Top Sheff

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

We’ve been waiting for Justus Sheffield to make an impact on the field since his 2016 trade to the Yankees and after his lack of early callup, wonky command in the minors, and recent struggles, it was lovely to see him excel last night for 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks against the Chicago Cubs. Out of nowhere, he recorded a 33/91 CSW with 21 whiffs, most coming on his slider that constantly dipped right under the zone. Fastball velocity was solid at 93 mph and topping at 94/95, though its locations weren’t pristine enough for me to believe that his command issues are a thing of the past. I was hoping to see more changeups out of this one as well, with Sheffield turning to the slow ball only eight times, earning just one out and allowing a pair of hits (albeit, on well-located pitches down-and-away to Nick Castellanos both times). I don’t believe that Sheffield is about to rip off a phenomenal September to guide you to a trophy – he gets the Astros next and that’s clearly too risky – but keep an eye on his matchups, with a date in Pittsburgh arriving mid-September. He’s not a strong option, but a considerable one if you can take the gamble.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Mike Minor7.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. This was a very impressive start from Minor against the Yanks. This strikezone plot should tell you a lot about how he did it – four-seamers from a lefty effectively jammed to right-handers. It’s a super hard skill to nail down and execute often and Minor pulled it off. He’s earned some respite and gets it via the Orioles next. Enjoy.

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. WHOA. 28/90 CSW but the big story for me is the location of his slider actually “low” for the most part. THANK YOU. He really gave owners who needed him to endure the Nationals a true reward for their trust and you’ll be hard-pressed to hold him back moving forward. I spoke last time very negatively on Syndergaard after a blowup following a strong ~month trend of success, suggesting that he needs to get out of the Mets’ organization to properly flourish. I still stand by that statement, but at the very least you can feel better starting Syndergaard through September, even if one more bump is coming along the way.

Adam Wainwright7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Jeeeeez Waino, one more inning away from earning the best MS Score of the season. Just one strikeout through 21 outs? HAISTFMFWT?! This is easily not enough for me to believe that it’s legit and even with the Pirates on Saturday I’m still taking a step back and shaking my head.

Aaron Civale5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhhh, it’s a poor WHIP that hurts a bit against the ChiSox with just four strikeouts. Sure, the ERA and Win are nice, but you wanted to be a little more pumped if you started Civale for two games and got this as a “buffer” for his Twins start next. And the Twins again after that. If you can hold for the Tigers and ChiSox after, by all means, but if you’re not playing on September 24th, Civale isn’t worth holding for just one more start against the Tigers in two weeks.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Cole did his best “anything you can do I can do better” act, but fell three innings and four baserunners short. 28 whiffs for a Gallows Pole with 41/105 CSW is clearly stupid good and I’m now picturing him and Verlander having the times of their lives. 

Kyle Hendricks6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. There we go Hendricks. Much better. 40% CSW at 32/81 CSW is crazy good with a better changeup, curveballs for plenty of strikes, and effective heaters. We cool now.

Adrian Houser4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It took House 98 pitches to get chased in the fifth, but I have to hand it to him. The Astros are difficult and he stood his ground well, making us feel a bit better with his next start against the Cubs. I don’t love it, but I think you’re okay rolling with it.

Drew Smyly5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Huh. I’d give more thought into this start from Smyly – who has been simply dreadful across the last month – but he has a rugged schedule the rest of the way that just doesn’t fit the ceiling, starting with the Mets next followed by the Braves. I’m staying away.

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, better splitters in this one, returning 29/38 strikes and 8/38 CSW. I’ll take that, even if it’s a poor CSW mark as it meant he didn’t throw his heater as much. If his slider did better than 3/32 whiffs, this would have been plenty better, but we’ve seen Tanaka’s splitter disappear completely and this is clearly not that. Now it’s the Red Sox and I’m terrified. Nope, no thanks.

Jacob Waguespack4.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a terrible schedule and his ceiling is far too low. Don’t climb Jacob’s ladder. It’s like a stepping stool for your fridge. All it does it make you look silly.

Jordan Zimmermann6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Oh not this again. BUT THE TWINS! Twins Schmins, stupid Zims. Do you really want to hinge your championship on Jay-Z? Really?

