I’ve been rooting for Andrew Heaney across the years, embracing his pitch separation and ability to earn whiffs across all three of his pitches. To my dismay, I could feel my excitement dwindling as he faced the Rangers yesterday, tossing just 90 mph on his fastball and holding a 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks line for the evening. His fastballs leaked down, changeups found their way to the middle of the plate, and he couldn’t quite nail down the feel for his curveball. I’m terrified to see that low fastball velocity and when it’s paired with imperfect locations, you’re going to get results like this.
It’s a weird and finicky season where we need to act plenty quicker than usual. Adds/Drops are always relative to the arms you’re getting back, but if Heaney is your #5/#6, you may be hurting yourself more than helping with him inside your rotation. Become open to alternatives as that velocity just isn’t going to do it through the year. He’s going to take a massive hit on The List today and it’s giving me feels I don’t want.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Justus Sheffield vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Look at Sheffield do goo things. His slider was way better today, earning a 37% CSW as he featured it 45% of the time and I’m a bit surprised at the full results given his sinker and changeup were kinda blegh. Sadly it’s the Astros next instead of “Rockie Road” and that’s a clear sit.
Max Fried @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Fried looked good in this one, sporting high heaters and low curveballs aplenty. Sliders weren’t nearly as deadly as we’ve seen as he floated them up in the zone instead of burying them at the knees and below, but to see his fastball and curveball work so well off each other was all I wanted. He’s in a great groove at the moment and I don’t think it’s slowing down. You love to see it.
Asher Wojciechowski @ WSH (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Asher tossed just 65 pitches in this one as he was bumped up in the rotation and he did well with a 31% CSW. Still a bit volatile, of course, but I can imagine starting him over the weekend against the Nats once again, this time on a longer leash.
Steven Brault vs DET (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 27% CSW. With Joe Musgrove dealing with a sore ankle, Brault got the start after pitching in relief a few days ago and we didn’t expect anything.
Spencer Turnbull @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Turnbull keeps on rolling, though this one wasn’t as dominant as we’ve seen, needing the Pirates to still produce despite not having his best stuff. Just six whiffs as his slider and curveball weren’t there and he just pounded the zone with sinkers and four-seamers. I wanted to be more excited about this start elevating Turnbull up the ranks, but yeah, this isn’t it.
Dinelson Lamet vs ARI (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 39% CSW. Is it time to give him an AGA label? That’s a “King Cole” with 21 whiffs as Professor Chaos featured his breaker over 50% of the time and didn’t care. Sure, the Diamondbacks are in the bottom half of offenses, but this dominance is ace-like, not to mention he did a decent job of avoiding the heart of the zone with heaters. I really hope he can repeat this, I get a feeling there’s still volatility to come and I’d love to be wrong.
Kevin Gausman @ LAD (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW. I gotta hand it to Gausman, he’s getting tough matchups and he continues to impress regardless. Four-seamers nearly exclusively in the top half of the zone, then splitters and sliders down did the trick, even without his stellar splitter. It makes me even wonder if he should be started against the Athletics, but I just can’t bring myself to it. It’s a “Vargas Rule” that I just don’t want to follow.
Charlie Morton vs NYY (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Morton left this game early with a shoulder injury as his velocity was still depressed at just 93 mph. It’s incredibly frustrating and at least we have an answer for Morton’s velocity drop now, here’s the hoping he makes a return this year.
Lucas Giolito vs CLE (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Aces gonna ace as Giolito settled in here and got a good amount of whiffs with his heater, which always looks like the Nile when you see its strikezone plot. Great to see him get comfortable with his slider for strikes as his changeup just wasn’t getting the job done as it normally does – just 1/29 whiffs! – and I’ve been waiting for it to show up for a while. Gio should be a fine arm through the year, but I hope you’re starting to see why I don’t believe he’ll be that Top 10 arm we want him to be. There’s just a little too much volatility here.
German Marquez @ SEA (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW. My head says “Coors is undefeated”, my heart says “His slider is back and that’s everything!” Marquez used his sweeper 26% of the time to the tune of a 41% CSW and got results. What may sound weird is that I loved seeing this when his elite curveball wasn’t working. That’s the point! When a secondary pitch isn’t there, having that third option to take over is what makes having a strong third pitch important. Marquez didn’t have it always last year, this year he does. It changes everything. Yes, he’s getting a bump today.
Matt Shoemaker @ BOS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW. That works for me as Shoemaker has continued to prove that he’s a worthy “Toby”. 17 whiffs is an absolute shocker to me but he was feeling his splitter, using it 38% of the time for 8 whiffs. It was a weird kitchen-sink day, really, with 18 sliders + curveballs as well and it all kinda…worked. I still have skepticism watching Shoemaker have success, kinda like I did with Trevor Williams for a bit, but you can “Vargas Rule” this one if you like as he gets a middling Rays offense next.
Walker Buehler vs SF (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Aces gonna ace. 87 pitches in this one as we were served a “Philly” but 19 whiffs and the clear indication of what’s to come from Buehler as his leash will be removed. Lovely. Just get the four-seamer a little more in the zone next time.
