Stuck In A Nickle

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

I feel really weird saying that I have zero shares of Nick Pivetta this season, avoiding him during drafts during the middle grouping of starters as I was worried about his fastball command. My fears have been realized through the season thus far, hitting a major wall in tonight’s ghastly 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks line against the Nationals. It’s supposed to be heaters up, breakers low, and Pivetta, well, he often couldn’t put fastballs where he wanted to and it burned him. Meanwhile, his curveball was a far cry from what it should be – just 4/25 CSW is atrocious for his go-to pitch! – and you’re beginning to wonder if you should even own Pivetta. I’ll say this, the man is a Cherry Bomb who we think could rid himself of the label this year. It could be a TIARA sort of deal where he fixes it next time out and everything is bliss, or we could be dealing with this all year. It’s painful, a headache, and I am completely fine moving on from him…if there is something strong on the wire. McHugh, Musgrove, etc., those kinds of names. I’d rather hold onto Pivetta if you’re talking about riskier Spice Girls like PabLo or Turnbull, and it’s up to you to determine if the wire is thick enough to swap him for Caleb or Woodruff or Burnes. It’s not a pretty situation, but we have to come to terms with Pivetta’s wonky consistency. He just isn’t showing us the money.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Tyler Glasnow6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Man, Glasnow was stupid good today. I made a supercut of his filthiest pitches and he overmatched the ChiSox through all six frames. I’m not sure I buy that this fastball (with cut action!) will be this well commanded moving forward, but holy Batman, that deuce was wicked. I’ve seen his deuce before, but I’m not sure I’ve seen it like that. 40% CSW for the game and every bit deserved. I still think you may want to sell high here – just two pitches and I’m skeptical that his heater will find the zone this often…often – but if you don’t get a solid offer, riding this out could be a ton of fun.

Jeremy Hellickson6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Guys, you know the drill. Hellickson is The Devil, it’s right there in his name. He’ll burn down your village if you invite him in.

Felix Pena4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s stupid boring and mediocre and gives little reason to believe Pena is your man as a streamer moving forward.

Trevor Richards6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. We all know Richards’ changeup is his best pitch. So why not throw 48 of them across 108 pitches? It helped him earn a Gallows Pole with 21 whiffs on the impressive, which I’m surprised were pretty even between heat and slow ball. 38/108 CSW overall and surviving HR-Haven Cincy is helping his case for distancing himself from Jeremy HellicksonBut Nick! They had an almost identical line! Well…that’s actually kinda entertaining. I am entertained. Hellickson isn’t leaning into his changeup as much, though, and Richards is flat out dominating with the pitch. I’d pick him up if he’s still out there.

Matt Boyd6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Are you a Boyd Boy? I am, for the most part. I didn’t think he was as sharp in this start against the Tribe, though this was the third straight average or worse offense he’s faced. That said, Boyd has a wonderful schedule ahead and I see no reason not to want him for the next month and change at the very least. There are some signs of regression here, but it shouldn’t be too harsh if he hits it.

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Among all the confusion and poor performances from great pitchers, there’s comfort in Flaherty getting the job done for the second outing in a row. The strikeouts were there, though 31 foul balls on 99 pitches is a bit more hittable than I’d like from Flaherty. The Knuckle-curve missed a ton as well and it wasn’t one of those “wow, I love owning Flaherty” starts as you pump your fist at his dominance. It just went by and you realized, “oh hey, he’s kinda killing it.” Kinda. 

Jordan Lyles6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. I’ll take unexpected starts for $400, Alex. This action caused friends to steal coins and stars from each other. What is reading the Mario party mini-game tutorial and not finishing in time before another player hits the button? Daily Doubles aside (was there one hit in this game?), Lyles isn’t this good. He isn’t even good. But hey, Bauer and Thor struggle, so baseball is weird. WHY IS IT SO WEIRD THIS YEAR.

Lance Lynn6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. There was a moment I believed that Lynn won the Gallows Pole here, but thankfully Trevor stepped up his game. Still, 18 whiffs on 111 pitches is ridiculous for Lynn, with 16 coming via heaters.  Does this mean– No. Definitely not. No way. DON’T.

