Watching Nix On

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

(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

It was the major league debut for Jacob Nix yesterday, a guy that returned a 2.05 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in Double-A this year for the Padres, and gave the club a 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks performance against the Phils Friday night. I’ll be doing a deeper dive talking about this start later today, but what I saw was promising. I’m used to Padres guys having a lot more flaws and little room for growth, but I see something here. While I’m not sure if his 93mph velocity is real (95mph out of the gate, closer to 91mph by the end), I love his mechanics. Excellent north-south delivery without falling off toward first base or throwing across his body, which makes me buy him as a command pitcher – he held a 4.5% walk rate in the minors and I buy it. It’s also hard not to love his changeup, which was even featured in our daily Nastiest Pitching GIFs article here. Excellent fade on the pitch and I can see him setting up guys with heat to get there often. My only concern is a lack of strong breaking ball. He didn’t touch sliders and went curveball exclusive and it’s…fine. It earned a few strikes but was often hit hard and I need a better third pitch here as his fastball/changeup combination is good but not so great for me to overlook a third pitch. There’s potential here given the mechanics that’ll produce good command + a changeup that will miss bats, but just not enough for me to project a high ceiling down the road. At least not yet – this was a one-game sample in an MLB Debut. I’m okay testing the waters with Nix in deeper leagues if there are few options to choose from, but I’m not too confident his upside is worth the floor in 12-teamers.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Shane Bieber6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. I could have led with Bieber in this one as he absolutely walloped the ChiSox. Right, the ChiSox. 39/106 CSW with 19 whiffs as his slider was a ridiculous 11/29 on whiffs itself. Curveball saw more play as well with 17 thrown – a good thing considering I see Bieber as a two-pitch pitcher mostly – and he needs to work those breaking balls a lot if he wants to keep batters consistently off his super hittable fastball. Let’s hope this approach sticks.

Anthony DeSclafani7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. That’s two straight solid starts from Tony Disco and 22 strikeouts in three of his last four games. His slider has been the catalyst for his recent success – 9/29 whiffs here – but I wonder if it’s enough for me to get on board. I’m still skeptical and would hold off.

Austin Gomber5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. What do I like about Gomber? His curveball…which had 3/17 CSW here. He pounded the zone with fastballs and didn’t get punished by balls in play. Not the kind of upside play I want to chase.

Carlos Rodon8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, it’s hard not to be thrilled with this start against the Indians – 5 Ks, brilliant WHIP and 0.00 ERA. But then again, when Rodon is killing it, a sub 7% whiff rate isn’t the story. Just 25/108 CSW is bleeeeegh and he really relied on fortunate balls in play here. I’m worried this is going to turn south soon, but not enough to abandon ship before it happens.

Blake Snell5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Nothing like throwing a perfect game with 47 pitches to your name and getting pulled. Nick, it was the plan for Jake Faria to get innings in this game. DUDE COME ON. Y’all know I want to see Faria pitch too, but this is ridiculous. The Rays have one starter. Let the man go CGSHO and chase history for crying out loud.

Jordan Zimmermann6.1 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Leave it to Jay-Z to actually have a good game and still make me upset. Let’s be real, one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Kevin Gausman8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Ayyyyy this is great! 12/29 splitters, tons of strikes with his four-seamer well located on the inner-half of the plate and elevated, leading to an impressive 36/94 CSW. Here’s to hoping there was a talk and tweak that made Gausman more consistent today, we can only see if this carries forward.

Brett Anderson5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Brett, buddy, you know I can’t in anyway endorse you. It would just be wrong. Wrong.

Clay Buchholz7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Just 20/93 CSW here is blegh – not one pitch had more than 2 whiffs – but Buchholz found a way. Seriously, not encouraging at all despite the bottom line as he relied on a ton of batted balls and not overpowering batters to get through this.

Zach Eflin6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Ahhhh this is what Eflin owners needed after a lot of stress over the past month. Sure, it was the Padres and I have to discount a little, but to see Eflin take advantage is a great thing. Slider was better, fastball for strikes often, other pitches were blegh, but that’s fine. We’re cool Eflin. 

Jeremy Hellickson5.2 IP, 2 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. He’s the Devil but he made it work this time against the Cubs. I really hate trusting Hellickson save for occasional streams and I think you’re in for a bad time like doing a French Fries when you should have done a Pizza if you roll with Hellickson through your playoffs.

Kyle Hendricks6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. This is solid from Hendricks and it’s a 43/4 strikeout per walk now across his last seven starts. That’s a 3.46 ERA in that time too with a 1.13 WHIP…ugh I hate that I have to get behind Hendricks. Y’all know how I feel about his stuff…but yes, keep starting him.

Mike Leake6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This is super boring but still productive. Welcome to the ceiling of Leake.

Zach Wheeler7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Man, Wheeler just can’t stop dealing. 35/108 CSW, 7/21 whiffs on his slider and even 5/18 on his curveball. I love it. I wish his splitter was better than 3/14 CSW, but to see his curveball help out is a good thing and his heater is still super good. If his slider can keep this up, you’re going to see a lot of people talking up Wheeler this off-season.

