I always enjoy when a pitcher I have few expectations for wins a Gallows Pole. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Zach Eflin did just that against the Orioles with a full line of 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW and there’s so much to unpack. Is he good now? How did Eflin do this? TEN STRIKEOUTS?!
In short, it’s oddly not much different than the standard Eflin. He focused at the bottom of the zone with a ton of strikes stemming from his sinker. But somehow in this one, he managed to earn 9 whiffs on 50 thrown (an 18% SwStr is about triple than the ~6% average for a sinker), while his changeup was incredibly well commanded right under them, down-and-in to right-handers and away from lefties. Sliders did their part, landing low and glove-side, and he even earned 6/9 CSW on curveballs in the zone and out.
This was peak Eflin, feeling command for all four of his pitches with ease. You really don’t see this at all and unfortunately, I need to pour some cold water on your excitement. Am I ruling out that Eflin could stay in rhythm next time out? Definitely not, but it’s unlikely. It speaks more to a Birthday Party than the gem of the waiver wire, but hey, the Red Sox aren’t looking like the offensive juggernaut of years past. It’s risky and up to you if you need to take a chance.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Taijuan Walker @ TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW. I really should have gone with Walker as my streamer pick, even I think he’s going to be an overall disappointment this year. His four-seamer was as good as I’ve seen in this start, though, elevating a ton and jamming left-handers as well, earning him a 35% CSW across 37 heaters. Hot dang! That’s what you want to see. Splitter and cutter though? Not great, Bob. I still dislike the lack of strong secondaries from Walker (even if his curveball was decent for called strikes here) and I worry about him long term. But hey, the Rangers are struggling offensively so there we go.
Brad Keller @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Man, Keller is really leaning into his slider, tossing the pitch 41% of the time in this one, keeping it low often to the tune of a…27% CSW. But hey! It worked as his fastball command wasn’t quite what we want to see. I’m still crossing my fingers for his velocity to jump to 95+ as it did briefly last year, but just 93/94 here as he didn’t elevate too often. I’m surprised at the line and I think some will be seduced by it (against the Reds!) to consider him as a Toby and that’s honestly okay by me. I think he should pitch a little better moving forward and if the matchups work, then sure, let’s dance.
Blake Snell @ BOS (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 39% CSW. Ayyyy, there we go Snell! He threw five frames, enough to win his first King Cole as he clearly threw his eponymous bluepri—wait. No you weren’t. Snell featured his fastball mostly down-and-in to right-handers and I’m so curious as to why. Whatever, he earned a ton of called strikes on heaters, got 4/10 SwStr on curveballs, and was okay with changeups. It doesn’t look like fixed Snell, but sure, his fastball is certainly good enough to get by with this and he threw enough good secondaries to complement them. He’s up to 70 pitches now, which means we’re around two starts away from a legit volume starter.
Tony Gonsolin vs SD (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Solid start here from Gonsolin, but the sad news is he’ll never become a true fantasy asset as he’ll be used sparingly enough to never be stretched out. But if you did roll with him, you seriously could not have expected anything better. But I wanted one more out! I can’t believe you even got him into the fifth in the first place. 82 pitches! Unreal.
Trevor Cahill @ HOU (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Whoa, it’s Cahill again! And he looked terrible. He’s like his Irish Doppelganger, Trevor O’Cahill for the rest of his career.
Zack Greinke vs SF (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Aces gonna ace. I love this man. His fastball was up to 88 mph (yes, up) and we’re just a tick or so away from him being back to normal. Savant is classifying him as throwing sinkers now, I’m willing to guess that’s his weird changeup, which is now coming in 2 mph slower, and that’s much closer to what we’re used to. Anyway, keep starting Greinke because duh.
Kyle Hendricks @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW. Look at that CSW. LOOK AT IT. That changeup returned a cool 44% CSW as he threw it nearly half the time. You love to see it. This is the realistic ceiling of Hendricks (not that CGSHO on opening day) and we’re stoked to see it. Please don’t stop Hendricks.
Dylan Cease @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. It’s weird. Cease goes in-and-out with his secondary stuff, featuring some truly poor changeups down the middle, but some located a bit lower, while his slider earned a good amount of called strikes, but also some terrible wasted ones as well. You may see this line and think “he figured it out!” but really this is a Blame it on the Tigers. Wow, I hadn’t used that all year yet. I gotta step it up.
Wade Miley vs KC (L) – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW. It was a clear DLH for Miley, which went worse as he needed 44 pitches for just five outs. Even worse, Tyler Mahle came in after and wasn’t his sharpest, but still earned a 30% CSW and six strikeouts in 3.1 frames. I wish the latter gets more of a chance in the future and we may see it again soon. Maybe Miley just isn’t cutting it, maybe there’s another double-header, and we know injuries are way up this year. We’ll see.
Zach Davies @ LAD (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Pretty impressive start from Davies here, who certainly benefited from a fortunate strike call or two. We’ve seen Davies have strings of success and it’s rooted in his changeup, a pitch he threw 48% of the time for a 33% CSW rate that we’re all happy about. Ahhhh, so that’s why he’s always gotten those Hendricks comparisons…It’s all coming together now. Unfortunately for Davies, there isn’t a phenomenal sinker or curveball to back it up, so I wouldn’t suggest rolling to die to see if that changeup will show up on a given night. Maybe a Vargas Rule here and there, but that’s it.
Kenta Maeda @ MIL (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Yeah, it’s time. Aces gonna ace. He’s in such a good position with the Twins and you’re going to start him every. Single. Time.