Tyler Mahle5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. So the new curveball isn’t really anything, but at least Mahle kept heat up and sliders down, helping him return a solid line. It’s cool n all, but not something I can buy on a given night. 

Nick Margevicius6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Another shocking line from Margevicius – did you think today’s headline was about him? – and I think you’re going to be awfully disappointed if you chase this. I tweeted out a collection of outs earned by Margevicius today, on pitches that should have been crushed, or were and found gloves. His .167 BABIP and 93%+ LOB rates suggest plenty worse days ahead, especially when throwing 88 mph and needing to face the Giants to get a taste of strikeouts. This won’t end well. Feel free to Vargas Rule if you must.

Robbie Ray5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. So get this. Ray had 38/95 CSW with 27 called strikes. In a surprising turn of events, Ray nibbled super well, even handing over his slider to the deuce for 36 curveballs in total. I’m not sure how confident I am in that labeling – they are only 2 mph apart and some were probably mislabeled – but the breaker was incredibly placed through this outing. This could be the start of a patented Ray hot streak, so hold onto yer Betts.

Collin McHugh6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. That’s a 33% K rate and 2.65 ERA through 17 frames now for McHugh and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Get him if he’s available and ride this until he gives you a good reason not to. That slider is working oh-so-well these days.

Dereck Rodriguez7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s still a low strikeout rate, but he’s walking few and is a true Toby. He’s been more of a D-Rop lately and at least this start brings him back into the fray. The Freys? Why bring them up? I HATE THEM. We all do…We all do.

Yu Darvish5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. A pair of HRs were the major story here as I think Darvish took a mini-step forward here against the Pirates. He only needed 77 pitches and wasn’t quite there yet, but small steps. Zero walks and not as ridiculously wild, now he just needs that last layer of polish. Still a great buy low, especially since he should be even lower now. Nick, please, give it up already. Is that what you want? Me to be dishonest and just give in to a three-start sample to begin the year, ignoring everything else? Lots of pitchers are going to have these stretches through the year. Darvish will come out of it as will the majority of those slumps you’ll see. Take advantage of it.

Heath Fillmyer3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Oh how I never wanted to be a Fill-Myer Weiner. 

Yusei Kikuchi6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I want a little more from Kikuchi, but that 1.00 WHIP is lovely so fine.

Frankie Montas6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. A Quality Start with a sub 1.00 WHIP? Yeah I think this counts as a win as a streamer. Streaming Record: 8-5. Those hoping for a big push in whiffs with his new splitter, Montas earned just six in this start. So…yeah.

Jake Odorizzi4.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Odorizzi is both a Toby and Cherry Bomb in one. Do you like those things? I hate those things.

Trevor Bauer5.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Oh great, we’re still carrying over from yesterday’s “Aces Wild” roundup. I’M SO HAPPY CAN’T YOU SEE HOW HAPPY I AM. This hurts the week.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I know it’s still a phenomenal WHIP and 7 Ks, but like guys, this has been two wild and crazy weeks. 

Brandon Woodruff6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Woodruff had himself a poor third inning, allowing a HBP on a deuce that slipped out of his hand, a walk, and a couple base-knocks that returned 4 ER. All of the damage came in that sole frame, as he looked pretty dominant otherwise. I’m still in here and I’d start him next time against the Cards.

Kenta Maeda5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I was really excited when I grasped that Maeda would be pitching out of the rotation to begin the year, and we’ve been served a 4.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP across three starts. Hey, that’s, like, the opposite of what we wanted! We Kenta catch a break! He still had a wonderful 31/82 CSW (38%!) and he tossed nearly 50% sliders, going to near Tanaka approach with just 18% heaters. I think this can work, he just needs a touch of polish and avoid the hangers a little more.

James Paxton4.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You’re going to want to panic about Paxton. He did poorly against the Orioles twice and even against the tougher Astros matchup, you’re still going to panic. I’m here to tell you to buy low on Pax. I know the numbers don’t look great in his favor (just 20/91 CSW tonight = blegh) but give it time. It’s a new ballclub and a new experience for the tall left-hander, get him while owners are nervous and smile before April ends as we hand him a lovely TIARA.

