SP Roundup Spring Training Edition: 3-4-24 Games

Nick reviews all starting pitcher performances from yesterday's games.

Spring Training has arrived and as I’ve been writing daily notes for myself to recap all spring training starting pitchers, I realized I should publish them on the site for quick access.

I’ll be livestreaming every morning 10am-12pm ET at playback.tv/pitcherlist as I watch all of the starts with y’all and answer all your fantasy baseball questions.


Major SP News To Know


Justin Verlander is expected to start the season on the IL. I’m expecting Ronel Blanco to get the spot in the interim as J.P. France has been slowed down in camp. Spencer Arrighetti is another option, though the Astros have been giving a larger focus to Blanco thus far. Blanco’s fastball + slider combo is solid and he could be a sneaky deep league play given the team context – great defense, run support, and a path to 5+ innings make for a better Win chance than most.

Lucas Giolito has a partially torn UCL and flexor strain. He may miss all of 2024 and it’s terrible news on the back on him showcasing improved velocity and a new slider. The Red Sox could pursue Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell, but with both Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck looking great in camp and previously fighting for the #5 spot, the Red Sox seemingly already have their replacement. Yes, I like both Whitlock and Houck, with Whitlock’s deeper arsenal making me favor him over Houck, even with Houck reportedly hitting 97 and boasting increased velocity.

Sonny Gray was removed with a mild hamstring injury and will likely miss opening day. It opens the door for Zack Thompson or Matthew Liberatorethough it’s unclear how long Sonny will be out. I prefer Blanco over both options, though if Liberatore gets his slider working and steals the spot, there is some upside there.

Zack Wheeler received a three-year contract extensionThis doesn’t matter for fantasy. Not really, though it isn’t a “Contract Year” that would have Wheeler push himself, if you were leaning into that narrative.

Kevin Gausman is dealing with shoulder soreness without structural damage. Indefinitely out, and I wouldn’t imagine him missing many starts, if any. Bowden Francis, Paolo Espino, and Mitch White are the 6/7/8 SP options, respectively, though with Alek Manoah’s struggles and injury, you may be seeing both Francis and Espino in that rotation early (if they don’t sign someone, of course). Too risky for 12-teamers with Francis, while Paolo isn’t worthwhile even for 15-teamers.

Shane Baz will start the year on the IL after tweaking an oblique while picking up a weight. It’s not a long delay (he’s pushed back “a week”) and for fantasy purposes, it’s good news that we are able to place Baz on the IL, removing the haze that came with a minor-league placement or IL designation.

Braxton Garrett is unlikely to make the opening day roster. He was delayed in camp with shoulder soreness and is too far behind. It clears the path for A.J. Puk to leave camp in the rotation and possibly hold it for the year, though, Trevor Rogers makes his spring debut and could make things incredibly interesting. There’s a chance Max Meyer beats Puk for the spot, but there could be two openings now. Monitor this battle across March.

Allan Winans, Darius Vines, Dylan Dodd were all demoted by Atlanta. This doesn’t come as a shock, but it does bring a little more clarity to their SP #5 battle, leaving Bryce Elder, Reynaldo López, AJ Smith-Shawverand Huascar Ynoa as the finalists, likely in that order. It’s still Elder’s spot to lose in my view, though Reynaldo and AJSS are making fantastic cases.

Luis Medina left his game early with a right knee sprain. It could mean Joe Boyle gets the chance we all want him to get, though I can’t give my two cents there until I get Statcast Data + more video. I can’t move him up the ranks until I have a reason to believe Boyle has improved his command.


Statcast Games – TV




Josh Winckowski (BOS) – 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s gonna be Whitlock or Houck (or now both?). Sorry Winck, I just don’t think you have a whole lot to offer here.

Tarik Skubal (DET) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, he looks great. I hate the camera angle that prevented me from truly understanding his slider and changeup, but the fastball is still sitting above 97 mph (unreal!) and went 7/19 whiffs here. Meanwhile, a 4/7 whiff changeup, 6/8 strike sinker, and 3/4 strike slider works in all ways. Still think there’s a little polish in command left to get the secondaries low, but yeah, he’s a Top 15 SP, if not higher.

Nick Nelson (PHI) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. This is not what you’re looking for. At least he has a much slower slider with a ton more vertical break…?


Statcast Games – No TV





Clarke Schmidt (NYY) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s a harder cutter that worked well against LHB, while I’m thrilled to see him hold back on sweepers against LHB, too. This could work, and I think he’s being overlooked at the end of deeper leagues as a solid Toby with some strikeout appeal.

Will Warren (NYY) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. His sweeper precision against RHB is fantastic, though he still needs to get his sinker inside a bit more, while LHB are still a bit of a struggle. We’ll see him at some point this year, I’m sure.

