The Fall Of The Crown

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

(Photo by Icon Sportswire)

I was recording the On The Corner podcast with Alex Fast last time as Nick Kingham made his start against the Dodgers, reacting live to the box score as it resulted in a nightmarish 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks evening. I’ve already seen a ton of comments about people’s disappointment and yeah, of course I’m not happy with it. But did you watch this start? We had a runner score on a bad throw back to the pitcher. Three infield singles. A balk. A run score on a double play ball that was just a bit too slow. Kingham dropped an out at first. A cue shot double. I feel like I’m talking about one Stephon’s clubs with the way this outing had everything. That’s not to say that Kingham was ultra sharp and deserved dominance – his slider was nothing like we’ve seen in the past and he didn’t dominate the zone with his heater per usual – you can’t blame a guy for getting exhausted and flummoxed in a start like this. One last thing, I should have been a little more cautious throwing him against the Dodgers specifically – they are #2 in wOBA over the last month and 7th for the season. This wasn’t an easy time. Yes I’m calling him an excellent buy low, yes I am starting him against the Phils this weekend, and no I’m not changing from my opinion of Kingham’s skill set + ability to execute. Don’t let this horrific evening ruin your perception of him.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Wei-Yin Chen – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s two straight calm and collected tunes from the Chen Music radio, allowing just 1 ER in 12 frames. Too bad the floor is stupid low that I can’t endorse him against the Nationals next.

Luis Castillo – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. This is so weird. Now I was cool with this start as it came against the ChiSox – I don’t want to start him against the Cubs next, no way – but what’s wild is how the two elements that Castillo had going for him entering the year (dopest of dope changeup and fastball velocity at 96-97) were gone in this one (3 whiffs on 19 changeups, 94.5mph FT, 95.1mph FF), while his slider had nine whiffs on 26 thrown as he earned a Gallows Pole at 21 whiffs. Castillo’s biggest flaw was how we didn’t know if his slider could take the step forward as it was an inconsistent offering he lacked confidence in. So now we have Castillo at least hinting the possibility of all three elements working in tandem, which I know is crazy and shouldn’t be invested in, but it’s…well it’s interesting. There’s always something interesting with Castillo, you know?

Mike Fiers – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. If you play with Fiers you’re gonna get a really nice kick off to a decent two-start week. Huh, Fiers isn’t the worst thing since loafed bread as he ran over the Jays and he’s set up for the Rangers on Saturday. It’s a super mediocre stream still, but…Huh.

James Shields – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Jimmy Buckers staved off four walks and the hot Reds offense, but let’s get real, you definitely feel a little weird about this. Shields has allowed just 3 ER in three starts now and…alright I’ll come off it. Don’t chase Shields. You know this.

Alex Wood – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s what’s up Wood, keep doing you.

Ryan Borucki – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. If you look at the heatmap of this outing, it’s amazing how Borucki hammered the down-and-outside corner to right-handers with all three pitches – fastball, slider, changeup. Seriously, it’s one blob hovering it without a single pitch on the complementing spot up-and-in. 33/97 is solid as his changeup is the best offering of the lot (especially when you’re establishing that location with your heat first!). You’re wondering if he’s worth the pickup, I’m going to say this was a lot of Blame it on the Tigers and less so of a guy you want to chase. Totally possible he’s a good streamer from here on, but I don’t anything more than that for now.

Madison Bumgarner – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s VV levels of WHIP in 6.0 IP and that’s a little annoying. Even though I expect it and have him in the mid-teens, I’m still waiting for a fantastic stretch from Bumgarner before giving him the coveted AGA label once again.

Nathan Eovaldi – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Our Call Boy for the night did his part against the Marlins and I’m all for letting it ride against the Mets next time out. This is what a Toby looks like. Streaming Record: 51-27.

Kyle Freeland – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Freeland hosted the Giants and squeezed out another ratio happy, strikeout devoid outing. I guess just keep following the Rocky Mountain Way and we’re all good, nothing else to really say here. He’s like a slight discount Toby.

Carlos Martinez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I handed CarMart a TIARA and was satisfied with his start against the Tribe to push him out there here against the Diamondbacks as I slotted him back into the Top 20 on The List. It worked and we all feel great. GREAT.

Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Just four whiffs but also 21 called strikes so I guess we’re cool Porcello. Kinda. This is kinda what I expect from Porcello, some starts like these, a few slightly better, a few slightly worse. He’s turning into Spiderman, the ultimate Toby.

Kyle Gibson – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. After allowing 5 ER to the ChiSox, this is another questionable outing from Gibson. I love the slider usage – 32 in 86 pitches! – but it didn’t come with the whiffs we’re accustomed to (just 6 and a 10/32 CSW), leading to some struggles. I’m not seeing enough to make me hesitate rolling with though, especially with the Orioles next.

Corey Kluber – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna…wait isn’t this exactly what Scherzer did but with fewer strikeouts? What is in the water today?

Jonathan Loaisiga – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. When you read “allows three back-to-back-back doubles” you’re thinking balls off the wall or in the gap. Nope, first was a single to right into a heavily shifted outfield and the following two were nearly identical down the third base line. What’s wild is that after getting his first out of the inning on an excellent heater inside to Freeman, Loaisiga’s pitch count jumped from 62 to 83 when the doubles were all said and done, including an 11-pitch at-bat. Yeesh. I’m still a big fan of Loaisiga and didn’t see someone lost or wild, but rather a ton of potential and who pitched better than the line shows. Even the HR to Carmargo was a slider down-and-in that landed off the plate as Carmargo dropped the barrel and golfed it out. Yes, it should have been a little lower, but it wasn’t a strike. That’s just not the best pitch calling. Anyway, hold Loaisiga y’all.  Update: Haha just kidding, the Yanks have optioned Loaisiga to Triple-A. He may start against the orioles in a double-header next Monday, but it looks like he’s not in the long-term plans for 2018. Bummer. Like I’m really bummed.

Anibal Sanchez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Anibal got the Yanks and amazingly earned a PQS. I’m impressed and there’s no way I trusted it. I know he’s been demolishing expectations lately n all and if you want to Vargas Rule it, by all means. I’m just staying away completely.

Max Scherzer – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna PQS with a digestible WHIP and 9 Ks. Even in the bad days, studs give you something to salvage. Write that down.

Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ll be honest (I’m always honest!), Suter was one of the last ones cut from The List yesterday, along with Marco Estrada and Anthony Descalfani. Having a fastball that can let you down any given day is the problem and we knew this would happen Suter or later.

Robbie Ray – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Wow, Ray got crushed on his heater in this one and after settling in a bit after a rugged first frame – 7 Ks! – he allowed a HR to Gyorko on yet another heater, but along the outside corner and elevated. I’ll say this. I expect Ray to have more success with his fastball and it’s great to see a 7/1 K per BB, though it is a thing with Ray to get his fastball touched up a bit. I’m not worried longterm here, even if we’re going to see a few more of these along the way. The good will make it all worth it.

Jake Junis – 5.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Junis went against the Tribe, you didn’t start him, and now you’re leaning back in your fireplace chair satisfied with yourself. That’s a lovely robe you’re wearing, you earned it.

Today’s Streamer

Zack Wheeler vs. Toronto Blue Jays – I’m kind amazed he’s still so un-owned (12%!) and a date with the Jays should work well.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Seattle Mariners – He survived the Red Sox, so let’s take a shot against the Mariners.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Dereck Rodriguez vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I don’t see a reason to stop this train.

Game of the Day

Zack Greinke vs. Jack Flaherty – This just seems like a fun one, even with Kershaw, Fulmer, Bieber, and German all going as well.

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.

27 responses to “The Fall Of The Crown”

  1. Marcus K says:

    Kingham or Eflin moving forward?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Eflin is safer in the respect that he’s pitching well now and has a sturdy job.

      I think Kingham is the better pitcher overall, though, and with a large enough sample, Kingham produces better.

      With that said, I’m inclined to still go with Kingham.

  2. TheKraken says:

    That first inning was an unlucky nightmare for kingham but the rest of the damage was for real. That was the first time I have seen him pitch. There are some good things going on but I am not sure how it all fits together.

  3. Rob says:

    Would you burn a #4 waiver priority on Zach Wheeler? Deep 12T H2H points. My pitching staff is brutal. Need some consistency. Thanks!

