The Monty Ballin’ Problem

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

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

I know it’s not the flashy and big stake in the ground lede today, but I feel like I should talk about Mike Montgomery who went 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks against the Dodgers yesterday. Since taking over as a starter for the injured Yu Darvish, Monty has allowed 1 ER or fewer in each of his five outings, going six strong in his past four, good for a 1.21 ERA. That’s something and I’m sure many are asking why he’s not on The List and if he’s worth the roster spot. I see him as a streamer and nothing more, which could fit your bill and his future starts against the Dodgers (again), Twins, and Reds, could easily work. At the same time, you’re setting up for a Grave Mistake – 16.7% K rate – while his .188 BABIP, 0.61 HR/9, and 94.8% LOB rate as a starter point to a 4.20 SIERA. He’s having a ton of success with his changeup (21.7% whiff rate this year!), though I don’t think it’s enough for me to overlook the massive floor. It’s a bit of a Vargas Rule, but more of a “sure, against the right matchup” situation. Don’t treat it as anything more.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Cole Hamels – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s a 3.41 ERA with a 23.4% K rate for Hamels. I imagine he settles around 3.80/3.90 this year, but with his 11.6% whiff rate, you best be happy with him at the end of your staff.

Rich Hill – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. He returned from the DL to face the Cubs and say TO HELL WITH YOUR DLH! as he cruised for a wonderful night. No Win though because we need that daily reminder that wins are stupid, but we are all so happy with this. Reminder, Hill should be on The List at about #70 and I’m dumb and mentioned it in the notes. Moving on, I won’t ignore how much of a headache Hill will be moving forward, but if he’s treated like a back-end option, then go ahead. Have a ball. He gets the Cubs again next, but if he survives injury, it’s the lovely Rockies Road, Angels, and Padres to close out the half. Go for it.

Eric Lauer – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. El. O. L. elected to rebel against his name and have his best start of the season against the A’s. 13 Whiffs as well as he was primarily two-pitch with his heater and cutter. And he still has a 5.47 ERA. Nope. Nope. Noooooope.

Freddy Peralta – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Peralta is back and dominated with his fastball, just like he did against the Rockies. The Cardinals + Reds are next and let’s hope this Cherry Bomb doesn’t walk six again like he did against the Twins.

Sal Romano – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Sal’s come a far way from “It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.” but as the essence of that joke details, an F still means you got half right (or in this case, about 33% of his starts).

Jose Berrios – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I’m sure some of you were scared by the Red Sawx, but when Berrios is cooking, there’s no way you take him out of the kitchen.

Tyler Chatwood – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m impressed. Chatwood was able to strikeout more than he walked. He’s still the most miraculous starter out there this year given how he still has a job given a 20.3% walk rate and I’m just here to see what the end of season stat line is.

Mike Clevinger – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Clev got the ChiSox again and Clev was locked in. A 42 CSW on 113 pitches (37%) is a wonderful thing.

Domingo German – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. I considered leading with Domingo today, but I’m still uneasy about his consistency. I know, this was great, with 38 CSW in 96 pitches and over 50% curveballs + changeups. He was grooving against the Mariners – the Mariners! We’ve seen his command disappear, however, and this was the first start that his changeup was actually decent since his very first start against the Indians. I don’t have any qualms rostering him and hoping it sticks, though I’d wager it slows down soon, if not next time against the Rays. Fine, I’m starting him against the Rays, but you know what I mean.

Felix Pena – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. The Angels are dying for decent options in their rotation, allowing Pena to make his first career start at 28-years-old. Pretty solid slider here with 7 whiffs on 27 thrown, but I’m very hesitant to put any faith in this. Move on.

Blake Snell – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 7 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s a tough schedule for Snell and he doesn’t care, with 30% breaking balls leading to a 32 CSW against the Astros…wait, is that seven walks? What. He struggled to get his four-seamer up in the zone, with a decent amount of pitches falling off arm-side. A bit lucky to have 10 baserunners and just 1 ER, but I’ll take it in the end.

