Wheelin’ and Dealin’

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

(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire)

With Seth Lugo pitching in extras over the weekend and Jason Vargas still in rehab, Zack Wheeler got his chance back in the rotation and took full advantage, going 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks against the Fish. I watched a good amount of this and what did impress me was his fastball command around the edges – sometimes faltered but generally good – and a slider that missed bats as hard as 92mph. That’s crazy. This wasn’t the Wheeler I’m used to, but I’m also not ready to lose the memory of the man punished for fastballs leaking over the plate and being unable to locate his secondary offerings for strikes. Then there’s also the fact that there isn’t a spot for Wheeler when Vargas makes his 2018 debut, which could be as soon as Wheeler’s next turn through the rotation. I’m intrigued if he gets a longer stay (he has to eventually with the Mets being the Mets), so I’d hold until he actually gets booted, in which case I’d be dropping right away.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Yonny Chirinos – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I considered leading with Chirinos as I watched every pitch he threw in this one. I have…mixed feelings. I know, I know, a ton of you want me all in on this and I totally get it. I think he got away with a lot today, though. Splitter command was really bad, and even his fastballs were leaking out over the plate way too often. The ChiSox didn’t punish him, though, and he left with a smooth line in under 80 pitches. Slider is solid, though, and I do believe that should raise his ceiling a decent amount if he’s going closer to 90 pitches moving forward. Still worth an add in your league – this isn’t necessarily the best version of himself – but don’t treat him like a “season winning” pickup. Ohhhh I need a name for that. I’d use a hitter term like A Judgement Call, but you know I hate hitters. But that works so well… I’LL THINK ABOUT IT. Okay, okay…

Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. The man didn’t allow a single hit and when I watched it, I would not have realized. He wasn’t overpowering batters, nor did I see plenty of uncomfortable at-bats, mixing mostly fastball/changeup early then incorporating more sliders later. Changeups are solid, but not enough to cover his meh fastball and slider. I’m not really buying this one and from a “stuff” standpoint, I dig Caleb Smith’s schtick a little more if you can believe it. I’m willing to be malleable here though, and I’ll check him out once again if he gets another chance on the bump – I don’t see why he wouldn’t.

German Marquez – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. If you didn’t hear, there were two brawls today. One with this guy…

Luis Perdomo – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. …and the same one with this guy. They were both ejected for their bad manners, but I like to think that Perdomo got the hook for poor command.

Jordan Zimmermann – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Speaking of early exits, Zim left this one after getting a line drive to the noggin. I feel terrible for him and absolutely hate seeing this, but I feel the need to remark that this may be the first time that both player and fantasy owner leave with a headache. Seriously though, this is always so scary. I’m happy he’s okay.

Jaime Barria – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. There were plenty of debuts today and here’s the lowdown on Barria: His fastball sits 90/91 and is as mediocre as you’ll ever find, his changeup is good but saved for lefties, and his slider is a standard breaking ball. It’s as Cup of Schmoey as you’ll find.

Carlos Carrasco – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Can you make it legit CGSHO next time though? Oh, 5 IP and 5 ER instead? I should stop being greedy.

Danny Duffy – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey this is all kinds of encouraging after were outraged by Duffy’s early starts to the year. I still don’t love him, but I think he’s still comfortably in the Top 60 if not Top 50. Sure, he most likely won’t be Top 30, but his repertoire is good enough to be like a Toby with a little more strikeout ability. That’s worth your time.

Junior Guerra – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the Junior Junior season, and he’s acting like a Senior Senor who is far from fresh. I wouldn’t want to gamble on this moving forward.

Brandon McCarthy – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. McCarthy now holds a 3.31 ERA through 16.1 IP. Nothing to write home about, but it’s possible he stays on the field and becomes a Toby this year. Possible, not definite. Especially not with just 3 whiffs, I need more than that.

James Shields – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. This is Shields at his best. And you know what they say about enjoying people at their best. No, you do not want to endure him when he’s at his worst.

A. J. Cole – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, whatever Cole.

Daniel Mengden – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Meh, this is kinda what I expect from Daniel and his wonderous stache. Kinda mischevious, just enough to make you walk past instead of engaging.

