Beauty Varland

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Wednesday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Louie Varland (MIN) @ NYY (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 80 pitches.

It’s electric prospect pitcher week and the latest is Louie Varland after shooting up the minors this season. He was welcomed to the Bronx and dazzled with a 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 80 pitches performance, allowing a solo shot to Aaron Judge (who hasn’t?) and not much else. I watched this one and dig what he’s putting down. Solid command of ~94 mph heaters (low arm action = 8/45 whiffs!), a fantastic changeup, and a slider + cutter that needs a bit of work. This can play.

That heater & changeup combo is enough for him to produce for 80+ pitches in future outings, especially with the Twins schedule that includes the Royals, Guardians, Angels, and Tigers if Varland were to continue in the rotation. It’s something to note and worthy of a pick-up in 12-teamers if you need starts next week. That said, it’s just one start and consistency is a huge shrug at the moment – don’t take the risk if you don’t need to.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Jacob deGrom (NYM) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Throw a perfect already, yeesh.

Cody Morris (CLE) @ KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 61 pitches.

Huh, I thought this would be more of a bullpen game. Well, it still was with seven total pitchers for the Guardians, but four innings from Morris is more than I expected. Sadly his stuff is awfully pedestrian so welp, see ya later.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) vs BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 39 pitches.

You’re confused. I’m confused. I think I get it. The Rays wanted to slow down Jeffrey Springs‘ workload, while also getting a chance to ease Yonny Chirinos back into the rotation. The solution? Pair the two for a day, with Springs dominating through three frames, then Yonny for three shutout frames of his own. I’m glad it worked for them, and with next week’s doubleheader against the Jays, I imagine the two of them split up to start their own games. That’s a clear avoid for Chirinos, and I’d probably avoid Springs too, as he may be a bit limited there. It’s too bad, really, as Springs has been cruising for a while. I dare say it and it’s very likely too early to suggest it, but it may be best to move on…?

Cole Ragans (TEX) @ HOU (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 49 pitches.

He came off the IL and was limited to 49 pitches, showcasing a strong changeup and finding the edges. Slow and steady…except that he gets the Marlins and HE ISN’T READY. How cruel this sport is.

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ BAL (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The sinker is back (7/28 whiffs!) and the slider went 76% strikes. It’s what you want.

Chris Bassitt (NYM) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

The cutter was wicked with 10/29 whiffs in this one, while the sinker did its normal work. This is how you handle the Pirates, Taijuan. Take note.

Jordan Montgomery (STL) vs WSH (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.

The Bear faced Natty Lite and did exactly what he was supposed to. Hold on tight, you’re starting him the rest of the way.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs MIN (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 14 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 118 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Gallows PoleWay to show up, Cole. We all needed this one.

Zack Greinke (KC) vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Simply amazing. This was a Still ILL and Greinke didn’t care, I’m a little surprised he only tossed 12 changeups (33% SwStr rate, 67% Strike rate), but clearly, he knows what he’s doing. We should appreciate this future Hall of Famer a bit more.

Kyle Freeland (COL) vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa. Freeland earned nine whiffs on breakers and acted like it was 2018 all over again…if he were tossing a few ticks harder but close enough. You can’t act on this – it’s far too risky, he hasn’t fanned eight since May 18th and tallied 15 strikeouts in his last five games combined – but this is cool Freeland. I see you.

Mike Minor (CIN) @ CHC (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches.

10 hits and one walk yet just one run. How? Magic. So, yes, I’m saying I don’t believe Minor. Shocking, I know.

Cristian Javier (HOU) vs TEX (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

Yep, Javier did what he was supposed to do against the Rangers. He still has a touch of work to do on his consistency, but the stuff is just so dang good.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 101 pitches.

Well that ain’t bad at all. Is it enough to start him against the Yankees? Naaaaah. Well, they are a struggling offense…nah. I don’t think Pivetta is pitching nearly as well as he was in June.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

The Irish Panda didn’t have the best changeup, but his slider (tossed 47% of the time!) got it done against the lowly Tigers. I’ll be honest, I wanted more, but at least he still helped (stupid WHIP, why do you have to be you). Keep starting him, the schedule is wonderful.

Cory Abbott (WSH) @ STL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.

9/36 whiffs on curves with a 42% CSW is pretty dang cool, you know. Too bad the four-seamer is a mess, and I wouldn’t trust the Abbott routine.

Tyler Wells (BAL) vs TOR (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 34 pitches.

