Dunn Right

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Justin Dunn vs TEX (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

Flying under the radar after walking eight in his first start of the season, I can imagine many seeing the 14% walk rate and quickly writing off Justin Dunn. And while it’s still an 11% since that horrible, anxiety-ridden game, Dunn has shown skills that blossomed in full yesterday against the Rangers via 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks with 16 Whiffs and a 30% CSW. Dunn’s fastball sits 93/94, while his curveball and slider create an ensemble of whiffs through each game. There’s something here that I believe can continue to grow as he gets more time on the bump – this wasn’t just a one-start wonder.

I understand all the hesitation – Dunn’s 3.18 ERA and 1.19 WHIP come with a .196 BABIP, 8.1% HR/FB rate, and that horrific walk rate that is certainly going to create some ghastly moments ahead, though I have to emphasize that what we’re seeing right now is development. You know, the thing we say young pitchers will go through but rarely actually acknowledge as it’s happening before us. The Dunn of the last two months will likely not be the Dunn of the final two months of the year. Or maybe not. Maybe his fastball stays around 93.5 mph, he doesn’t get too comfortable with his breakers, and the whole house falls apart. I’m willing to suggest he develops some sort of consistency and while we’re currently just using him as a streamer, this can turn into a hold through the bad matchups. There’s something here.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Alex Cobb @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 101 pitches.

So he’s not using his splitter 50% of the time, wisely so as he earned just 13% CSW on the pitch here, but it still earned outs while his curveball went 40% CSW and his fastball wasn’t exploited by the Athletics. It’s a little precipitous moving forward with this approach, though I think you’re safe rostering Cobb for the Mariners later in the week.

Nathan Eovaldi vs MIA (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 101 pitches.

Phew, I’m glad this one worked, Eovaldi. You’ve been pretty dang inconsistent against weak lineups this year and fortunately the kitchen sink of secondaries came out in full form here. Now it’s @HOU, HOU, TOR, though, and I’m out for all of it.

Taijuan Walker vs ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 80 pitches.

I’ve been pretty skeptical of Walker all season, though here he was, returning from an IL stint and facing Atlanta. Seemed reasonable enough to expect trouble and instead we saw a 94.7 mph fastball (dope!) with an overall CSW hinting 40%. I guess I need to give him some love on The List now, even with San Diego next.

JT Brubaker vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 89 pitches.

See, Coffee Cakes got a pair of tough matchups and faltered, but now hosted Rockie Road and everything is fine. And now he gets Miami – start – before he gets the Dodgers – sit. It’s easy.

Mitch Keller vs COL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 78 pitches.

Now that’s how you handle Rockie RoadI’m not seeing enough from his breakers for me to buy back in but that Miami start is just begging to be given a chance…no. I’m out. I can’t do that, he’s just been so disappointing.

Frankie Montas vs LAA (L) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 98 pitches.

It’s all coming together for Montas as his splitter was fantastic for 7/21 whiffs. + his slider was decent inside the zone + fastballs overwhelmed the Angels. Sadly he’s a bench as he heads to Coors next, but I think we’re all starting to warm up to Montas now.

Lance Lynn vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 82 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Lynn actually shares the Golden Goal today with Wheeler – weird, I know – as he steamrolled the Orioles. He could have gone CGSHO in the doubleheader, but the White Sox are considering starting him on shorter rest next time out and wanted to conserve him. We’ll take it.

Brett Anderson @ WSH (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.

Doing these roundups, I often see performances where I just stare at them and wonder what I could possibly say. This is boring. There are multiple steps between this and fantasy relevancy, BA degrees of separation, you could say.

Jake Odorizzi vs SD (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

So I’m thrilled that Odorizzi returned and had success against a tough Padres lineup + was able to toss 87 pitches. I’m not so happy to see him sit just under 92 mph after sitting 93/94 during his heyday. He gets the Red Sox twice ahead and I’d try to keep him in the IL spot if I could. Otherwise, I think you can let him go and pick him up after one of those starts. If the wire is thin, let’s tough it out and see what’s on the other side.

Jon Lester vs MIL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 74 pitches.

A bit frustrating to see Lester get pulled after four while pitching decently well, especially for those that desperately streamed him for the volume. Welp, he gets Atlanta next so yeah, that’s a no.

Freddy Peralta @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

Peralta is in his rhythm and you need to keep starting him until he has multiple starts suggesting otherwise. Longterm (read: dynasty), I don’t buy that his cross-body mechanics will allow him to stay at this level, but who cares for your redraft league.

Spencer Turnbull vs NYY (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.

Turnbull is favoring his four-seamer + leaning a bit more on his slider. I’m all for that, but during his no-hitter, that split was 75% of his pitches. Here? 56%. I don’t think his sinker is good enough to warrant 24% usage and his changeup + curveball sure aren’t worth their attention, either. It’s a tough call against the ChiSox next.

Logan Webb @ LAD (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 62 pitches.

How dang! Seven strikeouts against the Dodgers with just one blemish to your name is something else from Webb and it may surprise you to see that his slider was EVERYTHING. We’re talking 11/24 whiffs on the pitch (WHAT?!) as he weaved in his changeup effectively for outs. The man threw sub 40% heaters in this one and it clearly worked. I’m…picking him up where I can. This could be a significant shift and I’m on board to give it a shot in a thin wire.

Luis Castillo @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.

At least he didn’t destroy your ERA this time…? Sigh. You have to think there will be that one start where it clicks, but it’s getting more and more painful each time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I believe Castillo will shift at some point, but it’s up to you if you want to stash or move on for something else. In the meantime, we look at 2/18 changeup whiffs and internally scream. One day…one day…

Zach Davies vs CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 65 pitches.

