To The Next Chapter

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

And there it is.

I’ve written roughly 900 of these roundups, and every year it’s a sad to see them go. It’s my routine, it’s a part of me for more than half of the year and its finality each fall is always uncomfortable.

This year is a little different, though. With the offseason ahead, more than ever I’m excited to get to work. There’s plenty to get done in preparation for Pitcher List 5.0. Believe when I say it’s a bigger shift than the move to Pitcher List 3.0. I couldn’t be more excited to share it all with you.

The thing is, we wouldn’t be able to 5.0 without you sticking with me and this team. I know I wasn’t perfect this year (I could list off all the names of disappointments for a while), and I’m taking a lot of this offseason to reflect on where I can be better. I also know that I had a great time with many of you identifying new arms as well, pitchers who stood out one day and carried it through the year. This is what I enjoy most, the sense of discovery and wonder that comes from a pitcher growing and doing what they hadn’t done before. Mastering their craft as we all watch in awe. We saw a ton of arms taking that leap from Flaherty, Lynn, Minor, Giolito, Glasnow, Bieber, Ryu, Soroka, Odorizzi, German, Paddack, Darvish, Yarbrough, Woodruff, and the list goes on. This is why I do it and to have you along for the ride with me is an incredible feeling.

Thanks for taking the journey with me. I’m itching to do it all again with you in 2020 and I hope to see many of your around through the winter as we put out multiple – yes multiple – articles each day. There’s no such thing as the offseason.

Alright, enough reflecting. Let’s see how every SP did for the last time this year:

Rich Hill3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Alright, let’s group together all the bullpen games and short starts. Because that seems right. We didn’t expect much from Hill today and three innings with four strikeouts seems nice. He’ll be a very late pick next year as he’s worth it when he’s on the mound. I question how much he actually will be next year – an already injury-prone arm getting older? Where will he land in Free Agency? – but if he’s starting in full, he’s worth your time.

Justin Dunn2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. There was no Milone after. Let’s say Dunn gets a larger shot next year, I don’t see a whole lot to grab onto with a 92mph heater and a decent slider. I need more.

Michel Baez2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Coole stuff Baez, it’s a bit fitting for Strahm to come in at the end and get the Loss. Yep, that’s your Strahm L alright. Sure is, I really had high hopes for the kid, looks like he’s destined to the pen now. So it goes.

Alex Young – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It was cool to see Taijuan Walker show up for the first frame – he’ll be on the Top 100 today – but for Young, he concludes a season of looking like your standard Toby. Not bad for QS leagues next year. Hopefully this outing nullified a little of his Monday start. Just a little.

Blake Snell2.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Snell was on for a quick while as a tune-up before his Game #1 start on Friday. I wonder how long they’ll let him go there, but for next season, I’ll have him in the Top 10, but I’m not sure about Top 10 yet. With the way the Rays have babied him, he may be a 5/6 frame guy instead of he 6/7 we want out of our aces. We’ll see. Yonny Chirinos came in for 2.2 frames of 4 ER – good to see him pitch, but that was a lot of blegh with two longballs – and it’s going to be an interesting spring to see where all the Rays starters settle.

Blake Parker1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The Phils went full bullpen to end the year. We had high hopes for a good amount of their starters and nothing panned out as we hoped. Kinda Eflin, not really. Maybe next year, fellas.

Derek Holland2.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. The Dutch Invasion. One of my biggest disappointments of the year despite not even expecting a whole lot. Just a solid #5/6 starter, is that so much to ask? I GUESS SO.

Dereck Rodriguez1.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. We wanted this to be Bumgarner. How dare D-Rop get involved and mess up your team. Doesn’t he know who you are? But seriously, it’s still a bit shocking to me that Bumgarner didn’t pitch one more game, even if he did get that exciting pinch-hit opportunity. I’m willing to wager he returns to San Francisco, so talk of his value changing isn’t much of a thing to me.

Jack Flaherty7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It truly was an unreal second half, you don’t need me to reference his sub 1.00 ERA in sixteen games. Thing is, we should have learned our lesson about Wheeler and Marquez…right? This isn’t Buehler who has a trio of dominant offerings, it’s Flaherty’s incredible slider feel that allowed him to pummel with his heater as batters were terrified of the pitch. But with all my questions of Flaherty’s legitimacy, I still have to rank him higher than other breakout arms like Glasnow and Giolito. How could I not? They don’t have the breadth of repertoire that I look for either and a 16 start sample is a dang strong sample. We’ll talk more later.

Masahiro Tanaka – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. The Yankee starters really disappointed in this series against the Jays. A sub 11% swinging-strike rate (sub 20% strikeout rate!) with a 4.45 ERA, even with a drop in HR/FB to 15% is blegh. His splitter did improve in August, but he still held an 11% swinging-strike rate in his final 9 games. I wonder if there is some value to be had here for 2020 as owners are sure to give up completely, but I won’t be jumping to get him.

