to help him get to the Quality Start at over 100 pitches. He lived upstairs with heaters (and down when needed) while doing a fantastic job of keeping his cutter and sweeper down and armside. It’s exactly who he should be. I’m upset he’ll get Atlanta in his final start of the year; otherwise, I’d be all for letting him fly.
Luke Weaver (NYY) vs ARI (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 78 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! Weaver was able to go nearly six frames on sub 80 pitches and massive props to him. The four-seamer had its moments, while the change and cutter earned enough strikes to keep him in cruise control. I ain’t chasing it, but this was cool. Have yourself a Birthday Party.
Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.
It’s a bit frustrating to see Burnes need 97 pitches for just five frames, but look at those results. You really couldn’t ask for more from Burnes after his volatility this year. Blame the slider going just 5/16 strikes here + his curveball and changeup each returning just 50% strikes. Yikes.
Chris Sale (BOS) vs CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.
Yessssss. The slider was phenomenal while Sale’s heater that previously sat below 92 mph jumped all the way to 94 mph here. One more start to go – it’s the Orioles – and I think we do it. That breaker is too good right now that it should make it worthwhile even if the fastball falls back down.
Andre Jackson (PIT) @ CIN (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 34 pitches.
Oh, so he’s just an opener? For Luis L. Ortiz who went 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks? Cool. Um. Why?
Charlie Morton (ATL) @ WSH (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 24 pitches.
Morton left this one with a finger sprain and that’s horrible news for Atlanta fans as they prepare for a World Series push. It’ll mean we get another look at a youngin’ (maybe Allan Winans?) for the Cubs and that’s an ehhhhhhh from me. We’ll talk more about Morton in October, but this could be the final season for Morton (he has a club option for $20M next year). We’ll see.
Caleb Ferguson (LAD) vs SF (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 8% CSW, 12 pitches.
So this was Gavin Stone followed by Ryan Yarbrough, with neither one helping you out. Womp womp. It looks like their next piggyback would be on Thursday in Coors and that’s no fun, though if we see just one of them, the other would get the bulk on Friday in San Francisco. Monitor it and be ready to jump on that, yes even after they faltered against that very team here.
JT Chargois (MIA) vs MIL (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 13 pitches.
This was mostly a bullpen game outside of Bryan Hoeing going 9 ER in 3 IP. Yeah. H’ok let’s move on.
Touki Toussaint (CWS) @ BOS (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.
Huh. Two strikeouts but good ratios? IN FENWAY? Who are you?! I don’t buy it.
Matt Waldron (SD) vs STL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.
Don’t trust a Knuckl—WHAT. Only one of those strikeouts came with the bored spinner, getting batters out on sinkers, cutters, and living on the edges. So weird, so strange, so September. Do you want to do this against the Giants on Wednesday? Maaaaaaybe? Ugh, what has this month done to us.
Sawyer Gipson-Long (DET) @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.
After an annoying first frame, he settled down a bit and was able to come through across five frames. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of the floor here as his slider and changeup weren’t nearly the strike machines we wanted them to be – both sat around a 55% strike rate. He may be like that a second time as he gets the Guardians and don’t overvalue Gipson-Long here. I’m starting him, but don’t do it over other options with longer track records.
José Suarez (LAA) @ MIN (ND) – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 39 pitches.
He opened for Davis Daniel, who isn’t the rookie you want to go after with 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks across 91 pitches in his first start of the year (and just his second MLB game). The heater has some promise at a 16% SwStr rate, but the rest of his stuff isn’t consistent enough to get behind, especially when said fastball is 93/94 mph. Given the high pitch count, Daniel could be sneaky productive against the Tigers in the final weekend if you’re looking for a saving grace down the stretch. Don’t love it, but there’s a chance.
Chris Bassitt (TOR) @ TB (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 88 pitches.
The dude just makes it work. That’s a King Cole and he now has 15 Wins with a 3.38 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and a 22% strikeout rate across 189 IP after his horrific first start of the year. Talk about underrated.
Ken Waldichuk (OAK) vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 101 pitches.
He’s getting better at this. There’s a lot of polish still to go with executing the right pitches when needed, but his sweeper is landing gloveside and down more often, his four-seamer is generally up, and his changeup…well it’s being used more but he needs to get that thing down to be more consistent. This certainly had Blame it on the Tigers involved here, but if you’re desperate, it’s possible he pulls it off against the terrible Angels.
Taijuan Walker (PHI) vs NYM (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 105 pitches.
Whoa, it worked! Despite being 91/92 mph, returning just 18% CSW on his splitter (lots of outs though as he kept it down!), and a cutter that was hugged, but ultimately turned into the Canibal McSanchez. It’s the Pirates next and I guess what the h*ck, right?