Tyler Beede4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s just too little for me to consider starting Beede in the slightest. It’s like the 19th century when people gasp hearing someone has TB.

Jake Odorizzi5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Awww, Odorizzi, that WHIP and 7 Ks are great, but you can’t do better than a 5.40 ERA against the Tigers? I’m glad you went super fastball up again, but 1/7 CSW on splitters ain’t right. They don’t need to be great, just something else to work decently well. Yeah, the cutter. Fine, despite its 4/17 CSW (blegh), it did earn some foul balls and outs. BUT STILL. Rant aside, keep starting him.

Mike Soroka5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. It’s nice to see the strikeouts go up a tinge, but you’re looking at ratios for Soroka and these ratios are not the ratios you ration. He didn’t have the best command of heaters in this one, featuring far too many in the middle of the zone. 

Anthony DeSclafani7.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. 32/104 CSW works for me as Tony Disco steered away from the fastball/slider mix to incorporate 27 curveballs and split-changeups. Good sliders and deuces down, with decent slow balls and it worked, save for a few mistakes with a heater and slider. He has a middling schedule the rest of the way and looking at this line, it’s kinda what to expect. A gray area in ratios, but a decent amount of Ks await.

Ross Detwiler2.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 0 Ks. Oh my, you REALLY don’t want the deets.

Mike Leake6.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Our backup Call Boy hurt in every way. You gained nothing. Fine, one strikeout. ONE. HAISTFMFWT?!

Asher Wojciechowski7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m okay to see 15/45 CSW across sliders and curveballs here, though given my doubts on Woj’s heater overall, he needs to push that to 35-40% CSW on breakers to really make an impact. He gets the Rangers and that’s not a bad play. Risky, but for a Sunday, it makes for an exciting gamble.

Ryan Yarbrough6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. He was able to withstand the Astros last time out, but the Orioles? Now that’s fear and The Fratty Pirate gave us a worse VPNQS (That’s “Not”).  Don’t fret, the Jays are next. That’s all fine and dandy and I wouldn’t be worried.

Walker Buehler5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Whaaaaaat. Don’t be like this Buehler, now people are going to ask if you’re running out of stamina. You’re not, you just didn’t have your best stuff against Rocky Road. We need you, don’t take a day off on us now.

Peter Lambert1.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeah, no. Peter is the wolf in wolf clothing.

Joe Ross3.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It was a tough Monday to stream regardless of who I took (I wasn’t going to take Sheff or Waino or Smyly, no way get real), but this one stung. He was actually looking okay through three, but that fourth fell apart with two outs and created the clunker you see here. Streaming Record: 90-58. With the Braves next, there’s no reason to stick this one out.

Cal Quantrill5.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ouch, we’re still So-So Cal as we thought that post-Dodgers, Quantrill could return a net neutral for the week as he faced the Diamondbacks. We thought wrong. Now he gets the Cubs and it’s hard to keep the faith there. Consider other options.


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.


Mitch Keller vs. Miami Marlins – Yes he did just blow up. Against the Phillies. With eight strikeouts. Now it’s the Marlins. I’ll take this gamble. Mike Montgomery against the Tigers is another great play here. The ceiling is higher for Keller, but there’s a sturdier floor in Monty. Sandy Alcantara on the other side of Keller isn’t a terrible choice, either. A solid day for streams.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Trevor Williams vs. Miami Marlins – His opponent, Robert Dugger, isn’t the worst option out there, either, while there should be consideration for Jakob Junis against the Tigers as well.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Logan Webb vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’d also consider Kolby Allard against the Orioles, though Webb has a little more depth in his repertoire. Elieser Hernandez against the Pirates ain’t so bad either.


Game of the Day


Jacob deGrom vs. Max Scherzer – Duh. Watch it.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/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.

5 responses to “Top Sheff”

  1. Frankie says:

    You can bet on the Dodgers resting Buehler this month after last night’s start. It’s just what they do. Plan accordingly.

  2. Desperately Seeking Hyun-Jin says:

    Nick– Someone in my league dropped Ryu. Do I drop Heaney to grab him? I have noone else I can jettison. Or, is it folly to trust in current Ryu? thx…

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