Stuck In The Cookie Jar

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

You’re a Carlos Carrasco owner and life is hard. Last night’s 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks included a trio of HRs – five allowed in two games – and after Carrasco gave you a pair of goose egg outings, he’s back with another set of 8 ER in two games, inflating his ERA to 4.60 on the year with a meh 1.26 WHIP. Thing is, Carrasco wasn’t that bad here, either. 32/105 CSW, 18 whiffs, but he made some terrible pitches with his two-seamer and was punished for it. It’s a tale as old as time and you’re experiencing plenty of the fluctuation that we’re used to. You know, someone was calling Jose Berrios the greatest Cherry Bomb of them all, but that’s really Carrasco’s title as like I’ve been saying before, he’s going to be ridiculously good for a stretch and make up all of these ratios in a heartbeat. I’m buying low given the 14% swinging-strike rate, the strikeouts still flowing, and the gross 20% HR/FB rate likely falling down. Oh, and the stupid .340 BABIP as hopefully his two-seamer isn’t this detrimental.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Patrick Corbin9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sure it was the Marlins, but after stumbling against the Mets, you needed this recovery. Atta boy Corbin.

Brad Peacock6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Man, I just don’t know what to make of Peacock. He completely avoids the top of the zone and relies heavily on horizontal movement on his slider and fastballs, trying to make batters guess which direction each pitch is going. Thing is, it doesn’t create a ton of whiffs chilling that low in the zone, with just 8/93 here (just 2/30 on breaking balls!) and a middling 26/93 CSW. But it worked here against a strong offense and that’s a positive, right? I just get the feeling this is more of a trap than a legit breakout that I’m too blind to ignore. Now he faces the A’s and…I don’t know y’all. I don’t know. Depends on what other options there are and if you can sell him for anything I’m down.

David Price0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Dont’ worry, it was “flu-like symptoms” that took Price out of this one, not an actual injury. We all good.

Tyler Skaggs5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s two straight 7 K games for Skaggs and I’m starting to get pumped. He’s working the BSB with heaters up and curveballs down, earning 14 whiffs here – 17/56 CSW on heaters is strong for fastballs. There needs to be a bit of growth on that curveball and/or changeup to take the proper next step, but I’m feeling good owning him at the moment.

Ryan Carpenter5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. HE HAS RISEN! He has? YES! HE HAS RISEN HIS K RATE! Sorry, I see a carpenter and I get excited, you know? On the real, Ryan is very mediocre and very much not worth this much attention.

Kyle Gibson7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Hey, the changeup is back! 33% whiffs here as his slider tacked on another 10 in its own right, helping Gibson earn another Gallows Pole at 21 whiffs. He gets the Rays next and I just don’t see a way for you to let this go right now.

Chad Green1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. The Yanks used Green as an opener with Chance Adams following and earning his first career Win. Well that’s cool n stuff.

Mike Minor6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I got excited last time as his slider took a step forward, earning whiffs and called strikes with ease as his changeup wasn’t there. Well, it was just 2/22 CSW for the slide piece this time, but his four-seamer was fantastic and worked with his changeup enough, paired with strikes from the slider (7 foul and 5 BIP) to make it work against the Angels. I’ll take it as the development of Minor turning into a legit arm continues. He’s not there, but he’s going through the growth spurt now. Maybe he gets comfortable in his own skin, maybe he’s just too lanky for his good. We’ll see. In the meantime, don’t you dare let him go.

Charlie Morton6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. I still believe Morton might be the most overlooked “ace” out there, with a 2.54 ERA, 31% K rate, and 1.16 WHIP thus far. The biggest question is his longevity – just two seasons above 150 IP since 2012 and none above 172. It’s a minefield of injuries – but here’s to him, like Ryu, carrying your team until that day comes.

Mike Soroka6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Soroka, I just love how well the eye-test of “okay, this guy should outperform his DIPS and HOTEL numbers” is coming to life as he’s now boasting a .213 BABIP, 0.18 HR/9, and 85% LOB rate, making his 1.07 ERA (raised in this game) return a 3.85 SIERA. He’s, in reality, a 2.75 ERA arm with a 23% K rate and 1.10 WHIP. That’s what’s up. It’s about 51 frames now and I think he has about 80-90 to go. Here’s to the wonderful ride.

Jason Vargas5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Are you applying a Vargas Rule to Vargas? That’s 1 ER in four of his last five now, with the misstep in Miller Park. He also has one game of 5.1 IP in there with a trio of sub 5.0 frames. Yikes. That’s a No-It-All.

Jake Arrieta8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. You endure a lot of meh from Arrieta and it’s just so nice when he hints as the days of old. Yes, hints. Not returns to, this is a flash in the pan, don’t go crazy now.

Dakota Hudson6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Hudson is a sinkerballer with a low ceiling, i.e. this start right in front of us. It helps, but get used to that low strikeout rate – especially when the ratios aren’t there.

Hyun-Jin Ryu6.0 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. He allowed 2 ER, the most he’s allowed all season. He’s washed up, y’all. But seriously, this is an incredible run for Ryu and I’m still selling high where I can based on that the extensive injury history. If not, let’s enjoy this ride together and hope the falling house has us sitting in the window frame.

