It’s been an exciting weekend finally getting a chance to witness possible growth from a bevy of starting pitchers, with Spencer Turnbull very much on my “must watch” list. The main question I’ve been asking is “will Turnbull stop throwing his sinker in favor of four-seamers and breaking balls?” Yesterday we got our answer, dominating a weakened Cincinnati lineup with a line of 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks, 16 Whiffs, and an overall 36% CSW. What was that repertoire like?
47 four-seamers. 21 sliders. And just nine sinkers.
This is wonderful news. His four-seamer and slider alone returned 41% CSW—yes his few sinkers brought down that clip—and it’s hard for me not to get a little excited. It’s still a little rough around the edges with his four-seamer flying a bit too far out of the zone at times, but its approach of high-and-tight to left-handers is plenty welcome, while he did an overall fine job of landing sliders down and glove-side. It’s what you want.
With the Reds out of the way and the Cardinals next, I’m letting him fly, but let’s take this game by game. He’s not a finished product quite yet.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Garrett Richards vs ARI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks, 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW – G.Rich is back and it makes me really happy. The man looked pretty solid yesterday with pitches moving in all different directions, though it was with a touch of questionable command, even getting a 3-2 gift for a backward K. Both his curveball & slider were excellent, returning 13/33 CSW and I’m thrilled to have him on my roster—*Suit man whispers in my ear* Huh? You mean it’s Coors next…AND THE DODGERS AFTER?! Come on, that’s not fair. Don’t do that to Richards, he’s only just gotten back into the groove!
Thomas Hatch @ TB (ND) – 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks, 6 Whiffs, 34% CSW – The Jays pushed back Tanner Roark a day so they went with Thomas here. The Rays couldn’t down the Hatch as he came up with his own scheme to prevent a single ER in seven outs. Golf clap. That’s the best you could have hoped for here.
Blake Snell vs TOR (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks, 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW – It looks like the Rays are babying Snell, which makes me believe they will give Tyler Glasnow the same treatment today. Blegh. It took 40+ pitches for Snell to get through six outs as he struggled to get his secondary pitches in the zone, returning just 4/13 CSW on sliders, curves, and changeups. His fastball looked great at the top of the zone, but for me to truly be back on the Snell train, I need to see breakers landing for strikes – his 2019 saw a 10+ point dip in zone rate, forcing worse counts constantly. Keep starting him, of course, but monitor his ability.
Ronald Bolanos @ CLE (L) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks, 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW – The Royals don’t have many options left in that staff so we saw RoBo cop a feel for the rotation yesterday. That’s it. That’s the blurb.
Corey Kluber vs COL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks, 1 Whiffs, 22% CSW – This was a sad day for great arms going down. We got a lovely single inning from Kluber, then he was removed with right shoulder tightness out of nowhere. Justin Verlander is out for at least a month with an elbow injury as well and I’m just sad. I know some will say “See?! I avoided them because of their injuries!” but these are different injuries. It really isn’t the same and we’re all just sad now. I hope Kluber just needs a little rest as even watching that one frame brought a smile to my face. I’ve missed Kluber.
Trevor Bauer vs DET (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks, 22 Whiffs, 35% CSW – Aces gonna ace. The golden 22 whiffs for the Gallows Pole as Bauer followed his Reds brethren to have a field day… and like Castillo, not get a Win. Against the Tigers. Lots of high heaters, plenty of cutters, curves, sliders, and it was all working. This is the Bauer you wanted when you drafted him and here’s to hoping it what we see all season.
Patrick Corbin vs NYY (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks, 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW – Aces gonna ace. Corbin almost went unscathed until a Gleyber Torres longball in the seventh, which ultimately pushed him out of the game at just 75 pitches. I imagine he was on a lower pitch count anyway and it’s a little frustrating he wasn’t allowed to go further, but I imagine it was pre-set and we should be thankful Corbin was efficient to earn 6+ frames. Slightly lower velocity than we’re used to from Corbin at 90.2 mph, but that’s fine.
