The Agency of Smith

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

(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

I know a lot of you are still on the fence about Caleb Smith and let me throw some numbers your way after his 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks line last night. 29.2% K rate. 11.1% walk rate. 1.19 WHIP. 11.7% whiff rate. 3.70 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 3.82 SIERA. 57. 57? I don’t think that number gets enough love. Anyway, those marks on their own a bit shady – especially the walk rate and 3.82 SIERA – but what if I told you that those numbers drop to 7.8% and 3.39 across his last nine starts? He’s doing a much better job of locating his heater with a slider that has taken a step forward as well and while I’m not going to say he’s a Top 30 guy – I’m not 100% sold that his slider is that money pitch just yet – he’s owned in just 37% of leagues, slightly ahead of Trevor Williams and Danny Duffy and behind guys like Joe Musgrove, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Freeland, and Aaron Sanchez. That just seems so wrong to me. He’s not a name that people flock to and while you write it off as Blame it on the Padres last night, he gets the Giants twice, and Mets next, which I’m 75% for (stupid Coors). Go for this and don’t look back.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Dylan Covey – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Dylan, but I think you might see a Going Deep soon on him and I’ll hold off a little for now. Quick hit from my perspective, his changeup is the highest whiff getting in his repertoire and it earns a sparkling 12.8% mark. He’s a big groundball guy – over 60% – and while I can understand him settling into a Toby role, it’s just not what I want to chase. In the end, Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.

J. A. Happ – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Fewer strikeouts than normal as Happ wasn’t able to hit the top third of the zone often with his four-seamer for whatever reason in this one, but hey, this still works so we’re all cool.

Trevor Bauer – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s pretty ridiculous how much of a step forward Bauer has taken after introducing that slider over a cutter. I mean, I expected him to be better, but not legit Top 15 starter better. It’s nuts.

Walker Buehler – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. The good news: That line. The bad news: He had a sore rib and was pulled with 71 pitches. We don’t know the extent of the injury, but I’d wager he’s missing at least one start here. The more good news: If he hits the DL for, I don’t know, a month?, it means that Buehler could be pitching for your H2H playoffs – remember, he was going to be capped around 130-140 pitches anyway. Just something to consider here when your emotions are wild.

Michael Fulmer – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Well that’s a start. I won’t tell you that I expected Fulmer to dominate against the Indians, though I’m sure pleased with this, though I want a little more than 9 whiffs to justify the 7 Ks. Whatever, let’s take that 97mph heater and keep this going.

Lance Lynn – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Now that’s 4 ER in his last four starts and you’re curious. Curious like if those jelly beans really have disgusting flavors. If you’re looking for a reason to not pursue this, I got you. It’s just a 20.8% K rate with a blegh 10.8% BB rate in that time, needing a .250 BABIP and 86.7% LOB Rate in that time, adding up to a terrible 4.38 SIERA – and that’s during his hot streak! Don’t do this.

Mike Montgomery – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Monty has taken the reigns as Darvish has been on the DL and has given the Cubs a 1.02 ERA in three starts. Well now. A solid 11.7% whiff rate suggests better than the 15.2% K rate he’s earned as well, but this is a small sample of 17.2 IP. In the end, a season-long MM would equate to a debatable Toby – more like a decent streamer – and that’s cool. Be happy with that.

Chris Sale – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Sale earned himself a Gallows Pole – 23 whiffs – and 45 CSW in 109 pitches (41%). That’s straight dominance, with an amazing CSW against CWS, surprising no one.

Masahiro Tanaka – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Tanaka was pulled with this one with a strained hamstring in his left…no right…no BOTH legs. You shouldn’t be shocked at the 8 Ks by now and his 14% whiff rate with a 1.09 WHIP should make you a happy owner, but, oh, right. Double hamstring injury. Life isn’t fair, you know? Keep him on your DL, don’t drop.

Jacob deGrom – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Of course he got the Loss, why you would think otherwise?

Wilmer Font – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I gotta say, I’m not too Font of this whole “opener” thing. No one to note after so we’re going to slide right past that joke.

Marco Gonzales – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. We just can’t stop the Gonzales train and you best continue rolling with him until he hits the wall. Yes, I do think that way is coming, maybe not as harsh as a Vargas Rule, but it’s always a little weird when a guy has a 0.81 ERA over 5 starts with a 4.25 SIERA. Just a bit.

Frankie Montas – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Montas got it done against the Royals, and now holds an IPS over 7.0 through three starts…which is kinda odd but at I’m not too shocked that the Royals struggled twice to get him out early as they hacked away at his two-seamer. I’m all for taking a flier on this – he’s a new Spice Girl – but hold a shorter leash than the others. Streaming Record: 35-23.

