Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup – What Can Brown Do For You?

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.  

Hunter Brown (HOU) vs SD (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

Let’s be honest about this. Hunter Brown was a questionable start against the Padres (an elite offense) and just because he went 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches, it doesn’t innately mean Brown is cooked and can’t be trusted.

But he’s cooked and can’t be trusted.

Nah, he’s not cooked, he’s just getting his innings in a proper rookie season and going through his development as any young arm does. The Shag Rug very much applies to him, and the raw skills of two solid breaking balls with a hard fastball that plays up well are still very much present. The last element is the command of it all, which isn’t nearly as far off as many of his results will tell you. His four-seamer is doing its part incredibly well, nailing the top third of the zone constantly. The issue has always been the breaking stuff – his curve and slider aren’t consistent pitches and we don’t know if they’ll do their part of the BSB.

It reminds me a bit of Gavin Williams and Nick Pivettawith the former being a better version of Brown and the latter being the floor that may be the inevitable comp I don’t want Hunter to become. Pivetta struggled with his breaking balls for years, showing flashes of dominance when it all clicked, only to falter in the very next outing. Gavin has a better heater than Brown and carries the same haze about his breaking ball development.

The best thing Hunter has going for him is his team. The Astros are known to be fantastic in SP development + their offense and defense help pitchers earn their peak fantasy production. At the very least, it also means Brown should face the Athletics next and in the short term, we start him there and worry about his starts against the Orioles and Mariners later. Spoiler alert: The risk may mean you’re going to drop him in a week.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Zac Gallen (ARI) @ CHC (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 107 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He may have one of the most underrated fastballs in baseball.

Mike Clevinger (CWS) @ DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

Soooo you dominate, then struggle against the Athletics heavily, then dominate the Tigers. Got it. His changeup and four-seamer feasted on the Detroit lineup, sitting a tick up on the heater as it comfortably pounded the zone, propelling his Gallows PoleConsider him a low-end Cherry Bomb against the Royals and Nationals up next.

Jameson Taillon (CHC) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 77 pitches.

Whoa, there’s a Gold Star for a pitcher I didn’t believe had enough of a ceiling to consider chasing. Whoops. And I took that personally. A well-earned King Cole Taillon is a lovely sight as he’s leaning into the old Yankee approach of high four-seamers and working cutters, curves, and sweepers over the plate often. I really do think this is the best approach for Taillon and seeing him float fewer secondaries in the upper third of the zone is a great sign. I wish it weren’t Coors next or I’d be encouraged to pick him up. At the very least, circle his following start against the Pirates. Just check to see if the approach is the same in Colorado, first.

Cristopher Sánchez (PHI) vs MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 82 pitches.

Look at Sanchez go, doing exactly what we wanted from him. And as long as the six-man rotation holds, he gets the Cardinals, Mets, and Pirates to close the year. Gotta love it.

Collin Snider (KC) @ TOR (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 20 pitches.

He opened for Alec Marshwho returned 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks across 65 pitches. Yeah, that’s all kinds of surprising and would have been good enough for a Win if it weren’t for the rest of the Royals being…the Royals. Anyway, this isn’t enough to get on the Marsh train again, sadly, so let’s move on.

Logan Allen (CLE) @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.

Yep, that’s a Toby doing what he’s supposed to do. Now move on as he should get Texas next. But my fantasy app says it’s the Giants! That’s because I expect it to be a six-man rotation with Xzavion Curry still in the rotation despite Lucas Giolito’s addition. If it’s five-man, he’ll get the Giants and that’s a clear start. If you want to wait to get confirmation on that, by all Johns means.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 88 pitches.

The dude has been absolute money. That slider command is so legit and the ability to go 45% fastballs and not be ultra chaotic anymore has worked wonders. That’s a 2.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 28% strikeout rate across his last fourteen starts. And just three Wins. Yes…just three Wins. Life is dumb.

Bryce Elder (ATL) vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 95 pitches.

Remember when the Vargas Rule ended and everyone wanted off the train? Nah y’all, the dude is a Toby and when you see a decent matchup, you seize it, especially with Atlanta on your side. So we’re holding Elder? What, no. He gets the Phillies twice now, that goes against exactly what I just said. WELL I DIDN’T KNOW THAT. Okay, fair.

Reese Olson (DET) vs CWS (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! The changeup and slider did their part while the four-seamer and sinker were able to avoid hits as he located them armside effectively. Next up he hosts the Reds in Detroit and I think we give it another go.

Kodai Senga (NYM) @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 101 pitches.

I was getting ready for the AGA tag and you could argue that Senga still going 2 ER in six frames despite missing his best stuff is the makings of an ace, but it’s not great to see 5/22 strikes on his forkball. That’s horrible. It meant he had to do far too much with his four-seamer and cutter and I hate games like this. Get that thing back in order against the Sneks and Marlins, please.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Just five balls in play on fastballs = Bradish dominance. Yes, we’re looking into adding BIP% to pitch types and I seriously believe it should be a factor in our player analysis. Think about it, we know that fastballs result in the worst in-play results (even if technically curveballs are the best pitches to hit home runs off of given their backspin, it’s not the actual results), thus pitchers who are able to prevent walks while carrying relatively low fastball BIP rates generally should perform better (there are obvious exceptions like jammed sinkers and pop-up inducing four-seamers). We’ll talk about this more in the off-season, but Bradish is the poster child as his cut-action four-seamer has dramatically reduced its BIP% and it’s catalyzed Bradish’s success.

