The Fulmination

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

(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

Alright, I’m going to be honest here. I mean, I always am, but you understand. I don’t think I’ve gotten more angry tweets/emails/comments/etc. after a start than I did yesterday when Michael Fulmer went 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks against the Angels and I completely understand why. I definitely went against the grain to promote Fulmer when I could have very easily slotted him around 40, you guys put your faith in me, and I let you down. It sucks and no one is more upset about the result than me. Sorry. I watched this start and while I could say “it was a 3-run HR on his first changeup of the game that did him in,” this was more than that. He couldn’t finish at-bats like he has previously while losing more hitters than normal and while I thought he was taking steps forward in previous outings, this was a major step back. I could do two things now: drop Fulmer plenty and give up, dropping him to about, 45 or so, which is the easy thing to do, or give him a small drop to the early 30s. Understand me here, I don’t have emotion tied to this – I genuinely believe in the skill set of Fulmer, from the improved slider to a hard fastball that often ends at-bats quickly to a changeup that can run a game on its own. That’s the problem, I see something different than what the results have been thus far. I’ve always been about numbers + scouting combined and here, well, we’re at a crossroads. My gut says hold Fulmer and power through this, and it’s okay if we don’t see eye-to-eye. it’s super easy to see why you don’t like him. And maybe he’s a PEAS in the end, but I still believe that the next four months – the performances that matter now – won’t be this bad. I’m leaning that Fulmer will be around the backend of the 30s come Monday. Also, love you all, even with the rage. It means you care.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jake Arrieta – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Arrieta is back to using more sliders again and it’s…kinda working? He did all of his work with his sinker in this one – 19 CSW + 15 balls in play across 65 thrown – but he shelved his changeup and curveball for 23 sliders here and gave back a 6 CSW. Meh. Thing is, now Arrieta has a 2.16 ERA and only 25.4% hard contact allowed…but a 0.31 HR/9 doesn’t seem sustainable + his strikeout rate is still 17.2%. I’d sell high if people are buying that 2.16 ERA, but he’s still definitively Top 40 as long as his sinker is still so effective.

Kyle Gibson – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. I would like to point out that Gibson had 8 Ks combined in his previous two starts and was looking like he was trending in the wrong direction. Slider whiffs are back – 10 for 30 here and 15 across all pitches – with a fantastic 36/101 CSW. Too bad he gets the Indians/Angels next, but I can understand rolling with him if you need the starts.

Steven Matz – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Matz left this one early with a finger injury. Wait, no, because he pitches for the Mets.

Blake Snell – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace as you can’t stop Snell from dominating. It’s a Gallows Pole as well despite the non-overwhelming 16 whiffs. 32 CSW in 97 pitches is a wonderful thing.

Mike Clevinger – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. ATTA BOY CLEV. 19% whiff rates across all 52 secondary pitches and that low walk rate is just oh-so-pretty. Please give us another next time against the Twins.

Danny Duffy – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. If you’re looking at this and thinking Duffy played with fire, you’d be completely right. This is ridiculous and makes me think the only full step Duffy has taken is on the piano. He plays Mahler so wonderfully.

Michael Wacha – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, it’s four walks and only three Ks. That’s really disheartening. However, Wacha now has a 1.86 ERA over his last eight starts. That’s gorgeous.

Zack Godley – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Ayyyyy Godley rebounded! His curveball returned 20.5% whiffs and the low walk count is great, though I want a little better than a 25 CSW in 94 pitches. Encouraging, of course, but not completely out of the doghouse. Next up are the Giants and let’s hope he takes care of business.

Jeremy Hellickson – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Our reluctant Call Boy was alright against the Orioles, leaving with just 81 pitches. Just 3 Ks and no QS, but he got you a Win, a 3.60 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP. Sure. I can’t call him The Devil anymore since he’s done enough to endure the burning homes at this point.

Kenta Maeda – 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Because yesterday was clearly the day for everyone to get injured, Maeda left early with a hip strain. Yep. Can we get one season of Maeda without the headaches?

Rick Porcello – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid rebound from Porcello after a couple of bad outings. Still not the massive resurgence I wanted to see – just a 24 CSW in 96 pitches – but good.

Jeff Samardzija – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Loose Lips exited early because he was terrible of a tight shoulder. A DL stint may be just what this man needs.

Nick Tropeano – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Our back up Call boy did work against the Tigers, keeping up his role as a possible streamer. Not a roster guy, just an “oh hey, sure” kind of guy.

