This Takes The Jake

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

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

In the most recent update of The List, I decided to dock points to the under-performing strikeout guys, the ones who we expect to have decent ratios and have been kinda…meh. Jake Arrieta has been one of these and after last night’s 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks he’s boasting a 3.42 ERA and 1.23 WHIP – serviceable – but a 16.6% K rate. It’s an interesting set of numbers under the hood, with only 27.4% hard contact allowed and a 65.4% LOB rate that has to rise, but he’s getting whiffs at a terrible 6.7% mark. He’s recently begun figuring out how to use his slider again – 20%+ rates including last night’s near 30% clip – but as a strike getter as opposed to a chase pitch as nothing in his secondary offerings is that money pitch. It’s too bad, really, as the stuff is there, but the execution and feel isn’t. His sinker is still incredibly good (as long as he has a feel for it on a given night) and that alone should make him hover that 1.20 WHIP and 3.50 ERA for the year, it’s just that I can’t buy into a 20% strikeout rate and that’s just too bad. I see Arrieta as a leper of sorts and that’s not fair as I don’t think he’ll pitch to his 4.35 SIERA. He will help your squad, just more like the best Toby out there instead of contending for the week’s MVP.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Andrew Cashner – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The one time Cashner does well he gets ousted by a rain delay. Womp womp.

Corey Kluber – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Kluber, you know better than walking a batter. Shame.

Lance Lynn – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. I feel like I do this every time with Lynn as it’s 2017 all over again. Five walks and 2 Ks. I know I’ll get some questions about Lynn’s recent ERA streak – 1.73 mark across his last six starts and this was the Sawx last night! – but man oh man is everything else pointing to regression and I mean bad regression. 4.31 SIERA. 11.3% BB rate. .245 BABIP. 85% LOB rate. Bleeeegh. 21% K rate is slightly better than I expected but Lynn still has TEEs written all over him and you’re walking a thin lyne if you’re putting faith in this. Super deep leagues, sure have a ball. 12-teamers, I’m staying far away.

Charlie Morton – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Alright I feel weird saying that as the actual thing is that this was the Rays and Morton has walked 4+ in each of his last three starts. Pair that with his inevitable injury that has never failed to find him in a season and you have yourselves a lovely sell high. If you’re looking for a smoking gun, his curveball hasn’t been nearly as dominant as it was in the first eleven games. It’s possible he lost his feel for it and BAM everything else falls apart.

Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Speaking of TEEs and selling high, it’s pretty wild how Lester is still pulling it off. Everything indicates a massive drop off yet, well there it is. Still, one strikeout on 21 outs? HAISTFMFWT?! Sorry, it’s obligatory. I don’t think there’s anything new to say after this one that hasn’t been said a million times about Lester this year. Still that same great sell-high.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. It’s Digglerx! And he didn’t strike out a single batter in 20 outs. How you can have any success doing that is beyond me. And yes, of course, HAISTFMFWT?!

Felix Hernandez – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Price Felix went to New York and acted like a King in his best start of the season. Now it’s two great outings back-to-back against the Sawx and Yanks. That’s…something. A co-share of the Gallows Pole here – three-way tie! – with 17 whiffs as his changeup dominated for the second straight start. Keep in mind, that pitch has been missing for most of the year and has suddenly showed up. The rest of his repertoire is still struggling though, and I’m not ready to invest, even with the opponents. Sorry Felix, I can’t coronate you again so soon.

Frankie Montas – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. This was the Padres and Montas didn’t waver, even using his slider around 30% of the time, good for 11 CSW and 32 CSW overall. I don’t trust him against strong teams, but that’s fine when he gets the Tigers next. Indians twice + Astros after? Yeah, that’s a no from me dawg.

Michael Wacha – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Wacha found himself with 75 pitches in the fourth after a throwing error by Carp, a two-run shot, and a free pass, making for an easy hook. Poor guy, you wanted him to really rebound but this…this isn’t it. EDIT: I completely spaced on mentioning that he was pulled with an oblique injury. Go ahead and drop.

Gio Gonzalez – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Gio reigned it in early because of the rain as his reign as a sturdy starter may end. Got anything else? Hall of Famer Tim Raines, get out of here. Okay, Nick.

Tyler Mahle – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Our Call Boy did some work against the Tigers, though I would have preferred if it didn’t come with a 1.50 WHIP. You just can’t have it all, you know? Well, you can have a co-Gallows Pole at 17 whiffs, so that’s cool. Streaming Record: 44-24.