Adrian Houser4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Of course he threw just four frames, duh. It’ll be interesting to see how the Brewers handle their rotation next year, making for a good fit for any major free agent SP to set up shop. I’m not sure Houser is starting out of the gate, though I’d sure like him too. There will be discussions of “is he worth it if he’s shortened so much down the stretch?” and to that I say you’re spending a waiver wire pick. Yes, if he’s good for four months it is so well worth it.

Tyler Mahle5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We were sad Trevor Bauer didn’t make one final start of the year and I’m surprised Mahle got his act together in a last-ditch effort to make us happy. It didn’t work. I don’t expect Mahle to be starting out of the gate next year and while he does still carry ~25% strikeout upside, the question of his secondary stuff still remains. He’ll be a Cherry Bomb and I’m not interested for drafts.

Sandy Alcantara6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Once again, Sandy was highly relevant on the last day of the season, this time not as easy to pickup. Some are going to label Sandy as their arm for 2020, I’m not sure I’ll be one of them. He certainly has his moments of showcasing his upside and there is a lot of whiffability in his changeup + slider, though the polish is certainly lacking. I see a Cherry Bomb year without a moment like Glasnow or Giolito (those two again!) where we can become truly confident in him week-to-week.

Clay Buchholz5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Good work Clay, I’m sorry but I have to add water now. BUT WAI—This creation wasn’t meant to last. 

Gerrit Cole5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You want him to be the #1 SP entering 2020. That may be what I settle on. We’ll see. He’s really good.

Lance Lynn7.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. It lasted until the very end. Yes, Lynn has been good in the past and the underlying numbers from 2018 did suggest better than his bottom line, but not a 246 strikeout season with a 3.67 ERA – He clicked in on May 16th and ended the year with a sweet-as-pie 3.14 ERA, 30.5% K rate, and 1.14 WHIP across 25 games (6.4 IPS). Absolutely nuts that you got him off the wire. I’m not going to be bolstering him up the ranks, but to be frank, I don’t see a cataclysmic fall-off, either. I’m not sure where he’s going to go in drafts, but I could see him as a rock drafting him as a #3 starter. Considering the early mocks have him as the 44th starter off the board at the 160th pick, I’m SO in at that price. Why go for Robbie Ray at #116 instead? That doesn’t seem right. 

Joe Ross6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Oh hey, it’s Ross making a case for a sleeper pick in 2020. 35% CSW with a good four-seamer and a pair of breaking balls that each looked lovely. He could get a chance to start out of the gate and he may be at the very end of the Top 100, but it’s anticipating more polish on heaters that I’m hesitate to buy into. He’s never really been a command guy.

Ross Detwiler5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. You never wanted the Deets, but you were desperate on the last day and hey, this ain’t so bad. For once, a rolling team carried Ross.

Jeff Hoffman5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, that’s fine Hoffman. We’re not drafting you until you’re out of Coors. I didn’t sign up for this. I know, it’s just the way it is.

Chandler Shepherd5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Instead of getting one last Bundy start, we got Chandler who stepped onto the mound like he was just as surprised as we were. He’s not this good, take him off those sleeper lists, k thx. It’s your stand blegh of 91/92 and a decent breaker. Nothing to see here.

Trevor Williams7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. T-DUBS! Yes, I was on his side for once as he got a decent matchup against the Reds. There’s little need to draft him next year – he’s just a streamer – though I can understand arguments that he was hurt and it explains the valley of performance through the year. Still not enough to invest in right away, though.

Martin Perez5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Perez was some people’s best shot at a Win, sorry you didn’t get it (nor a QS for that matter) and looking back at the intrigue of velocity early in the year, we’ve settled at Perez being a streaming option if you really want it. I guess that’s an improvement from previous seasons, right?

Tanner Roark5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. Roark should have performed better – they gave him all opportunity to – and he was mediocre at best. I guess that’s Roark at heart, really.

Eduardo Rodriguez7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Solid stuff from Eduardo, rebounding for a horrible outing against the Rangers. I’m amazed that he holds an ADP higher than David Price and Lance Lynn in the 2EarlyMocks, this isn’t for me. I don’t buy that hot two months of Eduardo, an arm who was a detriment to many teams through 25 starts with a 4.31 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. That hurts, thought the 13 Wins shouldn’t be ignored, either. Anyway, I expect the same turbulence once again in 2020 as he still hasn’t refined his slider/cutter and he’s very much a feel pitcher for his heater and changeup. That’s not for me over a full season.

Mike Soroka5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. After saying they’d use Soroka sparingly, the Braves suddenly allowed him to go 85 pitches here. I’m thilled we saw just about 175 innings from Soroka this year and I hate that his shoulder injury scared me off as much as it did – I had him in the Top 50 this time last year! A 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP are a dream for his price in drafts, though I anticipate more of a 3.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 23% K rate next year, with upside, clearly, for more. I simply have some skepticism that his changeup and slider will take that leap, but if there’s a young arm with the mentality to get there, it’s Soroka. Here’s to good health and development.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. The strikeouts are cool n all, the approach is still oh-so-lacking. I’m very curious where he’s drafted next season as I’m sure there will be plenty of Top 15 ranks, but until he gets out of the Mets organization, I’m just not sold he’s going to transition as we want him to. 