It’s incredibly boring, but at least his changeup was working in this game as he earned 39% CSW on the pitch. I think he’s a borderline play against the Giants in Oracle Park next, he is a right-hander, after all.

Austin Gomber @ PIT (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 67 pitches.

I mean, it wasn’t that terrible of a performance, but he was pulled under 70 pitches, and if we saw one more inning here, it may have been serviceable. Blegh, whatever that’s a streaming loss – Streaming Record: 38-19. He gets the Athletics next in Coors and that’s a sit, though he does head to Miami after. Up to you if you want to hold through it.

Mike Foltynewicz @ SEA (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 98 pitches.

Hey, this ain’t so bad from Folty. Sure, just two strikeouts, but there were a few things that may turn into something. Doubtful, but his 95 mph fastball came with solid command and his slider was decent. Not a whole lot, but hey, it’s something.

J.A. Happ vs KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 91 pitches.

Solid stuff from Happ, somewhat in line from his 10 strikeout game last time out. Up to you if you want to roll the dice against the Royals a second time, I’m probably out as it’s not much of a repertoire, where he relies so heavily on four-seamer command.

Ryan Yarbrough vs PHI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 78 pitches.

Not a bad performance from The Fratty Pirate, though his sub 80 pitch count prevented him from getting the dub. Womp womp. It’s the constant battle you’re enduring here – when he starts, he doesn’t win, when he relieves, you don’t always know when he actually pitches. The command is good enough to warrant the roster spot again mediocre teams, but yeah, there’s required maintenance if you’re rostering him.

Trevor Rogers @ BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna earn a co-share of the Gallows Pole while stomaching nine hits for just 2 ER. That’s what aces do – even on the days when it’s not all perfect, they give you plenty to salvage. It’s not going to be a stud game every day. Cool to see him use the slider for 7/13 whiffs here as well and now he gets Pittsburgh + Rockie Road ahead. It’s wonderful living in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.

Jon Gray @ PIT (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 73 pitches.

It blows my mind how Gray is perpetuating his home/road splits narrative, even when he gets the Pirates on the road. Makes you wonder if his value actually changes if/when he’s dealt at the trade deadline.

Zack Wheeler @ TB (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 14 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Well this is awkward, both Zack and Lynn each earned the Golden Goal – something I didn’t think would happen but HERE WE ARE. Anyway, Wheeler’s major blemish was a two-run blast in the first, which seemed out of place and unfortunate as you watched him hurl the pearl. The man is on fire, earning those whiffs across curveballs, sliders, heaters, and even a few changeups. It’s the Zack that was promised.

Ervin Santana @ MIN (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 47 pitches.

Whoa, it’s Santana! And he’s not making me pull my hair out! What a relief. He’s essentially a worse Michael Pineda.

John Means @ CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna meh. It wasn’t his top-notch changeup today and while I applaud Means for avoiding disaster without it, it’s annoying to see him lack the arsenal to pull ahead when the slow ball isn’t there. Just 16% CSW on four-seamers ain’t it.

Yu Darvish @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna disappoint against the Astros. It was the first struggle for Darvish this season and we just have to brush it off and move forward. It should be much better against his former crew next time out against the Cubs.

Deivi Garcia @ DET (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yikes. He had a tough minor-league start directly before this one and it looks like it carried over. Cool to see Deivi embrace the slow ball – 45% CSW across 22 changeups thrown – and that slider is looking better, but there’s work to be done. He does get the Rays next and that could work, but there’s a good amount of risk here. At least he’s close to 90 pitches.

Dallas Keuchel vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

Blegh. Alright alright, my man my man the Orioles are clearly solid against left-handers. Noted and we’re going to keep starting Keuchel as he gets CLE, DET, @DET next.

Patrick Corbin vs MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 78 pitches.

Paaaain. Alright, the previous two disappoints came with two major facets I liked – 92+ mph fastball & slider whiffs – and this one? 5/24 slider whiffs and a 91 mph heater. Uggggggh. That’s a bench against Atlanta next and yeah, that warrants a drop. I’m so sad about this, I really believe he had turned that corner and it just…went away. I’m sorry for leading y’all in this direction, I thought he had it, I really did, and it wasn’t just blind faith. Watch him now go on a wonderful run now that I’ve given up hope. 

Adam Wainwright @ ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 93 pitches.

He’s the discount Cherry Bomb and normally it’s against poor offenses, not the Sneks from the right-side. His cutter wasn’t nearly the pitch he needed it to be, and Wainwright can’t do it with just the curveball. He gets the Reds + Cleveland next and that’s questionable for me. I’m leaning start.

Ian Anderson @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Of course the one pitcher who struggles against the weak Mets crew is Anderson, who managed to falter despite just one walk. His fastball was too hittable and he wasn’t able to land changeups/curveballs in the zone quite like before. Blegh, he should recover.

Matt Harvey @ CWS (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

Ah, there’s the Harvey we all know and bench. I always get a sensible chuckle when I see more strikeouts than whiffs.

Julio Urias vs SF (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 82 pitches.

It’s wild, the Giants really are that good against left-handers. He got a bit Singled Out + a longball and I’m not worried moving forward. Brush it off.

Seth Frankoff vs STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 85 pitches.

Yeaaaah, we haven’t seen FrankOn yet and I don’t know if we will this year.

Game of the Day 

 

Brandon Woodruff vs. Max Scherzer – It doesn’t get much better than this. Kershaw vs. Gausman, Fried vs. deGrom, and Snell vs. Greinke ain’t so bad either.

 

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

 

Photo from Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

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.

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