James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Paxton slinging 95mph and earning his first Gallows Pole of the year at 22 whiffs – 11 with his Cutter! It took some time, but I can confidently say for the first time this year, Aces gonna ace. Welcome back Pax.

Nick Pivetta – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. This line looks a ton better than Castillo’s, but he didn’t pitch a whole lot better than him. Fastball got hit hard a bit, slider + curveball weren’t nearly as effective as last time out (4 whiffs on 47 total breaking balls!) and while he should be owned in 12-teamers, I’m not buying a longterm success here. Streaming Record: 7-4. That’s a five-game winning streak after a rocky start. Gotta keep the faith y’all.

Luis Castillo – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. So I guess we’ll take a PQS from Castillo and he didn’t really pitch that poorly – sub 1.00 WHIP! – but he didn’t dominate like I saw in 2017. He abandoned his changeup more than I’d like, elevated fastballs weren’t working, and he wasn’t blowing heat past batters like we’ve seen before. I think pitch mix is a part of it, I also think fastball command is a little too. He’ll get better, but I’m super cautious in his 94.6mph average fastball. It’s fine, it dictates a solid starter, but not that Top 15 SP upside that I’ve talked so much about.

Kevin Gausman – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s a VPQS with 7 Ks from Gausman. I will take this and run. Still not totally sold on Gaus but if I had the brass to start him today, I’ll take it.

Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Ahhhh, nothing like a 2.00 WHIP to make you give Matty a new nickname. Mr. ReMoorse. That almost works.</em Yeah, just like you but instead you live on my couch and eat all my food. You would too if you had it this easy. Truth. Please get a job though, seriously.

Robbie Ray – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Ray, you’re supposed to strikeout more if I’m endorsing you. I think a hit is coming for Ray on Monday as I’m starting to believe I overcorrected my Ray feelings once again.

Adam Wainwright – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Flaherty died for this. And I guess it’s okay. Sorry for being so dramatic. I STILL MISS JACK THOUGH.

Steven Brault – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s a reason you forgot Brault existed.

Marco Estrada – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Awwwww, I was totally starting to buy into Estrada too. Wait. He did get 15 whiffs in this one…Okay I’m not totally out yet. You’re still a Toby, Estrada.

Jon Lester – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Through three starts now, Lester is holding a 4.05 FIP and 4.40 BB/9 with a 1.67 WHIP. I’m not saying he’s droppable, but this legit my be the year of the descent.

David Price – 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Apparently Price’s left hand was “tingling” and the Sawx pulled him with 35 pitches as a precaution. This line looks atrocious – that’s because it is – but I don’t think he pitched so badly. An infield single, a tough walk to Judge, then a triple from Stanton on a decent fastball followed by a mistake cutter that Sanchez blasted over the fence. There are your 4 ER in a blink of an eye. If he’s legitimately fine for his next start, I’m not hesitating.

Andrew Suarez – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I don’t buy those seven Ks and WHIP but I buy the rest. And I when I say buy, I mean sell Suarez as he’s a Cup of Schmo. Sure, he has some deception, but those violent mechanics don’t speak to a guy that will have great command in the majors and he didn’t have that today, even with a sub 1.00 WHIP. Okay, maaaaaybe he becomes a rare streamer. That’s a very skeptical maybe for the record.

Kyle Gibson – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Alright, let’s hang this one up for real in the short term. Just do it and maybe we’ll come back to it later. We’ll see.

Masahiro Tanaka – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Tanaka was cruising through this one before allowing a grand slam in the sixth frame. Still love the guy and think you should be starting him with confidence moving forward.

Alex Wood – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. #WoodVelocityWatch2018 continues as it fell down to a paltry 89.3mph today. This is bad and Wood should feel bad. I’d wait for a good start and sell high after.

Lance McCullers – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 6 BBs, 6 Ks. 6 walks? 95 pitches in 3.2 frames? 8 ER?! And this is why I don’t like McCullers as much as the rest – even when he is on the field, he finds himself in trouble way more than he needs to be with an inevitable short 2018 (he’s never had more than 22 starts!). This also answers questions about his new two-seamer being the answer to his walk problems. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.

