Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Hicks Haven

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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.  

Jordan Hicks (SFG) vs WSN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.

We’re now three starts into the Jordan Hicks experiment and things are going perfectly fine. Today’s Win against the Nationals – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches – showcase that sentiment well. This is fine, but it ain’t exciting.

We saw Hicks have stupid good feel for his sweeper during the spring, but this marks two straight outings where the pitch returned a lackluster number of whiffs (just four), even that tally could have risen if he elected to throw more than 18 total sweepers. In fact, what we saw was that Hicks understands that his 95 mph sinker is dang hard to hit. It held a near 20% ICR entering this game (stupid elite!) and only two sinkers lifted that mark against the Nationals.

This could very well have been a game of “this is a poor offense and I’m not going to try to do a whole lot” and the fact that Hicks could simply live with the sinker is a floor we should consider. If he can find a rhythm with his sweeper and/or splitter on top of this, then you have yourself a lovely San Francisco stew going. Definitely hold onto this for the Marlins next as this could get much better quickly.


Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:


Cody Bradford (TEX) vs OAK (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 94 pitches.

While we expected this start to be successful, I don’t think we expected a Golden Goal from one of the best SPs out of the gate (results-wise, calm down). He split the plate in half, mostly going four-seamers and sliders gloveside and curves + changeups armside, winning the hearts of Rangers fans as Bradford fought for his life to hold onto a rotation spot. I cannot see how the Rangers could possibly remove him for Michael Lorenzen at this point, which would have Bradford slotted to face the Tigers next week. Yup, we’re absolutely gonna Vargas Rule this.

Dylan Cease (SDP) vs CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 100 pitches.

OH SNAP. I’ve suggested plenty that I want Cease to start throwing a cutter, not thinking we’d see it before May 1st, if at all, BUT HERE IT IS. He threw a few harder “sliders” at 90 mph and above and I expect Savant to add the pitch in the near future because this thing is a cutter dangitAnd it’s spectacular. Cease didn’t need it today – his four-seamer was decently placed while the slider cruised at 37% – but when his heater isn’t reliable, I hope the cutter is where Cease turns to. It’s a much-needed strike pitch and can make this notoriously volatile arm be his best self more often.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

I was worried and I’m so glad he came through. It’s fun watching the Red Sox crew feature few heaters as Crawford tossed just 21% four-seamers in this one, deftly avoiding any damage in play. There’s obviously a touch of polish still remaining for Crawford to find six innings with ease, but we’ll take this and run with it. Too bad the pen couldn’t hold the Win for him.

Lance Lynn (STL) vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 94 pitches.

Props to Lynn earning six strikeouts and 0 ER on a cold and wet day in Philly. Is he ready to take advantage of a date with the Athletics? I honestly don’t know. Shudders.

Ryan Weathers (MIA) @ NYY (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 94 pitches.

The sweeper must have worked! Uhhh, it went 5/15 strikes and the Yankees didn’t swing at a single one. The changeup? 5/11 strikes. So you’re telling me– Yes, all fortunate BABIP luck. His heater was 96 mph but struggled immensely to miss bats with just 2 whiffs to its name (sub 4% SwStr rate!), which explains the HAISTBMBWT?! I want off this ride.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ TOR (ND) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 89 pitches.

So the four-seamer is still struggling to miss bats and sat plenty in the middle, but hot dang that slider was COOKING. Okay, all but that one hanger to Vladdy in the seventh, FINE. His new cutter is also doing work, earning many outs in play and finding the strikes Gilbert needs to go 9/35 whiffs on the slider out of the zone. And the splitter? Don’t make me reference its 4/12 strike rate. You just did. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME. The slider is great and his four-seamer + cutter are seemingly enough of a tandem to set up the breaker well. Keep riding with it, hoping he can keep hiding those warts.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

Mmmmm. That’s the good stuff. The changeup looks like a failed experiment now as Kikuchi returned to his fastball/slider/curve approach of the second half for his second straight game. You have to expect that changeup focus is shelved completely now – this approach clearly works. Yes, I’m starting him against the Yankees next.

Zack Littell (TBR) @ LAA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 99 pitches.

Blegh. I’m shocked the Rays let him hurl 99 pitches and even more shocked he allowed just one earned run despite throwing so many pitches in the heart of the zone. Considering how poor his heater’s shape is, he’s lucky the Angels fouled off so many instead of bashing them in play. This should start to make you worried. Littell doesn’t have fantastic stuff and if the command is a major liability, then the reward doesn’t appear to be worth the risk. Or maybe it’s just a one-day fluke, I don’t know. It’s almost like Zack is a human with innate inconsistencies. Who knew.

Wade Miley (MIL) @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 52 pitches.

Welcome back Miley! I’m glad you made it perfectly clear that you are very much still the man you used to be. That cutter + changeup is still very much intact and I’ll probably take advantage of it a week from Sunday against the Cardinals when you’re stretched out close to 80 pitches.

Austin Gomber (COL) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.

COL story, Bro. Enjoy this Birthday Party as much as you can.

Seth Lugo (KCR) vs HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hey, that’s absolutely wonderful for a night against the Astros. Now you get the White Sox and you’re starting to become enamored with your TobyLet’s be careful – note the low CSW and few whiffs. Lugo isn’t that guy.

Aaron Nola (PHI) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I chatted about Nola (and Lynn, whatever) with Eno on The Craft earlier today, with Eno leading the charge to discuss the impact of cold weather on pitching performance. This is to help quell your fears seeing Nola down three ticks today, while Lynn also featured diminished velocity. Wet, cold days can lower velocity, and we shouldn’t give a whole lot of credence to today’s results.