Dan Straily3.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Straily doing what Straily does. And what’s that? Making people question why he’s still in the majors. You know, the usual.

Reynaldo Lopez4.1 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. I guess I have to label ReyLo as a Young Gun for yet another season. Please figure out your secondary stuff sometime soon. Next week would be great, k thx.

Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

Spencer Turnbull vs. Cleveland Indians – He has a solid ceiling and the Indians have a wonderful floor.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Michael Pineda vs. Detroit TigersStill at just 18% owned, Pineda deserves to be owned in your 12-teamer, especially against the Tigers.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Merrill Kelly vs. San Diego Padres – I could also go with Caleb Smithbut he faces the Phils in a harder matchup, making Kelly the safer play. Those that are searching for strikeouts should favor Smith, though.


Game of the Day


Shane Bieber vs. Spencer Turnbull – Two young arms squaring off each with a high ceiling? Sign me up!


(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

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.

31 responses to “Stuck In A Nickle”

  1. Stacey says:

    Nick, I have zero idea what your Syndergaard comment means.

  2. JJ says:

    Should I be more patient with Darvish?

    P.Lopez, C.Smith, C.Burnes, M.Strahm, C.Paddack, Y.Darvish, M.Shoemaker : who would you throw away?

  3. Francis says:

    Nick! You named just about every option we have in the event we have to bail on Nick Pivetta.
    I’m looking hard at Pineda on the wire right now and I don’t think NV will survive the night on my roster.
    Do you approve?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s okay with me, I want to be clear that I’m not giving up on Pivetta for the season, but I get if you need to make moves now.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Nick

    Pivetta ownership is painful and I want to believe (so badly I want to) but how would you feel about swapping him for Derek Holland? I know the Phillies are waaaay better than the Giants but how can’t earn wins if you’re putting your team in the hole from the get go.

    As always, thanks for the work that you and the team put in to make PitcherList the amazing resource that it is!

  5. Ian says:

    Lance Lynn did have the 10th best whiff rate on his heater among pitchers with 1,000 pitches thrown in 2018.

    But, he’s going to walk everyone so it doesn’t seem super useful.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      True! I wouldn’t expect much different from Lynn given his ridiculous propensity for them.

      Still, 16 just from fastballs is well out of his lane.

    • theKraken says:

      Everything Lynn does works off of his FB approach. He does not have bad command at all, but he pounds the bottom half and edges of the zone. He never gives in and sometimes it might be a 4 pitch walk. That is why he gets whiffs and walks. He is not doomed to walk a million guys necessarily. When he has his feel he can be quite good.

  6. D says:

    Yu and Happ were just dropped. Prefer either of them to McHugh (who’s looked great so far)?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think I slightly prefer both, but I’d hate to lose McHugh right now. Is there anyone else you can drop? I imagine if Darvish/Happ are out there, it’s a shallow league where you can leave them on the wire for now.

  7. Cowboy Donnie says:


    If you were so wary about Pivetta’s fastball command then why in god’s name was he ranked the #32 PL arm coming into the season?!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I feel bad about that! I really hope that part of the roundup didn’t come across as “Ha, I knew this would happen, I’m amazing!” Quite the opposite as I *did* rank Pivetta highly and was leaning that my fears about his heater would be squelched by his clear whiffability.

      As far as why I don’t own him, it’s not that I hated Pivetta – I didn’t! – it was that he wasn’t going at the place I wanted him to, entrenched in a long tier that had Pivetta going on the earlier side of it.

      I’m feeling the hurt of Pivetta’s early failures even without shares. It’s disappointing to see the warts of a pitcher take over while the anticipated beauty fades.

      • wrong says:

        You should be able to cross reference the list with market value to get some idea of your actual opinion on a player relative to the rest of the industry.

        That’s the entire point. Your outliers are the most important aspect of the list.

        Based on your Pivetta ranking and his draft price there’s no reason you own zero shares unless you are in very few leagues.

  8. Ken says:

    Woodruff missing bats but GB% is well down and hard hit rate at 55%. Any concern with these numbers going forward?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      “GB rate is down”

      Good! I don’t like high groundball pitchers.

