The Muller Report

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Kyle Muller @ CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 93 pitches.

There are those fun times of the season where I catch a small start from a pitcher and think “Huh, if things go right, this could be fantastic” but elect to suppress that emotion with reason, as that hope rarely comes to fruition. Well, Kyle Muller defied expectations by following four interesting innings against the Mets with a spectacular 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks (16 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 93 pitches) line against the Reds. Well hot dang, look at you.

First of all, he tossed just 56 pitches last time out, and to see him already trusted for 93 is simply wonderful. Second, his slider and curveball went 19/44 CSW combined, good for a 43% clip as they paired incredibly well with a 94 mph heater. Seriously, his slider and curveball combo were a force in this one and instantly make him a legit arm to consider, especially with Atlanta needing another rock in their rotation. And now he gets the MARLINS?! Just go and get him — the command is still a bit of a question as heaters were at times too hittable and he may find himself being slightly inefficient through future games…oh and rookies generally have more bumps in the road than others so anticipate a few of those, too — GASSSSSP sorry for the long tangent. As I was, just go and get him and start him against Miami. We’ll take it from there.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Eric Lauer vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

There are times I look at the streamers and think “Man, there’s a better chance that this can work than I think people are giving it credit, but it’s still not a good chance in a 12-teamer.” Lauer got that side-eye from me this morning as he hosted Rockie Road and it clearly worked, though not with the hard cutter I anticipated. Nay, it was all — and I mean ALL — on the back of his four-seamer as it earned 12/56 whiffs. Crazy. There’s a chance he can repeat it in Pittsburgh next, but I wouldn’t spin this wheel a second time.

Cole Irvin @ SF (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.

Hot dang! I consider Irvin a Toby and this has all the makings of more…except for earning 13/33 called strikes on sinkers. Yeah, that’s not the ticket to sustained success. He wasn’t exceptional with anything else and sadly that means he keeps the label moving forward. So much so, I wouldn’t be starting him against the Red Sox this week.

Ryan Burr vs SEA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 27 pitches.

This was a bullpen game as we finally found the man who put Billy Hamilton on the IL. For shame, Ryan. For shame.

Zack Wheeler @ NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. See? That last start was weird and we’ve already forgotten about it. Cool to see him tossing 93 mph sliders and go 8/37 whiffs on it. That’s what’s up.

Max Kranick @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 50 pitches.

Wow, five no-hit innings from a guy you’ve never heard of. We’ve been seeing a ton of new names as of late as we’re past the Super-Two + injuries are all over the place and Kranick is one of the latest, sporting 94 mph heater with a slider. The whole package is pretty underwhelming (2/13 CSW on sweepers. Yay.), and this was more of the Cardinals being meh than Kranick being dope. Throw in just 50 pitches thrown (though it was due to a rain delay and he could pitch plenty more next time) and you have all the words you need to stop you from picking him up. I don’t care if it’s Milwaukee next.

Jake Odorizzi @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Hey, are you on the Odorizzi train yet? I know, I know, his heater wasn’t quite as elevated as before and he only fanned three here, but the schedule is still easy (@CLE, NYY) and he’s going at least five frames with ease. You want this. The heater is that good.

Lance Lynn vs SEA (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 47 pitches.

This game started yesterday and finished today and I should have written about it this morning but elected, for whatever reason, to write about it when it finished. So here we are. ANYWAY, Aces gonna have their start suspended and annoy all of us. He’s still dope.

Logan Gilbert @ CWS (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 28 pitches.

The game was suspended early, so we didn’t see him whip out the slider or curveball, but the six changeups were fine and his heater sat 96 mph and was effective. Not a whole lot to talk about, sadly, as those secondaries are everything for Gilbert – we already knew that fastball could work.

Yu Darvish vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He really does deserve to be #2, huh. He did this even with ridiculous drops in spin rate as Darvish is simply too dang good.

Jordan Lyles vs KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 97 pitches.

Whoa! Lyles doesn’t do this much at all and his heater was plenty lucky in the field. His breakers were good – not exceptional – and I’m not seeing anything tangible here moving forward, making this a Birthday Party. Congrats if you were able to see this coming.

Chi Chi González @ MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s a Birthday Party for González and we’re all just so happy for him. Everyone needs celebration here and there, you know?

