You Dog, Walker

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

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Touted pitching prospects making their season debuts are some of the more exciting moments during the season and Walker Buehler had his first start of the season Monday night, going 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s a solid line as he faced the Marlins despite the walks and I’m sure many are wondering where he stacks up across the other upside plays. His shtick is a heater that sits upper 90s paired with a tight 89mph slider and big curveball around 80. He’s a bit of a nibbler with his heater – which is good as I can imagine him turning into a low walk pitcher instead of one that loses batters constantly – though his slider and curveball leave a little to be desired. I didn’t see a pitch that I can point to and say “that will get him strikeouts every night”, even with his slider freezing some batters and his heater confounding others. It profiles out to a solid floor arm but lacking th at ace-status upside that so many other hard-throwing prospects carry. One of the bigger problems with owning Buehler is not knowing how many starts he’ll actually get in the bigs – it could be a start against the Giants on Saturday and back to the minors – so don’t get too attached here. I’d okay chasing him around the 60s or so, just don’t sacrifice a longterm play as this could be just one more go of it.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Tyler Skaggs – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Some are probably a little upset Skaggs isn’t on The List this week and thought this was a massive “HA!” moment for me. This wasn’t. You shouldn’t have started Skaggs here and he wormed his way into a shutout despite inducing under 4% swinging strikes in 102 pitches. Against the Astros. Here’s a fun trivia question, how much soft contact has Skaggs induced this year? 15%? 20%? Dare I say 10%?! Nah. It’s 8.4%. It’s so low that people may think it’s his walk rate. Yeah…

Carlos Carrasco – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sorry I have to keep you out of the Top 10, I didn’t have much of a choice. You’re still cool n all and enjoy your Gallows Pole via 19 breezes.

Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. HOW IS HE DOING THIS. I seriously do not understand it. I watched this one – I was there for Buehler, okay? – and I couldn’t believe that Garcia has flummoxed both the Yankees and Dodgers in his first two starts like he has some secret pact to let him stick in the majors. Next time, let us know the pact so we can play around it, alright? His control is solid as he sticks around the zone plenty, but his stuff is as mediocre as they come, making me surprised he’s induced a .121 BABIP thus far (13.2% soft contact). That 1.00 ERA is paired with a 4.66 SIERA and I think this will sort itself out as we get a larger sample. For now, I guess I’ll label him as a TEEs and move on.

Sal Romano – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Sal, you’re holding a 5.47 K/9 and 4.10 BB/9 after this start. Even with your fortunate .241 BABIP, you still hold a 4.78 ERA. I have as much faith in you as I do the Nets to compete in any near future. There are just too many holes here.

Masahiro Tanaka – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, good. No longballs, 17 whiffs, and 6.2 frames on 91 pitches. All the things you want to see from Tanaka as we can slowly restore the faith.

Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You can’t stop this guy, you can’t break his stride. Ain’t nothing gonna slooow him down. 

Mike Foltynewicz – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. His pitch count climbed quickly, but those seven strikeouts were rooted in solid heaters with sprinkled in sliders. His changeup was fine, it had its moments but 13 thrown in 102 isn’t the most encouraging. I’m hesitant to give this the green light still, but not a bad hold at the end of your staff.

Carson Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. You can look at this and think “hey, maybe Carson should be given a chance.” Fortunately you’re reading this, so I can tell you not to. That’s a terrible idea like mixing beer and soda. I could throw out a decent amount of reasons why, but I’ll just let you know he induced 2 swings and misses on 93 pitches. That should do it.

Kevin Gausman – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Gaus has allowed 9 ER in four starts since his 6 ER blowup on April 1st, with a 20.4% K rate and 4.9% BB rate in those starts. Not something incredible, but something to consider, especially when it came with an 11%+ whiff rate and 26%+ splitters. Those are marks you want on Gausman’s report card.

Chris Stratton – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, I’ll definitely take this from Stratton. It’s not easy going against the Nats and he did well across the board. He’s not going to give you that incredible outing, though, which makes him more of a streamer than a guy’s seat on your bench you polish and brand with a plaque.