Today’s Streamer

Chris Stratton vs. San Diego Padres It’s a much better matchup than the previous two games, it’s possible he pulls it off.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyson Ross vs. San Francisco Giants – I would ideally wait another start or two before putting any faith in Ross, but with Reynaldo Lopez now owned in over 25% of leagues I don’t feel right picking him. I could go with Chad Kuhl against the fish, but he’s inconsistent and I’m feeling good about Ross for whatever reason.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Andrew Triggs vs. Seattle Mariners – He’s still owned in under 15% of leagues and I’ll take my chances against the Mariners.

Game of the Day

Lucas Giolito vs. Jose Berrios – I’m hoping Giolito can figure it out while watching Berrios’ curveballs are always a pleasure.

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.

36 responses to “Wheelin’ and Dealin’”

  1. Ambrocio says:

    yeah, but who’s the WHERST

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I elected to get rid of that daily section as – and I know this may sound weird – I didn’t want to actively be rooting for guys to fail each day. I don’t think it added much as far as fantasy advice goes either, so I just let it go.

  2. Larry says:

    Would you drop Jordan Montgomery for Tyson Ross?

  3. Kyeonghan says:

    Hi, Nick! I am one of your fans!
    Can you estimate rank between these guys : Andrew Triggs, Yonny Chirinos, Sean Newcomb, Reynaldo Lopez, Mike Minor, Jordan Montgomery, Nick Pivetta, Joey Lucchesi and Marco Estrada.
    I need to choose 4 guys. My league uses (W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, BB/9, QS, RAPP) for pitching stats. Thx.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      How did you bold? Do HTML tags work in this? WHOA.

      Whoa, that’s kinda tough. There’s a grouping of JorMont, Lopez and Minor, the Estrada, Chirinos, Pivetta, Triggs, then Luchessi + Newcomb.

      Still not totally buying Luchessi even with the nagging feeling of everyone telling me I’m wrong. It’s weird.

  4. Vinny, a huge fan says:

    The guys in my league are very volatile, in which order do you like these guys – Triggs, E-Rod, Chirinos

  5. Bob says:

    I asked you this after Ray’s first start and you said “no hold tight.” So now I will ask again, did I make a mistake drafting Ray before Gerrit Cole?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s a bad way of phrasing it as if you drafted Cole over Ray that would have been a bigger mistake given the values of each in the pre-season.

      I’ll have Cole above Ray on Monday in all likelihood, but Ray isn’t dipping out of the Top 25. He does this, he also with have at least one three game run that will question why you ever doubted him. Enjoy the ride.

      • Bob says:

        I hope you’re right! And you are certainly right about the preseason rankings. I don’t think I saw one ranking on any website that had Cole above Ray. I went with the consensus on that pick. And I’m sure I’m not the only one questioning it now haha. Thanks as always!

  6. omar says:

    Staff consists of Klubot and a bunch of unproven, high upside, potentially over performing, recent hype train types. Trying to package 2 of the following with a bat to upgrade my power hitting numbers. Which 2 would you market to try and get the biggest return, basically trying to sell high. Which do you think is the real deal ROS?

    R. Lopez

    I think Gausman and Faria are both better than their perceived value right now, so I probably won’t include them in trade offers, at least not for now.

    Or can I offer Klubot for an elite bat and roll with the staff above? I know that’s probably not recommended, but I’ve won this league more than once without a true frontline ace.


    • Nick Pollack says:

      You’re 100% right with Gaus/Faria and I’d throw JorMont in there.

      The other 4 are fine people to sell. Probably Junis + Chirinos for me.

  7. Joe says:

    Hey Nick, do you think there’s anything to be worried about with Carrasco’s strikeout rate? I’m not panicking or anything at this point, and I certainly can’t complain about an 0.87 WHIP through his first 3 starts, I’m just wondering if this is something worth monitoring, or if it can be chalked up to just being early in the season?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Good catch! Just looked some stuff up:

      Carrasco’s velocity is down a tick across the board with his Curveball getting just 2 whiffs on 27 thrown thus far – a 7.4% rate after a career 17.0% mark

      That K rate looks to be a product of that curveball not being nearly as effective thus far as it normally is. For now, I’m going to assume the pitch gets back on track, while his velocity will pick up with time.