      Hard Hit rate from a short sample isn’t worrisome to me. I’m focusing on the skills and we often see young arms get better as the season progresses if they are given the innings. Woodruff’s spot looks secure.

    • theKraken says:

      Down from his limited numbers as an RP? I don’t think we know what his baseline is. The idea of converting the bullpen guy to the rotation usually sounds better than it actually plays out. SP have a much more difficult job than RP.

  9. theKraken says:

    Thor was better than you gave him credit for yesterday. He was pretty brilliant through 7 but he did the Icarus thing coming out for the 8th and as is common in that situation, the bullpen imploded – it was 9-1 to begin the 8th and it got pretty hairy for a few minutes. I mention this because he pitched much better than the rest of the fallen aces of recent weeks. I was actually encouraged.

  10. Misled says:

    seriously, dude. you don’t own a single Pivetta share but have been slurping him forever. if the fastball command was an issue, really would’ve been nice to, uh, MENTION THAT, instead of telling everyone to draft him in the 12th round. shit like this completely destroys your credibility.

    • Smoochie says:

      This site is an amazing resource for fantasy baseball and it’s free (if you choose not to contribute financially). Relax.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      You’re right. That opening sentence in the Roundup came out wrong and really painted this thing in a terrible light. You feel misled and that’s completely on me.

      I wasn’t trying to say “I put him here and suggested him but don’t actually believe myself.” He was in the 30s among a tier of guys that all had question marks, but still in the 30s because of his whiff rates and potential to soar this year.

      When it came to draft day, I was targeting him in the 12/13/14th as I labeled out in the draft guide. My drafts went a way that had me waiting past when Pivetta would normally go, electing to go the back of the tier vs reaching at the top where Pivetta was going. Just how it went.

      I really want to be clear, this wasn’t a “told you so”, so far from it. Not to mention, I hate doing that and it does absolutely nothing positive.

      The goal was to showcase *what* it is that is causing this problem for Pivetta and why he was initially grouped in that middling tier of starters, where guys like Morton, Tanaka, Freeland, Hendricks, etc. lived since they all had their problems.

      It sucks where it is now and every time I do these roundups, it’s about moving forward. How do I feel about these guys *today* and what moves I would make in these positions.

      I feel horrible that I made you this upset. While I try to make sure all my thoughts are expressed in each roundup and podcast, there are times when I lose track of where I’ve planted a flag and communicated a possible problem. That’s my fault and hopefully I can get better about it.

    • David C. says:

      I hate to agree with this message because I love your work Nick however I feel the same way… in your DRAFT PREP before the year, you had him as one of YOUR guys to pick/ target however now you are saying you don’t own a share of him? I found that part weird too unless I misread it… I picked him because of YOU & now are saying you didn’t want him anywhere… a little ODD. Anyway, you are human & that’s fine. Your work is still A+.

  11. OlyBopper says:

    Nick, you do the absolute best pitching analysis of any site I follow. Before I cut a pitcher, I have begun looking to check your ranking and opinion on him. Some criticisms are constructive, some are not. Ignore the latter and keep up the good work!

    • David C. says:

      It can’t all be perfect, he’s allowed to get some criticism. Nick is still the best & he knows that. People join fantasy leagues & follow his every word… that’s power so a little criticism is to be expected. He’s human & that’s fine. I don’t think he expects everyone to agree with him… free or not.

  12. Wil says:

    I think the one reason that Margie can avoid the Vargas Rule is his walk rate. Nick, do you know of a similar precedent? He’s been a sub-1.25 BB/9 for 18 months now and has walked 1 in 16 innings this year. Even if he gets hit hard, wouldn’t it be difficult for a person with his walk rate to have a WHIP north of 1.30? Any past SP examples with obscenely low walk rates to prove my hypothesis wrong?

  13. Steve Rajic says:

    Can u take another look at last Pivetta start. It appears to me that the ‘stuff’ is there. Do you see a mechanical issue that could be effecting his location? If someone dropped he should be picked up immediately. The breakout we are all expecting is still forthcoming, no? It’s only April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login