Trevor Cahill – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Curveball got 33% whiffs. Changeup around 20%. Called Strikes + Whiffs at 32 across 98 pitches. These are all very good things. I feel terrible leaving Cahill off The List yesterday – I had him as my call boy and I didn’t include him? How could I? – and would slot him around the 70s in the Triggs/Estrada area. Don’t be so quick to grab him, though. He gets the Astros next and I’m in favor of sitting that one out. Streaming Record: 15-7.

Gio Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. These are the kind of starts that are somewhat commonplace for Gio, preventing me from raising him into the Top 40. That’s fine, it just makes him a Toby and not a guy to head to the bar with after work.

Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. You should not own Moore. He will do more harm than good. Now five syllables.

Chad Bettis – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ahhhh there’s the Bettis we know and hate. I wonder if he’ll do this poorly on the road against the Marlins next week. Maybe not. Maybe not…

Bryan Mitchell – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. At least the walks weren’t there, but guess what, even if you don’t issue free passes doesn’t mean you have good command. Womp womp.

Jake Odorizzi – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You didn’t expect much from Odorizzi heading into New York, but then again, do you expect from Odorizzi on any given night? Nick Pollack here, asking the real questions. I don’t see why you’d roster him over a guy like Cahill or any given streamer, really.

Mike Leake – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. He’s got an ad in your yellow pages that takes up the entire page and makes you hate yourself for calling him up. But your pipes are spewing water everywhere so you gotta call Mr. Leake. He does a terrible job and makes you pay for it and now you feel even worse. What a stupid ad.

Today’s Streamer

CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins – I’d like to hold off on Triggs for one start, I don’t trust Boyd, and Davies is owned in over 20% of leagues. Let’s do this again CC.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Wisler vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds aren’t scaring anyone and Wisler could return another positive performance.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Homer Bailey vs. Atlanta Braves – There are about four options to choose from here and I guess I’m going Homer Bale again. Make me proud.

Game of the Day

Shohei Ohtani vs. Charlie Morton – A ton of fun games today but I want to watch Ohtani rebound from his Red Sox disaster against one of the hottest arms around.

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.

32 responses to “You Dog, Walker”

  1. larry womack says:

    Who would you rather have ROS Milo or L. Castillo?

  2. Eric says:

    Just 4 SwStr for Buehler. Weird.

  3. Andy says:

    Would you trade Alex Wood for Manaea?

    Wood seems to have better stats (GB%, FIP, etc) but I see Manaea is ranked higher on your list.

  4. Jimmie says:

    I kept Buehler for a dollar in a league where I have to give him a contract after this season. Not sure that was the best move, I was definitely hoping to see a more dominant outing against the Marlins. You think he’s actually going to be a worthwhile piece this year and worth signing longer-term in a 10-team roto? As you said, the pitches just didn’t look plus.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think he’s a solid floor guy for years to come. Not a top of the rotation arm, but his stuff is going to create good starts constantly, just not the massive game that wows us often.

      I’d like to own his for a while.

  5. larry womack says:

    Would you start T. Anderson @ Mia?

  6. larry womack says:

    Sorry for the extra questions.

    There is a manager who is in need of Saves. I currently have Boxberger, Allen, Hader, Varquez, Herrera and Strickland. Was thinking of offering Boxberger for Stark.

    Would this be a good trade or should I offer Strickland instead?

    Thank you

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m fine dealing Box or Strick for Shark. I’d consult Rick Graham in the Closing Time piece for my guidance between the two – I’d imagine Strickland would be a harder sell.

  7. theKraken says:

    Walker B – I think he might be really good at generating GB.. not 100% sure, but that might be baked into the profile. Based on what I saw, the slider looks like a problem, but I am thinking that curve could be effective. I only saw a few of each, so I don’t know. He missed a ton of bats in the minors… which always translates to something.

    I imagine you know what I mean by this… I don’t like his delivery. He seems like he doesn’t finish consistently and I think that is where the wobbly FB command comes from. He has somewhat of a truncated finish and he ends up standing or hopping on one leg. I wonder if he is just nervous or is always like that. It just seems panicky and spazzy.