Max Scherzer @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 102 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. See Alcántara? This is how you’re supposed to do it. Sigh.

Tarik Skubal vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 102 pitches.

I had little faith in Skubal pulling off a miraculous outing against the strong Astros crew, and boy, was I happy to be wrong. Skubal had his slider and changeup on fire, even landing 2/5 curves for whiffs as well. Meanwhile, he tossed effective heaters and kept Houston on their toes. It’s still a difficult road for Skubal — CHW + @MIN next — and now we have a tough decision to make. At the very least, I want it for the second half so I guess we’re just rolling with it.

Clayton Kershaw vs CHC (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks – 26 Whiffs, 45% CSW, 101 pitches.

Well, look who had to go off and prove something. Aces gonna ace for TATIAGA as that slider earned — get this — TWENTY-TWO WHIFFS. On just one pitch. Absolute. Madness. I don’t think you need to worry about Kershaw and spin rates, ya’ll.

Brady Singer @ TEX (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh right, Singer is still doing things. And yes, this is just things as it’s a start that exists. It doesn’t elicit emotion, it just is, then it was, and is now forgotten. He gets the Twins next, and that seems like an experience that you’ll want to forget.

Robert Dugger @ CWS (L) – 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 52 pitches.

Dugger? I barely…know who that is. Oh! Right! That guy from the Marlins last year who is somehow now on the Mariners and has suddenly made me very upset he didn’t allow only two hits today. We want ALL TWOS ALL THE TIME. Cool to see Bobby spin curveballs 50% of the time in his limited moment on the hill, sorry it didn’t work out better for ya.

Zac Gallen @ SD (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 84 pitches.

Blegh. We’re up to 84 pitches — Yay! — but Gallen hasn’t found his secondaries yet — No! — including his stupid good changeup that went just 1/10 CSW. Yikes, that’s not good. He didn’t really have a rehab like the rest of them and I’m believing that the feel for his secondaries will return over time, so for all our sakes, let’s hope that it’s during his next outing against the Giants. We all want to be Gallen Gals again.

Eduardo Rodríguez vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

It wasn’t an easy decision, though E-Rod was a bit unfortunate in his previous outing against the Rays and everything came together here against the Yankees. I wouldn’t say that this is a moment of Eduardo being completely locked in and redeeming his numbers as much as possible, though, which in many fewer words means I’m still uneasy about the Athletics next. But stealing strikes with cutters and commanding heaters well was certainly a welcome sight today.

Marcus Stroman vs PHI (L) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.

I’m happy to see Stroman pitched, but he was obviously not the same and a bit out of rhythm here. I’m giving him a break, and I’d start him against the Yankees and definitely Pittsburgh after.

Ryan Yarbrough vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.

Ayyyy it wasn’t a Friday, but The Fratty Pirate came through against the Angels. His stuff rarely excites but as a Tobyit doesn’t need to. The jungle continues, sadly, as he gets the Jays twice in a row now and oy, I wouldn’t want that.

Ross Stripling vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 95 pitches.

Soooo yeah. This is a dub and didn’t hurt much so yay, we’re all so happy, but that’s two straight where Stripling didn’t have his secondaries and his one good start against the Yankees is looking more like an outlier than a turned corner. I know we all love right angles, but this seems like that weird Z piece in Tetris and that’s a bummer — not one of his curve, slider, or changeup returned more than 15% CSW here. He gets the Rays twice now and I’m out.

J.A. Happ vs CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Happ was a popular Sunday streaming option and it’s wonderful to see him execute for managers everywhere. Nothing new here, it’s four-seamers and sliders hoping to get called strikes. That’s it. He gets the Royals next and hopefully that pans out, but I’d rather not take the chance again.

Patrick Sandoval @ TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

I went with the Irish Panada Panda as my streaming pick and it was…a Dusty Donut with a decent WHIP and six strikeouts, but a 5.40 ERA and no Win. That’s a loss in my book. Streaming Record: 48-37. That’s three straight losses after wondering if I could have a perfect week on Friday morning. Sigh. Anyway, Sandoval simply didn’t have the ridiculously good changeup he’s been sporting across his last three starts, though the slider stepped forward for 46% CSW as his #2 pitch. So at least he has that going for him. Better news here, BAL + @SEA are next and I’d expect the slow ball to return. HOLD Y’ALL.