Justin Verlander – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace, legit this time, with Verlander destroying the top of the zone with heaters. 37 CSW in 122 pitches (30%) and you should feel wonderful. A Gallows Pole here with 24 whiffs, though I feel weird awarding that when he had far-and-away the most pitches thrown. Hmmmmm.

Paul Blackburn – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. If you wanted a vacation to MediocroCity, Blackburn’s got the hook up for you. He’ll even spot you a free drink at the Motel 6 bar with just Coors light and Evan Williams available.

Chris Sale – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s just like the good ole days where Sale would dominate and still get a No Decision. Ahhhh, nostalgia.

Kenta Maeda – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. That’s two straight games of a high walk rate and I’m concerned. It’s also two games back from his DL stint, but you have to wonder if it’s still affecting him. Maeda doesn’t do this.

Dereck Rodriguez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Wins are a stupid thing. I was all ready to take the “L” here, but then I saw he got the dub and matched with six strikeouts, I think that deserves another win from my Call Boy. Tell me if I should change it, I don’t want any handouts. Streaming Record: 43-24 He gets the Padres next and yes, I’m rolling with that.

Jameson Taillon – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. To start this game, Lorenzo Cain reached on a dribbler up the first base line, then Jesus Aguilar smacked a two-run shot on a poor 3-2 slider. After that, he cruised for 4.2 frames. He held a 33% CSW…though the slider wasn’t as sharp as it usually is, so much so that he pulled back its usage to just 13% after not having it in the first. I’m not worried here.

Jason Hammel – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. If you haven’t dropped the hammer yet, stop being such a disciplined and by-the-books carpenter. Live a little.

German Marquez – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Marquez hosted the Mets, which means this would be the Rocky Mountain Way…and he had some trouble. Still a middling streamer option.

Carlos Rodon – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Rodon got the Indians a second time and this is more like what I expected. Not the worst K/BB and a decent WHIP, but the 4 ER are blegh. Nevertheless, it was a tough matchup and you have to wonder if he’ll be better against the A’s and Texas next.

Mike Soroka – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Soroka noooooo. Too many pitches in the middle of the zone as the Soroka I know and love sits on the edges. Really disappointed with this one as it came against the Jays, though I’d stay strong as he gets a lovely Reds + Cards schedule ahead.

Dan Straily – 1.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Danny, the first round knockout of the world.

Vince Velasquez – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. A massive 38 CSW on 97 pitches here as Velasquez did plenty of work with his four-seamer (save for a poor one down the middle for a longball), per usual. However, breaking stuff wasn’t all too good and it cost him, with a hanger to Tommy Pham and a general lack of confidence. Not my favorite chase as his secondary pitches aren’t all there and his floor is super low, but worth it if you need strikeout upside.

Luke Weaver – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Just so you understand what we’re dealing with now, Weaver has allowed 4 ER with 10 walks without exceeded four strikeouts in any of his last three starts. The teams he’s faced? Reds, Padres, Phillies. Dude. Come on.

Matt Boyd – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. This is why we are Boyd Watching, people. Arm yourself with a pair of lovely Bushnell binoculars and have a wonderful afternoon.

Jaime Garcia – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. There is no Cherry Garcia. Only Bomb Garcia.

David Hess – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. For disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!

Matt Koch – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. If Matt is on your roster, you already have Too Many Kochs. But seriously, I have to give you the HAIGFMFWT?! treatment too after this lovely 0/2 K per BB. Seriously, that’s a challenge through 17 outs.

Jefry Rodriguez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. He got the call for the Nationals in his first career MLB start and he’s a Cup of Schmo through and through. So it goes, kid. So it goes.

Marco Gonzales – 6.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Marco met with the Yankees and the expected happened. Next up is the Sawx and I wonder how bad his ratios will look after to make people overlook that he’s still solid against lineups outside the Top 5.