Kenta Maeda5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. There’s talk of Maeda getting moved to the bullpen to help out with the Kenley Jansen situation. Have I told you guys that I hate #Dodgeritis with the fury of a thousand suns? This wasn’t pretty for Maeda (seven Ks on 13 whiffs though!) but it’s not as bad as he’s been plus Coors is a thing. Please just stay in the rotation…please.

Felix Pena5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Sorry Felix, you’ve damaged our trust and now we’re sending you to the pen. This is Pena. Oh. Right. Same thing.

Gerrit Cole7.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces wanna ace. What is it with aces this week?

Nathan Eovaldi2.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Zero strikeouts. Against the Orioles. WHY MUST YOU DO THIS. I don’t want to call him a Cherry Bomb, but these sudden outbursts of vile production are really disheartening. You don’t have a choice but continue starting him, but man…zero strikeouts? Really? HAISTFMFWT?! Also, is it just me or am I saying that a lot more in the past few weeks than normal?

Jon Gray5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This shouldn’t surprise you a whole lot. It’s not terrible but Gray wasn’t suddenly a stud after four starts back from the minors. He was in Coors, allowed a HR, and wasn’t able to put guys away (17 whiffs and 38/109 CSW though!). I would have started him here and I’ll keep starting him.

Derek Holland6.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Noooooo it was the Dutch Invasion for Holland for the first time since May. NOT COOL. 29/103 CSW is fine, but he got a bit Singled Out here and I think this is more of a “ugggh okay” game than a “welp, pack it up boys.” I’d keep owning Holland but even with five Ks and a dub to his name, I have to take the L today. Streaming Record: 70-39.

Mike Minor5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Minor was looking solid for the first four frames, then the Yankees woke up and messed him up a little. 0/12 on sliders/curveballs for whiffs isn’t very encouraging, but I’m liking 93.5mph. He gets the Angels + Giants + Twins next and I’m in.

Jose Urena5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I considering rolling with Urena before Holland and it didn’t matter, I was destined to fail. This was the Mets and for Urena to struggle even against them, well…If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Marco Estrada5.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Sooooo Estrada earned a Gallows Pole today with 21 whiffs in this outing. I know. He also only recorded nine called strikes and never got  into a groove. It’s fathomable that Estrada can be helpful during the final weeks of the year. Don’t chase the fathoms.

Ervin Santana6.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing says “I’m still hurt” like sub 89mph velocity and 5 whiffs overall against the Tigers. Yikes.

Burch Smith1.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Smith is a Cup of Schmo and these are the kinds of starts you expect from a CoS. Whatup Cos.

Masahiro Tanaka5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I know what you’re thinking. It must have been homers. Well you’re wrong. *Suit man whispers in my ear.* Oh. You’re right. Three longballs – two from Guzman, one from Beltre – and a 2-run double did all the damage here as Tanaka held a low 22/96 CSW. He just wasn’t getting swings and misses with his splitter – 5/29 CSW! – and without that pitch working, it’s going to go poorly. I don’t think it’s something that will stick as he has the best splitter out there, do don’t do anything rash.

Dylan Bundy5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. This was the Red Sox and I was benching Bundy, but I still had a part of me that believed Bundy could pull it off if everything went right. Narrator: It didn’t. I know I shouldn’t be judging Bundy harshly here, though I wonder if I’ll ever be confident longterm with Bundy again if he doesn’t figure out his changeup. He had it for a moment in 2016, but it hasn’t showed up since.

Clay Holmes2.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. Those living in Clay Holmes shouldn’t throw stones. Well, maybe they can. Dang, okay. Um. Don’t throw water balloons as it could soften the walls and cause it to collapse? Nice save.

Freddy Peralta3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Peralta is a Cherry Bomb and after two strong games, he posted another 7 ER nightmare. This is the life of a Peralta owner, it will be about 2/3 good than bad, though.

Today’s Streamer

Dan Straily vs. New York Mets – It’s the Mets and there is some upside in the Straily tank. Yes, I’m scared too.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Joey Lucchesi vs. Philadelphia Phillies – The Phils don’t scare me and Lucchesi had his Churve back last time out. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t go Fugghesi.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Trevor Richards vs. Atlanta Braves – I could go his teammate Pablo Lopez earlier in the day, but I’ll chase the upside of Trevor instead. There’s also Reynaldo Lopez against the Tigers and while that could turn out well given ReyLo took a step forward against the Yanks last time, it’s not enough for me to ignore the floor just yet.

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. San Diego Padres – Nothing all too exciting so #HappyNolaDay.

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 “Watching Nix On”

  1. Ted says:

    Looking at playoffs starting in Sept.- Pts league. Need to drop one: Maeda, Pivetta, Wheeler or Stripling. All close on the “List”. Maeda to bullpen would actually solve my delema. Your thoughts.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Maeda is the one to drop right now.

      I would wait if possible as #Dodgeritis is a fluid thing and it could change on a dime – well before September hits.

  2. Sean says:

    No Wheeler?!

  3. larry says:

    Trade offer

    My D. Gordon and Strasburg for his Tailon, A. Wood and Buehler

    Would you do the trade.

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