Welcome To The Karnival

There have been a good number of surprising starts lately and Nate Karns is at the forefront with his second straight 10+ K outing with a 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits,...

There have been a good number of surprising starts lately and Nate Karns is at the forefront with his second straight 10+ K outing with a 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks line against the Orioles. First of all, yes he’s worth a that add in a 12-teamer as he gets the Twins next. But the question here is if the K upside is real. Well, as with all questions I want to see a change in approach, pitches, movement, etc. for me to consider it as a possibility, and guess what! There is one. Karns is throwing a TON more of his Knuckle-Curve, featuring the pitch over 40% in each of his last three starts (48.4% yesterday!) after featuring a 26.8% rate across his first four starts. With that 40% rate, Karns has a 15.06 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 2.08 ERA, 2.02 FIP, 1.95 xFIP and other ungodly good stats (25% soft contact, with only 27.8% pull rate, only 14.3% line drives…). That Knuckle-Curve has jumped from a 13.3% whiff rate to a 27.0% thus far, as batters are chasing it nearly 50% out of the zone and making contact at 50.4%. Groundballs are way up on the pitch to 67.9%, and he’s doing an excellent job of throwing it for a strike when he wants to, while teasing it off the plate for a whiff as well. This ride is for real.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Jose Berrios – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. You thought I was going to lead with Berrios, didn’t you? DON’T LIE. I really liked what I saw here as far as Fastball command goes and trust in his secondary pitches. I also think it’s too soon to give him full trust – some balls were hit pretty well into the outfield – and one start doesn’t define what we’ll see (remember Snell’s first outing?), but I’m encouraged and am holding here, clearly.

Chris Sale – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Kershaw, I’m coming for you. Don’t worry, I’d be foolish to remove Kershaw from his pedestal, but hot damn we haven’t had someone make us even consider it for a long time.

Alex Wood – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. The good news here is that Wood is staying in the rotation when McCarthy and Hill return. The bad news? Huh? Oh, from the way I phrased that…yeah there’s no bad news. I went over Wood in Jonah Keri’s great The 10 feature on Friday, where the TL;DR is he’s throwing plenty more Changeups with a much higher velocity across the board. Dude is legit and will see a major bump on Monday. Did I mention this start was in Coors?!

Julio Teheran – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ohhhhh snap, Paxton you best get back on the hill…Legit though, I don’t love Teheran and I’d enjoy selling after this start if someone is buying.

Matt Moore – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Heeeeeyyyy there we go Moore. Well, kinda as that WHIP is still making me grab my collar in a deep sweat. Do I want to own Moore? Meh, not really.

Lisalverto Bonilla – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. With all the hype of Berrios, many forgot that Bonilla made his first career start yesterday. Just playing, Bonilla doesn’t have nearly the same impact since he has a history of poor walk rates, but he has a decent repertoire with a lively heater and Changeup that flashes brilliance at times. If he gets more chances in the rotation, I can see him having solid strikeout outings, but I worry that he’s not consistent enough all around to avoid plenty of clunkers. He’s a bit of a Cherry Bomb without enough upside for me to like owning it.

Edinson Volquez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. So happy Volquez is returning. Really can’t wait to feel like I’m on a boat in a storm again. Are we going to live to see tomorrow? I DON’T KNOW.

Trevor Williams – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Williams, you are worth my time just like the DMV deserves to take my entire Monday.

Sonny Gray – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Three Ks? Come on Gray, how am I supposed to feed my family on this? Don’t give up on this just yet, give him some time to get into his groove. I think he’ll get there within the next few weeks.

Marcus Stroman – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Stroman got a bit Singled Out here and everything else is super encouraging, especially after totaling just 3 Ks in his two starts combined. I think what we should expect is about 5 strikeouts per game with a good chance of a Quality Start and solid ERA/WHIP numbers. He’s like a slightly worse Tanaka.

Carlos Martinez – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Y’all know that the the only stat I really care about with CarMart are the walks. He will always have the strikeout upside and can go decently far in games with a good ERA. It’s just about the walks that will enable that low ERA, keep him in starts and prevent a high WHIP. Four walks are not helping me believe he’ll ever be a legit Top 15 arm. Womp womp.

Tyler Anderson – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. That’s two straight 8+ K games for Anderson after fanning 16 across five games prior. I don’t like Anderson all too much still, but this certainly makes me consider him for a few outings outside of Coors.

Ryan Weber – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Weber left the game with shoulder tightness, which is just the last straw for the injury laden 2017 season. Weber getting SPOIL’D is just TOO MUCH. Seriously though, I feel bad for the Mariners as they just can’t catch a break. Hopefully Paxton returns this week.

Ricky Nolasco – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. So many PQS outings tonight. This is such a dirty one though, I need a shower after looking at it.

Daniel Norris – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. We’re still so far from getting back on this ride. I’m not chasing.

