Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday 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.
Joe Boyle (OAK) @ LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.
I oscillated on starting Joe Boyle Saturday and the right choice was clearly to start him in all but close ERA matchups as Boyle flirted with perfection against the Angels, securing a Win across 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches. Sure, he had a Careful, Icarus as it fell apart in the seventh, but this game is sure to prompt plenty of ink for the next five months. Who is this guy?
His fastball was far better in this game than I’d seen previously. The pitch sat 98/99 mph as it returned an 18% SwStr rate and came with precision I didn’t expect we’d see. My biggest complaint about Boyle was being more of Thrower than a Pitcher, after all.
The slider displayed more of that chaos than the heater, though. Its 57% strike rate wasn’t ideal and with upper-90s heat backing it up, returning just 3/28 whiffs outlines its lack of dominance and reliability throughout the game. However, his curveball returned 9/11 strikes and saved Boyle from getting lost inside at-bats when he needed an alternative to the heater.
At the end of the day, the question for 2024 becomes how much we believe in his control. If you draft Boyle, will you believe he can be efficient enough? Is his four-seamer this dominant? Will he get into a rhythm with his slider and curveball to complement the curveball? Will the Athletics win more than 60 games?
It makes for an intriguing deep play, but one I’d generally avoid in 12-teamers, unless there is clear hype derived by opportunity and spring performance, which would make him a shrug last pick. There’s just too much haze and confusion at the moment among a 2024 draft season filled with SP depth.
Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:
Michael Wacha (SD) @ CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 87 pitches.
What a stupid good year for Wacha, returning fourteen Wins and a 3.22 ERA across nearly 135 innings (stupid injuries). I’d expect him back next year on a mutual $16M contract with the Pads and with his changeup still being fantastic + strong command + a solid defense and likely winning club, I think I’m in during the deeper parts of my draft. It really doesn’t depend on how the SP depth plays out – would you rather have a top-end Toby or an arm who could take the leap into the Top 30 SP but with Cherry Bomb tendencies?
Kutter Crawford (BOS) @ BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 76 pitches.
Atta boy Kutter. The line looks gorgeous, sadly the skills were not. He sat over a tick down on his heater, his kutter found the zone but got a bit lucky in the field, and the other secondaries were a bit scattered and not well spotted. I don’t think I’m encouraged enough by Crawford’s overall approach to lean into him for next season, but maybe I fall more for his four-seamer and consider him as one of those “hey, the foundation is decent and if he has a new secondary approach, he could be dope” picks.
Kyle Gibson (BAL) vs BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 80 pitches.
He’s a Cherry Bomb and save for the sparkling ERA, everything else is rather dull. Sometimes the Cherry and Bomb are one.
Justin Verlander (HOU) @ ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.
That’s a lovely line for Verlander, who did his best to satiate managers who endured the early months of the season. I’m awfully curious where he goes in drafts next year and my first instinct is to drop him far down my ranks. Health and stuff degradation are major concerns as he’ll trend down while so many others should be rapidly trending up.
Andrew Heaney (TEX) @ SEA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 85 pitches.
Whoa whoa whoa, they actually let Heaney go 85 pitches? And it was…boring?! Weird. Welp, we’re all not touching Heaney next year for his volatility and we can move on.
Matt Koch (COL) vs MIN (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 54% CSW, 13 pitches.
He opened for Karl Kauffmann’s horrid 8 ER in 4.1 innings. Oh Rockies, never change. Well, actually please change but we don’t expect you too.
Emilio Pagán (MIN) @ COL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 15 pitches.
This was a proper bullpen game, though we saw more of Chris Paddack, who sadly wasn’t sitting upper-90s as I had hoped, but rather 95 mph, hitting 97.1 mph and falling as low to 93.8 mph. It’s disappointing, really, as it was over just 39 pitches (I can’t suggest he held back for being a starter). That said, Paddack tossed three frames and returned four strikeouts, though his best offering was the split-changeup, which y’all know isn’t what I want to see as the primary #2 pitch. It just isn’t reliable enough. I anticipate he’ll get a shot to start next season and I’ll likely be hesitant unless the velocity sits higher, there’s a new slider/cutter that we love, or the curve truly takes over.
