Cookie Battered

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

After coming out of the gate strong with a trio of 6 IP games, 23 strikeouts, and five total ER, Carlos Carrasco has failed to hold down five innings in each of his last three games, including Sunday’s 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW effort against the Tigers. The Tigers! Is this decline warranted? Should we be buying low?

It’s been a weird year. His fastball velocity is down, but only half a tick, raising it in his last two starts – is 8/12 92.1 mph heater was scary, but we’re back up to 93.5 mph yesterday. However, the pitch has been crushed and he hasn’t commanded it well. We’re talking a 236 wRC+, .500 BABIP, 33% HR/FB and…a 6 point drop in overall contact. Huh. Carrasco has always had a weak fastball, though, and I think this year’s bad luck is more rooted in his slider and changeup.

These pitches are what make Carrasco fun. Each offering has held SwStr rates above 20% consistently through his career – one of the very few to have a pair of lethal secondary pitches. This year, neither pitch is hitting the 20% SwStr clip, both hovering the 15% mark. To little surprise, their O-Swings have plummeted as well and without those pitches falling to the bottom of the zone, it makes batters a lot more comfortable in the box.

You’re wondering what this means. If Carrasco’s secondaries are worse, are they going to stay that way? Yesterday, Carrasco’s slider worked (ish, it wasn’t ideal but had success), but his changeup didn’t. I don’t think we’re watching a full on collapse and this does make for a good buy low as we give him the TIARACarrasco could make a tweak, get it together, and BAM, there’s your Top 15 SP again. It’s up in the air though, and I’m hoping it does return as soon as his following start in St. Louis.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Justin Dunn vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Well look at this, Dunn Dunn DUUNNNNNN. It’s the actual ceiling of Dunn coming together against the weak Rangers offense. His fastball avoided the heart of the plate, his curveball earned 37% CSW with plenty of strikes to its name and the nine sliders he threw all hit the corner down-and-away. This is a pretty sight, but sadly not one I think that will stick around a whole lot. It’s just too risky to trust, especially with just 91 mph on that heater. I don’t think his curveball/slider are filthy enough and is he really going to go 8/42 on whiffs with four-seamers again? I doubt it. This is as one-and-Dunn as you’ll find.

Matt Wisler @ KC (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 50% CSW. Even though he threw just 26 pitches, I love seeing 81% come in as sliders. That’s just super cool to me.

Trent Thornton @ TB (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The Discount Hotel left this one early with an elbow injury, with Anthony Kay coming in after, then Ryan Boruckithen Jacob Waguespackthen Sam Gavigliothen A.J. ColeWhy did you just say it like that. Because all of them have started before. It was like a live audition for his spot and I hope it goes to dub pack. He’s the most interesting one of the lot.

Yu Darvish vs CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 26 Whiffs, 43% CSW. Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden GoalIt’s apparently a new curveball taught by Pitching Ninja and taken from Shane Bieber. Well, that went 0/8 CSW, but his slider was unreal (maybe that’s the new breaker?) as it went 50% SwStr rate and 68% CSW. Yeah, that’s not a Money Pitchthat’s a Bezos Pitch. You should feel great with Darvish, of course.

Anibal Sanchez vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW. I’m a bit shocked at the results here as I don’t think Anibal pitched all that great. His fastball got a ton of outs – BABIP Gods for life – and returned just 17% CSW while his splitter and cutter weren’t pristine, but had better than expected results. I don’t think this means Anibal is back, alright? He ain’t no BSB.

Trevor Cahill vs ARI (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW. You know I love tales of former pitchers getting their groove back and surprising us, but I just don’t think Cahill can sustain this. It has the makings of a Birthday Party with the hopes of turning into a Vargas Rule and while he’ll get the Diamondbacks again, I wonder if he can be so in tune with his cutter and changeup again.

Tarik Skubal @ CLE (ND) – 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Skubal isn’t being efficient enough to be major 12-teamer consideration at the moment, throwing just under 70 pitches and failing to finish the third. His slider looked better in this one (just two curveballs?! WHY), but he’s not there with his fastball or changeup and I think we’re all better off rooting from the sidelines. To make it even easier, it’s the Twins next so, yeah.

Wade LeBlanc vs BOS (ND) – 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Like Thornton, LeBlanc left with an elbow injury as Tom Eshelman took his spot. Poor Wade.

Dylan Cease @ CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Cease’s slider was better commanded today than I’ve seen for a bit, featuring it inside the zone plenty as he threw it over 40% of the time. It’s the pitching-backward approach we were wondering if he’d embrace given his inability to keep his fastball inside the zone. It worked here, though just 2/41 whiffs on four-seamers isn’t what he wanted. He’s still a bit volatile for me, but you should be starting him against the Royals next.

Dylan Bundy @ OAK (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW. See? Everything is fine. His slider was better, his curveball got called strikes, and he threw roughly 40% fastballs. You should feel confident with Bundy.

Luke Weaver @ SF (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW. So there’s still concern with Weaver’s fastball as he keeps locating it square in the middle of the plate (you can blame that for the Philly), but his changeup, cutter, and curveball and helped massively in this one, tallying 40% CSW among them. He now gets another start against the Giants and we’re starting to warm back up to Weaver again. It’s a Cherry Bomb and plan accordingly.