Garrett Richards – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. That WHIP is bad and feels bad, but 7 Ks with a 3.38 ERA…yeah I’ll take it, Richards. I wonder if he’ll be able to boast a 1.20 WHIP this year, though his 1.27 WHIP is super close to 1.25 and that’s fine. Just lower those walks man. You gots this.

Andrew Cashner – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a VVVPQS for Cashner as he pushes the boundaries of VV. Oh, don’t worry Nick, the real VV did that today. It was a VV bad day.

Zack Greinke – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Greinke gave us a Philly as he got pulled one out before the QS, coming close but no cigar. Also a terrible WHIP and just five Ks and I hate how Coors does things. I’m buying if someone’s selling FWIW.

Chad Kuhl – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Kuhl story, bro. I like the lack of walks and solid 6 Ks. I hate how he kills your ratios and needs to be dealt before we can put any stock in it. Wait. What if he was dealt to the Yankees…That actually makes a ton of sense as it also opens up a permanent spot for Nick Kingham once Nova returns and he’s clearly not getting in done for the Pirates. JUST A THOUGHT.

Eric Lauer – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 7 BBs, 6 Ks. 13 baserunners in five frames is a standard EL. O. L. affair as you want nothing to do with this.

Stephen Strasburg – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Strasburg left early with a tight shoulder, which apparently he’s been dealing with for a few starts. Well that’s wonderful. Expect a DL stint here as Paxton creeps into the Top 10 on Monday.

Justin Verlander – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna PQS with 8 Ks. Yeah, I’m okay with it. I want more, y’all do too, but come on, 9 Ks!

Jhoulys Chacin – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Alright, in unison now. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. Tommy, you’re a bit flat, pick it up.

Brandon McCarthy – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. He was the reluctant Call Boy and it didn’t go well as the Dodgers are heating up like a Hot Pocket. But does that mean… Yep, you’re going to seriously regret the first moment when you embrace the Dodgers. It’ll burn more than you can possibly imagine. McCarthy should still be considered as a possible streamer through the year.

Andrew Suarez – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. I would love to put stock in Suarez, but he just isn’t bringing enough to the table. Like we made brownies, wings, and guac and he got plastic forks. WE DON’T NEED FORKS SUAREZ.

Luke Weaver – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Move on from Weaver as he just can’t get into a consistent groove start-to-start. It sucks, I really wanted to believe that he could find it – and maybe he still can! – but if there’s any sort of decent option on the wire, I think you’re fine doing that.

Doug Fister – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Fister doing Fister things – Doing The Dougie – A Fistful of Fallers – You Doug a Deep Hole – Don’t make me go on, please.

Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Welp time to pack this one up, and by pack it up, I mean time to move from the living room back to the bedroom. That’s how much investment we made here.

German Marquez – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. So I still think you can apply the Rocky Mountain Way with Marquez, but we need to reassess the Diamondback offense possibly.

Jake Junis – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Junis, no. Nooooo. Three HRs did him in as it just didn’t work against the A’s. That doesn’t mean it won’t work next time, but obviously your confidence wanes a little. Let’s see if he can rebound against…Houston? Ugh, that’s not cool at all.

Vince Velasquez – 3.2 IP, 10 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The Brew Crew were all over Vasquez from the start, as VV hung plenty and got burned. We’ve been talking a lot about Velasquez’s recent success and we now have a very apparent floor to go with his ceiling. This isn’t to say that you should drop him – he’s simply a Cherry Bomb in the truest sense. It’s up to you if you want to take the gamble.

Today’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. Chicago Cubs – He’s owned in under 20% of leagues and I think his stuff is legit, even against the Cubs.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Marco Estrada vs. Baltimore Orioles – I know, this is kinda stupid. The only options I have otherwise are Nick Tropeano against the Twins (meh) and Clayton Richard against the Marlins (blegh). I know it’s been tough for Estrada thus far, but he looked improved last time out and the Orioles have Chris Davis so…

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jordan Lyles vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Not much to choose from here, so why not, let’s take a chance that Lyles has a good curveball against the Cards.

Game of the Day

Carlos Rodon vs. David Price – While I don’t think Rodon is going make a massive splash, I’m curious how he looks against the Sawx, while Price should dominate.

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.

16 responses to “The Agency of Smith”

  1. Perfect Game says:

    For a standard, season-long roto league (QS, K, ERA and WHIP) who do you like better going forward ROS – ERod or Heany?

