Stripped Of His Crown

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Sunday's games.

(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)

It’s time we talked about Ross Stripling, who had another questionable outing via 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks as he faced the Braves. It’s three starts of 4+ ER in his last five and I know what you’re thinking. This guy wasn’t supposed to be that great and now the wheels are coming off. Yeah, because this man ain’t a wagon, he’s a plane. But seriously, I’ve had that feeling in my gut for a bit as well, but I don’t think you should be too worried. His velocity is fine and his curveball is still doing work – even his changeup went 5/15 in whiffs yesterday. The real problem in these starts has been his slide piece, which held just 4/23 CSW here and was a terrible complement to his fastball. Stripling is best elevating heat, coming down into the zone with sliders, then below the plate with curveballs. I don’t think that ability is gone. It’s possible he’s breaking down a little given the longevity of the season, and while I will be lowering him out of the Top 20 today, he’ll still be hovering #30. Don’t do anything rash.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Luis Castillo7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Ohhhhh baby! 36/102 CSW. 10/28 changeup whiffs. 10/21 SNIP (strikes not in play) on his slider. 96mph velocity. THIS IS EVERYTHING. And also the Phillies, BUT STILL. Alright, alright, I’m not raising Castillo so far today in The List, but this is what we’ve been waiting for all season long and to see his changeup get up to speed with his velocity and slider and also have the deserved results is a wonderful thing. I won’t be so foolish to make the same mistake twice with Castillo (just one game sample!) but here’s to hoping it sticks the rest of the way.

Nathan Eovaldi7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Eovaldi got his revenge against the Twins and had a sturdy debut for the Sawx. 60%+ zone rate on his cutter is making him a solid play against all but the top tier offenses and a boosted win total should have him hover the 40s/50s. I don’t see Top 40 upside given he doesn’t have that wipeout secondary option, but he’s a slightly better Toby and that’s wonderful.

Jose Urena6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. I know you see that heater and these results and think that maybe he has a chance to be consistent. But nah ya’ll. Nah. If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Zach Wheeler6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. This was a fun one as Wheeler held 8 whiffs between 32 sliders and splitters. That’s great! It’s the biggest flaw in Wheeler’s game and to see him earn 20%+ whiffs on pitches not rhyming with Core-Dreamer is a wonderful thing. Keep rolling with him.

J. A. Happ6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It wasn’t the strikeout explosion you were hoping for in Happ’s debut for the Yankees, but we’ll take it. He threw a good amount of heaters low in the zone and hopefully that becomes more exclusively elevated moving forward.

Corey Kluber7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I think. He’s still taking a drop today even with this rebound as I don’t think anyone really believes he’s out of the woods. He’ll be ahead of Sevy but behind Bauer.

Joe Musgrove7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Don’t care if the Ks are low, if I’m getting these ratios from Musgrove, it’s a good day. I think he’s still a good streaming option these days. Streaming Record: 61-36.

Sean Newcomb8.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Well this was a weird start. A near no-no with two strikes to Chris Taylor and two outs in the ninth, turning into an ER as he threw 134 pitches. 134! CSW was just 32 total, making for 23% as his changeup and curveball were not good. That slow ball? ZERO whiffs on 23 thrown. This was all heater and I’m a bit concerned about that. There’s an argument to made that we should like Newcomb more since he was able to do all of this with just a fastball and, hey! What if he gets the changeup or curveball back? Buuuut he’s been struggling up to now leaning only on that fastball and to really feel confident I need to see a slower pitch having more success. Then there’s the whole thing about the ramifications of throwing 134 pitches…Can’t say I’m too thrilled at the moment.

Ryan Borucki6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, this worked. Oh right. Blame it on the ChiSox. I see Borucki as a streamer, maaaaybe a Toby at some point. Probably not, though.

John Gant4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Gant threw 28 pitches in relief on Wednesday, so I believe they wanted to limit his count here as he tossed just 68. Everything kinda looks in line here, FWIW. I’m not expecting a ton of success with Gant as he’s all about his split-change and we know how that can be as volatile of a pitch as any. Not a terrible option for NL-Only, but not for me in 12-teamers.

Marco Gonzales6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Solid as Marco keeps performing, albeit with a 1.50 WHIP here. He’s at 54 and that’s about right for me. I just don’t buy a sub 3.50 ERA while I think he settles on a strikeout rate around 20%.

Kyle Hendricks7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Good stuff here from Hendricks with 27 called strikes alone in 107 pitches. Sinker was working, 9/26 CSW on his changeup is fine and we’re all happy. This time. 

German Marquez7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. That’s four of his last five starts tallying 6 ER and three outings with 8+ Ks in that time. Huh. I was so down and out on Marquez after a horrid five start stretch of 4+ ER each, but this…this is interesting. Whiff rates above 10% each time as he’s improved mightily with his curveball and fastball. He gets the Brewers in Milwaukee next time and I’m oddly considering it. Just throwing it out there.

Mike Minor6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Minor had himself a day against the Astros. The real treat was his 3/17 BABIP despite an 87mph average exit velocity. Good to see his changeup work well, and he’s confidently staying in the zone. I can see Minor being a decent 12-teamer add for weak teams, but don’t expect him to survive an elite squad again.

Carlos Rodon7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, this is cool Rodon. 7/27 whiffs on your slider is better – still room to grow – and 25/116 CSW is dreadful, but that BABIP went your way and your high pitch counts allow us to be happy in the end. I’d keep holding in 12-teamers.

