I was a bit surprised to see many asking about how I felt about Framber Valdez before this outing as I didn’t expect much of anything. He has a good curveball but a poorly commanded sinker and is as volatile as they come. So of course he would go on to record a line of 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW against the Athletics. Great, let’s muddy the waters.
Does this mean I pick up Valdez? No. His curveball was great in this start, but I don’t think it’s enough to carry him over the hurdle that is his sinker. Look at his sinker location in this start, does this look like a pitch that was well commanded or deserved success at 92/93 mph? I know he pitches for the Astros and Wins are a valuable commodity this year, but he is not the answer. Sure, there could be a good start ahead, but good luck picking out which one as he is a Cherry Bomb that I’m willing will be the latter more than the former. Yes, I’d be cautious even with the Mariners next.
Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:
Frankie Montas vs HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 37% CSW. Look at Montas go, stomping through the Astros as he pounded 21 called strikes and even 11 whiffs along the way to earn a King Cole. It’s weird, I’m not in love with this start as I think he’s sitting low a little too often and it led to a good amount of crushed balls that found plenty of gloves, but the fact that he’s pumping strikes and carrying a decent feel for his slider and splitter are cool me. So yeah, this is a much better line that how he pitched, but man, 10/28 called strikes on sinkers with a 46% CSW overall is all kinds of pretty.
Zach Plesac @ CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 37% CSW. He came in second for both the Gallows Pole and King Cole with another dominant game from Plesac. Many have asked “Civale or Plesac?” and all I want to say is Why Not Both? but I know that doesn’t help. It’s really close. Plesac is missing more bats, but I slightly trust Civale’s command more. I love how they are both reducing their fastball to sub 40% usage levels, here with 35% four-seamers but 52% CSW. That’s. What’s Up. I think we’re one start away from an AGA label and I don’t think y’all would have a problem with that.
Jake Arrieta vs ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW. This start takes me back to the old days when Arrieta was so much fun to watch. He peppered the zone with sinkers here with 18 called strikes on the pitch alone and was able to surprise enough batters for a strikeout per inning. Lovely, but more of a Birthday Party than a prophetic evening. Don’t get seduced, you’re better than that.
Anthony DeSclafani @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Ahhh here’s the Tony Disco we’re familiar with, featuring 31% sliders that returned a 37% CSW as he cruised with the pitch through the game. We saw more sinkers than four-seamers here, which did a decent job earning strikes, though there is a weakness here in a curveball that just isn’t good enough as a #3 option at the moment and let’s not talk about that changeup. Still, DeSclafani with a slider-heavy approach should help enough against the weak schedule ahead and I’d be rolling with him.
Kolby Allard vs LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Pretty cool to see Allard (I still want to call him “Dralla”) paint the top of the zone red with four seamers and he did a good job of pair it with cutters low to keep Angels hitters at bay. It’s a decent approach but I don’t think it’s one that will turn him into a viable 12-teamer arm as this was a night of his peak. There’s plenty of floor left below.
Austin Voth vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Man, I love it when I see such blatant pitch separation. Just look at this. Four-seamers up, curveballs with stupid good precision down-and-away from left-handers. You may be turned off by the 24% CSW on heaters, but that’s because he nibbled just a little too much, not because he was super hittable or incredibly wild. Encouraging from Voth, but at the same time, it’s 91 mph and not the 92/93 we saw last year. Here was the best we could hope for without that velocity and it worked, but it could be plenty worse moving forward.
Zack Godley vs TOR (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW. So what’s cool here is Godley’s lack of sinkers – just 3/67 thrown in this one – but I don’t trust his cutter/curveball on a given night to carry me to golden plains of Alysiana. Alysiana? That’s not real, nor even a mythological place. And neither is the Godley’s hypothetical success. Touché.
Ryan Castellani @ SEA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW. I watched this start as Ryan pitched his MLB and it’s amazing how much his windup looks like Scherzer’s without as drastic of a hunched back. Sadly, Ryan’s fastball is way flatter and despite nailing some location with it along the edges, I’m terrified what will happen to it inside Coors. His secondary stuff all had their moments (slider, curveball, changeup) while I liked his hook the most by far. I guess I could imagine streaming Ryan on the road, but for the most part, I think we avoid this. But he was removed with a no-hitter! Isn’t that like every pitcher through the first four innings against the Mariners? I kid, I kid. Kinda.
Nick Margevicius vs COL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW. I see a name like this and I have so many directions to go. I’m going to go none of them. Margevicius isn’t anyone of note. Yep, that’s all we’re going to do here.
Matt Foster vs CLE (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 43% CSW. It was a bullpen game for the White Sox with Carlos Rodon hurt so we saw Matt act as the opener. I’m so sorry that he couldn’t foster a win. And for that pun. It was really really bad.
Ryan Thompson vs NYY (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 40% CSW. This was a bullpen game on both sides for the Rays and Yankees in the second game of their double-header.
Michael King @ TB (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW. See above.
Gerrit Cole @ TB (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Cole finally earned whiffs on his four-seamer again with 20% SwStr, though he maxed out at 98 mph instead of the 99 and 100 we’ve seen in the past. He couldn’t execute with his changeup or curveball and it burned him in a rough fifth frame – one he could have gotten out of if Gary Sanchez had framed a 2-2 changeup instead of letting it go to the backstop. I wouldn’t worry here, instead be encouraged that he’s improving his fastball. I think have to put Jacob deGrom at #1 tomorrow, though. The man is just too good.
