The Curious Lucchesi of Joey

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

Are you satisfied owning Joey Lucchesi this season? While he was disappointing early, after last night’s 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks outing against the Blue Jays (Yes, the Blue Jays), Lucchesi is boasting a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 26% strikeout rate across his last six starts. That’s fantastic and we should be thrilled…for the most part. I think some people are going to demand I raise him dramatically from his current #71 rankings and while he likely deserves an early 60s spot or so, that’s all he’s going to get. It’s a nice little run aided by last night’s horrid lineup and 39% CSW (17 whiffs!) but I just don’t see enough in this repertoire that speaks more to a Toby with strikeout upside. Keep in mind, just two of these starts during the strong run have come with six frames. He’s not giving you great volume, the strikeouts will come and go, and he’s a bit volatile in the ratios department. It’s worthy of the roster spot, just not the guy that will win you your league.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Mike Foltynewicz6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey Folty, I appreciate this one. It gets harder each week saying “don’t worry he’ll eventually get there” when you consistently disappoint, you know? The TIARA has been taken off after this outing against the Cards with Folty sitting 95.5 mph and touching 97. 33% CSW with a better slider than in previous starts – 20/25 for strikes – and I’m satisfied. He’s not the Top 20 guy he was last year, but this is an arm you’ll be starting regularly, even with the inevitable disappointments along the way. So where does he sit on The List on Monday? Honestly, right about the same place. That’s the point, I’m not anticipating a Top 30 arm, but he belongs in the mix with Tanaka, Hendricks, Archer, Hamels, etc. And that’s lovely. We have our SP #4 back.

Jose Berrios6.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. His curveball isn’t back just yet, but it was a little better than the past few weeks where he’s had to look at his changeup for more help and it stared back in surprise “Dude, I want nothing to do with this.” I have Berrios higher than expected by others because I do expect his curveball to get back into full form shortly and if that’s an argument you don’t want to buy, I understand. But hey, he did well even without his best deuce here!

Shane Bieber5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Wild to see bieber cruise to nine frames last time, then throw more pitches in just five frames this time. Still, the guy is killing it – 21 whiffs (Gallows Pole) and 36/111 CSW – and those worried about the walks shouldn’t be. It’s so much better to see him not give into batters than the 0 BBs, 3 ER, 8 Hits games. I wonder if he can be better if he explores the top of the zone more often with heat, but for now, we’re very happy with the status of Bieber.

Walker Buehler6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Y’all know the narrative with Buehler: Secondary pitches for strikes = strikeouts with heaters. Cutters worked last week instead of his sliders/curveballs that inconsistently found the zone early this year. This start? Cutters were 17/20 for strikes. BOOM. Slider and curveball are still lagging in the nasty department – just 4/27 whiffs there – but they found the zone a ton as well (CB = 15/16, SL = 7/11) and all is wonderful. Buy buy buy.

Griffin Canning5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Atta boy Canning, earning 50% CSW on curveballs and dancing sliders right along the outside edge. Fastballs were…fine and it returned a strong outing. The biggest knock on the kid is his inability to go deep into games – just one game of six frames in five thus far – and hopefully he keeps refining his stuff to get there. He gets the A’s next and I’m still letting him fly.

Daniel Mengden4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Speaking of the A’s, Mengden is doing things again and you shouldn’t care. It’s too bad, maybe he’ll go on one of those patented low fastball BABIP runs again, but I won’t be around to see it happen.

Wade Miley6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Weird to see Miley not only get eight strikeouts but deserve it with 14 whiffs along the way. He’s still super cutter heavy, but 8 whiffs on 29 changeups/curveballs is a welcome addition. That’s a 3.32 ERA on the year, you know.

Blake Snell6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I know what you’re thinking, how dare you strike out just seven and allow an earned run. I’ll talk to him for y’all.

Robbie Ray5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. The WHIP is still hurting, but I’ll take that ERA and 9 Ks from Ray all day. It’s now a 2.45 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 32% K rate, and 10% walk rate in his last seven starts. Yep, that’s what you paid for.

Chris Sale6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Errors got to him a little, though just seven whiffs is startling to say the least. Just 29 sliders – ONE WHIFF! – just doesn’t seem right as he went 22/88 CSW. And the line is still lovely against a tough team. Baseball, man.

Chase Anderson4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I feel like I need a cop to watch over everyone who is considering Anderson. You know, a Police Chase.

Kyle Hendricks6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. A PQS is kinda expected from Hendricks, the nine Ks are a nice surprise. Thanks bucko.

John Means 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Huh, look at John go, often giving us the Means of today’s pitching lines.