Michael Fulmer – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. You’ve got to be kidding me. Sixth inning, two outs, 1-2 count, man on third, and 0 ER in the books. Then a two-run shot followed by a solo shot and he’s done. And you know what’s crazier? The two pitches were actually good pitches. First was a slider off the plate down-and-in that Scooter Gennett dropped the barrel on, with the second as a good outside corner first pitch strike. His story of the year is a Careful Icarus as he hits the sixth and it’s infuriating. 36% CSW here with 32/92 pitches. Thing is, let’s say he gets that strikeout to Gennett. That’s a stud start and his third in a row. Baseball man…baseball.

Derek Holland – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s a VPQS but with seven strikeouts and a Win, so maybe that’s Derek holding off the Dutch Invasion? He also earned himself a share of the Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs, which is something else.

Jake Junis – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. A VPQS with only four Ks as Junis faced the Rangers. Meh, slider hung a bit in this one and he still doesn’t have a third pitch that works. The idea of Top 50 upside is fading…

Jonathan Loaisiga – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yikes, this is particularly harsh considering the massive German vs. Loaisiga debates lately and seeing one crush and the other get crushed against the same team is certainly a hard argument to deny. The big difference here was the lack of faith in his changeup, which wasn’t nearly as effective as before. Slider was alright, a good amount in the zone, but too many wasted offerings that weren’t close to being offered at. Fastball found the middle of the zone too much as well, allowing him to get Singled Out a bit. I wasn’t loving this matchup and elected to bench where I could, and I wouldn’t lose the faith so soon. He gets the Phillies next and I’m 100% riding him out there.

Seth Lugo – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. He was in Coors and had bad defense behind him. Poor guy, he deserves better.

David Price – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. A PQS with 3 Ks? Blegh, I want better from Price against the Twins. I’m sorry. Don’t be sorry, be better.

Ross Stripling – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Stripling with the PQS as he shows that he is mortal. A mortal who still gave us seven strikeouts in the process as that curveball is just so good. Keep going.

Nathan Eovaldi – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I feel bad for Eovaldi as he’s had to face the Mariners, Yankees, and Astros in his last three starts…and it won’t get easier with the Nationals and Astros (again) ahead. Come on, the dude is a Toby and should be productive, but it’s hard to believe in that if you just play top offenses. IT’S NOT FAIR. I’d own him in 12-teamers starting July 1st as the Mets + Tigers await.

J. A. Happ – 8.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Happ tried his best to pull a Hercules and go the distance, but he allowed a pair of singles with one out in the ninth, got the hook, and of course both inherited runs scored. It’s a bit of a Careful Icarus – Come to think of it, should I be calling Fulmer Sixarus? – and that’s annoying, but look at that 0.75 WHIP and 8 Ks and I still love you Happ.

Reynaldo Lopez – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. ReyLo had the Indians and given his volatility, this wasn’t a start you wanted to chase. Slider was good though, changeup wasn’t. I’m still hoping to see that day when it all comes together…

Joey Lucchesi – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m glad we got that DLH out of the way, now instead of being a Fugghesi we can actually consider Lucchesi, who gets the Rangers next. Up to you if you want to go for that, I’m okay with it but would prefer to see him do it once before slotting him in for a start.

Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. It was going to happen eventually, it’s only a matter of time before he gets ousted from the rotation. Seven Ks are surprising – especially with just 9 whiffs – and let him just sit on that wire, thinking about what he’s done.

Jose Urena – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble. I talked about Urena with Sporer over the weekend in our weekly Fireside Chat podcast and he’s still not the worst option for deeper leagues, but there are plenty other paths I’d take in 12-teamers. EDIT: And I also left off that he “felt something in his arm” after this one. Hooo boy.

Chad Bettis – 4.2 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. All Bettis are off teams by now…right? I hope so.

Today’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.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

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

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Andrew Suarez vs. San Diego Padres – It’s the Padres and Suarez worked against the Fish. He’s good enough to make this work.

Game of the Day

James Paxton vs. Luis Severino – What kind of popcorn should I be making?

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.

20 responses to “This Takes The Jake”

  1. Mike says:

    Wacha left early due to a strained oblique, headed for a MRI today.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Not sure how I forgot about that when writing about it – was talking about this yesterday!

      Thanks for catching that, I edited it in.

  2. Matt says:

    Just traded clev and Rodon for carrasco. Did I do good? 12 tm points league

  3. AJ says:

    Extra butter in the popcorn.
    Recently someone dropped Odubel Herrera and I claimed him off waivers. I am looking for pitching help. My OF consists of Benintendi, Springer, Cain, Pham and now Herrera, with Belt, Muncy and Myers also with OF eligibility. Which OF should I trade and what tier I should target? (I was thinking of parting with Springer for Bauer).