Jose Berrios4.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. We were hoping Berrios could survive Beantown and…he couldn’t. Just 4 whiffs on 35 curveballs and he even turned to his changeup, which returned 0 CSW on 12 thrown. He needed 106 pitches to not even get 15 outs and let’s just forget this one happened. Berrios is fine, just maybe not against the Red Sawx.

Clay Buchholz5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Bucky was the backup Call Boy and it didn’t turn out all too well. An out away from a VPQS with 7 Ks isn’t the worst thing since non-sliced bread, but you want more from a guy facing the Pads. His cutter wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen either with just 6/26 CSW here.

Dylan Bundy7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Hmmmmm I want to be thrilled but his velocity was hovering 91 – not 92 – and his slider wasn’t as good as 7 strikeouts would detail. He was meh and I guess that works against the Rays?

Yonny Chirinos3.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeegh. The reason Chirinos did poorly was because I wrote about him on Saturday. My bad y’all. I still think he’s a decent stream against the ChiSox, but apparently not the Orioles. The Orioles.

Jeremy Hellickson4.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. This is why they call him The Devil. Yes, they. Don’t let him seduce you.

Lance McCullers5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. So you want about 1 ER fewer but at least we’re not terrified at McCullers’ innings wall now, right? Good bounceback, let’s hope it stays this way and earning more Gallows Poles (20 whiffs! 39/93 CSW!) moving forward.

Frankie Montas4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Montas went to Coors and you didn’t want to start him anyway. Interesting to see 35/78 sliders as it’s easily the path to upside. Not the best risk to take these days.

Zach Eflin5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhhh it’s a weird SP landscape these days that will make you hold onto Eflin even with this and his previous start not looking too good. Maybe his blister is having a larger effect on his secondary stuff than we’d like, but seriously? Just 1 whiff combined on 22 sliders, 1 curveball, and 3 changeups? Dude, no.

Andrew Suarez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. Here’s the floor of Suarez as he just doesn’t strikeout enough guys for you to let it slide. I hate to say this, but there will be more of these.

Junior Guerra4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. A bit disappointing from Guerra in his second start back from the DL and facing the Giants. I think you’re still okay owning him, but I need to see more than 13 sliders next time.

Joey Lucchesi4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. The man was a Fugghesi as his Churve just isn’t what we saw in the spring. I’m getting the feeling that it was smoke and mirrors then as opposed to Lucchesi having a mini-slump.

Burch Smith4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Welp, I was a little curious about him before, now I can give him the dreaded Cup of Schmo label for real. Hope you’re happy.

Jordan Zimmermann3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Speaking of brief whimsical moments, Jay-Z is back to being the man we all know and hate.

Felix Pena0.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. I mean, they don’t call it getting Felix’d for nothing.

Today’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. San Diego Padres – I love the changes he’s made and it’s the Padres.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Homer Bailey vs. Detroit Tigers – He’s the only option that faces a weak offense. Hooo boy.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. Chicago Cubs – Okay. I don’t expect this to go well after how poorly he looked last time out. I was tempted to do Jake Junis against the ChiSox instead and that might be the safer play ultimately (there’s really nothing else).

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. David Price – There’s also Paxton coming off the DL against Cole, but come on y’all. HAPPY NOLA DAY.

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.

10 responses to “Stripped Of His Crown”

  1. Jim says:

    Greeeaaaat. I just traded my 5th round pick next year to acquire Stripling as a “rental” basically and now the alarms are sounding. Another site today said he’s an immediate Sell based on how the Dodgers manage their rotation and Stripling could very likely be in the pen by end of August.

    Ugh. Guess I should have traded for Buehler and not this guy.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      We joke a lot about “Dodgeritis” but as I’m doing The List now, I won’t have Stripling outside the Top 35 still.

      Not saying a 5th rounder was correct, but I wouldn’t be giving up just yet. He still has it in him to produce.

  2. CasonJollette says:

    Are you ok with Castillo’s start against Washington this weekend or would you wait until afterwards before grabbing him? Would be dropping Buccholz for him but also have the likes of Eflin, Eovaldi, D Rodriguez, Wheeler and Musgrove all available. Thanks Nick!

  3. theKraken says:

    Re: Stripling – I am not sure if I have said this before, but I have certainly thought it every time I see him pitch – I don’t get it. He doesn’t look like much and he wasn’t a lights out bullpen guy. I feel dirty pointing at him after a bad start, but I don’t see how he succeeds – I have been wrong before though. He looks like a swing-man stuff-wise. Maybe he has great command or wipeout secondary stuff, but he should have been better in relief if he had those things. Maybe something just fell into place, which does happen sometimes, but I think he will turn back into a pumpkin sooner than later.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s the curveball and fastball differential with a slider that gets strikes effectively.

      That eye level change cannot be understated.

  4. theKraken says:

    I saw Berrios get a whiff on a change… it was a good one and the announcers even pointed it out. About as minimal contribution as I can make, but it is probably good to point out that those numbers obviously suffer from the same pitch classification problems that everything else does. Honestly, I stopped watching somewhere around the third inning, but prior to that there was not much hard contact. Credit BOS for battling… It is worth noting that the Twins have serious problems on defense – they deploy many ill-advised shifts and their SS is terrible. It is hard to watch and I feel bad for Twins pitchers!

  5. Tyler says:

    Waiting for German Marquez to make the PitcherList…or the All Snubs List 2018.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! He’s making it today.

      You can’t blame me for waiting for another stud start after that absolutely terrible five start stretch against a few teams he should have beat and coming off a 5 ER game last time out when pitching outside of Coors.

  6. Big League S.Choo says:

    Castillo is a monster. Top 15 guy for me.

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