Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Nick Swagger

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.  

Nick Martinez (SD) @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 76 pitches.

I’ve been banging the drum on allowing Nick Martinez to get more chances as a starter this season and after ramping up to three, then four innings in his last two games, Martinez got a proper chance to end his season on a beautiful note against the White Sox: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 76 pitches. That marks 0 ER across his last five “starts”, consisting of 22 innings. LET THE MAN START IN 2024.

His velocity (understandably) was a tick down as he’s not going max-effort out of the pen, and it didn’t stop him from going 7/23 whiffs on his excellent changeup. H was able to keep his curveball low as well, while his pair of fastballs earned plenty of strikes inside the zone. It works.

I truly wonder if he gets another chance to start next year. It’s a $16M club option to hold onto Martinez next year that I’m not sure they’ll exercise, opening the door for Nick to be a starter elsewhere. Keep your eye on him.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 87 pitches.

You love to see it. That’s a Gallows Pole from Pivetta, rising from the ashes of continued turmoil to possibly save seasons for fantasy managers everywhere. It’s about dang time he was able to effortlessly spot curveballs inside the zone, and pairing it with many effective sweepers and four-seamers for a 36% CSW is everything you could hope for. I wish I could believe it could happen again next season, but the idea of Pivetta consistently producing just seems…fantastical.

José Urquidy (HOU) @ ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 70 pitches.

Whoa, Urquidy returned! And he was great! Ish! Just ish? Well, just 2 whiffs and a 17% CSW ain’t grand, you don’t need me for that. However, the BSB was on full effect with four-seamers up and changeups down – he just didn’t have his curve and sweeper doing what he wanted. I think he’s going to be a massive discount in drafts next year and I don’t see why he can’t be a productive Toby for the Astros with a hefty number of Wins at the back of your drafts.

Colin Rea (MIL) vs CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 67 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! That’s the Gold Star for the day with a King Cole for Rea. So he had his awesome slider? Ummm, not really? He just served many good sinkers arm-side and a ton of cutters over the plate that the Cubs didn’t do a whole lot with. Sometimes it just works like that. The skills don’t speak to legitimacy, sadly, but a lovely day at the park for those who threw a dart.

Bryan Woo (SEA) vs TEX (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

82 pitches for eleven outs ain’t ideal, but at least we saw a better four-seamer this time around. Thanks for the fun times, Woo. I think you’ll be on a decent number of my teams next year as you’ll be drafted after all the other exciting rookies. Or not. I can never guess drafters well.

Osvaldo Bido (PIT) vs MIA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 36 pitches.

What’s a day of baseball in 2023 without a bullpen game? A good day. Right you are…right you are.

Dylan Cease (CWS) vs SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyy! He pulled off the BSB a bit this time, but not nearly as well as his last outing. That said, he still got whiffs on both sliders and four-seamers and was able to limit damage in play. He’s still a Cherry Bomb for 2024, of course, but at least he’s showcasing that the upside is still there.

Chase Silseth (LAA) vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 61 pitches.

It’s lovely to see him back on the mound, but sadly it came without the stellar breaker we fell for – just 3/12 strikes on the slider. The splitter wasn’t helpful either, and this was simply chucking heaters to a poor offense and getting by. Blame it on the Athletics. Keep in mind: Today’s expected starter Davis Daniel came in relief to hurl the final five frames with a 93/94 mph heater and decent slider. He’s not a fantasy guy to target next year, but most importantly, he’s not a fantasy guy to target today.

Aaron Civale (TB) @ TOR (L) – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 40 pitches.

Ah. So that’s what’s it’s going to be, Tampa Bay. Alright then, I look forward to drafting Civale at the end of my drafts for a decent six-inning chance at a Win.

John Means (BAL) vs BOS (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 82 pitches.

Hey, I’ll take Means being a good ole TobyIt’s what he originally was, after all. I still think the changeup needs to get lower (it was a problem pre-TJS, too), but to see his breakers find strikes is always welcome. I’ll be paying close attention to his spring, hoping for any flirtation with new skills to suggest strikeout upside.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs HOU (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He was the only Auto-Start of the day and while it’s a little bit of a Dusty Donut with the WHIP and lack of Win, we’ll take it. Thanks for being one of the few consistent studs tape-to-tape this year.

Brandon Williamson (CIN) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 82 pitches.

At least he’s back up to 92.7 mph instead of 91/92, but the changeup was a little too wild for me to get excited about him for 2024. Nice to see him come through here, though.

Lance Lynn (LAD) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

Atta boy Lynn. Thanks for one more “hey, alright, I’ll take it start” to close out the year. Remind me not to deal with any of this next year.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) @ PIT (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 67 pitches.

Blegh. Even against the Pirates, if Cabrera doesn’t have at least two of his pitches earning enough strikes, he’ll struggle. The hook failed him here, while the changeup wasn’t as stellar as we’ve seen. I find it difficult to lean into ECab for next year as banking on a pitcher to find improved command after a long history of low strike rates is a very tough ask. Especially when he doesn’t have a foundational pitch he truly relies on. That’s the changeup and curve! They aren’t commanded well enough to call them that, sadly. Think Gavin Williams‘ four-seamer as an example of a strong foundation and needed growth with breaking ball command.

