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An Inconvenient Truth

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Friday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

MacKenzie Gore vs ATL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 73 pitches.

We’ve been waiting a h*ck of a long time for MacKenzie Gore to make his MLB debut and with Blake Snell’s injury, Gore got his chance against Atlanta and it was…okay. The final line of 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 73 pitches is sure not to inspire awe and excitement, which is funny since I didn’t react with awe or excitement while watching this game.

On one hand, he did toss pitches upwards of 97/98 mph at times, but for every 97 mph dotted on the edge he also featured many at 94 mph missing wildly and often in the heart of the zone. I won’t judge Gore harshly for inconsistent command during an MLB debut, but I will judge him for throwing 73% heaters and going 1/20 whiffs on secondary pitches. He really struggled with his curveball, slider, and changeup, and for a guy who has been touted as having legit command across all his arsenal, I was a bit shocked to see him this far behind.

Still, it could all be explained by debut jitters and a date in San Diego with the Reds feels like it should be fine. You may as well keep holding him in hopes of the secondaries arriving & maybe the velocity holding higher — sometimes we see rookies go too hard early and lose some gas in the later frames, which stabilizes in future starts. I wish I were more pumped for this one, I guess we just have to wait.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

 

Tarik Skubal @ KC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.

YES. SKUUUUUUBS. After a disaster first start where Skubal didn’t touch his slider, he whipped out the pitch nearly 40% of the time for 43% CSW. THAT’S WHAT’S UP. His fastballs avoided the heart of the plate, curveballs were competitive down in the zone, and he even executed solid changeups. This is the man we want to see. Now let’s see if it was a one-time feel for his slider or if it’ll actually stick around — I have to mention that he floated the slider a decent amount of the time and he’s not quite complete, but if this is what we get all year, I’ll be so dang thrilled.

Pablo López vs PHI (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.

Despite just two strikeouts here, I’ll take it from PabLó. His changeup still earned whiffs, the four-seamer got strikes, and the strikeouts will come. All good here.

Jordan Montgomery @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 71 pitches.

You’ll take this from The Bear all day. I can’t say that I believe the strikeouts will come like PabLó above, but he wasn’t demolished by his heaters and that’s a cool thing. Still kinda bland, though, you know?

Tony Gonsolin vs CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Soooo is this a Dusty DonutThat is a poor WHIP and just four frames, but a 0.00 ERA always plays. I’ve been relatively down on Gonsolin because I question whether he’ll find that old slider of his that he could constantly throw for strikes, and what we saw here was 12/24. That. Ain’t. It. I’m still out.

Ross Stripling vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 62 pitches.

Good on ya Stripling! I’m sad you weren’t stretched out enough to go one more frame, and your secondaries were…something, but whatever, this worked. I’m not sure I’d place a bet on Ross next time he goes, a.k.a. a juicy Strip stake. It would have to be another poor offense to even consider it due to his secondaries lagging behind.

Marco Gonzales vs HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Of course this is how this went. I talked about this yesterday during the daily morning stream on Twitch: Every pitcher has a chance of doing well or poorly on a given night. What I (and all of us, inherently) do is try to recognize what order those chances are in, mixed with weighting how “good” or how “bad” those starts could be. Most guys have about a 30-50% chance of performing “well” on a given night — just look at the game logs. Welcome to this wild and crazy sport we love so dear. As far as how Gonzo did it here, his sinker avoided the heart of the plate incredibly well and he featured his changeup a ton to keep guys off balance. I still wouldn’t start him against Texas, though.

Carlos Rodón @ CLE (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. What, just 96.9 mph on your heater today? What a slacker.

Miles Mikolas @ MIL (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Well well well, what is THIS?! 8-Miles allowed just one earned run in 6.2 frames? WITH SEVEN STRIKEOUTS?! His curveball and slider were both excellent while his heaters landed along the edges + the Cardinals defense backed him up. And now he gets the possibly-underrated Marlins next? Yeah, let’s do it Mikolas.

Joe Ryan @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 82 pitches.

Well hot dang, look at you! Any concerns I had about Ryan from his first game of the year are out the door with this Golden Goal as he flashed the velocity he had during the spring at 92/93 mph + a legit slider showing up for the first time at 11/33 whiffs. This is the best JR we’ve seen. That would be Griffey. No, the initials. That would be Jackie Robinson. Okay, I was just condensing Joe’s name but, yes. Absolutely yes. I concede. Hope it was a happy Jackie Robinson Day, y’all.

Chris Bassitt vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.

How much longer would you wait to give him the AGA tag? Bassitt is looking phenomenal now that he’s leaning on his slider — wait, no, now it’s labeled as a cutter — a whole lot more, creating a proper two-pitch mix with his sinker that has overwhelmed batters. Then he lands a slow 71 mph curveball for strikes and elevates with four-seamers and he cruises like a Top 20 “stable” arm. People laughed when I made him my ace in Tout Wars. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW

Dylan Cease vs TB (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

47% CSW on curveballs? Yeah, that’s gonna be a good start. Solid four-seamer command in this one, too, and I really hope this sticks. I know I was awfully harsh on Cease in the preseason but I’d much rather be wrong and see him soar with consistent command through the year.