Jason Vargas – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. It must be weird to be Vargas, having a rule named after you that you will never be a part of again. That’s what you get for not earning a single strikeout (HAIGFMFWT?!)

Today’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. Detroit Tigers I can see Mahle spinning a decent one here against the weak Tigers. Chad Kuhl is an intriguing option with his increased slider usage, but I don’t like him against the Brew Crew.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Chris Bassitt vs. Chicago White Sox – I literally have three other choices: Clayton Richard vs.SFG, Matt Harvey vs. CHC, or Lucas Giolito vs. OAK. Give me the worse offense.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Shane Bieber vs. Detroit Tigers – He’s not owned in enough leagues right now.

Game of the Day

Jonathan Loaisiga vs. Seattle Mariners – Who doesn’t want a second look at this kid?

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.

31 responses to “The Monty Ballin’ Problem”

  1. Larry says:

    Still no love from Montgomery, still pushing Rodriguez. Don’t quite get how that’s helping anyone who would be making lineup decisions based on that recommendation.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Not sure what you mean.

      I’m pushing Rodriguez as a start against the Marlins and Padres – two of the worst offenses in town.

      I’m pushing Monty as a decent streaming option, not just against the absolute bottom tier teams.

      Neither are on the list.

  2. Lassetjus says:

    Domingo German excellent for 3 starts in a row now… although 2 were against the Mets and Rays. Seattle offense is 9th in OPS, though, so maybe he has turned a corner. Overall, he has a 15.8% swinging strike rate! 3.35 SIERA.. I’m buying for the chance he keeps it up.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m with you…

      …but we can’t ignore how often he’s shown that floor and it’s unfortunately low. Definitely chase it, I simply needed to make sure the skepticism of longevity is known.

  3. Glenn says:

    That’s a steaming win, Nick. Aces gonna ace.

  4. Max says:

    Yo Nick, love The List. It’s helped me win back to back championships in my big $ league. Thanks for all that you do here!

    Earlier in the year you had Dick Hill up as high as the mid-30’s. I get that his rank of 70-ish factors in his yo-yo health history and the headaches of dealing w/ his short fuse and how LA manages starters not named Kershaw. That said, if he’s healthy for like a half a dozen starts or more do you still like him in that span of time to have top 35 upside?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Max!

      I think I understand the question: can he act like a Top 35 arm across six starts?

      Maybe? I don’t have faith he can spin off plenty of high strikeout games like he used to, and there is plenty worry about not only about an injury sprouting up, but simply lasting only four innings or so.

      I wouldn’t consider him a Top 50 guy moving forward.

  5. Bob says:

    Hey Nick, I’ve discussed this with you in the past but if this start I will ask it again. Why do you like Soroka so much??? The guy is holding a 1.44 Whip after 5 big league starts. And has given up at least SIX hit in all but one of his starts…(the one being the crappy Mets.) He doesn’t walk too many but he also doesn’t strike out too many either. You couple that with all of the hits and it doesn’t look great. And not looking at any advanced metrics just using the plain old eye test, his stuff doesn’t scream huge upside. What I am saying is it’s very average 91-93 on the fastball decent slider and less so on the changeup. And the early results are showing that. Just want to see if you’re seeing something we’re not.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That’s odd that you don’t agree with the eye test.

      I’ve been very impressed with his stuff save for yesterday’s game where he was featuring heaters in the middle of the plate way too often.

      His fastball itself is far from average, normally moving to both sides of the plate with calculated movement around 93mph – I’ve seen 95! – and a slider that is a solid (not money yet) secondary option.

      Those two, regardless of the changeup, should make him a consistent starter for 12-teamers, making me elevate him over the standard Spice Girl labels of confusion that can be found in the latter half of the 50s.