Miles Mikolas7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. WHAT. 20 whiffs, one short of a Gallows Pole. 14 whiffs on FASTBALLS. Yes, he got blown up in Arlington last week, but I’m starting to really buy into Mikolas turning the corner and become the guy we want him to be. I’m buying wherever I can.

Drew Smyly6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. A VPQS with four Ks? This is just how he Drew it up, right? Right?

Trent Thornton6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Thornton is good at strikeouts, the Padres are the most giving of Ks out there, and we had ourselves a double-digit feast. Streaming Record: 35-19. The Rays are next for Canning and that’s not a start I’m jonesing for.

Anthony DeSclafani3.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Tony Disco had a nice run early and it’s faded since. There’s no reason to keeping dancing the night season away.

Jerad Eickhoff3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. On one hand, you can drop him as he did poorly and handed us a HAISTFMFWT?! On the other, this was in Miller Park and we didn’t have high expectations in the first place. Hosting the Cardinals in Philly? That I actually think is a decent outing for 12-teamers. Rage quit all you want, keep focus on the matchups and this can still work out. He is falling on The List on Monday, of course.

Wade LeBlanc5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. LeBlanc is a Panda and that’s the nicest thing I’ve said about him all year.

Pablo Lopez3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Womp womp. At least it wasn’t the 10 ER fireworks spectacular that killed you two weeks ago, but it’s tough to watch PabLo continue to struggle his curveball – 2/19 CSW – and not showcasing the 94/95 mph heater that we saw in the spring. I’m seeing him more as a streamer these days and someone that could potentially breakout and not someone that is destined to turn it around like Darvish or Folty or Mikolas or whoever.

Michael Feliz0.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. The Pirates wanted in on the whole Opener craze and the whole league at them to say “Oh, honey…” Steven Brault followed and I won’t even quote the line – it doesn’t matter. Don’t own Brault, feel bad for the Pirates’ life – it ain’t for us – and move on.

Jeff Hoffman5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. One day Hoffman will get traded and turn into an intriguing pre-season last-round SP option. Maybe 2022. We’ll see.

Kyle McGowin4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. This was a spot start and exactly what most spot starts look like. See Spot Pitch. See Spot Disappoint. 

Drew Pomeranz2.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I wish we can all collectively forget what his nickname was in years prior since it’s just so not applicable anymore. There’s zero reason to own Pomeranz these days.

Gregory Soto3.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I want to call Gregory “Sally” from Nightmare Before Christmas as she would sew toes onto herself. You really have nothing better to do than come up with that. Not a thing. 

Noah Syndergaard5.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Hey, you got your strikeouts, your 16 whiffs, your 34/104 CSW, and yet there’s something else wrong with Thor. He’s still not trusting his slider – 11/104 thrown and 47 curveballs & changeups thrown – and he doesn’t trust the Blake Snell Blueprint as he’s using sinkers all over the place. He’s a mess at the moment and I have nothing to say but I hope he turns it around. Those asking what to do with Thor, my gut is to hold, but this is just…bad. You have to think he figures it out eventually – whatever it is – as he’s too talented to get the PEAS label. But yeah, he’s heading out of the Top 20 on Monday.

Reynaldo Lopez3.2 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeaaaaaaah, this is too bad. Just two whiffs across all his secondary pitches – 6/31 CSw on them is horrendous – and that’s a recipe for ReyLo getting lit up. If you’re fine with a Cherry Bomb, go ahead. Steer clear in 12-teamers unless you need the hail mary.


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.


Tyler Mahle vs. Chicago Cubs – I’m actually not in love with this matchup for Mahle, though he’s far-and-away the best pitcher under 20% available and the other matchups are not good in their own rights.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


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


Day After 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.


Game of the Day


Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Joe Musgrove – A good amount of fun starts today, this one seems super interesting. Poor Musgrove getting the plenty tougher matchup.


(Photo by Matthew Pearce/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.

3 responses to “The Curious Lucchesi of Joey”

  1. Kyle says:

    I know you’re not into reading into home/road splits, but I just want to point out Pablo Lopez’s, cause they’re crazy.

    Career at home: 10 GS, 59.2 IP, 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 0.6 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

    Career on the road: 10 GS, 50.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2.0 HR/9, 2.7 BB/9, 7.6 K/9

    The Ks and BBs stay the same, he just can’t keep the ball in the yard when he’s not playing in Marlins Park.

  2. Kev says:

    Hi Nick. When you say you’re “buying Mikolas wherever you can”, does that mean 10T 5×5 formats as well? Do you like him better than Montas or Thor ROS? Thx for your advice.

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