Trevor Williams (WSH) @ ATL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 75 pitches.

Team #NeverTrevor. It’s easy to just not think of him and move on with your life.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs TB (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 76 pitches.

Kikuchi’s final two starts of the season were easily the worst of the last four months as his slider command was far from the elite precision we’d become used to. It seems like a red flag for 2024 and I’m likely going to akin his stretch to a Vargas Rule and many will disagree. So be it, maybe I’ll have a change of heart.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) @ MIL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 73 pitches.

Blegh. He was earning himself the title of Spider-Man but it’s been a little shaky down the stretch. Funny story, I was talking about the Brewers at home on the morning streams, showcasing that their team Hitter Performance at home over the last thirty days has made them an elite offense…and then brushed it off. STOP IGNORING PLV METRICS THAT MATTER, NICK. I’m not! I’m actually excited to share many more we’ve been working on, ETA January 2024 at PitchCon. Y’all are gonna love it.

Ty Blach (COL) vs MIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blach. Welp, see ya later.

Ken Waldichuk (OAK) @ LAA (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Blegh. I was hoping Waldi could pull it off against a terrible Angels offense, but the new changeup didn’t get down, the sweeper didn’t get down, and the fastball..got down sometimes when it shouldn’t? And what about the velocity? Oh, down. His 2024 draft stock? Down. MVP Baseball Barry Bonds? Straight to Jon Dow(n)d. I’m going to need some legit improvements over the off-season before suggesting a 2024 pickup. A draft pick on him is a complete guess if he can actually take a step forward.

Cal Quantrill (CLE) @ DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 101 pitches.

The splitter experiment is winding down with just 21% usage here, returning back to the tried-and-true sinker/cutter approach for your boring Dusty Donut Win. There’s the Qunatrill we know and put up with.

Jordan Lyles (KC) vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 88 pitches.

I will 100% take this from Lyles as you started him in a desperate moment to find a Win and hey! That’s a low WHIP too! Congrats.

Allan Winans (ATL) vs WSH (ND) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.

Womp womp. Winans has the overall ability to come through against a poor offense, but he didn’t execute here, especially with his sinker as he threw it right down the pipe uncomfortably often. I wouldn’t chase him for 2024 as he lacks massive upside, but if he settles into a back-end rotation arm for Atlanta, he could be a solid Toby.

Keaton Winn (SF) vs LAD (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 75 pitches.

At least he went 5.1 IP? You know, if ERA didn’t matter, that’s a decent WHIP with five strikeouts. JUST SAYIN’. It’s cool to see Winn have a 77% strike rate on his splitter with a 19% SwStr rate across 43 thrown, but everything else is so…meh. Can’t Winn em all.

Joe Ryan (MIN) @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 91 pitches.

The four-seamer was doing its thing, but he’s still struggling to find that proper complement as the slider was hung in the zone all day. I worry about next year if he doesn’t figure something out.

Nathan Eovaldi (TEX) @ SEA (L) – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 80 pitches.

To be fair, Eovaldi was sitting 95 mph in this one instead of sub 94 mph, and a grand slam when he was out of the game tacked on more runs. Still, this wasn’t the start to make for Eovaldi. I’m not out on Eovaldi for next year, though. In fact, I learned my lesson from this year – I thought his lower velocity in 2022 meant he wasn’t worth the gamble in drafts. However, he was fresh in the spring and helped many teams. If he’s a major discount again, I’m all for taking the shot and seeing if he can get back to 96+ mph.

Joey Wentz (DET) vs CLE (L) – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 62 pitches.

It was a dire strikeout play and with the Guardians’ resistance to punchouts, it was a massive longshot. Have a lovely winter, Kangaroo kid.

Jake Woodford (STL) vs CIN (L) – 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 50 pitches.

The Amish Mustang was somehow not the worst start of Friday. And I don’t have anything electric in my arsenal!

Carlos Rodón (NYY) @ KC (L) – 0.0 IP, 8 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 9% CSW, 35 pitches.

What a way to end a horrific first season in pinstripes for Rodón. Sure, he left this with the bases loaded, but does that really matter? The biggest note here is going from 96+ in two straight starts to 94 mph last time and now down to 93.6 mph. Yikes. Here’s what I think the 2024 timeline will be. Many will have him super low on drafts, some will take the chance to say “he’ll fix it”, while I’ll be tempered until I see velocity readings in the spring. Seriously, that’s all that matters to me. If I’m seeing hit sitting 96+ mph, then I’m jumping all over it. But the health! Well yeah, not as a Top 30 SP, y’all. We saw two games with Rodón at 96 this year and they were bliss. Don’t let this lost season suggest he’s forever doomed. I just can’t draft him now. Then that’s just letting your emotion get in the way. What are we if not for our emotions? Our memories. OHHHHHHH.


Game of the Day


Justin Verlander vs. Merrill Kelly – The Astros could win the AL West or be out of the Wild Card this weekend, while the Sneks have a magic number of one to clinch their berth. Ohhh boy.

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.

One response to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – Nick Swagger”

  1. Mario Mendoza says:

    I’m with you in that Kikuchi was really just a Vargas rule for 3 months

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