  2. Frank says:

    For G-Rich, 2ER over 5.1 is an ERA over 3, not under. 2ER in 6IP is a 3.00ERA.

  3. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick,
    Hope you have a great weekend, and thanks as always for taking the time to do this. Two quick questions:

    -Greinke: I gave up Corbin and a nice bat for him. You feel in the long run he provides the top 20 value I need him for in the playoffs (piggybacking on you calling him a buy-low)?

    -Weaver: Even though he was going to get the W, we haven’t seen him look even moderately dominant (neve rmore than 5 ip or 7+ Ks) and you’re 100% right in your analysis after each of hs past starts. Would you make the move for Soroka if he doesn’t show some potential against the Padres?
    ^ I’ve drafted/held him for this long (over guys like Erod), and he was so dominant for me late last year – just seems to be my weak spot as I should have dropped weeks ago but better late than never.

    Even if you don’t get to it, I always appreciate your day-in day-out work and will be supporting the cause again soon! You guys are the best and I love that I can brag about following pitcher list for several years now!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Hey Vinny!

      With Greinke, there’s no reason to feel any differently after yesterday’s outing as he went to Coors. Keep putting faith in him.

      I think start Weaver for the Padres, then drop him for Soroka.

      • Vinny says:

        Thanks as always. I wanted to run something by you, is it easier getting touch via email or better for you if I DM /u/stonewater on Reddit?

  4. Mike says:

    Honestly, I have been excited about Kingham since he was called up and I keep hoping for him to get it together, but he continues to disappoint. The league I am in basically requires us to roster 13-14 pitchers due to the number of bench spots we have and daily lineup changes, so guys like Kingham are usually going to be owned in our league. I think I have to let him go, which especially pains me since I am also a Pirates fan. He doesn’t seem to have the control that was supposed to be one of his strongest assets.

  5. theKraken says:

    That was childish managing by Dave Roberts. I got the feeling that he let his analytical inclined nephew manage the game last night. Buehler wasn’t far from perfect last night, yet he was pulled after recording a K and 72 pitches (I think). I think Dave just had his mind made up that he wasn’t going to let Walker face the lineup a third time… I don’t think there was an injury. They very well may skip a few starts but this is likely just what incompetence looks like. Roberts then proceeded to pull Puig in the fifth (for his at bat) and shift Kemp over to right field with a solid lead… which really could only be the result of looking at defensive metrics and concluding that Kemp is a hell of an RF – which is what metrics currently (mistakenly) say. Roberts wouldn’t be undone though… he then went with Kenley Jansen in the 9th with a 4 run lead, which seemed like a good idea following a 5-out save the previous day. At the end of the day, WB misses a quality start, the long guys from the bullpen are taxed, Kemp didn’t get any rest and Kenley should be unavailable today. That’s something like a golden sombrero for a manager.

  6. Barry says:

    Because I will be sitting Godley at Coors tomorrow, I may need to stream a pitcher. What order would you place these waiver wire options?

    Cobb, DeSclafani, Urena, Woodruff, Eflin, C. Richard, Estrada, or roll with Godley.

    Thanks as usual!

  7. Harper Wallbanger says:

    A quick counterpoint to consider on Lynn: when he was “good” (insofar as a career 1.31 WHIP SP can be considered good), it looked a lot like this. In ’14 and ’15, a little over 20% K’s, a little under 10% BB’s, and a high LOB% thanks to pretty good homer suppression. He’s always run a SIERA around 4. Is that really so different from what he’s doing now?

    • Jim says:

      I tend to agree. The current streak from Lynn is more in line with what we know about him from the past several years. He doesn’t blow you away, but he’s giving you above replacement level innings right now and that means something. His BABIP is a tad inflated if you’re looking for a positive. He’s in Detroit next, roll the dice.

      Same goes for Gibson actually. They are both rotting in free agency in a lot of leagues. Nothing worse than wasted talent.

  8. Manny DGM says:

    Nick, would u trade Santana for Taillon???

    C J Realmuto
    1 C Santana
    2 A rizzo
    3 A Rendón
    SS D Swanson
    OF S Marte
    OF E Rosario
    OF J Soler
    UTIL I Kinsler
    UTIL Y Alonso
    BN A Eaton
    BN M Betts
    DL D Murphy
    DL E Andrus

    SP Verlander, Berrios, Price, Pivetta, Weaver, Castillo (had Ohtani but he ded)

    RP Familia, Parker, kela, strickland

  9. EllisHart says:

    With Doug, it’s always Fister Famine.

Leave a Reply

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

Account / Login