Dylan Bundy – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Bundy allowed 11 Hits in 21 balls in play while still earning over 25% whiffs on his slider and maintaining that beautiful 92mph fastball velocity. I know the VVVPQS hurts, but I’m still on this train.

Kyle Freeland – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. There is nothing to like here. Nothi– *suit man whispers in my ear*. Oh, he got a Win? WINS ARE THE WORST. It was the Rocky Mountain Way n all hosting the Giants, but I can’t be the only one that feels really queasy buying into it each time.

Daniel Gossett – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. That 2.20 WHIP and just 3 Ks with a terrible ERA sure makes this a standard Gosse Egg.

Nick Kingham – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You know what is the worst? Getting kicked out of the game with one out left by JON LESTER. That’s right, Kingham would have held a 6.0 IP, 2 ER outing but Lester singled Heyward home. What. The. Hell. I love Kingham and if he’s dropped after this, you best snatch him up as he’s taking Ivan Nova’s spot in the rotation and gets the Cardinals next.

Charlie Morton – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace…kinda. I know 10 Ks, but it’s hard to say that when a guy holds a VPQS, you know?

Tyson Ross – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh, I want more than 4 Ks Ross, especially against the Marlins. WHAT IS THIS.

CC Sabathia – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. CC had the Astros, so we didn’t expect much of anything here. Just play the matchups right and he can help.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. The Digglerx is as mediocre as a slice of pizza from 7-11. There may be a day that you have to get it and you feel terrible about it.

Luis Castillo – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Uggggh, Castillo couldn’t get himself into a rhythm here and we want plenty more going against the Diamondbacks, especially with a changeup that nullifies lefties and the dBacks’ LHB heavy lineup. I should note that 13 whiffs and a near 96mph fastball velocity (maxed out at 98!) came with this one, but considering that he’s still not locked in, I think Castillo should take a few steps back on The List.

Marco Estrada – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I’m giving Estrada the Judgement Day of July 1st. BOOK IT.

Jon Lester – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. We knew the ERA was falling eventually, but this isn’t so bad and at least you got 6 Ks as well. Still not good, though.

Anibal Sanchez – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. DLH + Anibal? Oh baby, this was easier to predict than an MTA delay during your morning commute.

Dan Straily – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. He was so close to escaping with a QS and 2 ER to his name through six, but with two outs in the sixth, Franmil Reyes went yard – 442 feet yard – and ended the evening for Straily. He’s still just a streaming option, nothing more. Streaming Record: 32-18.

Zach Davies – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Don’t start Zach or you’ll soon be…Pushing Davies.

Lucas Giolito – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. No walks! Seriously, I don’t care about the ER, if he’s not walking batters, that’s a massive step in the right direction.

Felix Hernandez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a bit sad where Prince Felix, no, Pauper Felix is at these days. I hope he does make some sort of recovery as he was so good for so long and he deserves better.

Today’s Streamer

Zach Eflin vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – It’s this of Joe Musgrove against the Cubs, so I’ll go with the worse lineup. Don’t feel too good about this one.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Shane Bieber vs. Minnesota Twins – Why not, let’s have some fun.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. San Diego Padres – The Pads are known to be bad at heaters and even with his recent struggles, I think Mahle can do this.

Game of the Day

Alex Reyes vs. I DON’T CARE – It is time.

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.

47 responses to “The Fulmination”

  1. D says:

    I’m in a league where i need a bat and counts ks…. Brantley been playing out his mind . Is it crazy if I trade grienke for Brantley ? Or hold grienke cause Brantley won’t keep it up

  2. Jpr says:

    Hey Nick,
    Have you noticed Gibsons Home and Road splits? He has been great on the road in terrible at home. Small sample size or something to monitor? You would think home would be a good place for him.

    • Frankie says:

      Brantley, before his injuries, was one of the best hitters in the AL. His SB the other night shows that he can be at that level again. He is an incredible talent and I could totally see trading a top 20 SP for Brantley right now. Sounds crazy, I know.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I generally hate home/road splits save for extreme examples, and I don’t think Gibson is an exception.

  3. Mike says:


    Would you drop Gibson, Stripling, Gohara, or Newcomb for Bieber? 12 tm mixed H2H QS instead of W league

  4. Tanner says:

    Last nite, before the games were done, I dropped Godley and grabbed Heaney, streamer style.
    Got credit for the win, but was that a mistake to dump him? Weary of Godleys walks and mediocrity.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s a little safer rolling with Heaney right now, but I think the long term play favors Godley.