  4. Mike says:

    Is Castillo worth holding onto or is this a Blame it on the White Sox? I picked him up yesterday to stream in a 12 team H2H league with QS instead of W.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I don’t want to start him against the Cubs and I think you’re okay letting him go. Still blegh velocity and his changeup is suddenly inconsistent start-to-start.

      • max says:

        In keepers though you’re still high on him ya? Lazy analysis but his #’s compared to Severino’s sophomore season are scary close.

        • Nick Pollack says:

          Yep! Still high on Fulmer long term.

          A little different than Sevy. I don’t think they profile out the same way.

  5. Seth says:

    You starting Domingo tonight vs Braves?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Depends on my week outlook.

      Obviously risky and I’d only go for it if I’m behind and need to catch up quickly.

  6. Chucky says:

    Not sure that first inning drop by Kingham covering first on the thrown-from Harrison, wasn’t his undoing. Saw the look of disgust on his face. The subsequent throw and catch from the catcher, the balk, allowing Muncy to third. He looked dazed and confused at that point. Went 3-0 to Bellinger only to have a batting practice fastball dead center plate get deposited over the CF wall. What did he expect getting behind the hitters 3-0? Hopefully it was just a bad game, bad day, bad whatever. I know he killed my WHIP and ERA for the week.

  7. Frankie says:

    WARNING: Another Kingham comment incoming…

    Sadly I woke today with the choice of either dropping L Castillo or N Kingham. The King is on waivers. I watched the game, I chalk a lot of the 1st inning up to nerves, but the rest was just hard to watch. Did I applaud at both Ks? Yes. But I lost sleep over this one tbh.

    Would you burn a claim to grab him back in 2 days? Or wait until his next start is official? It kind of sounds like you would rather use a roster slot on the King instead of Castillo.

  8. Max says:

    You starting Fulmer today @CHC? KB is not in the lineup so he’s got that going for him…

    Really hoping he doesn’t have that one blowup frame today. He’s sooooo close.

  9. CasonJolette says:

    10 team OBP h2h limited moves (budget for season)

    1) Which of these pitchers would/wouldn’t you trade Bellinger for: Grienke, Bauer, Bumgarner, Cole, Strasburg, Syndergaard, McCullers, Paxton, DeGrom

    2) Which of these pitchers would/wouldn’t you trade Gallo for: Weaver, Kuechel, Darvish, Ray, Hill, Buehler, Skaggs, Richards, German, Taillon


  10. steve says:

    Would you start Newcome tonight against the Yanks?

  11. Southern Marylander says:

    How would you rank these pitchers for value in 2019, 2020, and 2021? Kershaw, Kluber, Nola, Martinez, Greinke

    Costs to keep:

    2019: Nola – $17, Greinke – $34, Kershaw – $38, Kluber – $28, Martinez – $20
    2020: Nola – $18, Greinke – $39, Kershaw – $43, Kluber – $33, Martinez – $25
    2021: Nola – $23, Greinke – deceased, Kershaw – $48, Kluber – $33, Martinez – $30

    • Southern Marylander says:

      Heck, let’s toss in Folty there, too who will cost $6 in 2019, $11 in 2020, and $16 in 2021 (he’d be cheaper in 2020 and 2021 if I signed him to a three year contract, but I refuse to ever do that again after signing Darvish and Carrasco to three years each before this season).

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Kershaw, Kluber, Nola, Folty, Greinke, CarMart.

  12. J says:

    Where could one find the heatmaps that you mention in Borucki’s blurb? Thanks!

  13. steve says:

    Kingham > Bieber huh? Come oooon bruh

  14. Will says:

    Hendricks vs Tigers or Wheeler vs Bluejays?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry I didn’t get back to ya :-/

      Can’t give an unbiased answer now, I’d be game to go with Wheeler, though.

  15. Barrel Of Monkeys says:

    Is Mitch Haniger and Clevinger too much for Snell, in a 12 team points league?

  16. Jim says:

    What in the world is wrong with K Hendricks??

  17. Ryan says:

    In a keeper league. Would you trade tatis, othani, and hader for berrios? My best pitcher this yr is Skaggs. It’s a rebuilding yr.

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