Electric Hill

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Rich Hill @ BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

It’s kinda funny to me. HA. I’m serious, there were many who super into Rich Hill in 2020 when the season was delayed, but when 2021 came around we all collectively forgot about the 41-year-old. Sure, he missed a moment and had a weird situation with Tampa Bay that made us believe he wouldn’t be allowed to go deep into games at first. But then he whipped out 100+ pitches while earning plenty of four-seamer whiffs against the Yankees and now had this luscious matchup made for us against Baltimore, one that was wildly available for anyone to take advantage. The result? 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks and a boatload of whoopin’ and hollerin’ as we earned a touch of high we got from Turnbull. Just a touch.

It’s still the same ole four-seamer/curveball combo but the dang thing works and while he has to go to Dunedin next (Nooooope), there’s a temptation to simply bench and hold him through what comes after. Hill should provide value until he hits whatever obstacle that shuts down his innings before the big 100. It’s an inevitability, sure, no reason you can’t live it up til then.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Sandy Alcantara @ PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ac–I won’t say it. I’m super glad Sandy is back on track as he did his job against the Phils while earning a “Gallows Pole.” 39% changeups here that earned plenty of outs, but I was mostly thrilled to see him go 8/14 CSW on sliders as the next step in his ascension is turning that pitch into a proper backup offering – he needs it for those days when his fastball/changeup combo just isn’t enough. I should mention, he really didn’t have his four-seamer in this one, throwing far too many waste pitches with the normally steady heater. Something to monitor and hopefully fix moving forward.

Dane Dunning vs NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 79 pitches.

Great stuff from Dunning here, earning those ratios without…great stuff. Remember what the #1 unsustainable trait is from good outings? You got it: called strikes on sinkers. Dunning got nineteen on them in this one, an absurdly high mark. Meanwhile, his slider and cutter did little and I just can’t buy it long term….but it’s the Angels and Mariners next. Maybe I’d start him against the Trout-less Angels and definitely against the Mariners.

David Price vs ARI (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 31 pitches.

It’s great to see Price starting again, but we knew this would be limited as he’s far from stretched out. And he’s throwing just 93 mph. Sigh. Maybe one day he can be a thing again. He was so good before that wrist injury in 2019…

Domingo German @ TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 87 pitches.

That’s just 8 ER across six starts for German now, sadly breaking his five-game streak of exactly six strikeouts, but whatever, the man is cruising. It’s nice to see his changeup have success as it was thrown more than any single pitch, while his curveball and four-seamer both got results. Sure, the Rangers are poor, but the man took advantage and you have to give him credit for it. Sadly, he gets Toronto next in the Bronx and while I’m going to likely start him there, it’s not my favorite date. Whatever, you’re holding on German for the foreseeable future now.

Alex Cobb vs MIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 57 pitches.

Sooooo the splitter wasn’t that great, but the Twins batted that sinker into gloves and Cobb tossed five out of seven frames across just 57 pitches for the Angels in this doubleheader. I wouldn’t put stock in this, though he may get the Rangers next. That is a bit tempting and it’s not like his splitter was atrocious. It could work.

Johnny Cueto @ CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

He fails against the Pirates, but succeeds against the Reds. Yep, that’s impossible to predict, just like Cueto earning 7/33 whiffs on four-seamers. That’s abnormally high for him as he did a great job command the pitch up while keeping his changeup perfectly down-and-away from lefties. The man earned this. Can he earn it again next time vs. the Sneks? Eh, it’s close. Up to you if you need the Quality Start gamble.

Lewis Thorpe @ LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 63 pitches.

Hey, the Thorpedo is back! And earned 17% CSW with just two whiffs and zero strikeouts! HAISTFMFWT?!

David Hale vs MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 49 pitches.

Huh, it’s David after Vince Velasquez was removed from his expected start with numbness in his finger. He split some time with Matt Moore in this one as the Phils try to figure out how to survive when the veteran southpaw is on the bump. What was all Hale’s CSW? 24%, it’s right above in th—ohhh. I get it. I very much approve. Of course you do, you wrote this. I sure did. HA. HA. Ha. Ha. ha. ha…

Luis Garcia @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 92 pitches.

I’m a little sad that I logically don’t think Garcia will continue to be in the rotation when Jake Odorizzi and Framber Valdez return in the next few weeks. Then there’s Jose Urquidy‘s return that may kick out Cristian Javiertoo, and it’s just a journey of tears. In the meantime, Garcia is going to be rewarded with a date against the Dodgers and Sawx and if you’ve held onto him this long, it’s time to let him go. The ole’ LG flip.

Joe Ross @ CHC (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 78 pitches.

Yeaaaah, there’s little reason to consider Ross in your twelve teamers, let alone fifteen. Just take other chances that have a higher ceiling.

Trevor Williams vs WSH (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 77 pitches.