A.J. Puk (MIA) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m loving this from Puk, who earned 47% CSW across 32 four-seamers + sinkers. There’s still more I want to see from Puk as he stretches out (can he go a full five or more without fatigue?), but hot dang, it’s hard to deny the man’s success this spring. Sign me up.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Whoaaaa, that heater was so well spotted upstairs and that was the #1 reason for his walk issues last year – he simply couldn’t wrangle that heater to both LHB and RHB. He was so efficient in these three frames that he needed to throw more on the side, where I hope he threw some breakers after tossing just five here. I’m getting a little hyped here, but it’s still such a small sample.

AJ Smith-Shawver (ATL) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He can’t be stopped. Well, maybe he can by his four-seamer command, but the pitch is still sitting 96/97 mph, while his harder 88 mph changeup returned 4/16 whiffs and the 88 mph slider went 5/7 strikes. Great stuff all around, though I still get the feeling Atlanta will turn to Bryce Elder or Reynaldo López instead of AJSS to start the year. Give me more.

Pablo López (MIN) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. His velocity was down a tick, but still at 94 mph and I’m not worried at all. Spring y’all.

Spencer Howard (SFG) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Whoa, it’s Howard. The Giants are searching for options here and maybe Howard is one of them…? 1/38 whiffs tells you enough.

Dakota Hudson & Friends (COL) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Y’all know this ain’t it.


No Statcast – TV




Luis L. Ortiz (PIT) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. He struck out the side in the first with a trio of sliders, but then showed his erratic nature in the following two frames. His heater earned enough outs in play, but until Ortiz has better fastball command, I’m out.

Paul Skenes – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Doesn’t matter that his pitch shape isn’t great, his upper 90s velocity with a hard slider and average if not above-average command makes Skenes legit. Just not SP #1 overall potential legit. And that’s totally fine. When he gets the call this year, we add him and have fun with it.

Aaron Civale (TBR) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Don’t worry about this. I like that he’s leaning cutter and sweeper more and this will be fine.

Tyler Anderson (LAA) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeaaaah, he got some strikeouts here, but I don’t think he’s suddenly figured out his old changeup, nor does he have the four-seamer to pair with the slowball and cutter. I’m not buying this.

Cody Bradford (TEX) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. You’re still here. Bradford has the SP #5 spot and I guess that has some value, I just don’t think he’s that great. I could be missing out here, but the low velocity and overall meh has me avoiding unless he’s impressive in-season.


No Statcast – No TV

STL. vs. WSH






Sonny Gray (STL) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Sonny was removed early with hamstring tightness and will likely miss opening day. I’d still draft Sonny, y’all. Stick him in your IL spot for a week or two and take advantage of the extra roster spot for a moment.

Steven Matz (STL) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Hey, he’s healthy. That’s cool. Only consideration in NL-Only/15-teamers, and even then I’d be iffy.

Tink Hence (STL)—2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Oh snap, it’s Hence! And we weren’t given any data or video! He’s a major SP prospect and will be in the spotlight by 2025, if not by June/July. Monitor him in the minors this year.

Trevor Williams (WSH) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. #NeverTrevor.

Dean Kremer (BAL) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He wasn’t sharp last time and this line doesn’t suggest any different. Part of me thinks the Orioles would be better with Povich or Armbruster or McDermott, but it’s spring and he still has a spot.

Luis Medina (OAK) – 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. He left this one early with a right knee sprain and that’s terrible news. I can’t imagine he makes the rotation now. Joe Boyle time…?

Andrew Abbott (CIN) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Womp womp. Sure seems like his command isn’t much better from this line.

Connor Phillips (CIN) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. See above. Command is the major issue and seems like it’s a problem.

Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s fine, still not enough new information to change my stance that Pfaadt is a decent Toby with a touch of strikeout upside without a good weapon vs. LHB.

Michael Soroka (CHW) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He’ll have a rotation spot for the White Sox and may be a sneaky volume arm for deeper leagues. Don’t ignore it.

Chris Flexen (CHW) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yes, he also has a rotation spot for the White Sox. I know.

Jordan Wicks (CHC) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. He’s holding onto that rotation spot for the Cubs for dear life as Caleb Kilian breathes down his neck. Pay attention to Kilian today.

Jhony Brito (SDP) – 3.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Hot dang! It’s not on MLB.TV, but was played on MLB Network and that’s all kinds of annoying. At least we got some video as he used his breakers well and surprised upstairs with his heater. I like him most of all the back-end starters for the Padres (after Musgrove, Darvish, and King), and may turn into a sneaker arm given the solid defense behind home. I hope those secondaries come through.

Matt Waldron (SDP) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. You just have to make this rotation battle more interesting, didn’t you? Waldron could be a sneaky arm as well if he gets a rotation spot, though I question his whole arsenal a little more than Brito as Waldron’s heaters aren’t as impressive.


What To Watch on TV Today


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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