Jordan Lyles vs NYY (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Lyles lost the battle of the GOATs as the other Jordan didn’t allow a single run. The good news here is Lyles found his slider a bit, with a surprise in his changeup going 5/19 whiffs. It’s not enough for me to roll the dice, though, especially with that 1.60 WHIP on a good night.

Matt Bush vs LAA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 82% CSW, 11 pitches.

The worst part about modern baseball are the bullpen games. The. Worst.

Daulton Jefferies @ TOR (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches.

I expected failure and this…well, you didn’t get anything that helped. I mean, really. This doesn’t help. But hey, it’s the Jays! In Toronto! Jefferies will be a decent streamer throughout the year when he gets the proper matchups, so don’t ignore it when the opportunity arrives.

Kyle Wright @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

The Wright train is still chugging as Kyle looked a whole lot better in this one. Sure, we still had some erratic heaters, but they missed out of the zone and his secondaries were excellent. Changeups and curveballs constantly for strikes (some changeups did wildly get away from him, though) and it allowed Wright to calibrate during at-bats often. Oh man, I’m starting to come around more on Wright — it was hard to tell if last week’s effort was a moment of bliss or something we could lean on — and at the very least, I’d snag him for his start against the Marlins next. Suit man whispers in my ear WHAT?! 61% rostered in Yahoo leagues?! Jeeeeez. Welp, hope you got Megill and Brash instead.

Zach Plesac vs SF (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 81 pitches.

47% CSW on his slider and 33% on his changeup are steps in the right direction. Enough to start him against the ChiSox? Blevins, no.

Erick Fedde @ PIT (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 96 pitches.

Ayyyy the Pirates have made a tough time for some solid pitchers but Fedde came in, tossed some lovely curveballs, and froze batters with sinkers, and voila! You have smedium success. Smedium? Yes, it’s between small and medium because you can’t trust the Feddes.

Brad Keller vs DET (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

Some days he’s Bad Keller. Some days he’s ole boring Bread Keller. And some days, you get Rad Keller. He’s a hip dude and comes armed with sliders constantly located at the bottom of the zone like a cool cat. I wonder how long this keeps up — I’m still hesitant as he faces the Twins next week.

Drew Rasmussen @ CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 68 pitches.

Oh look, Rasmussen went five frames, didn’t walk anyone, and fanned two or fewer. What a shock. He’s not the one I want to chase.

Vladimir Gutierrez @ LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

I mean, duh? Vlad got the Dodgers when we’d be cautious starting him against Oakland right now. No thanks.

Zach Davies @ NYM (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.

If you’re starting Zach, you’re gonna be pushing Davies.

Jake Odorizzi @ SEA (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 83 pitches.

Womp womp. Odorizzi was allowed to see the fifth, but did we actually want that? He gave us a HAISTBMBWT?! as he had nothing but his heaters and you can argue that wasn’t something, either. Man, when the h*ck are we going to see Cristian Javier get some starts again?

Germán Márquez vs CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.

Annnnnd the gambit continues. But he’s better at home! Or maybe it’s just random groupings. You’ve made your choice on Márquez, you know this is how this goes.

Zach Eflin @ MIA (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.

Uggggggh. Welp, back to the wire you go with Coors on the horizon. And because I know I’ll get another tweet/comment about it — Am I truly undervaluing the Marlins offense? No, it’s the children who are wrong. 

Mitch Keller vs WSH (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 84 pitches.

When will you learn. WHEN WILL YOU LEARN. THAT YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!

Nick Pivetta vs MIN (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 54 pitches.

It’s more of the ratio problem with Pivetta but you’re not even getting the strikeouts. Yikes. Like, what’s the point man? I don’t know, random person. I don’t know.

Marcus Stroman @ COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.

Stroman went to Coors and despite being someone who should be able to survive Coors (Read: A groundball pitcher who isn’t hyper reliant on breakers), Stroman struggled. Welcome to Coors, Friend.

Reid Detmers @ TEX (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 65 pitches.

This line is way worse than the quality of Detmers’ outing. He got BABIP’d a bit, didn’t have double-plays turned, and overall pitched pretty dang well. There’s still growth needed in his slider (1/12 whiffs) and changeup (just one thrown), but his fastball stunned batters and his curveball is legit, with 40%+ CSW on each in this one. So many poor swings and hesitations on the hook as he constantly gets it in the zone. I understand some of y’all have Detmers and are sad you picked this boat instead of some of the other exciting early arms, but I implore you — Detmers is legit for the long term. I wouldn’t be shocked if he dominates the Orioles next.

Freddy Peralta vs STL (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 77 pitches.

Uh oh. Peralta didn’t have his slider doing wonderful things for the second straight start and his fastball was getting laced plenty. Do I think this is an expression of the fears I had last year about his mechanics since he throws ultra-cross body? Maybe? I honestly think things simply haven’t gone his way so far and this will get fixed with time. Far too soon to say his entire last season was a fluke.

 

Game of the Day 

Zac Gallen vs. Carlos Carrasco – It’s Gallen’s first start of the year (woot!) and Carrasco tossed excellent changeups and sliders last time out. I hope both are amazing.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

2 responses to “An Inconvenient Truth”

  1. Lei says:

    Thanks man

  2. auni says:

    I wonder if you might be underrating Gore bc of the deception aspect of his delivery

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