Masahiro Tanaka vs ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Sadly, they are still limiting Tanaka as he threw under 70 pitches here. I know it wasn’t the sharpest Tanaka, but you should stick with him in 12-teamers. Worth it for the floor and Win potential.
Huascar Ynoa @ NYY (ND) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 25% CSW. The Braves are still figuring stuff out in their rotation so hey, it’s Ynoa again. What’s up bud. You know, just talkin’ stuff. Cool cool. Yep.
Carlos Carrasco vs CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Aces gonna…disappoint. His changeup was fantastic, spotted low in the zone with a 37% CSW, but his slider wasn’t great and he lost some batters with his fastball. He pitched better than this line indicates and I wouldn’t worry.
Wade LeBlanc @ PHI (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Awwww, I’m realizing that I’m getting slightly too emotional with my streaming picks. I wanted LeBlanc to surprise with his changeup again in a sneaky way, but in retrospect, Walker against the Rangers was the safer play. Streaming Record: 11-9. Still a streaming candidate, but yeah, I made the wrong call.
Robert Gsellman vs WSH (ND) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW. Okay, so you see this and it wasn’t great. Thing is, Gsellman is going to be stretched out through the season and there will be times when you’d want to consider him. But not now, nah, take your time here.
Chris Bassitt @ LAA (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW. So that CSW is unreal as his sinker is earning a ton of called strikes, but it’s also getting crushed a fair amount as well. It’s a case of an arm throwing too many strikes and playing chicken with batters who want to be patient at the plate. So they woke up and crushed a few of them eventually and it hurt. Nevertheless, I’d take this over an arm doing the opposite and I’d keep owning Bassitt and rolling with him. I’m still in aw of his 44% CSW across 25 sinkers here.
Jordan Lyles vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW. You know the drill with Lyles. Is he working the BSB with four-seamers and curveballs? His deuce was solid and located low often, but the four-seamer wasn’t. It hurt. We’ve seen him have stretches where Lyles consistently commands these two pitches, now is not that time.
Griffin Canning vs OAK (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Canning threw decent sliders here, but the A’s weren’t biting, result in just 0/16 whiffs (yikes) and without that slider, Canning just isn’t going to be what you want. His changeup command was blegh as well and you’re wondering if you should fire him. Make him Canned. I don’t think so, this isn’t a Boyd or Cease or Weaver scenario and closer to Gallen (but not like Gallen because he has a much deeper repertoire and is dope n stuff). He’ll be better, especially as he gets a lovely matchup against the Giants next.
Jordan Yamamoto @ TOR (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW. I feel bad calling Jordan by his former nickname, especially since I have a soft spot for “kitchen sink” pitchers. They’re just trying everything they can to make it work and your heart has to go out to them. Sadly, Yamamoto isn’t the guy you want for fantasy, though. You don’t need me for that.
Luke Weaver @ COL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Oh Weaver…we didn’t expect things to be dramatically different as he got the tough matchup that is Coors, but his fastball was way too hittable once again. Changeups were solid, though, and he floated fewer in this one. His wonderful cutter from 2019 is still eluding him, though, and it’s a weird spot. I know I’m crazy to say that I think he will turn it around and we can give him a TIARA (another one I’ve forgotten about!), but you don’t need to wait around for him to find it. Just don’t be tardy when he does.
Nate Pearson vs MIA (ND) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Pearson wasn’t there in this one. Sure, the defense did him few favors, but four walks and one strikeout are the real problem. Sliders were good and I’m glad he was sitting 96/97, but he wasn’t in control. It’s not so terrible that I wouldn’t’ start him against the Orioles next week, though. People have bad days, y’all.
Antonio Senzatela vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Did you feel that? It was the cry of many owners screaming in unison as they realized they should have never accepted the free trial at Senz-A’s dojo. You’re paying the price now as you forgot to cancel the subscription. A yellow belt fee of $400?! Those don’t grow on trees, you know.
Anibal Sanchez @ NYM (L) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW. This arm actually putting up a good start and acting like a true Toby? AS if.
Matthew Boyd vs CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW. This hurt. So much. I know it was a 30% CSW in the end and he improved a bit as the game went on, but there are major problems here. He’s not spotting his slider well, his fastball isn’t finding the edges at it should, and I’M IN PAIN. I guess we’re back to Boyd Watching like it’s early 2018 again and…blegh. We dropped him after the Pirates and if you still held on, I’m not sure why you would now.
Zack Godley vs TB (L) – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW. You wanna know the crazy part? His curveball was dope and earned a 49% CSW as he threw it half the time. The problem? He threw horrible cutters 38% of the time that earned an 11% CSW. It makes for a pitcher that is shockingly close but in no way do I actually expect him to succeed. Just…interesting.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
David Peterson vs. Washington Nationals – I can see some going with Austin Voth on the other side, but his decreased velocity is scaring me. Tommy Milone is a deep option as well, but the floor is lower.
Framber Valdez vs. Seattle Mariners – Because y’all got the message on Anthony DeSclafani already, I’m going with Valdez as he faces the Mariners. Don’t love Framber long term, but it’s the Mariners with the Astros offense behind him.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Alec Mills vs. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers aren’t in a great spot offensively and Mills can spin a decent one. I’d also consider Kevin Gausman against the Athletics as his increased velocity and elevated heaters are making me wonder if we should take him more seriously.
Game of the Day
Chris Paddack vs. Julio Urias – This is far and away the best matchup of the day and I can’t wait.
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)