Blake Snell (SD) @ HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He’s my Cy Young favorite and with his breaking balls returning 13/43 whiffs + plenty of fastballs well spotted over the plate (though, 57% strike rate makes me a little annoyed), Snell should cruise through the finish line. Just one more tough matchup to go against LAD and then it’s easy street.

Dallas Keuchel (MIN) vs NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 75 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa, that’s two decent starts in three for Keuchel now, he’s incredible! If you torture numbers long enough, they’ll tell you anything you want. Please don’t, even if he somehow earned 6/13 whiffs on his slider. Yes, it was the peak of his Neckbeard approach, but you really don’t want to do this, even against the White Sox.

Eury Pérez (MIA) @ PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

Ehhhh, alright. Eury’s command wasn’t as pristine as we’ve seen but the good news is he has a luscious schedule for the rest of the year. Strap in, boys.

Colin Rea (MIL) @ NYY (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

If you’re upset Rea didn’t last one more out, he wouldn’t have gotten the Win anyway. I don’t think I’m chasing this against the Mets, but there are worse dart throws out there.

Luis Severino (NYY) vs MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.

Severino hit the IL after this game with an upper body injury and he’s done for the year. Don’t rule him out as a late-round flier next year as I hope he figures himself out in the off-season, likely signing with another squad. Watch him go to the Dodgers and suddenly become a stud.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) @ TEX (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 87 pitches.

The Rangers are still a bit cold and are missing Adolis, but they still have a solid lineup and require starters like Blackburn to still be their best selves to return a good fantasy outing. We may be back in for his final two starts, but with @HOU + SEA next, we continue to leave him on the wire.

Griffin Canning (LAA) vs CLE (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

Blegh. I expected better from Canning here, but his four-seamer was horrible as it went 37% strikes. That’s about half of what it should be. It’s awfully rare to see that stick start-to-start, which means we’re still going to start him against the Tigers next time out.

Kyle Harrison (SF) vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Yeaaaah, I want to love Harrison more but this was another “bad command for a Cherry Bomb and it’s awfully annoying” kind of days. Test your luck if you want against the Guardians or Sneks, those are coin flips.

Taj Bradley (TB) vs SEA (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Yup. Two of the easier starts are now ahead for Bradley with @MIN + LAA, though I still want to preach caution. He’s more opponent agnostic than we’d like with his success boiling down to his command. I don’t think we can bank on a 62% strike rate changeup and 70% strike rate curveball consistently.

George Kirby (SEA) @ TB (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Blegh. Come on Kirby, we need you now more than ever! You can’t suddenly go just 17% breakers and rely on fastballs and splitters. I need that four-seamer + slider liiiiiife. It’s your best one. Oh, and please get that four-seamer up again, k thx.

Ty Blach (COL) @ SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 84 pitches.

Aha! It…didn’t work. Awww. Why did you have to be 1-2 ticks down on everything in the one start that actually looked appealing? Suitman whispers in my earHe went five shutout frames?! Stupid Careful, Icaruswhy did y’all leave him in so long?

MacKenzie Gore (WSH) vs LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

He’s a Cherry Bomb against an elite offense. No surprise here.

Drew Rom (STL) @ CIN (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 76 pitches.

Please re-insert your C/D (grade)-Rom. Or actually, just don’t. Download something else and stop installing a CD drive in your computers.

Jordan Montgomery (TEX) vs OAK (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Hmmmmmm. I still don’t understand how Ruiz his that 0-2 curveball under the zone out of the park and Langeliers’ two-run shot in the sixth was…okay, a terrible changeup. Remove those and you have a standard Monty game, but that’s not in good faith now, is it? Get that slowball together and it should make a solid start for The Bear against Cleveland next.

Tanner Houck (BOS) vs BAL (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.

This was your standard Careful, Icarus as Houck allowed just one run in five frames before his wings melted in the sixth. The slider is still a strong offering and I love that he’s going to it nearly 40% of the time. Sadly, he’s still lacking a proper complement. The fastballs are okay, but not dominant, which means his splitter development is more important than we’d like to see. And you know me, I hate relying on a splitter for success. This breaks the Huascar Ynoa rule of needing two elite pitches in a two-pitch mix and it makes Houck a Cherry Bomb at best.

Emmet Sheehan (LAD) @ WSH (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 73 pitches.

Blegh. The whiffs didn’t return as Emmet tried to will his way through this one with fastballs and they found grass instead of gloves. Now he gets the Padres and we don’t want that…but I’d still hold for his trio of DET + SFG + @SFG to end the year.

Andrew Abbott (CIN) vs STL (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 75 pitches.

Ugh, you too? It’s funny, I was off the Abbott train when he did well, then I’ve been kinda back on it when a lot of people rage-quit, but he’s been awfully blegh lately as he’s battled his repertoire. We’re at the point where I don’t know what his approach will be on a given day – what pitches will show up from his arsenal? – and that makes him a Cherry BombThing is, the schedule is lovely (@NYM, PIT, @STL) and I’d generally lean starting him, but man is it annoying. And yes, the defense let Abbott down here, absolutely, though that’s not going to go away, is it?

Mitch Keller (PIT) @ ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

It’s Atlanta. It doesn’t matter how hot you are, them peaches will find you and destroy you. He gets the Nationals next and we let him go there.


Game of the Day


Merrill Kelly vs. Justin Steele Two arms having phenomenal seasons go toe-to-toe. This should be good.

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 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.

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