The Center Of Masahiro

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

(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

I don’t talk a whole lot about Masahiro Tanaka but after a stellar night of  8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks, I think it’s time we dive in a little more. I could just end this by saying “Hey! His splitter was really good tonight!” as that’s easily the biggest variable on any given evening with the Tanak, but there was more to it here. He threw more Four-Seamers than any pitch – 40/102 – removing cutters and sinkers entirely, allowing him to better setup splitters and sliders. I still want to see a little more focus on changing eye levels with the pitch, but seeing 24/60 CSW on the two secondary pitches is crazy good. And the thing is, while he is still HR prone -1.46 HR/9 this year – it’s still just a 3.61 ERA with a stellar 1.09 WHIP and 25% K rate. It’s not all about ERA, y’all. Even better is a 3.16 ERA in his last 20 starts as he had a pair of clunkers early in the year. I know there’s fear that the floor will show up on a given night, but you have to play the odds and be thrilled with him the rest of the way. Next year? I see a slightly underrated arm to hover around pick #30, maybe higher.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Liam Hendriks1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Another False Start for Hendriks, as the A’s are getting on the Opener train. Nothing else interesting here, womp womp.

Carlos Carrasco8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I remember when Carrasco was holding a 4.00+ ERA and everyone was upset. He’s down to 3.41 ERA with a 29%+ K rate and 1.2 WHIP. That’s what’s up. Enjoy the Gallows Pole with 24 whiffs.

Patrick Corbin6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Is he Top 10 next year? I haven’t decided just yet.

Chase Anderson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. This is the standard affair from Chase. It’s really close to being blegh, but he just gave you enough to be cool with this. I’d be cautious moving forward.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s a 2.86 ERA now with a 1.03 WHIP and a 34.5% K rate. Yep, I was completely wrong on this one, so it goes, the dude is a stud.

Marco Estrada6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Look at that, Estrada wasn’t bad! Good luck in every other start this year and enjoy the Birthday Party.

Jon Gray4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. He couldn’t survive four frames as he walked five and that’s three starts of disappointing whiff rates, here with just seven in 85 pitches. I’m scared and so should you.

Derek Holland6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks. Is Holland still available in your league? Why isn’t he on your team yet?

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s Aces gonna ace for TATIAGA. I know it’s a “down year” but Kershaw is boasting a 2.42 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 25% K rate with a 6.24 IPS. He’s still dope.

Steven Matz5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Our Call Boy continued his strikeout ways with a great outing against the Phils. Given his comfortable schedule the rest of the way, I think you don’t let him fall back to the wire now. Streaming Record: 91-42.

Felix Pena7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Pena was the backup Call Boy and he did good work against the ChiSox – arguably better, sacrificing two Ks for a better ERA and amplified WHIP. I still only see him as a streamer, however, and I’d play this game-by-game.

David Price6.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Mmmmm Price continues to cruise as he returned from an injury scare. This was Houston as well and it didn’t matter. Don’t overthink it, just put this on cruise control.

Blake Snell5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Is he the Cy Young? I’m expecting deGrom to with the NL title and I’m writing a piece on him in the off-season. Maybe I should do the same for Snell…

Dan Straily4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhh it’s super mediocre, but what else do you expect from Straily?

Chris Archer6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. A PQS with six Ks and a 1.33 WHIP? Mmmmmm maybe. It’s a hint of a Top 20 guy, but he’s acting like a Top 60 and that’s kinda the state of affairs for Archer. Dark times, y’all. Dark times.

Austin Gomber6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. A VPQS with 6 Ks is as good as you could hope for from Gomber…which says a lot.

Aaron Nola7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Stupid HRs ruining a lovely 36/103 CSW on Nola Day. Can I still say aces gonna ace with that WHIP and 8 Ks? I think so.

Daniel Norris5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. This is actually pretty solid from Norris but he’s still throwing 91mph and his slider is kinda meh at 6/28 CSW without any other strong secondary pitches. I’m not jumping on board here.

Anthony DeSclafani4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeeegh. Tony Disco couldn’t handle the Padres and now we can’t expect him to handle anyone.

Kevin Gausman4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. I mean, I would have still started him here, though we all knew he wasn’t that good for the Braves. Still a Toby in 12-teamers and move along.

Brett Kennedy1.2 IP, 4 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. BK, it’s not what you crave.

James Paxton6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Soooo the 4 ER aren’t good, but the 8 Ks and 1.00 WHIP are excellent. I can’t say I’m thrilled that he’s limited his cutter to just 11/95 thrown, though he did go 32/95 CSW with a whopping 20 whiffs here. I wouldn’t have hesitation starting him moving forward, regardless of the opponent.

Carlos Rodon4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Ouch, this one hurt a bit. Rodon has been doing well at inducing weak contact, but this was a bit too much, and his high walk count wasn’t “by design” like I talked about prior with fastballs missing in-and-off the plate. I still he’s well worth your attention in 12-teamers, however. I’m not ready to let him go.

Yovani Gallardo4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. This is why I don’t take YoGa.

Stephen Gonsalves2.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Well, yeah, he’s a Cup of Schmo who can’t throw strikes.

Dylan Bundy4.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Man, it’s such a sad state of affairs for Bundy and it’s a terrible idea to risk your season on the back of Dylan. Maybe he figures it out by next year, but I’ll be treating him like a waiver wire monitor, not a draft pick.

Heath Fillmyer2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Heath is a Cup of Schmo. We knew this.

Today’s Streamer

Wei-Yin Chen vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – He’s on a roll and there aren’t many decent options out there otherwise.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Reynaldo Lopez vs. Los Angeles Angels – Bleeeegh, am I really going with ReyLo? It’s really him or Jacob Nix against the Reds and he really hasn’t done enough to make me think that is going to happen. At least Lopez has been volatile with a ceiling instead of consistent mediocrity, right? Touki Toussaint vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I feel weird striking through all of that since they are still options, but I’ve changed the primary pick to Touki given his ability to win your week in the last moment.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jose Urena vs. New York Mets – The Prime Candidates of Junis/Minor/Giolito are all now over 20%, so I’m going with Urena against that terrible offense.

Game of the Day

Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Charlie Morton – Both are fresh off the DL (Morton so fresh, so clean clean!) and I’m curious how they’ll both perform against each other’s strong offenses.

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.

6 responses to “The Center Of Masahiro”

  1. Frankie says:

    Has it come to this? F Pena, S Matz and M Minor could actually carry our fantasy team thru the playoffs! Meanwhile, J Gray is showing regression, Folty can’t buy a W and Buchholz might do his best Cherry Bomb impression at Coors!

  2. Socrates says:

    The G.o.t.D. is a fantasy playoff deathtrap. GL with that one.

  3. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick,

    At this rate I have no doubt you’re going to hit triple digits in the streamer record this year. That doesn’t even account for the times you list 2 or 3 options and they also hit. Well done sir!

  4. Dangerfield51 says:

    Wei-Yen is a start at home only…check out his splits.

  5. larry says:

    Out of these 3 which do you like best–Junis/Minor/Giolito

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