Trust The Pro Cessa?

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday 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.  

Luis Cessa (CIN) @ CHC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 73 pitches.

There may be a new name to add to your list for streaming candidates next week after Luis Cessa went 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 73 pitches against the Cubs. I didn’t expect to see him nearly complete six frames with his limited pitch count, but Cessa dominated with his slider – 45% usage, 10 whiffs, and 48% CSW – as he showcased brilliant command of the pitch down-and-armside. His fastball and changeup are nothing special, but as long as he’s tossing a plus breaker half the time, it opens the door for starts like these against weak opponents.

And that’s the thing: Cessa faces the Pirates next Tuesday. He’ll still be somewhat limited (I imagine around 80 pitches or so) and it’s unlikely he’ll carry the same slider precision as he did here, but the door is far more ajar than I expected it to be. His 2% rostership entering today makes him a consideration in nearly all your leagues and it could be something to turn the tides next week.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Dylan Cease (CWS) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The Cy Young is his to lose at this point with Verlander and McClanahan on the shelf, and what’s kinda funny is he didn’t pitch that well tonight. He had some good fastballs and then some horrible ones, the curve was all over the place, and the slider was hung far more than usual. And he still dominated the Athletics. Three more fantastic matchups are ahead as well and it’s good being a Cease manager.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs SF (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 44 pitches.

He left this one early with shoulder fatigue and will hit the IL. Sigh. You can drop him and it hurts. A lot.

Scott Alexander (SF) @ MIL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 14 pitches.

He opened for Jakob Juniswho delivered via 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches, but ultimately got the loss because The Burnes Is Back…The Burnes Is Back. I’m glad he helped those who trusted him, but it gets awfully tough with Coors + Atlanta next and I’m not interested in Junis there when he earned just 3/45 slider whiffs tonight.

Corbin Burnes (MIL) vs SF (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks – 26 Whiffs, 49% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. THANK YOU. That’s a Golden Goal with the highest CSW total of the year. What is it with everyone collecting 14+ strikeouts all of a sudden? I’m glad we can all stop worrying now and enjoy the dang man.

Adrian Sampson (CHC) vs CIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 75 pitches.

While Cessa gets the headline, Sampson gets the…deadline? I dunno, he gets the Mets next and fanned just one batter (HAISTBMBWT?!). He does get a great schedule with Miami, Pittsburgh, and hosting Cincy again after…only if you’re desperate.

Alex Young (SF) @ MIL (L) – 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 24 pitches.

What I thought was a bullpen game actually turned into Sean Hjelle tossing 87 pitches of 1 ER ball across five frames. Awesome work and I don’t inherently hate his sinker/curve approach, but it just doesn’t do enough. Think Drew Smyly but a worse curveball. Not great.

Sonny Gray (MIN) @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Despite the 1.33 WHIP, I’m cool with this from Gray. I’m glad he lasted a full six frames and I’m stoked his curveball showed up for a whopping 48% CSW. That’s the man I’ve wanted all year. He gets easier matchups the rest of the way, and to use an overdone pun, hopefully he’s a Sonny delight.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs MIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 58 pitches.

The Yanks limited Nestor in his return from the IL, pulling him after allowing two hits in the fifth after going four perfect. Ugh. He’ll likely go around 70/75 next time out against Boston, and he could squeeze out five productive innings there…yeah alright. Start him there, then feel great starting him against Pittsburgh. It’s the only thing you can do.

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

Ehhhhh. I mean, a PQS shouldn’t be a major disappointment – especially with seven strikeouts – but it’s Sandy. The man normally goes 7+ and soars above all. That marks two in a row that left us unsatisfied, but we’re not going to fall in the Burnes trap, right? Good, I knew you were better than that.

Kyle Gibson (PHI) vs MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 73 pitches.

Ouch. Gibson is supposed to be the guy that takes advantage of his great matchups, but a 2.00 WHIP and 4 ER against Miami?! Reaaaaalllly?! He’ll get them a second time and I have to believe the slider will do better than a 1/17 CSW. I mean that’s just bizarre and atypical. I’m going for it.

Adam Wainwright (STL) vs WSH (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ummmm get it together Waino. Now isn’t the time to hang your pitches frequently, especially when you have the toughest schedule of all your compadres on the Cardinals including the Coms Brewers, Padres, and Dodgers. I think we keep at it, but it’s frustrating and I feel your pain.

Josiah Gray (WSH) @ STL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

Yeah yeah yeah, we know. Thing is, he gets the Marlins twice now. Feel free to sit out the first one to make sure the coast is clear, though, he may not be easy to grab off the wire if it does. I’m willing to wager at least one is well worth your while.

JP Sears (OAK) vs CWS (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 59 pitches.

Womp womp. The one time I suggest maybe it’ll work…nope. His stuff just isn’t good enough and things didn’t go his way this time around. Sigh. Stay away.


Game of the Day


Charlie Morton vs. Robbie Ray – Two studs dueling is what makes baseball so much fun to watch.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

2 responses to “Trust The Pro Cessa?”

  1. Ray Parizo says:

    Love your SP round down. I came across it because of Fantasy Rundown.
    I play Scoresheet fantasy baseball and our playoff lineup had to be turned in Tuesday. I left Burnes off my roster in favor of Cole.
    If I’d had faith I would have put Cole in the bullpen and Burnes in the rotation. After the last 5 starts I was concerned he was hurt…..guess not.
    Again enjoy SP tundowns!

  2. Nick, Great streamer guidance as usual. HOT in the middle of Fantasy Playoff season. My biggest question for this Saturday’s waiver is what to do with Jefferey Springs. Will his innings be severely limited like they were this past week in his 3-shutout inning appearance? Was last week’s innings reduction a one-time occurrence to give Chirinos some innings on his return to MLB after nearly 2 year absence?

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