  5. Southern Marylander says:

    I now have 14 pitchers on my roster with 5 on the DL: Carlos Martinez, Robbie Ray, Yu Darvish, Andrew Miller, and Adam Ottavino. Corey Knebel continues to disappoint and at some point in a drunken stupor, I picked up something called a Jace Fry. My ranking in K is plummeting and I’m 15 / 16 in W, though I’m 3rd in ERA, 2nd in WHIP, and 1st in SVHD.

    My question is, how much am I going to hate myself if I go with Mike Leake and maybe add Brent Suter to stem the bleeding? Since this is a 16 team league, the only SP available with owned rates >10% are Gray, Duffy, Samardizjajajawazi, Chacin, Lynn, Faria, McCarthy, Montgomery, Straily, Davies, and Nova. I’m also running really, really low on free agent spending, with just 15 transactions available for the rest of the season.

  6. David says:

    I have Castillo and Newcomb…..Bundy, Heaney, T Ross, Flaherty, C. Smith, J Taillon, E Rod and Cahill on the wire. Stick with Castillo and Newcomb or swap out for one or two of those other guys?

  7. AC says:

    Nick, who has the higher floor ROS: Godley, Heaney, or Manaea? And do you see Godley increasing his VPR over the coming months, or is his pitch mix just likelier to lead to more volatile outcomes?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Right now, it’s Heaney. I think Manaea eventually irons it out to be the stable horse, but Heaney is essentially Manaea’s plateau right now.

  8. Vinny says:

    Instead of asking a question today, as you normally answer very generously, I just wanted to comment to remind everyone that this site is *Free to access. Quite frankly I’m stunned that anyone had the audacity to send you a negative comment/message as if to blame you for their misfortune. You put in all of this work for us to reference and help us and in my opinion at least, you are the best at doing it. But you are not being paid to tell us whether Fulmer is going to pitch well against the Angels, and even if you were, in baseball you can never predict what’s going to happen. You can only make the best possible prediction based on the data you have, the list is a guideline for us not a rulebook.

    Don’t let the hate get to you mate, there are plenty of us that really appreciate what you do!

    *At the very least, buy a shirt and support a great cause

    • Scott says:

      Could not agree more. I’ve been reading your Round Up every day, Nick. Keep up the great work – don’t let these haters get to you.

    • AC says:

      +1 million

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Vinny! I really do appreciate your support.

      I think it’s important to face negativity head on and this was definitely a moment where I had to define the terms and talk about Fulmer’s situation.

      I’m glad to hear I have readers like you that understand my thoughts here and will stick with it :)

      • Turp says:

        This was what I was going to comment (@Vinny), as well. PL is my favorite read every morning, especially the SP roundup – and Nick is the best. I am so grateful for all the work you do Nick, and especially since it is free! I have also been burned by Fulmer but I’d never blame you for it, lol. That’s just baseball. People on the internet are gonna be…well, people. Ignore em.

        I wouldn’t blame you for making people start submitting their questions to Patreon :P
        -Loyal reader since 2017 (hah)

    • Sherb says:

      Well said Vinny!!! And thank you to the staff on this awesome site!

  9. theKraken says:

    You should drop Fulmer like you did with Castillo, that seemed to work for Castillo!

  10. wasntme says:

    I was full on the Fulmer train until last night. I dropped him in both leagues I was holding. I can’t keep holding him with other options out there. Picked up Cahill now.

    To add to his issues, he is on a weak team and won’t get run support.

  11. ThisGuy says:

    Hey Nick, thanks again for these articles! What are you expecting to see out of Bieber tomorrow? I know you can’t give us exact, but is he worth dropping someone like Kingham for? Or do we wait and see?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I have no idea, honestly. 5.0 IP of 2 ER ball and 5 Ks?

      No, I’d hold Kingham. Still want to take a flier on Bieber, though.

  12. ThisGuy says:

    Sorry, one more. Are you starting Jon Gray tonight against SF, in COL? His home away splits are showing that he isnt’ worth the headache at home. So you see him coming out of that?

    thanks Nick!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It depends on your situation as it’s a high risk/high reward option. Roto, I’ll pass. H2H, map out your week vs. your opponent and see if it’s worth the gamble.

  13. Launch Angle says:

    Probably a question for Closing Time, but I thought I would run it up the flagpole to see what you think. As good a year as Treinen is having and peripherals looking good, would you trade him for Jansen (velo has come back according to Brooks)?