Jesus Luzardo vs HOU (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW. He’s up to 89 pitches now and even though we got a “Philly”, I’m thrilled about this against the Astros. Sliders were used as a whiff offering, changeups earned plenty of strikes, and he avoiding the center of the plate often. Up the ranks you go Luzardo!
Jacob deGrom vs MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Aces gonna ace. I wanted more from deGrom against the Marlins to push him to be the #1 SP on The List this week, guess I gotta wait one more week now. Nevertheless, save for an Aguilar HR, deGrom is looking so dang sexy, even without the flow.
Lance Lynn vs LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Lynn really labored through this one, needing 109 pitches to get through just five frames. Still, the fact that he pushed through to get you that Win even when it’s not all working speaks volumes to why you have to appreciate Lynn on your squad. He’s the true workhorse.
Brady Singer vs MIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW. I honestly expected worse as he faced the Twins and while he needed 95 pitches to earn his Win, I’d be thrilled with this closure to a two-start week. He slider was better in this game and I think you’re relatively safe with Singer moving forward…oh right. It’s the Twins again. Ugh, I’m not taking the chance again there, sorry. But after that! You’ll be happy.
Pablo Lopez @ NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW. So it wasn’t the PabLo we love with his changeup returning the highest CSW of any pitch at just 26%, sinkers fall too far off the plate, and no help from his curveball. There’s a better Lopez to find here and I think it’s rooted in using his heaters more to amplify the effect of his changeups. His four-seamer is too hittable sitting middle-away from left-handers and I wonder if there’s a tweak that can be made to push him further. Regardless, this start of a 3.60 ERA with 4 Ks earns a streaming win, but overall I’m feeling a bit blegh. Streaming Record: 10-7.
Brandon Woodruff vs CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Awww, Counsel pulled him early? Um, no. This was 91 pitches for just 12 outs. Oh. Yeah. Like the Kool-Aid man? No. Not at all. ANYWAY, Woodruff didn’t have his four-seamer or sinker command here, overthrowing four-seamers and poorly spotting sinkers. His 15 changeups failed to earn a single whiff and…yeah. If Woodruff doesn’t have his heaters doing their thang, then he’s gonna have a bad time. Fortunately for us, that line is far from destructive, just not great.
James Paxton @ TB (ND) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Whoa, Paxton did things against the Rays! He was served a bit of “Careful, Icarus” as he went a bit too deep into the seventh, but the line is still one you’re thrilled about. Now there is still a glaring issue of just 92.3 mph velocity, but his command was improved on that fastball as he sat up nearly exclusively. His cutter wasn’t great though, and his curveball fell for strikes but landed under the zone about once or twice. Not really ideal. He even dug into a changeup that worked decently well, but this still isn’t the Paxton we signed up for. I’m cautious that it’s just a one-time thing with the depreciated velocity and a hidden injury holding him back. I’d sell high.
Shane Bieber @ CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 27 Whiffs, 38% CSW. Aces gonna ace and earn a “Gallows Pole” with 27 whiffs. Jeeeeez I think that’s the highest mark we’ve seen all year. Sadly the ERA didn’t follow suit with a “PQS” to his name, but whatever, Bieber is still dope. Sidenote: how ridiculous is the Zach Plesac news? Ugh, how dumb is that? My personal opinion is that any player who leaves their hotel to head to a bar and be social should be suspended the rest of the year – this isn’t a joke and everyone is dealing with this together. For a guy we’re so excited about, it’s such a disappointment.
Nathan Eovaldi vs TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW. 19 whiffs from Eovaldi?! What?! Eovaldi was feeling his curveball in a major way with 8/22 whiffs on the pitch, even earning some whiffs on cutters and splitters as well. What a day. He did a great job of spotting four-seamers up in the zone and cutters falling away from right-handers and I’ve been waiting for a start like this to showcase that Eovaldi can be good again. I’m not completely solid this is much more than a “Birthday Party” but he definitely deserves some List love after this.
Sonny Gray @ MIL (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Aces gonna almost escape six innings, but it didn’t come together against Milwaukee as he had a day fighting his command and a few inherited runs were icing on cardboard cake. Blegh. He still gave you 7 Ks as that’s what Sonny does, but this was the first true stumble we’ve seen for a long time. I imagine a rebound is coming next time out.
Jose Berrios @ KC (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW. It makes you think, if Berrios can’t handle the Royals, why are we so high on him? He’s holding a 19% K rate through four starts, with a 5.31 ERA and 10% walk rate. But he faced tough teams! Oh, you mean the Tigers, Indians, Pirates, and Royals? Yeah, the toughest. I’m not saying drop Berrios, but he’s taking a huge hit on The List today. We don’t have time to wait for his monthly groove to hit in.