  8. Scott says:

    I’ve read something about gausman and his velocity being down. Not sure of ther3 is something to it, but he’s looked better in last couple of starts. He’s getting more movement and using his other pitched a little more over the fastball. Are you optimistic or are you staying away? A qs vs nyy and now Cleveland seems good on attractive on paper. Cleveland is struggling now to hit and that includes everybody on their team. Thanks

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I see Gausman as a Toby-esque player – someone that you’ll be fine with as your #6/7 SP through the season. Not a Top 40 guy, but should be off the wire.

  9. Let's Play Two says:

    Standard, season-long 5×5 roto using QS. Trade both Pivetta/Weaver for either C-Mart, Nola, Carrasco and in what order is your preference…same as rankings? ROS Steamer projections show Nola and C-Mart in the high 3’s ERA…incidentally, same for Cole too.

  10. Charles says:

    Hey Nick, I’m surprised on how high Samardzija is on the list after just one start. Could you explain?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It’s near where he was in the preseason before the injury.

      The biggest worry was that he’d need to time to get comfortable, it looks like he’s fine out of the gate = sizeable jump.

  11. Shark says:

    I get why you don’t like Skaggs. But shouldn’t you dislike Minor for the same reasons? (Hard% 40.4, Soft% 15.8) Their overall SwStr%, Cont%, and O-swing% seem pretty similar to me as well.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think the current state of Minor isn’t what we’ll see the rest of the way.

      He hasn’t started since 2014 and needs time to get in the groove of being a starter. I’ve slated May 15th as the arbitrary date that I think is enough time for Minor to get fully in rhythm.

      Not to mention, Minor’s whole repertoire is plenty more polished as a four pitch mix than Skaggs’ Curveball & Friend(s).

  12. Tim says:

    Hi Nick! Thanks for the great work again!
    Where do you see Flaherty ending up on the list this season if he manages to nail down a spot in the rotation?

  13. JPR says:

    Hey Nick,
    How much do you like the Braves Soroka? Do you think he performs right out of the gate if he can somehow get a spot in the rotation>

  14. Let's Play Two says:

    I’m liking Pivetta’s peripherals…2.28 FIP, 3.13 xFIP, 3.13 SIERRA, 21.8% K-BB%; 9 K/9. It’s still early, but maybe a breakout pitcher?

  15. Steve says:

    Hey Nick,

    I think you’re underselling Stratton somewhat. He’s got a 2.69 FIP right now, and with that ballpark, he could be a QS machine. Looking at his peripherals, he’s a GB pitcher so of course his xFIP will be inflated, but his BABIP and LOB% are actually both due for some positive regression. Obviously will never get you a huge amount of strikeouts but I think he could get you around 18QS with decent ratios, which would make him a top 50 pitcher in my league. Easily.

    Just my thoughts of course, thanks for all your work.

  16. Barry says:

    I’m not sitting too bad at closer with Allen, Hand and Greene, however another manager is short on starters and has 6 closers and is dangling them. Verlander, Car-Mart, and Godley are not available from me, however I also have Manaea, Mikolas, J. Gray, Lucchesi, Estrada, and Montgomery to offer.

    I’m looking at Doolittle or Iglesias to upgrade from Greene, but will hang onto all four closers if I can secure one of his. I’m just not sure how trading a starter(s) is valued by you. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

  17. Kaizenblood says:

    Bear injury, Kevin Gausman will be in your top 40 before ASB. Guy threw an immaculate inning yesterday. Went 8 innings vs the Indians at Comerica. He struckout Kipnis with a 96mph heater on his 107th pitch…
    Homeruns, park and division(NYY&BOS) might be a problem.

    Nonetheless go buy everywhere you can!!! NOWWW

  18. The Dude says:

    It may just be spot starts now. But knowing what he is, seeing Monday night, AND if/when Buehler gets to stay in the rotation…
    What would his perceived ROS spot on THE LIST be at that point?
    If that happens during an August playoff push are we talking about a likely Top 50 guy at that time? Top 40?

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