Taylor Clarke6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. A slightly better VPQS from Clarke is cool, the 8% swinging strike rate and 13% K rate is not. This is not the upside arm you’re looking for.

Mike Fiers6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. A PQS with a sub 1.00 WHIP? I’ll take that ALL DAY from Fiers. He’s a QS streamer and should be avoided otherwise.

J. A. Happ6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. So good to see Happ get in a groove with his four-seamer, earning 14/57 whiffs on the pitch – 19/82 whiffs overall. It really is everything from him and it could be the southpaw turning a corner. Or taking advantage of the Royals. We’ll see, he’s a Toby which means he’s on your team anyway, though I’d have concerns trusting him against the Sawx on Thursday.

Jake Junis6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m amazed he was able to pull off the PQS after looking poor out of the gate, but he was able to pull it off, of course heavily relying on his slider (53/98 thrown!). Still just a 27% CSW. Womp womp. I would not trust this.

Cal Quantrill6.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Who, Quantrill with a start that we actually would consider!

Sandy Alcantara5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I hope this isn’t a surprise to anyone. Sandy is volatile and raw and should not be relied on save for the desperate in a H2H league with little to lose. Gallen will be here soon enough (probably mid-to-late June?).

Jhoulys Chacin5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Ahhhh yes. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. For the record, it’s not often enough for 12-teamers.

Yusei Kikuchi3.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He had that one game of 94+ and I was suddenly intrigued. He’s since dropped down to 93 and change with this start returning…91.9 mph on his heater. Hoooo boy that’s bad. I’m out like Mark Cuban turning down a perfectly good business. One day I’ll be on that show and in a seat. One day…Also, one strikeout Kikuchi? HAISTFMFWT?!

Manny Banuelos4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Manny Banny was back for another WHAMMY of a start. Those poor poor ratios.

Andrew Cashner5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I mean, we Cashed Out in like 2015, didn’t we?

Jorge Lopez1.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. You may be asking him to leave your team until he yells back at you. I AM CORN-JorLo! Nick, I don’t think joke lands. Just like the homerun balls he allows. Touché.

Yu Darvish7.0 IP, 6 ER, 12 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. UGGGGGGGGH why must this be so hard? Three longballs really did Darvish in here as Darvish really sank in on that cutter here. The biggest problem was the lack of faith in sliders. Seriously, just nine thrown without a single whiff. That’s…not right. But HERE’S A TWIST. He still had 15 whiffs and 35/108 CSW. I just don’t understand anymore. Fastballs earned only 8/46 CSW on their own and he really doesn’t have faith in anything but that cutter…which is a good pitch but not a money pitch or anything. 

Tyler Mahle5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeaaaaah, I was bound to take another loss sooner or later and I actually realized I didn’t tack one on way back when we were in the teens. Streaming Record: 35-21. As for Mahle, a matchup against the Cubs wasn’t sterling, but he was the best pitcher available and it didn’t go our way. I’m down for his next start against the Nationals, though.

Joe Musgrove5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I’m Natalie torn. Musgrove faced the Dodgers and we didn’t expect him to cruise along unscathed. He also got rocked for just 7 whiffs, one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!), and it’s getting harder to buy into Musgrove as a legit SP #4 right now. I still want to own him but his Top 40 ranking just doesn’t seem right. I can see him having one of those nice two-month stretches in July & August but if there is someone legit on the wire, this is your green light as he hosts the Brewers next.

Kyle Freeland4.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Can we just call Freeland Gilligan? He’s just so lost right now.

Edwin Jackson4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. EJax gonna EJax. He’s more like AJax in the way he’s purging your team from contention.

Andrew Suarez4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Andrew is pitching like his middle name is Sam. Or Scott. Or Steve. Yeah, Steve.


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.


Shaun Anderson vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I have nothing. NOTHING. So why not, go with this young gun. I wouldn’t.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Lance Lynn vs. Seattle Mariners – I don’t like doubling-down on Lynn, but I don’t like any matchups from other possible streamers and I’ll go after the Ks. Don’t do this as you could be in a deep hole early.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Trevor Richards vs. San Francisco GiantsIt’s a solid matchup and Richards was able to perform well against the Tigers last time out.


Game of the Day


Andrew Heaney vs. Texas Rangers – HE’S BACK. I loved him as a Top 40 play in the preseason and I’m stoked to see what he’s capable of. It’s in L.A. and I’m rolling him out there. YOU GOTS THIS ANDY


(Photo by Frank Jansky/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.

12 responses to “Stuck In The Cookie Jar”

  1. Kim says:

    Hey Nick. What do you think about dropping Musgrove for Mitch Keller?

  2. Andrew says:

    Musgrove’s start had me cold and shamed, lying naked on the floor

  3. McKay says:

    With Glasnow shifted to the 60-day IL, do you think that pushes up McKay’s MLB debut at all?

  4. Padres says:

    How impressed were you with Quantrill’s start? Is he worth getting excited about, or did you see holes in his 9K performance?

  5. Purple Rattle says:

    Hi Nick!
    Better ROS in a 12 team points keeper, Skaggs or Mahle?

  6. DJ Pink Koolaid says:

    Pivetta or Kelly ROS?

  7. hscer says:

    Hey, that was me! I’m still mad enough at Berrios I won’t argue with you lol. But we do still need a name for that, no?

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