Spencer Turnbull5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It was the last day of streaming options and even though it was 3 ER, I think a sub 1.00 WHIP with 7 Ks qualifies. Streaming Record: 104-67. There’s a chance Turnbull takes another step next year, I’ll be looking into those final starts a bit more in the near future. I think there’s enough SP depth that I don’t need to chase Turnbull out of the gate, but if I see legit improvement in his first start or two, you can expect me to get on board.

Jorge Lopez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, that’s JorLo. Someone you already forgot about.

Mike Clevinger5.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Wow. People were praying Clevinger would get this start and they should have been careful what they wished for. You may think I’d be crazy to rank him Top 10 after this, but you better believe it. I’m all in on Clevinger for 2020, the man’s talent is simply too good.

Dillon Peters3.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Peters is likely a Toby in a given season. This was the Astros and the Angels have been limiting his innings sooooo yeah. Now I wonder what Peters would look like when he’s Dilloff. Yes, that is the final joke of the year. ENJOY IT. 


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


None – This is it y’all. It’s been a blast hanging with all of you this season. Seriously.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


I SAID NONE – It really is wild to think we did another full season, tallying five full years of SP Roundups. Here’s to many more.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


I promised myself I wouldn’t cry – Emotions are fine, let it out.


Game of the Day


All-Star Baseball ’99 – Because what else am I going to do waiting for these playoff games?

(Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire)

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.

11 responses to “To The Next Chapter”

  1. theKraken says:

    What the heck is 5.0 going to consist of? Thanks for the work. Great as always.

    • Nick says:

      Hey Kraken!

      We’re going to be a little tight-lipped about that. We want to surprise everyone :)

      What would you want it to be?

    • theKraken says:

      I guess I should mention – if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it. Change for the sake of change isn’t necessarily a good thing. My suggestion is to keep it objective as much as you can and limit make sure the other contributors keep it that way too. Too many people think of everything as religion or politics – constantly trying to put down other ideologies and shove their ideas down other peoples throats which leads to plain stubbornness and just bad analysis. I think you should use FanGraphs as the model for how not to progress. They started out with analysis, but ultimately got too wrapped up in promoting their own ideologies and crushing tradition. Half of what they did was toxic, negative criticism of outside ideas. Different ideas are just different and discussion furthers both sets of ideals. In this day and age most people are not interested in genuine discussion or exchange of ideas as much as they proclaiming themselves to be right – try to avoid those kind of contributors please. If you think you have it figured out…. you don’t. The flame wars and aggressive headlines are good for a few clicks, but they aren’t sustainable – again, see FanGraphs. Sustainable growth should always be the goal… or just maintain the status quo at some point. Everything collapses when it gets too big. How could I not close the year without a rant…

      • Nick Pollack says:

        If you’re curious about the direction of the site, that isn’t going to change at all. I’m very confident in the quality of our work and it’s only going to improve moving forward.

        I’m more curious what you would change/add as far as features, types of articles, baseball content in general you’d like to see.

        • Doug says:

          Hi Nick, thanks for another year of great work. This is my first stop most days while managing my teams, even if I don’t always agree (Ryu 3 only spots ahead of Montas!?! Really!?! I know you have issues w/ his K #’s, but come on!)

          Pretty happy w/ everything the way it is here at the site, but I would love giffed pick-offs (both pitchers and catchers,) on a regular basis, maybe as a bonus section in Nastiest Pitches… Not nearly enough Plesac pick-off content on a site called “Pitcher List.” I’m not even an Indians fan, but I’m befuddled how he pulls off that right-handed move to first.

  2. DDOGS says:

    Brewers SP and Craig Counsell vs Coors this weekend.
    What was Counsell thinking?! Davies 5 IP/1ER/68 P, Gio 4.2 IP/0ER/72 P, Houser 4 IP/0ER/48 P.
    Did he lose his mind while trying to win the division?

  3. Josh A. says:

    Thanks for another great season, and I look forward to 5.0!!

  4. Garcia says:

    LOVED reading this column daily and it helped me a great deal on the way to my Fantasy Championship! Cheers to some great insight on the #1 site for fantasy baseball!

  5. Chelsa says:

    Hey Nick!

    Loved, loved, LOVED reading SP Roundup on a daily basis during the 2019 fantasy baseball season!!!! Thanks to you, I grabbed Boyd, Lynn and Sonny Gray off of waivers. Those 3 contributed greatly to the success that my 10 teamer had during most of the season. Near the brink of September, my team was riddled with injuries (Dahl, JoRam, Tatis, B. Anderson and Laureano) and those injuries cost me the championship. Still, it was a great season and I learned A LOT, especially from reading SP Roundup!! I look forward to 2020 and all of the great info I’m sure you’ll provide. Thanks again for sharing your insight and wisdom. You were on point 98% of the time!!!!

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