  14. Swfcdan says:

    Like your articles too, made me switch over pretty much full time from a different fantasy site now! Question from yesterday you didn’t get around to:

    Is that really a pokemon reference in the header?? Haha Geodude…

    Marco G is starting to look fairly legit to me. Hardly walked anyone before last night, good enough K rate and gets a load of weak contact due to good command. What makes you not buy as a decent back ender, just the low K rate? Smells a bit Mikolas’y to me.

    The email notifications never work for me here btw, just wondered why as does it work for everyone else? Doesn’t end up in my junk either.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks man!

      Ha, yes that was a pokemon joke. Pulling no stops here.

      Mikolas’ stuff speaks plenty more to success than Marco Gonzales’. It’s a case where I see a pitcher getting plenty more out of the arsenal he has, which makes me skeptical of long term success.

      I will say, Marco should be on The List – I thought he was already on it and didn’t realize he wasn’t – hovering around 75-80.

      As for email notifications, I’ll look into that. Thanks for reporting it!

  15. Play Ball says:

    Read on another fantasy site that Thor’s injury is the type that could sideline him for a long time, perhaps rest of year and doesn’t believe the Mets that he could be back when eligible in 10 days. What do you think?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I definitely think that’s a possibility, at the same time the Mets are having Thor throw a bullpen this week and expect him to miss just one start.

      It’s weird.

  16. Jimmy Jack Funk says:

    So “Judgement Day” for Estrada means if he hasn’t figured something out by July 1 we can trash him? Not yesterday, but he’s shown flashes of K upside in other starts.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Not exactly. It’s that I don’t think he’ll be worth it on your team until July 1st as he hasn’t figured it out yet. I see the talent in there, but if he hasn’t gotten it by July 1st, then I can’t believe he’ll get there at all.

  17. RB says:

    The Fulmer owner in my league is desperate for starting pitching but does not need bats. I’m thinking a 2 for 1 is the only way I could buy low. Is Taillon and Kopech too much? I’ve been frustrated with Taillon and Kopech may not be up anytime soon.

  18. Diana says:

    Earlier this week, you gave your permission to drop Quintana. Today you’re saying Fulmer is a hold. As someone who drafted both of them and is extremely disappointed, can you give a little color as to why you have more faith in Fulmer. Thanks!

  19. Mjolnir says:

    Hey Nick, thank you, as always, for your analysis and insight! Regarding Fulmer, after his performance last night, I rage-dropped him and added Pivetta. That wasn’t too hasty, was it?

  20. Josh says:

    Love your articles! Would you trade Ian Happ for Foltynewicz (sp?)? Seems from past articles you aren’t buying into him still. I would much rather try and get Pivetta, which I imagine you’d be on board with?

  21. Flip says:

    I sympathize Nick. Eduardo Rodriguez is my Fulmer. Just can’t quit him no matter how many times I’ve had him queued up to drop for someone else. Just want him to be as good as I think he is! (top 35ish and I’m happy) Love the work here man, this has quickly become one of my favorite sites.

  22. Southern Marylander says:

    So, I would like this Dennis Santana thing to be a multi-start tryout, not a one day emergency relief thing. Still, does this mean he’s higher up on the call-up priority list given Stewart’s struggles and the rest of the rotation’s inability to stay healthy?

    It’s AA, but 51 K and 2.56 ERA in 38.2 IP with a reasonable walk rate is sexy.

  23. Play Ball says:

    Who do you want ROS in a standard roto league using K, QS, ERA, WHIP – Kershaw or Verlander? I saw you ranked Kershaw two spots higher.

  24. BadgerBrewer says:

    Hi Nick–Please rank top 2 ROS for traditional 5×5 roto–I do refer to your rankings — just wonderinghow often do you update them?

    Musgrove, Jr Guerra, Cahill, Velasquez, Mengden, Lynn


  25. Marcus Storm says:

    Who would you kick to the curb in order to add Kingham: Rey Lopez or Jake Junis?

  26. Taylor Sims says:

    Minor @SEA, Harvey @SD, Kuhl @StL, or Yarborough @SEA?

  27. Fresh Meat says:

    Nick, thanks again for all you do. That was an interesting little blip you finished your Kingham write up with. So Kingham is available but I’m not sure how to proceed. I kinda punt saves but am holding Treinen, Seranthony and now Dennis Santana. The bottom five of my rotation are 41.Godley, 51.Smith, 53.Weaver, 56.Flaherty, 60.Stripling and Soroka on the DL. Should I be trying to trade some guys 2 for 1? Drop someone for Kingham? I don’t even have room to activate Soroka at this point as I have only 1 bench bat and Acuna on the DL too. I dunno man, no trades in my league yet and a couple declines with no dialogue. Any thoughts? Cheers

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