      Great find!

  8. AC says:

    Nick, I grabbed McCullers in my shallow mixed (redraft) earlier this week after another owner gave up on him. Now I’m wondering if I’m better off long-term grabbing Shark or Gohara before they return from DL, at McCullers’ expense. (Clevinger also available, btw.) My other SPs are Severino, CMartinez, Paxton, Godley, Morton, Fulmer, Manaea, so part of my question, I guess, is whether I already have enough stability to accept volatility from McCullers.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think I’d go McCullers + Clev over Shark and Gohara.

      Super close between Clev and McCullers, but I think you go McCullers there for now.

  9. Christopher says:

    Pivetta and Chirinos are in my stream spots right now, no one else is really droppable for me except maybe Dansby Swanson. I think I need some more streaming pitching this week. Would you drop Chirinos, pivetta, dansby to stream stratton today then kuhl saturday?

  10. Barry says:

    Enjoy the read every morning. Thanks for your work. Question…what is a Toby?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Sorry for the confusion! I’m hoping to get tooltips for Glossary items up on the site this weekend.

      In the meantime, any time you see a term you don’t know, head to our Glossary: http://pitcherlist.com/glossary. Here’s the definition there:

      “A middling pitcher who has little upside but a steady enough floor that may earn a spot on your roster just for some stability, but is to be avoided against tougher matchups. That guy who goes to work every day and gets the job done but he’s super boring and you don’t want to talk to him, like ever. You don’t even want to acknowledge that he works for the same company as everyone else. Named after The Office character of the same name.”

  11. larry womack says:

    Matz vs Mil or Erod vs Balt. tomorrow?
    Thank you

  12. David says:

    Marco Estrada started having back spasms in the 4th…explains why his no hitter turned into a full shitter. I think you can still be in on him since he says he’s fine.

    McCullers on the other hand I’d like to drop…I can’t really bring myself to…but I’d really like to…

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Don’t drop McCullers, it was one of those day.s

      Good point on Estrada, thanks for bringing it up!

  13. Let's Play Two says:

    Really enjoying your site and insight. What are your thoughts on Charlie Morton? Do you think Morton’s counting stats (particularly strikeouts) will compare or be better than either J. Gray or Quintana this year?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think he should perform above J. Gray, not Quintana though.

      Health is also an issue, though. He’s one of those inevitable injury risks that you expect only about 25 starts from.

  14. Nick Pollack Superfan says:

    Hey Nick,

    Great work with the articles so far this year. Loving the added content!

    I know that you have Bauer ranked ahead of Corbin in the latest Pitcher List, but after seeing Corbin’s performance last night, would you drop Bauer to pick him up in an 8 teamer?

  15. Billy T says:

    Nick, great site. The articles here are on my ‘must read before I head to work’ list every morning. With that being said, Castillo has hurt/embarrassed/disappointed all of us. I invested too heavily in him this year. What can I reasonably expect from him for the rest of the season? More of the same or will he right the ship like Nola did last year?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think he’ll right the ship, though I’m still waiting for his fastball velocity to show up. I think he’ll get there – he had it consistently last season – and he does make a good buy low right now for owners who are freaking out.

  16. Let's Play Two says:

    Felipe Rivero or Roberto Osuna?

  17. Let's Play Two says:

    Brandon Morrow or Doolittle?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      This is a better question to leave on Rick Graham’s Hold Up/Closing Time articles. He’s our reliever expert.

      Personally, Doolittle.

  18. Pops says:

    I just sold my only share of Alex Wood. Despite the velocity concerns, his SIERRA and xFIP are still at 2.64. I’m wondering if he’s a guy that can still succeed at a reduced velocity, or if the wheels are about to fall off of the wagon. I’m just trying to understand your insight. You weren’t the only writer that had advised selling him, FWIW. I received Starling Marte in return, which I felt was a good move in lieu of the risk. Curious on your thoughts.

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