Spencer Howard vs ATL (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW. I was expecting mid to upper 90s from Howard and I didn’t get it. I was expecting overwhelming secondary stuff and didn’t get it. We saw glimpses, but man this is hard to buy into with a hittable fastball that fell to 91/92 mph and volatility with his changeup and a loopy slider. I covered this game with 3,000 words and 34 GIFs last night and you should read that.
Stephen Strasburg vs BAL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW. It’s so good to see Strasburg return but this isn’t what we had in mind. He only threw 69 pitches in this one and I imagine he’ll be limited a little in his next start, but fortunately it’s a repeat against the Orioles. He’ll be fine and start him, of course.
Cristian Javier @ OAK (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW. 92 mph velocity. Just 63 pitches. Volatile command. This is the floor we saw during his MLB debut and a matchup against the Athletics brought it all out. I think the Mariners are a safe matchup next time, but it’s not a given.
Madison Bumgarner @ SD (L) – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW. If you follow the SP Roundup (of course you do, you’re smart), you’ll remember I led with Bumgarner last time outlining the problems as he’s transforming into a “Toby”. I also said you should be okay starting him here. Yeah, not great. He is a drop, but he should be better than an average Toby n all. There could be a hidden injury like Paxton and Morton holding back his velocity, though (more than just the back spasms that removed him here after two frames), so if there’s something lovely on the wire, make the swap.
Huascar Ynoa @ PHI (ND) – 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW. It was a bullpen game and hey Huascar! Wait, I’m Mufasa, not Scar. No that’s…wait who made you Mufasa?! I DID. Okay, okay, sure, whatever. Enjoy your role for like 1/3 of this production. GLADLY.
Vince Velasquez vs. ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Hey, this ain’t bad from VV! Well, fastballs were down the middle, but he kept his changeup low and even got a few whiffs on it. So now he needs a cutter or something to get strikes with and he’s all set! This doesn’t sound promising in the short term. Sure doesn’t!
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Kyle Gibson vs. Seattle Mariners – He went slider heavy last time – it’s what you want – and now gets the weak Seattle lineup. Sign me up.
Tyler Mahle vs. Kansas City Royals – You want this start and the one after against the Pirates. You want all of it. Mahle has been moved to the bullpen as Wade Miley returned. Blegh. Brandon Bielak vs. San Francisco Giants – I have few options here and I’ll go with the weak matchup on a winning ballclub. I don’t even like Bielak much, I’m still just sad we don’t get Mahle in the rotation.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Wade LeBlanc vs. Philadelphia Phillies – No I don’t like this but Anibal Sanchez isn’t looking well and there really ain’t much else.
Game of the Day
Aaron Nola vs. Atlanta Braves – IT’S NOLA DAY.
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
What is the deal with Berrios?!?! Guy just can’t get it together. So frustrating to own him right now!
Berrios is decent. He has already reached his potential. Thought he would be a stud by now. Solid pitcher. But not an ace.
When he gets in rhythm, it’s spotting his heaters and curveballs effectively. While I don’t think he’s pitching this poorly, he’s not quite in a groove right now. Stick with him.
With Mahle no longer in the rotation. Any arms out there worth chasing? Gausman, Frambler, Elieser Hernandez, Touki, Alex Cobb?
touki got potential. That curve is no joke. I would go with him over the other arms you mentioned. Hernandez is another pitcher that could break out.
I’d say Touki once he’s past the Yankees this week.
Luzardo – Let me be the first to say it: “Aces gonna ace”. Seriously, how many more starts before the “Ace” moniker gets unfurled?
Predicted new list location: 22.
Luzardo will be a beast, so long as he stays healthy. Easy 97-98mph with poise beyond his years.
In general, someone who doesn’t have the AGA label needs about four straight of dominance with little indication of slowing down for me to grant it to him.
That’s not four starts of dominance in general, but from a pitch clearly earning it with a repertoire that speaks to his success (which Luzardo has).
Hey Nick, being that A. Heaney has underperformed and his fastball is down to 90mph, should I drop him and add J. Means being that he increased his velo to 95-96mph? Feel Means has more upside at this point. I really like Heaney, but Means is definitely intriguing.
I have Means higher on The List today, so I’m okay with this!
Big oof Nick. Pretty much everyone on my staff is injured, obviously waiver material, or waiver material based on your recommendation. Heaney my 5th or 6th starter? Hes like my third lol. Theres nobody to move on to.
Berrios was not bad yesterday at all. As is often the case, the Twins were misaligned and played terrible defense to boot. He hasn’t been great this year but his team really hurts him on a regular basis. I would say this – his CH is now a somewhat reliable pitch. His FB is the best its been. His CB has backslid a lot. He is good but his defense / analytics department really hurts him and I guess that stuff is a real factor. He is always a fast starter so it will be interesting to see how this works out.
Good stuff. Keep up the great work!
Hey Nick, any thoughts on Gausman’s uptick in velocity this last start against the Dodgers? What are some ways to tell if this could be sustainable going forward? Still mainly a two pitch pitcher, but can he find success with a historically sub-par four seamer if it’s averaging 96-97 instead of 93-94?