Josh Fleming vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Fleming likes his sinkers arm-side as the southpaw peppered the pitch incessantly during his MLB debut. It’s 90/91, was fine, and didn’t have a good slider or changeup to make me give him anything but a Cup of Schmo label. His name just sounds like a lefty, doesn’t it?

Daniel Ponce de Leon vs CIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSWThis is Sir Ponce, alright, a bit wild without enough from his secondary stuff to endure the feral command. It is a solid curveball, though.

JT Brubaker vs MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Whoa, six strikeouts! His slider was as good as I’ve seen here, earning 36% CSW as he trusted it more than any pitch. Curveballs found the zone as well and his sinker/four-seamer did the trick along the edges. Now with 76 pitches, we may see him get 5/6 frames in the future and I think he can survive as a TobyNothing to go crazy about, but that’s not a bad deep stream against the Brewers next.

Ross Stripling vs COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW. So it’s a 5.46 ERA now for Striping as he’s thrown fewer than five innings in each of his last three starts, earning just eight strikeouts along the way. Yikes. Want to know the highest overall SwStr he’s had in his last five games? 7.1%. That’s Brett Anderson levels of avoiding whiffs. 0/21 whiffs on his curveball here and yeah, you can do better than Stripling. I had faith before that the Dodgers would stick with him, but it’s getting a bit dire now and with Gonsolin eligible to return from the minors by Stripling’s next start, I can’t help but wonder if a swap is happening. Blegh. I really wanted this to work out.

Humberto Mejia @ WSH (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW. I wonder if this is the last we see of Mejia as Sandy Alcantara could be back soon + Sixto Sanchez lasting at least one turn of the rotation. It was…something, Mejia.

Zack Greinke @ SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSWIt’s a PQS without a Win, though that WHIP is exactly what you wanted. When we talk about stability, this is what we mean. When he isn’t doing the AGA thing, the meh results are still serviceable.

Corbin Burnes @ PIT (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW. I was starting Burnes everywhere here and while we got the strikeouts, I wanted a little better than 3 ER against the Pirates. His cutter was doing work in this one, though his slider wasn’t used as much as I wanted, landing just under 15% usage for the day. His fastball command is still a little spotty, but he’s in a good enough place to keep trusting him, especially with the Pirates up again + the Tigers after. I’m all for this.

Zach Eflin @ ATL (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSWBlegh. I know it’s six strikeouts, but those ratios hurt and I just don’t want to trust Eflin. There’s isn’t enough there for me, yes, even with that one 10 strikeout start that won’t happen again.

Tyler Mahle @ STL (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW. It took him 71 pitches for just nine outs and Mahle wasn’t as sharp as you want. Streaming Record: 15-15. I think the line is worse than his performance, though. Fastballs up and sliders returning a 36% CSW normally work better, though his slider was hit a bit hard here as he left too many in the middle. I’d still consider him for the Cubs, oddly enough, but it’s a Cherry Bomb situation.

Zack Godley @ BAL (L) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSWYou know better than to put your faith into The False God.

Adrian Morejon vs HOU (ND) – 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSWI still kinda like what Morejon brings to the table, but he wasn’t going to go deep in the first place and the Astros aren’t a team you want to take risks against. He’s a Young Gun in every sense of it and I’d keep him on your dynasty radar as a very sneaky stash.

Mike Minor @ SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW. We’re still seeing a fastball velocity that’s hovering 90 mph and some poorly commanded changeups and I’m absolutely shocked he earned the second best CSW of the day. Leave Minor on the waiver wire, he’s not fixed.

Frankie Montas vs LAA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Well this has been a terrible week. His fastball velocity is still 95/96, but his fastball command is still way off. His splitter managed to earn a ton of whiffs, though – 8/17 – so that’s cool, but there’s something a bit off with him at the moment. Like last time, I don’t think this is a death sentence like he’s still hurting and he can’t recover, etc., but I need to lower him on The List this week, clearly. Like Carrasco, he gets the TIARA so don’t sell him for peanuts.

Kris Bubic vs MIN (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW. Like Singer, Bubic has had his fair share of the Twins and we’ll all be happy for him when he gets decent matchups in the future. He’s far from polished, though, so let’s move on for now.

Josh Tomlin vs PHI (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSWWell, yeah, it’s Tomlin. Let’s all be happy he’s not blocking Mike Clevinger any more.

Antonio Senzatela @ LAD (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The Dodgers are good and this dojo just can’t last. Sorry Senz-A, you knew this time would come.

 

Today’s Streamer

 

For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

 

 

Brad Keller vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’m digging that curveball and I think he can handle the Cardinals.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Adam Wainwright vs. Kansas City Royals – He’s earned a Toby label and gets a solid matchup here. Alex Young hosting Rockie Road could work as well.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Dakota Hudson vs. Kansas City Royals – Hudson’s breakers are looking better this year + the Royals ain’t great.

 

Game of the Day

 

Kenta Maeda vs. Aaron Civale – Two pitchers I love dearly are squaring off. Can’t wait.

 

 

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

One response to “Cookie Battered”

  1. Avatar Sir Charles says:

    You forgot Dunn’s birthday party!!!

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