Tyler Chatwood vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks, 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW – Um, what. Just when you think you know a guy, he does this. If I had known that little chat would make Chatwood excellent, I would have told you guys… wait. No. We had no choice then, y’all. This was never meant to be our dance. No, you don’t want to own Chatwood, though I am intrigued that he suddenly used his cutter 30% of the time after not throwing it over 10% prior. It earned a near 40% CSW across 26 pitches, coming over a tick harder than his 2018 season. Huh. Okay maybe you do want to consider Chatwood a little. And he gets the Pirates + Royals next…WHAT IS THIS TIMELINE.
Julio Urías vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks, 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW – I liked what I saw from Urías here, boasting 95 mph heaters and separating sliders and changeups on each side of the plate. There’s still room for growth in his curveball and placing his fastball more along the edges, not to mention he was pulled after just 78 pitches, but all of these can be better next time out. Keep it coming.
Mitch Keller @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks, 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW – We were holding our collective breath in this one as Keller was pumping heaters in the low 90s instead of the mid-90s. He personally talked about it and it may take a few starts for him to get the velocity back. Nevertheless, he looked more like a pitcher than a thrower in this one, using the top of the zone with heaters and deftly placing sliders glove-side and down. He’s not quite finished yet as everything was missing that extra jazz but I’m not jumping ship just yet. Okay, I understand if you want to avoid the Cubs and Twins next. That makes sense to me.
Zac Gallen @ SD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks, 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW – Sooooo this is weird. Kinda like Caleb, honestly, where Gallen’s stuff was fantastic but he continuously missed outside the zone inside of nipping the corners or even falling for a comfortable strike when he needed to. I was also a bit sad to see that his heaters rarely found their way to the top of the zone, something we even talked about as his new direction last year. I’m still very much in as the Padres couldn’t do a whole lot with Gallen’s pitches and I don’t think these walks are here to stay, but show me some well-elevated heaters next time, okay?
Sean Newcomb @ NYM (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks, 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW – Do you like Newcomb? Why?
Drew Smyly @ LAD (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks, 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW – Honestly, I expected worse from Smyly against the Dodgers. He did a good job of keeping his curveballs down and cutters inside to right-handers and he made it work… through just 10 outs though. Smyly may be worthy of a stream down the road, but nothing more.
Jonathan Loaisiga @ WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks, 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW – This was an expected bullpen game for the Yankees and Loaisiga showed off why we liked him in seasons past when he was considered for the rotation. Sigh.
Carlos Carrasco vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks, 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW – Aces gonna ace. Man, it’s good to see Carrasco back to his old self. Couldn’t be happier about it.
Kyle Freeland @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks, 10 Whiffs, 38% CSW – Really solid performance here from Freeland who looked like his former self with excellent changeups away, curveballs down, and peppering the inside corner to right-handers. I’m legit intrigued here as a Freeland who effectively nibbles and misses the zone can be a legit Toby if not more. Too soon to be actionable, but this is what a good Freeland looks like—he just needed 80 pitches to cruise through six frames!
Kenta Maeda @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks, 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW – It wasn’t a full six frames, but you got decent ratios, six strikeouts, and a Win. It’s the Maeda we were promised.
Zack Greinke vs SEA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks, 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW – Man, the Astros are really struggling right now, aren’t they? First Verlander down and now Greinke gets ousted in the fourth with just 58 pitches with only an 87.7 mph heater against the Mariners. Yeesh.
Freddy Peralta @ CHC (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks, 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW – I wasn’t quite sure if I should be leaning Peralta or Burnes in drafts this past week and it’s become clear to me that Burnes is the way to go. I didn’t see a single slider here from Peralta… unless that was the 80 mph curveball that he threw about 30% of the time… and earned 4/19 CSW. I think we tuck this one away for another time, especially when he went under 70 pitches total.