Do you think we’ll get to a point where we’re comfortable streaming Williams again? Yeah, I don’t think so either.

Merrill Kelly @ LAD (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 94 pitches.

Wait whaaaat?! 12 strikeouts for Kelly?! A near King Cole?! AGAINST THE DODGERS?! What’s wild is there isn’t a whole of new stuff here. He’s still at 91/92 mph with fastballs, curveballs, and cutters, but he earned a ton of called strikes on the trio + seven whiffs on curveballs. This seems more like a Birthday Party than anything legit but I can’t ignore that he’s allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of his last six games now. And failed to fan more than six in a game all year, too. And now he gets Coors so let’s just collectively forget about this, okay? Chris Flexen 0 K.

Drew Smyly vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 109 pitches.

With Velasquez out, this would have been…the backup streamer after Canning and I’m glad it worked out for those who are cool with a PQSI’m not seeing anything new from Smyly, though, and that means we’re still looking elsewhere.

Jose Berrios @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 84 pitches.

Sure, that’s just five frames and a poor ERA, but the man is the one you envisioned when you drafted him…with his sinker and curveball. The changeup? Yeah that thing is busted right now and not in the video game cheat way. But whatever, the curve and sinker each earned over 40% CSW and led to today’s King ColeYou should feel fine starting Berrios again.

Nick Pivetta @ TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 95 pitches.

This may come as a shock, but Pivetta executed the BSB as well as any start I’ve seen from him this year. Sadly, it was in Dunedin and this is what happens when Pivetta pitches in Dunedin. It’s Atlanta + Houston next so we’re still out, but hey, maybe he can keep these locations moving forward. That would be cool.

Dean Kremer vs TB (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 63 pitches.

There are those moments when I do the roundup when I’m forced to stare at pitchers who I know could be so much more. There was a time, a place, a moment of magic that has become nothing more than a distant memory, ever fading, ever longing. Kremer, get it together ya dingus. Sorry, sorry, that was harsh, I’m just sad to see the cutter and curveball fail to be what they were back in September, you know?

Griffin Canning vs MIN (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 68 pitches.

Welp, pack it up boys. It did seem like Canning was slowly making things work once again, but this? This is an atrocity. I mean, seriously, one strikeout?! HAISTFMFWT?! It’s unclear if he’ll get Texas or Oakland next and my interest in starting him relies heavily on that schedule. Here’s to hoping it’s the former.

Wil Crowe @ ATL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

Y’all know I’m not impressed with Crowe, but I will say it’s cool to earn a 12% SwStr on four-seamers. That’s all.

Steven Matz vs BOS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Matz pitched in Dunedin against the Sawx. This is essentially Coors against a strong offense. You didn’t want this to begin with. sadly it’s the Yankees next so we’re out for another week.

Cole Irvin vs HOU (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

Irvin is a Toby and this was the Astros. If you can’t see me right now, I’m giving the “point to the left with both hands in a shrug, then shift to point to the right in the same pose” thing. I don’t know what that is. It’s fine. You’re missing absolutely nothing, like when you roster Irvin.

Tyler Mahle vs SF (L) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

If you see this performance and suddenly think that you can’t trust Mahle, just look up at what Alcantara did tonight. Mahle has proven himself a stable arm through the year and games like this happen to everyone. It doesn’t mean he’s suddenly terrible and treated with kiddie gloves. He still has a great heater and a strong slider, and the Reds will give him ample chances to go six frames. Brush it off, you’ll recover.

 

Game of the Day 

 

 

Trevor Bauer vs. Alex Wood – I really hope we see Wood put up a gem despite the Dodgers, while Bauer will likely continue his dominance.

 

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

 

A quick word about commentsHey everyone, I want to openly apologize for my lack of response to comments and questions inside these articles. To put things bluntly, with my schedule of writing these roundups past midnight every evening (I’m writing this past 1:00am), then waking up early to stream on Twitch for nearly three hours, it’s granted less time for me to catch up on everything else I need to do, which has meant that carving out an extra 30-45 minutes each day to respond to website questions just isn’t in the cards like it used to be.

That said, I’ve been calling the Twitch morning streams my office hours (every Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 11:00am EST + 12:00pm – 4:00pm EST on Mondays) where I answer every single question I see inside the chat, plus I’m also available during the Friday Reddit AMAs. I’m also in the process of setting up a system inside the PL+ Discord for me to casually jump in and answer a few questions when I can. The idea that someone wants to hear my thoughts on something and I’m not able to respond pains me and I hope this is a good compromise. Thank you all so much for your support through the years and let’s keep talking about baseball.

 

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

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.

  • Avatar BasinBABaracus says:

    I appreciate all you do every night. My pitching is absurd due to your insights and streaming picks. I could not care less if you answer comments. Get an intern to do that. :) keep on rocking Nick, ppl should be grateful there is a SP analyst like yourself who works as hard as you do. Thank you.