Tyler Glasnow vs. NYY (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. I watched this one and he wasn’t able to get the whiffs and execute his curveball like he needs to, which allowed the Yankee offense to look for fastballs. Fortunately for them, Glasnow served too many in the lower half of the zone and punished him. Gio Urshela also fisted a high curveball for a pair of runs as well and this just wasn’t the Glasnow you wanted. It was against the Yankees, though, and I wouldn’t make any changes moving forward. He’ll face worse lineups ahead and do plenty more across 70+ pitches, likely up to 80+ next time out.
Merrill Kelly @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Kelly did a good job against the solid Padres lineup, cruising after allowing a second pitch HR to Fernando Tatis Jr. to start his evening. Just 92 mph velocity and I wasn’t overly impressed with his stuff, but hey, it worked tonight. It could a few more times this year too. Just not something I’d go for.
Chase Anderson @ BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Hey, Chase is back! He was super limited in this DLH but let’s say he was healthy, would you be starting Chase? Didn’t think so. His fastball was 92/93 mph, so yeah, nothing to get excited about.
Patrick Sandoval @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Hey, the “Irish Panda” is back from the COVID-IL and doing things. His slider was solid here, though his fastball command leaves a bit to be desired and changeups are…not there right now. But hey, first start back and with Shohei Ohtani out Sandoval can be the fifth man and possibly a decent option on some days. Not worth the general grab, though.
David Peterson vs MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW. It’s not sexy, but this works. Streaming Record: 9-7. That Marlins offense sure isn’t good and Mr. Peter wanted his child to be named Toby. Fortunately his wife wanted David.
Thomas Eshelman @ WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW. You’re wondering who Eshelman is. It’s okay, we can leave it that way.
Brett Anderson vs CIN (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Brett did things that you anticipated yada yada yada can we talk about Corbin Burnes who followed with 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 BBs, 8 Ks, 14 whiffs, 36% CSW and that’s something else. His fastball was plenty better command in this one as he focused arm side, while he was showcasing a legit cutter at 92/93 mph that was filthy. 42% CSW there because duh and I think Burnes is making the small changes we want to see. Now, it’s still a low floor and the volatility is still present, but if Burnes gets confirmed as a starter again, this could be a needed Cherry Bomb. Up to you if you want to take the risk.
Jake Odorizzi @ KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The good news is that the Twins allowed Odorizzi to throw 71 pitches. Bad news is that it only returned nine outs and his fastball was all over the place. So weird to see him throw just 27% four-seamers after making a living last year painting the top of the zone with the pitch nearly 60% of the time. This isn’t the Odorizzi we remember from last year, but that made be him shaking off some rust.
Chris Paddack vs ARI (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Blegh. I’m glad we saw better curveballs this time around, but his changeup was floated and his fastball command wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen. Paddack isn’t feeling like a 25%/30% strikeout arm and more like a new-age Zack Greinke. Not sure if I’m cool with that, but his floor is considerably high and if you own him, you’re coasting with him through the year.
Kyle Wright @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW. We’ve seen worse from Wright but we’re still not there yet. I wonder how long the Braves will let him continue before turning to other options like Ian Anderson.
Johnny Cueto @ LAD (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW. How would you feel if you were throwing a no-hitter in the sixth and lost it because your outfielder couldn’t find a can-of-corn flyball? Poor Cueto, it led to a 3-run shot and the overall line we thought he’d have. There’s something here that will squeeze out a few good starts over the year, but good luck finding them.
Clayton Kershaw vs SF (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Uggggh, Kersh, you can’t be giving up so many longballs. He threw too many over the plate, which is very un-Kershaw like, and I’m incredibly annoyed by it all. He sat 91.5 mph, which is still a tick above last year, but not quite as overwhelming as the first start of the year. I’m a little worried but not so worried to do anything drastic. He’s going to fall on The List as I clearly moved him too far up in reaction to his new velocity last time out.
Daniel Castano @ NYM (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The Marlins needed some help with many players still recovering from COVID-19, enter Castano. Could have been plenty worse, but yeah, just like you went to see all the Avengers films but haven’t watched Aquaman, you’re not interested in DC.
Danny Duffy vs MIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW. I mean, it’s the Twins. It’s not what you want to see on the docket and we have to make sure our expectations are in check.
Ivan Nova @ PIT (W) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Hey dad! Can I get the goggles out of the drawer today? No son, there is no Super Nova today. Awwww. Maybe next time? Maybe son, maybe.
Derek Holland vs DET (L) – 5.0 IP, 9 ER, 13 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW. The Dutch Invasion has arrived, despite a lovely matchup against the Tigers. We don’t like invasions.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
John Means vs. Washington Nationals – The velocity is up, the pitch count is coming up, and I think his command improves with each start. Get in while you can. Means is still on the bereavement list, which means I’m going Pablo Lopez vs. New York Mets. Blessed be thy changeup.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Game of the Day
Spencer Howard vs. Atlanta Braves – I’ll be writing this GIF Breakdown as it happens, though I’m not sure when Game #2 will start. Expect it this evening and here’s to hoping he makes us all whisper to each other in excitement. Spencer Howard…Spencer Howard…So hot right now…
(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)