Dakota Hudson vs PIT (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks, 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW – Well this was disappointing. I’m not a major Hudson fan by any stretch, but I do recognize that his cutter/slider gets whiffs and could help him transition into a better overall arm. And hey, this was the Pirates! I don’t blame you for throwing him out there here.
Mike Fiers vs LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks, 0 Whiffs, 25% CSW – Fiers is a Toby at best and after failing to earn a single whiff or strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!), I don’t think you need me.
Robert Dugger @ PHI (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks, 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW – Yeah, this is the line you expect from Dugger, isn’t it. Jose Urena was a late scratch with COVID-19 and Dugger did what he could. Just a Bob doing his best.
Vince Velasquez vs MIA (ND) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks, 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW – So I’m off to an excellent start streaming arms as Velasquez couldn’t endure the Marlins. The Marlins! Streaming Record: 0-3. Don’t even look at it—let this be a lesson that early streaming is a bad idea (but I know this is a short season and you may have no other choice. BASEBALL.) That new changeup returned just 2/13 whiffs, velocity was over a tick low, and I’m not starting him for the Jays next. He may be better in time for his repeat matchup against the Marlins in ten days, but I’m okay missing out on that.
Wade LeBlanc @ BOS (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks, 11 Whiffs, 37% CSW – Whoa, I know the ERA hurt n all, but he got a Win + 37% CSW?! His changeup and cutter were excellent, earning 17/47 CSW on their own and it just…worked. I get a feeling it was a Birthday Party but hey, maybe he does it again.
Rick Porcello vs ATL (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks, 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW – This wasn’t fun to watch. At all. I don’t have high hopes for Porcello, but it doesn’t mean he’s incapable of having at least one good start this year. You may be smart and catch it if you play the matchups right.
Reynaldo Lopez vs MIN (L) – 0.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks, 1 Whiffs, 16% CSW – It was what we feared in ReyLo as he returned just one whiff and couldn’t survive an inning against the Twins. Gio Gonzalez followed and while he stuck around longer, he didn’t fare much better. For those that didn’t realize, yes, Carlos Rodon has the #5 spot in the White Sox rotation and I’m a little curious how that goes. Not ultra-confident, but I’d consider a flier if you have an open rotation spot.
Shohei Ohtani @ OAK (L) – 0.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks, 0 Whiffs, 17% CSW – Wow. Just… wow. I had higher expectations for Ohtani to figure it out in time after a poor summer camp, but yeah. He’s clearly under-baked at the moment, featuring diminished velocity and poor command. This may take a start or two or five. He’s taking a dip today.
Yusei Kikuchi @ HOU (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks, 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW – Plenty of called strikes tonight from Kikuchi, who averaged 96 mph tonight despite sitting 93 mph on his fastball last year. What. That’s remarkable to say the least and there could be something here that is tangible when you’re not playing against the Astros. He gets a tough start next time out against the A’s, but if we see a similar CSW and that velocity, I may be ready to jump in for the Rockies after.
Ryan Weber vs BAL (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks, 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW – Even though I have an affinity for his front-door sinker at times, we really can’t expect Ryan to do much more than this, even against the Orioles.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Pablo Lopez vs. Baltimore Orioles – His changeup is getting used more often and could take advantage of the Orioles. Chris Bassitt against the Angels could pay off as well + Wade Miley as a deep option against the Cubs may work for a Win. This game was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Marlins camp. I’ll instead go Wade Miley vs. Chicago Cubs – I don’t have high hopes, but Miley would have a long leash and can earn a Quality Start or Win here.
Josh Lindblom vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Just owned in 5% of Yahoo! leagues and it’s the matchup you want to see. Given how other Brewers starters have been allowed to go somewhat deep into games thus far, I trust Lindblom can make it work.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Danny Duffy vs. Detroit Tigers – It’s ace day and only options are Duffy, Milone, Dunn, Mikolas, and the mystery Giants and Astros starters. I’ll go with Duffy who could be decent against a poor Tigers lineup. Sure.
Game of the Day
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)