Shawn Armstrong (TB) @ TOR (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 23 pitches.
Leave it to the Rays to have bullpen shenanigans, here with Cooper Criswell getting the bulk for three frames with three earned runs. And none rejoiced.
Will Vest (DET) vs CLE (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 16 pitches.
Ah, another bullpen game. Cool.
Steven Cruz (KC) vs NYY (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 15 pitches.
He opened for 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks of Alec Marsh, who at least gave you the strikeout upside you wanted if you let him fly. So at least he’s got that going for him.
JT Chargois (MIA) @ PIT (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 12 pitches.
This was a legit bullpen game and the Marlins crew got it done. Huge congrats to the entire fanbase, this was a grind of a season. Enjoy the playoffs, I only wish Sandy was a part of it.
Tylor Megill (NYM) vs PHI (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! The Gold Star of Saturday goes to Megill for this moment of brilliance against an elite offense. The four-seamer was the hero and I truly mean that as his slider had a sub 50% strike rate and his changeup was thrown just ten times, even if it earned a fair number of outs. I think Megill can turn into a Bailey Oberizzi type if he leans into it, featuring exclusively high four-seamers and hoping his slider and changeup do enough underneath, but I haven’t seen him embrace it yet. I wonder if we will. For now, I’m not a believer in the whole approach and give a massive shrug to his secondaries as I carry skepticism for his four-seamer’s potential. I’ll be monitoring his spring, hoping for something more.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs HOU (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.
Jeeeez Kelly, what a year. I truly have no idea what I’m going to do with your ranking and likely it’s going to cause me to defend it throughout the off-season. I know it’s been mostly two seasons of this now, but should it really continue?
Tristan Beck (SF) vs LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 70 pitches.
Whoa, five frames?! I guess being ultra-efficient and throwing a ton of strikes can make that work over 70 pitches. He sat a tick up at 95/96 mph and earned called strikes on the fella, but without whiffs on neither the heater nor secondaries, he’s not a sleeper 2024 arm.
Triston McKenzie (CLE) @ DET (L) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 77 pitches.
This was better, but the Tigers were able to make far more contact on his four-seamer than ideal, while he earned just 1/10 whiffs on the curveball. Consider these games as lost for the records and not an indication of 2024. He has months to get back into a rhythm.
Andrew Wantz (LAA) vs OAK (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 28 pitches.
Oh, so Kenny Rosenberg pitched Saturday, not Sunday, and did everything you wanted save for stealing a Win as he went five shutout frames with just one baserunner and six strikeouts. Props to y’all who went for it, I hope it helped. I imagine the Angels will have other options for the rotation next year, but if he gets routine opportunities, he’ll be a low-end Toby at best.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) @ SF (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 83 pitches.
Well I definitely didn’t expect this. I imagine both 80 pitches and five frames would be the ideal cap and we got an extra out with three more pitches (my guess is to try to get Kershaw one more Win). A final King Cole for the year (career?) and…a decent ERA and poor WHIP, without a Win for TATIAGA. I hope we get some more looks at prime Kershaw.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) @ KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 64 pitches.
Once again, the Yankees limited Schmidt, who wasn’t at his peak with far more pitches middle-height (y-mLoc) than you want to see. Meanwhile, he got pulled for the return of Frankie Montas (remember him?), who was down to 94 mph (not 96+) and a meh splitter and cutter. It’s hard not to wonder who snags him this off-season and if he goes to a strong pitching development team (Rays? Astros? Dodgers?), you can expect him to get a massive bump in draft stock. I really wish the velocity was higher, though. As for Schmidt, I’m tepid on my 2024 expectations. I love the lower sinker usage, but the cutter with its 15% CSW as his primary fastball doesn’t inspire confidence.
Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR) vs TB (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 52 pitches.
Those chasing a last-minute Quality Start may have considered Ryu and I’m a little surprised they pulled him at just 52 pitches. Maybe they felt confident they had the Wild Card spot locked up and didn’t want to push him much here. Anyway, he’s a Toby for next year and not on my list of arms to target. At least he was over a tick up on everything, though that means 89.8 mph instead of 88.6 mph.
Spencer Strider (ATL) vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna end the year with a 3.86 ERA and a 4.39 ERA across his final 14 starts. So he’s SP #1 next year? Uhhhhhh. Maybe not. We’ll talk.
José Quintana (NYM) vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.
Blegh. I’m not shocked the strikeouts came back down while the ratios stayed up, but I wanted to be surprised. Nothing is better in life than pleasant surprise, you know? I was impressed by Quintana’s command this season and if he gets the Tigers to kick off 2024 (he’d be the #4/#5 to make that happen), then you may find him as your last pick of the draft as a Toby. Just a thought.
Joan Adon (WSH) @ ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.
We saw 88 pitches, but it’s Adon. It’s Atlanta. It was hope. I can’t blame you for that.
Connor Phillips (CIN) @ STL (L) – 0.0 IP, 3 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 0% CSW, 12 pitches.
Wat. Twelve pitches. Zero strikes. Game over man. Wow, welp, that’s a day and literally impossible to predict considering he was the first pitcher in MLB history to walk the first three batters on twelve pitches and promptly get removed. Whataraeyagonnado.
Taijuan Walker (PHI) @ NYM (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 106 pitches.
At least he gave you a decent WHIP and five strikeouts? I’m very far out on Walker next year with a repertoire that makes me say “wait, this works?” with every start.
Quinn Priester (PIT) vs MIA (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.
I wonder if we’ll ever see anything more than this from Priester. There isn’t a whole lot for me to latch onto right now. You never know with rookie arms, though. He could figure it out in the off-season and at least there’s something to believe in that isn’t there for older arms.
Drew Rom (STL) vs CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.
The fastball is still getting better results than a 91/92 mph pitch normally does, but the other elements are not helping. I do wonder if he unlocks something over the off-season, though.
Luis Castillo (SEA) vs TEX (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.
Aces gonna…sigh. Castillo did what we wanted him to do in 2023 – excel with his four-seamer – and even with the 3.34 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, we have to thank the man for his 197 innings. I appreciate you, even if your last two starts let us down.
Mike Clevinger (CWS) vs SD (L) – 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 49 pitches.
Yeaaaaah. He did well against poor offenses, didn’t earn a single strikeout against Cleveland, and faced a legit offense here. I’m all good not considering Clevinger again.
Jordan Wicks (CHC) @ MIL (ND) – 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 44 pitches.
Blegh. We saw very few changeups + fastballs that on a silver platter for the Brewers and it’s not the Wicks way. Consider him a Toby for next year with better command than this. In addition, we saw some Hayden Wesneski, Javier Assad, and Jameson Taillon follow Wicks as all hands were on deck, and Taillon (once again) came through for four shutout frames when the Cubs needed it most. Don’t overlook him for 2024, I think he’s figuring things out that will stick for next season as a Toby.
Eric Lauer (MIL) vs CHC (L) – 4.0 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 81 pitches.
Yikes. Welcome back, fella. He sat 88/89 mph here, far away from his 94+ mph that got us intrigued in 2022. I’m glad he got a chance to return, but hot dang, this has to sting.
Michael Plassmeyer (PHI) @ NYM (L) – 3.2 IP, 9 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.
I was surprised to see Plassmeyer suddenly start and this…did not go well. He throws 89 mph, y’all. You can move on.
Game of the Day
WHATEVER YOU NEED – It’s the day of throwing arms into your lineup, hoping to snag one last Win or a few more strikeouts or possibly getting over an ERA or WHIP hump. GOOD LUCK.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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