Dakota Hudson (STL) @ SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.
The madman did it, in his traditional style of a terrible WHIP along the way. Unreal. It doesn’t change anything against the Brewers – that’s still a dart throw at best. Nice to see the slider come alive for a 26% SwStr rate, but yeah, we can’t lean into this. It’s only really worthwhile for QS leagues – the 3.00 ERA ain’t worth two strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP.
Cole Ragans (KC) @ HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.
We wanted more strikeouts, but the man just doesn’t give in. He allowed a run in the first on a hung curve to Yordan Alvarez, then a solo shot on a 99 mph fastball well up and out of the zone (I still don’t get how that happened), and otherwise was fantastic. His fifth inning was UNREAL (watch this one-minute summary) and you can watch it here. To sum up Ragans, he’s a five-pitch pitcher who doesn’t give in to batters and can throw all five at any time. He has an approach and sticks to it incredibly well, which creates few mistake pitches down the heart of the plate, limiting his hit rate but granting him more walks than his contemporaries. It’s like Snell if Snell had better command to locate around the edges. He’s a unicorn – you just don’t see this arsenal depth that allows for this approach, especially at 98 mph – and I can’t wait for him to demolish the Tigers.
Andrew Abbott (CIN) vs PIT (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 84 pitches.
If only he could get two more outs, we’d be celebrating this outing. I’m glad he got whiffs and strikeouts and his curveball was able to sit down-and-armside, but I’m not seeing enough from his heater to get amped. He’s still a Cherry Bomb.
Tylor Megill (NYM) @ PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.
We will absolutely take a Bailey Special from Megill against the Phillies. Here’s the question – do we expect him to do it again? Didn’t think so. But the changeup had a 47% CSW! Meh, that’s abnormal. Don’t play with fire.
Pablo López (MIN) vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. He ran into some trouble in the fifth, but the sweeper and changeup were stupid good. Enjoy the Gallows Pole, fella, and get ready for some fireworks against Oakland.
Noah Davis (COL) @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.
Noah thanks. You’re welcome. No, the pun. Pun? Nevermind. Thanks. You’re welcome!
Dean Kremer (BAL) @ CLE (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 91 pitches.
Bleegh. For a guy who has been pretty consistent through the year, it’s likely fatigue setting in for Kremer here. It’s actually that way for a lot of the Orioles’ arms both in the rotation and bullpen right now. October is going to be interesting. In short, the cutter wasn’t its normal self and he wasn’t precise across everything else, either. He’ll get the Red Sox next and despite hosting them in Camden (not in Fenway, phew), I’m going to demote this to the Questionable Start realm. I think he’s a bit gassed + it’s the last week of the year and the Orioles may have their situation cleared up to take it easy on Kremer in that outing.
Tyler Glasnow (TB) vs TOR (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.
Ugggggh, not again. It’s weird seeing Glasnow get a ton of whiffs on his four-seamer (10/61) as it’s usually under a 10% mark. This is the Glasnow we fear with his slider and curve not stepping up enough. Just 1/19 slider whiffs and a 38% strike rate on his curve are all you need to know. Still not as bad as it could be given he had his mediocre stuff, you know.
Dane Dunning (TEX) vs SEA (W) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 76 pitches.
His cutter + slider combined for just 5/44 whiffs while the sinker returned 3/17 called strikes. There’s your ballgame. He could recover against the Angels, so do what you need to do. Likely the bottom of Questionable Start there.
Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs ATL (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 68 pitches.
Well, yeah. It’s Corbin. It’s Atlanta. You don’t need me.
Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) @ NYY (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 81 pitches.
Oh look, it’s HRs messing up Pfaadt again. Sure, they were both off the bat of Aaron Judge, but you get it. Otherwise, this was a great outing. Stupid Sexy Judge. His breaker is good enough to roll with him against the White Sox next.
Framber Valdez (HOU) vs KC (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.
He looked terrible initially, but then leaned more on his curve and cutter, turning this into a Gallows Pole outing with ten strikeouts. I really wish he didn’t save that cutter just for left-handers and stopped chucking so many sinkers to right-handers. Opposite-handed sinkers are not a good pitch, y’all. Save those for LHB and use the cutter + curve + change vs. RHB. It’s the way to be. Anyway, we’re going for it against the Diamondbacks, but I ain’t thrilled about it.
Bryce Miller (SEA) @ TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 75 pitches.
Ouch. He’s a Cherry Bomb and now gets the Astros. I’m not doing it. This was a better sweeper and slider than we’ve seen, though. That’s cool. Makes me a little more excited for 2024 if he’s truly polishing those pitches.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photo courtesy of MLB Photos | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on X)