Wells returned from the IL and was eased into it as he opened for Dean Kremerwho went 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches. Not the best Kremer outing, but the Jays are rough and we’re only focusing on him for the Nationals + Tigers next. Go start all the Orioles arms for those two series.

Duane Underwood Jr. (PIT) vs NYM (L) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 18 pitches.

He was an opener for Bryse Wilsonwho went six frames of 4 ER ball – good by Bryse’s standards, which isn’t good. Try to keep up.

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 86 pitches.

TATIAGA earned himself a King Cole because he’s the dang TATIAGADid you realize he’s around a 2.50 ERA and 0.95 WHIP? He just doesn’t stop.

Spencer Strider (ATL) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 103 pitches.

I mean, aces gonna ace…? Do we expect anything different from Strider these days? Atlanta has the easiest schedule out there, too, and we all expect him to glisten in the sunset.

Bailey Falter (PHI) vs MIA (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! Thanks for the Win Falter, I’ll even look past the meh WHIP and start you a second time next week. Gotta love facing the Marlins twice.

Drew Hutchison (DET) @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 84 pitches.

Annnnd that’s why we’re not chasing Hutch even against the Angels. #BanTheDH…wait, no. I love the Designated Hitter – fewer SP injuries, more parity theoretical parity across leagues, 15 players getting more chances as a DH, and no more wasted at-bats from pitchers. It’s a good thing, y’all, and I love how we haven’t had any conversations about it since it was implemented. 

Yu Darvish (SD) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna earn close to a VPQS against the Sneks after cruising past the Dodgers. Opponent doesn’t mean NUTHIN’. It’s weird to see Darvish fail to earn more than three whiffs on any pitch in this one.

Domingo Germán (NYY) vs MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 90 pitches.

PQS isn’t a bad thing from Germán against the Twins as it’s more of the same: a great curve, a good change, and a susceptible heater. It’s a tough call against the Red Sox next, but at least the Pirates could follow. I’m down for that one.

Trevor Rogers (MIA) @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hmmmmmm. This start was more about the four-seamer dominating than the change or slider waking up (5/33 whiffs between them isn’t what we’re hoping for), but it’s hard not to think he’s okay for the Rangers + Nationals x2 across his next three starts. It may be time to buy back in.

Luis Castillo (SEA) vs CWS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna punch out the first six batters he faces, then slow down a whole lot. The slider was a bit worse and the changeup wasn’t demonstrative, but the only bad news here is a Philly and one more earned run than we’d like. Can’t complain, really.

Ken Waldichuk (OAK) vs ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 92 pitches.

He’s finding the zone more with his heater, but the slider and changeup aren’t there yet. If he locks in with one of them, ohhhhh this could work.

Alex Cobb (SF) @ LAD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 93 pitches.

Hey y’all, stop rostering Cobb. Atlanta + Dodgers are next and it really isn’t worth holding him for another 14 days just for the Sneks + Rockie RoadYou’ll be fine without him.

Javier Assad (CHC) vs CIN (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

Womp womp. The Mets are next, but I can’t help but wonder whether he can produce in 2/3 starts against Rockie Road@PIT, and CIN after. There’s a chance with that cutter, I’m just throwing it out there.

Joe Ryan (MIN) @ NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

He allowed a grand slam to IKF (yep, THAT IKF) on a hanging slider because, well, the slider ain’t great. I really dug his four-seamer command, though, and I think it spells a successful final month ahead for Ryan. I just wish that slider could figure itself out…

Michael Kopech (CWS) @ SEA (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

This was a Still ILL and I don’t think Kopech pitched particularly bad. That’s wonderful news as he gets Rockie Road + the Tigers twice in a row now. It’s time to feast.

Johan Oviedo (PIT) vs NYM (L) – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 57 pitches.

There’s potential in this Young Gunbut that means we’re gonna have to wait a bit for it to come to fruition, likely in 2023 (if ever). Patience, y’all, at least he has regular chances now.

Tommy Henry (ARI) @ SD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.

This is why I don’t trust people with two first names.

Eric Lauer (MIL) @ COL (L) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 60 pitches.

We have difficulty deciding if we should start Top 30 arms in Coors. Lauer isn’t a Top 30 arm.


Game of the Day 

Sandy Alcantara vs. Kyle GibsonIt’s a day after his birthday, but I expect Sandy to give us all a birthday gift after his tough day at the park last week. Oh, and Gibson gets the Marlins, that lucky fella.

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 the St. Paul Saints | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

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 “Beauty Varland”

  1. Jack says:

    As the guy who dropped Kirby and kept Springs, I hate this so much. Shoulda known the Rays would do Rays things.

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