Dylan Covey – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Don’t Covey thy Dylan.

Jon Lester – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks. I’m struggling with my opinion of Lester. On one hand, he’s holding a fine 3.45 ERA with xFIP/FIP all in line and fanning nine batters in two straight starts. On the other, he now holds a 3.83 BB/9, and is not nearly as consistently “really good” as he has been in the past. He isn’t even holding an IPS at 6.0 right now. I’d rather own Greinke, easily, but Fulmer? Keuchel? Hmmmm.

Trevor Cahill – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. More Ks and a PQS. I think the strikeouts are kinda real from Cahill,

Nick Martinez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. No K upside and a poor ERA from Martinez because the the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Mike Clevinger – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, this is far from where I want Clevinger to be, but I watched this game (duh) and he’s not too far away from being the man we want him to be. The walks need help and all, though his breaking ball is looking great, he made some excellent Changeups and there is life to that heater. He had one bad inning where he wasn’t really hit hard, but it didn’t go his way. It might take some time to get there – Clev hasn’t been a low walk guy ever, really – but it’s possible he does and there’s some legit potential there. There’s something to be said about having a blegh inning instead of constantly finding trouble each frame and that sure is encouraging. Do I really need to take a loss here? It’s just 3 ER and he gave you five strikeouts too…I’m going tie. Streamer Record 16.5-14-6. Yell at me in the comments if you disagree.

Taijuan Walker – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Speaking of conflicting thoughts, Walker’s underlying numbers betray how I feel about him. A 3.37 FIP (3.86 xFIP) isn’t terrible and a 8.41 K/9 and 2.93 BB/9 is certainly beneficial. He’s getting unlucy with a .314 BABIP and 68.5% LOB rate with an average 31.2% hard contact mark, but I just don’t really believe he can be a consistent producer. This was against the Pirates and he was super blegh (albeit, with a PQS). 

Nick Pivetta – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Uggggggh. I want Pivetta to do well, I really do. I think there’s sneaky upside here, but this just isn’t helping things. I’m not sure he sticks around much longer anyway with Nola expected to return next weekend, but I’m sure we’ll see him again due to someone else getting SPOIL’d.

Zach Davies – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I’ve given up on Davies and so should you.

Tanner Roark – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Thing is, Roark has been dangerously close to these kind of outings often this season, making this not much of a surprise for me. There’s little difference from Roark from a typical Toby and I’d love to sell based on name value if someone likes the fella.

Chris Tillman – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You can’t spell Win with Tillman. Fast and I made a bet during the last podcast with the ER O/U set to 3.5. I took the under and feel kinda dirty for winning this. Anyway, Tillman is a Panda in that he’s Waiver Wire Fodder for the most part, but can be helpful in the most boring of ways.

Blake Snell – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. And he got demoted to the minors after. Drop Snell. Don’t stash. Drop.

Robert Gsellman – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s just so sad. So sad.

Today’s Streamer

Dan Straily vs. Atlanta Braves – There’s really no one left. I guess if you’re desperate for strikeouts, Trevor Bauer against the Twins could give you 5-6, but those ratios will take a hit. I’m not starting Straily unless I’m truly desperate and don’t put this one on the board.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Zack Godley vs. New York Mets – He’s showcasing added velocity this year and the Mets are the Mets.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

JC Ramirez vs Chicago White Sox – This is the best bet among the other options to give you a solid outing, especially in the strikeout department.

Game of the Day

Charlie Morton vs. Masahiro Tanaka I’m super curious to see how Morton does against the Yankees and I want Tanaka to be a sturdy arm as well.

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.

9 responses to “Welcome To The Karnival”

  1. Elston Gunn says:

    It seems like every article suggests using a pitcher against the Twins. I’m not saying Karns won’t shut them down, but they have performed pretty okay against righties this year.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That’s fair, I’d say I generally group team offenses into “avoid” or “safe” (sometimes in the middle, of course, but not as common). I consider Twins as a “safe” option, thus they get thrown in with the rest of them.

  2. QQ says:

    Nick–thanks for all the work you do here.

    Would you see Benintendi (me) for Cueto (other guy) as a fair trade assuming I could use some support on my pitching staff? If it’s relevant, I’d be replacing Benintendi’s ABs with Piscotty and Bregman (via the utility spot).

  3. chrish011 says:

    Karns or JC Ramirez

  4. Max says:

    “A 3.37 FIP isn’t TERRIBLE”…LOL that’s the 23rd best FIP in baseball. Yeah…I’d say that “isn’t terrible”….

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That was more in line with the xFIP than the FIP, but true, I should have made that clearer.

      Not to mention, the italics is supposed to highlight that the tone of it is saying that it’s good in contrast with my gut saying that I don’t want to endorse Walker.

      • Max says:

        For sure, yeah definitely see what youre saying. Just jumped out at me because I had recently looked up FIPs and was surprised how good Taijuans was!

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