  4. KClasagna says:

    Loaisiga has a 2.86 FIP through two starts… not far off of German’s last two starts (2.63) and ahead of other 2-start pitchers in the last 7 days (I know… small/selective sample) like Morton (3.18), Stripling (3.09), Verlander (3.90), and Kluber (4.09). I’m just saying that I’m holding for now…

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I agree to hold, especially since he gets the Phils next.

      To be fair, though, I wouldn’t put much stock in his ERA or FIP after two starts. I mostly focus on his approach and mix for me this early on.

  5. Southern Marylander says:

    Yesterday was Arrieta’s and Happ’s first starts for my team after acquiring them in trades. I now hate Yadier Molina and I already hated John Gibbons, but hate him more now for not just bringing in Tepera to start the 9th.

    I’m in preliminary negotiations about a trade involving Carrasco and Miller for Morton and Beltre as a basis, but your comments have me backing off of that a bit. I signed Carrasco to a three year contract this past offseason and I’m regretting that, but I don’t want to acquire Morton just to seem him go back to normalcy (same as Cole in Houston).

    Related: I’m carrying too many RP now. How would you rank my bullpen in terms of guys that I should look at trading (it’s a SV+HD league) and getting good value for? Hader, Jansen, Knebel, Allen, Miller, Ottavino, Watson, Tepera

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d be wary to deal for Morton at this point.

      Definitely bug Rick Graham in his Holds and SV+HLDs article tomorrow morning to get clarity on your relievers.

  6. King Donko says:

    Fulmer could murder a baby on live television and you’d have an excuse to defend him.

  7. Harper Wallbanger says:

    Any reasoning as to why you’re seemingly pretty down on Mike Montgomery, but fine with what Arrieta is doing? Just track record? Of the two, Montgomery has shown a consistent skill to beat his SIERA (4.21 career SIERA vs. 3.40 career ERA). A fun leaderboard for you: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2018&month=0&season1=2018&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=4153,4869

    • Nick Pollack says:

      HWB! What’s happening.

      Montgomery’s previous numbers are a bit wonky given that he’s only started 21 times out of 93 games in the last two years. His ERA then shifts to 3.86 in previous seasons vs. a 4.25 FIP (I’ll use FIP since it seems like you’re making the point that he has a skilled at limiting HRs by using SIERA). Even if we say that he outperforms the metrics, I don’t want to buy into a 3.86 ERA as a long term starter. That’s a borderline TOBY, more like a good streaming option, and that’s what I’ve been classifying him as.

      In regards to Monty vs. Arrieta, there’s a lot more upside in Arrieta and I don’t think there’s a whole different between 2017 and 2018 with Arrieta. That makes me buy into a season worth of 3.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP much more than Monty. Not to mention how Yu Darvish boots Monty out of the rotation whenever that happens.

      So in the end, I trust Arrieta to not destroy me through the year while I see Montgomery more as a streamer with limited upside. Track history has to do with it, arsenal itself as well.

      • Harper Wallbanger says:

        Makes sense, for sure. The RP innings muddy things for Monty for sure, especially considering relievers tend to get away with beating their FIP/SIERA’s by more than starters.

        I would definitely take Jake over him. But I’m… surprised how close they are. I think there’s a bit of an ERA reckoning coming for both of them. And IMO, it’s more likely Chatwood loses his spot in that rotation.

  8. theKraken says:

    2017 and 2018 Lynn don’t have much in common… I can’t even imagine what you would be pointing at. I get that you aren’t buying but its not like this is his shtick – walking 5+/9. Despite some pretty pedestrian stuff and nearly all fastballs I really think he is one of the better pitchers out there – he gets the most he can out of what he has. I think it is fun watching him pitch and more often than not he does pretty well. He is free or close to it – at the price I love him! Those Ks are fueled by the walks.

  9. Upton Funk says:

    In a keeper league, what range of SPs would you look for if selling high on Morton? The BBs have me expecting injury too…


    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d prefer to sell him for a bat instead. Much easier to get value.

      McCullers will be higher on Monday, Pivetta is pretty even, Newcomb is way below.

  10. Andy says:

    Stove-top popcorn with salt, pepper, and oregano. Once you go stove-top, you’ll never use the microwave again.

  11. J.C. Mosier says:

    You’re not kidding about Sixarus, Nick. Check out these 6th-inning and 3rd-time-through splits:


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