Tyler Mahle vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches.

Ugh. That crooked four spot is frustrating to see, but at least props to Mahle for salvaging this start with seven strikeouts and a digestible WHIP. Just do better than a 15% CSW on sliders and you’ll be fine, okay?

Sandy Alcántara vs WSH (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.

Sandy noooooo. What is with me giving you an AGA label only for you to flounder in your next start? It’s odd seeing him toss under six frames and the struggle was real trying to find strikes with sliders and changeups. The man was just off, he’ll be on next time against Atlanta. Start him.

Sammy Long vs OAK (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

I was excited about this outing as I felt it would be the one where we could make up our minds on Sammy. Sadly, my mind has been made in the wrong bed. I wanted a King, not a double! Or singles!  Simply put, his curveball didn’t take over as much as it needs to if Long is going to be a stable arm and I’m wondering heavily if his start against Arizona is worth it. Maaaybe? There’s a chance it comes together against the Sneks.

Adbert Alzolay @ LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 67 pitches.

Womp womp. Alzolay is hyper-reliant on a filthy slider and when that pitch goes 1/28 whiffs and 21% CSW, it’s gonna be a rough night. He has another tough matchup in Cincy next, and I think we’re all better off waiting for Double-A to start pitching like he’s in the majors before we start him.

Johan Oviedo vs PIT (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.

I completely understand if you wanted to take the shot on Oviedo working out — he went seven scoreless against Miami, after all. He’s still a  Young Gun to me with some intriguing stuff, just not the consistency to pull us in. You’re better off trying other guys off the wire. Like Thompson, Muller, or Santillan.

Gerrit Cole @ BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 89 pitches.

Oh wow. I seriously need to reconsider Cole at #2, don’t I. I didn’t think we’d get to this point, and while I don’t believe this start was a major product of dropped spin — his stuff is still legit n all + he had some bad luck here — you can’t ignore the results haven’t gone Cole’s way since the crackdown. Before you ask, yes, he’s still very much Top 10. Of course.

Jorge López @ TOR (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 100 pitches.

JorLó will have one good start in every five. This was the 80%.

Sam Hentges @ MIN (L) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 72 pitches.

Welp, this is a work in progress. He still brings 94/95 heat with a pair of breakers that hint at success and he’s a proper Young Gun as he needs time to develop. Fortunately for him, he’ll have plenty of that this year.


Game of the Day 


Kenta Maeda vs Lucas GiolitoCome on Maeda, you got this. And Giolito, bring that sweet, sweet changeup.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

10 responses to “The Muller Report”

  1. MS19 says:

    @Nick So do you suggest we hold Alzolay, or is he a drop for Wainwright or Eovaldi? Tonight makes it three straight rough starts for AA

  2. TruthTeller says:

    We are really going to get to see who leaned heavily on sticky help vs who has legit stuff of their own this year. Cole and Bieber came out of no where for a reason and back to no where they go for that same reason.

  3. Mike Honcho says:

    Would you grab Muller or E-Rod to roster in a 12 teamer? Or both? Would you rank either of those guys over Odorizzi, J.Gray, or Heaney?

  4. NY Expat says:

    Your comment on Robert Duggar and 2s reminded me of Phil Rizzutto during Yankees broadcasts:
    “Deuces Wild! Sure wish I was playing poker right now, White”
    (That’s Bill White, who would somehow remain stoic during Rizzutto’s stream-of-consciousness ramblings)

  5. Nick G says:

    Nick, your site is the best. However, i’ll never let go that I didn’t keep Framber in my keeper league because you didnt believe in him. And if Nick doesn’t believe in him, why should i. Why Nick….why!!!!!

  6. Eric says:

    @Nick….Wow, thought Logan Gilbert looked outstanding in the two innings prior to rain delay. We haven’t seen the changeup much at all thus far and it was outstanding this weekend. Fastball looked easy at 97 and his command was great. I think you are underselling Logan Gilbert YTD

  7. Josh says:

    Hey Nick — heard on a podcast that Sandy was pretty under the weather for his start on Sunday. Could help to explain why he looked so off and the velocity was down a bit.

  8. Kyle says:

    Are we dropping Singer in Dynasty Leagues? Obviously not fun right now, but do we still think he has the stuff to grow into?

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