  • Avatar BP says:

    “which has meant that carving out an extra 30-45 minutes each day to respond to website questions just isn’t in the cards like it used to be.”
    Clearly Nick you cannot face the plebs that lost their life savings on fantasy bets by recommending Patrick CorBUM. You will pay for your crimes.

  • Avatar turnnoblindeye says:

    Why don’t you give more love to Dane Dunning? 3.74 ERA, 9.97 K/9, 3.09 xFIP. He looks like a solid player, and they’re letting him get deeper into games now.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      Have you ever watched him pitch? He has a pretty realistic ceiling on him. I kind of like him and I respect that he is a pitcher in a game of throwers, but there is a cap on him. I like him a lot as a streamer, but given what he is he needs to demonstrate elite consistency to have much value. He doesn’t have a lot of room for error.

      • Avatar turnnoblindeye says:

        I don’t understand what you’re saying. “Have you seen him pitch”, “realistic ceiling on him”, “there is a cap on him”, what does that mean? His stats say he’s been really good and all of his advanced stats back that up. Can you give something more specific that is of concern to you?

  • Avatar I don't want my league to find this site... says:

    I seriously cannot thank you enough for all you do with these daily write ups and the podcasts! I didn’t find the site until I stumbled across the podcast just before my draft this year and it paid off HUGE for me! Appreciate the Mahle pep-talk too. I’m probably benching him next week, since I have better options, but it’s always good to know it’s just a rough start and that he’s not broken. It’s always easy to find out if it’s a blip or a potential problem with a pitcher reading these. Thanks!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      Nick’s work is why this site exists and it has been of this quality for years – its not better this year (sorry, not meant to be an insult). The site has been here for years, so I don’t think you need to worry about people finding it if they have not already. Anecdotally, I suspect that people all over the world are not managing their teams as much this year or watching as much real baseball – fantasy baseball has been relatively easy this year. I say that because waivers seem to be flooded with talent in every league that I play in. Mix Nick’s analysis with a thin field and keep it rolling. If you can spend the time to read these, they are well worth your time!

  • Avatar Nick G says:

    I feel bad…This is my morning ritual, but I can’t tell my friends about it. Maybe the ones not in my league?

    Thanks for everything Nick.

    I have Gilbert, but trying to make a run at playoffs. Is he something i should hold as a keeper next year (in case i dont make it in) or someone to trade for a push now. I guess the real question is, where do you see him in The List next year.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      It depends what your keeper situation is. Pitching specs are bad keepers if you have hitting alternatives. It is a tough time to value him, because he has had some bad numbers to start his career. You sound like you are on the fence in every way – decide where you are going and move accordingly.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    Let’s take a minute to think about how baseball illiterate the people managing the Dodgers are. Really… take a minute and think about how bad of a job they do with what they have. Their only priority is to emulate the Rays team from several years ago. Isn’t it ironic that a group of blind progressives is stuck in the past? The Rays did that when they had to because they didn’t have the resources to field a staff… not because it was a great idea. The Rays know this – that’s why they signed Rich Hill! Look I hate the TB organization for bringing about the demise of MLB baseball, but they don’t prioritize progressive nonsense over winning – they have adjusted a lot. How many bullpen games did they throw last playoffs? While I disagree with that group’s vision, I applaud that they seem to have a goal of winning games. The same cannot be said for LAD.

    I envision a group of 20-somethings that have never seen a baseball game in their lives who are attracted to a generic progressive set of ideals. You almost have to be that inexperienced in life to be as stubborn, arrogant and unaware as that group. I guess you could be older, but man what a crap person you would have to be to have learned nothing in all those years. In fact, when I say it like that I am starting to think that maybe they are more like sociopaths with no regard for anyone other than themselves. There is no chance that any of them have a moderate level of understanding of situational baseball. How can you take a set of players that should/could be regarded as one of the all-time great groups of players and turn it into a team with no depth that can’t even field five starting pitchers? These morons are riding their bullpen HARD in May lol. The damage that this group has done to that franchise is criminal. I love how the players they let go are more productive and healthy after they leave. There is a lot of debate as for the right way to run a franchise but LAD is riding this one into the ground. Who knows what things would look like if the rest of the league was trying to compete? Sure, LAD is still the favorite for the WS (as always – thanks non-analytics group that gifts them talent), but man you can really see the end of the line in the near future – I never thought I would say that in 2021. Much like the Rays teams of the past, they are building nothing – just slowly destroying players careers.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    No need to be sad if Garcia gets bumped from the rotation. That is the sketchiest group of SP in terms of health in MLB, no? The chances that they can stay health for a month are low. It is frustrating that he doesn’t throw many CH – I can’t see how that wouldn’t benefit him.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I remember when I used to say I was always hoping that Berrios would take a step forward… its crazy that he never even inched forward. What a weird dude. Literally everything a guy would need, but never able to put it together.

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