      • Bob says:

        Thanks for getting back to me..yea I mean to me at least it just as I said doesn’t scream huge upside, as I said before. He’s clearly hittable as evidenced by all the hits given up. I guess we will agree to disagree. I see him at least this year being very average. 4.00-4.50 ERA. 6-7 k/9 1.35 WHIP. Just my thoughts. Looking at your list I would put him at 69 or 70. But of course it’s your list not mine haha.

  6. Andre says:

    If you had one spot start for the week, would you start Beiber vs DET, Loasigia vs SEA, or German vs TB

  7. Clint Blutarski says:

    Nick, I have no idea what you’re talking about 25-33% of the time (too lazy to constantly be checking your glossary) but I can’t get enough. Nice work.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! Sorry about that. Glad you enjoy it :)

      • Brandon Tully says:

        Nick, Love it all, and slowly learning the terminology! Always have a smile when I read any of your articles. As a UX professional, and just a thought here, maybe consider adding tooltips popovers for the glossary terms instead of linking to the glossary page. Readers could quickly click the term and see a definition. I’d anticipate the majority of your readers are on mobile, I think it would help the experience in that regards. Always happy to help so let me know if you have any Qs.

        • Nick Pollack says:

          Hey Brandon!

          We actually explored adding tooltips before and the options without hard-coding it ourselves didn’t meet our standards. We’ll be looking into adding them in the near future ourselves :)

  8. Southern Marylander says:

    A series of trades (24 total players!) in the last 24 hours:
    * Traded Aguilar, Ray, Darvish, Fletcher, Hanson, Grichuk, Piscotty, Strahm, and Voth for Ramos, Encarncnaranion, Murphy, Lowrie, Inciarte, Kemp, Cruz, Winkler, and Tepera
    * Traded Murphy, Ramos, and Winkler for Happ, Guerra, and Sisco.

    Definitely rolling the dice on cutting bait with Ray and Darvish (who I stupidly signed to an expensive three year decision this past offseason), but to say they’ve been disappointing this year would be an understatement. Happ and Guerra don’t have to do much to make them better for my team this year as I make a run (I’m a bit buried in the standings, though).

    Would you consider packaging Lowrie with Miller or Knebel to get Segura or Merrifield? (Not that I know if the other team would make that deal…)

  9. A.J. says:

    I’ll also be looking forward to getting another look at Jonny Lasagna today vs Seattle but…if he does well today do you think he sticks around in the rotation? And if so for how long? He only threw 32.2 innings last year coming back from TJ and has 50 innings so far this year. In a redraft league so I love the upside but just question the longevity looking forward. Thanks Nick!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      For now, he has Tanaka’s spot. Once Masahiro comes back, it’ll be between him and German to see who should stick, and even with the recent success of German, it’s no guarantee that German has that #5 spot locked down.

      I wouldn’t worry about the IP limit on Loaisiga as they have to push him to some degree.

  10. DGM says:

    Is this the first time Berrios got an AGA?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Oh snap! I didn’t even think about it.

      I guess it is. Huh.

      DGM, I’m pretty sure you are the AGA bookie.

      • DGM says:

        Lol I am. I was actually watching the start last night thinking “this has to get AGA”. I’m proud of Jose. He and I have come a long way.

      • DGM says:

        Also just wanna note that he could be historically good if he figures out how to throw the changeup consistently.

  11. Frankie says:

    I thought for sure Lucchesi would get a mention over Kuhl in the Streamer section. His rehab start was brilliant for what it’s worth, his injury wasn’t arm related, ball park factor and opponent are both a plus. But is every starter a DLH situation unless they are Ace material?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Lucchesi is owned in over 20% of leagues!

      I think it’s still a DLH situation.

      EDIT: And now I realize that Luchessi’s game was a 3:40 start time. I swear I didn’t see the line yet!

  12. Taylor says:

    Romero or Bieber this week?

  13. Rick M. says:

    I just want to say THANK YOU I read this article/blog everyday, it’s a nice review but it really helps me with Streaming Pitchers.

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