Tommy Henry (ARI) @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 95 pitches.

So you cut your whiffs in half from your last start, but still struck out six. It’s the Rockies. Right right, even in Coors. H’ok, we ignore.

Chris Paddack (MIN) vs LAD (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

It’s the Dodgers and Paddack isn’t flexing anything special at the moment. You can let him sit on the wire for the Orioles up next.

Bobby Miller (LAD) @ MIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 73 pitches.

Blegh. Miller got Singled Out here, though I’m sad to see 1) 54% slider strikes and 2) a scattershot of four-seamer locations. It does seem like he’s trying to go upstairs more, though it’s nothing close to what we want to see from him. He’s right there, y’all. I CAN TASTE IT. Keep the faith.

Erick Fedde (CHW) @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

He’s a command specialist and sometimes, we need the alt instead. It didn’t go his way here against the Guardians (1/28 splitter whiffs with a 14% CSW = Bleeeegh), and it doesn’t rule him out from thriving against the Royals.

Marcus Stroman (NYY) vs MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 95 pitches.

Womp womp. He was bound to allow a run sooner or later, though I am surprised Stroman turned away from the cutter to feature the pitch just six times, five for strikes. I dunno, seems like it’s still good, why shelve it for your curve? Or the inconsistent splitter? We had some terrible misses from Stroman in this one, too, which is a bit uncharacteristic and I’d brush it off. I know it’s the Jays next, but I’m still throwing Stroman out there.

José Soriano (LAA) vs TBR (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 72 pitches.

When was the last time you saw a pitcher with a 98 mph fastball only to feature it under 40% of the time? I’m not saying that’s the wrong approach – Soriano’s slider and curve each returned a 40%+ CSW as they combined for 50% usage – it’s just abnormal. He also allowed three runs in the first (two of which scored on a wild pitch, another on a sac fly), and settled down after that, save for a solo shot in the second. I dig his sinker’s actual sinker movement + his two breakers and at 70+ pitches, he’s a sleeper stream next Tuesday in a repeat matchup. This could be interesting.

Cole Irvin (BAL) @ BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 78 pitches.

We saw Irvin with some fantastic sinkers at times, including a 95 mph offering that looked like his first game of the spring, but ultimately, it was sub 93 mph on the heater with mostly hooks as his sole companion and we need more to become a member of our fantasy squads. Maybe as a Vargas Rule at some point. We can only hope.

Tanner Bibee (CLE) vs CHW (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.

Ouch. The slider was still good, but the changeup made like Monday’s sun and disappeared. Just five thrown here despite being Bibee’s second-best offering and I don’t understand in the slightest. He shouldn’t be a 54% four-seamer arm (1/45 whiffs with a 20% CSW. That ain’t it) and he shouldn’t struggle this much against the White Sox. It was weird to see him lean armside nearly exclusively with his four-seamer. After all, he’s mostly “Stay Away” and it’s like he took his normal heater approach and turned in 90 degrees. Up or down? …how is that any different? I NEED TO KNOW. Anyway, I have my concerns about Bibee’s heater and if his changeup is actually getting shelved, then he’s left with just a slider and that’s not a Top 30 SP. Let’s hope this was just one of those days.

Hunter Greene (CIN) vs MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 105 pitches.

Ah, so we’re doing this whole thing again. You couldn’t let me have my delusions you could be anything but a HIPSTER for just another week or two, could you?

Ross Stripling (OAK) @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 97 pitches.

Not a whole lot of surprise here against the Rangers. He’s a streamer at best against the Dark Cave teams. The what now. You know, the teams with sleeping bats. NICK.

Patrick Corbin (WSN) @ SFG (L) – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 85 pitches.

Ummmm, does Corbin read the roundup?! After I lambasted him for not using his cutter last start, he elected to throw just six sliders in favor of 31 cutters in this one, almost as if to spite me. YOU WANT ME TO THROW THE CUTTER?! FINE, I’LL THROW THE CUTTER. Well Patrick, if you’re listening, I’d want you to throw the cutter to replace the sinker, not the slider. (And just DM me next time k thx).

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) @ SDP (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 83 pitches.

Do the Cubs have the heart to bench Hendricks in favor of Cade HortonI’m not sure I do. Not even on your fantasy team? To bench a player, you’d have to have them rostered first. Touché.

Spencer Arrighetti (HOU) @ KCR (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 79 pitches.

The Pasta Pirate (thanks Reddit!) wasn’t one to start today (MLB debut = jitters & lower pitch count, not electric stuff, etc.) but we were hoping he’d give us something a bit more enticing. What we got was a hittable 95 mph heater + a solid cutter and sweeper, the latter of which struggled to find a strike when needed. Welp, we weren’t going to start you against Atlanta anyway. He’ll likely get removed after for Verlander and I wouldn’t circle Spencer when he returns later in the season. He can be a decent streamer against a poor lineup (pitching for the Astros is a great thing) and we’ll wait for those moments without a calendar event.


Game of the Day 

Pablo López vs. Tarik Skubal – Baseball, you spoil me.

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.

Photos by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire and Dan Horgan/Unsplash | 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.

3 responses to “Fantasy Baseball SP Roundup: Hicks Haven”

  1. Babbo B says:

    Not sure I’m buying Littell’s command being a “major liability” given a 3 percent walk rate in his previous 101 IP – sign me up for the one-day fluke.

  2. Nick F says:

    Nick! You forgot about MERRILL KELLY? Mr. Consistent!

  3. Michael B says:

    Agreed, think Nick is lost a bit here on this one. Then to be so HOPIUM on Bobby Miller, he’s Mackenzie Gore 2.0 IMO.

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