Gausman of the Hour

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Okay, okay, it’s time to legit own Kevin Gausman. Despite serving us a Philly with a line of 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 31% CSW, the man is doing everything you could hope for. We’re talking full-on BSB with a fastball averaging above 95 mph (I know, not the 97 mph from last time, but still!) and sitting up so often, while his splitter was FILTHY. 42% CSW and 14 whiffs across 45 thrown (that’s a 31% SwStr rate!) as it fell to the bottom often. Just look at that plot. Mmmmmm, that’s gorgeous.

The main knock on Gausman is the team he plays for. The Giants themselves aren’t the best offense + it means they have a rugged schedule across the year. Next he gets the Angels (I’ll mention them three times in this roundup. Three!) and I’m cool with that outing for Gausman, but he does get the Dodgers after and it’s annoying. With the way he’s throwing, I may even consider that one if the Angels is more of the same, so yeah, go with this. The (Gaus)man is locked in.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Shane Bieber @ DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 40% CSW. Aces gonna ace. It’s unreal what he’s doing – congrats on the Golden Goal – and I know some of you are wondering if he’ll be #1 on Monday. It’s tempting, I know. Cole is doing so well at the moment though – also with a higher chance of Wins – and the best I can do is a legit consideration for #2 with deGrom possibly missing his next start. We’ll talk. Also, his highest thrown pitch in this one was his curveball that returned a 50% CSW. It’s pretty crazy that he has two pitches close to the same velocity – slider (84.2 mph) and curveball (83.0 mph) – that differ dramatically in break. Batters have no idea how to adjust their bats. Yeah, but how did the slider perform? 47% CSW across 17 thrown. Oh. Yep. He even added a cutter, too, because sure, why not, and while it’s not the massive CSW pitch, it did super well at surprisingly left-handers inside. This kid is so legit.

Aaron Nola vs NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW. Aces gonna ace. It’s so wonderful to see Nola embrace his changeup this season, as I’ve been waiting for it to become more than a 20% usage offering for ages. His curveball was the true hero here, though, earning a whopping 58% CSW. A full-on 15/26 CSW as it was the last piece of the puzzle missing from previous starts. Be stoked, Nola is in rhythm and the runway is short enough that it could last the entire year.

Max Fried @ MIA (ND) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 36% CSW. This is all kinds of lovely, though it was the Marlins. His curveball was a little meh overall, but I loved the high heaters and solid sliders tunneled effectively. 41% CSW on sliders alone tells the full story and I should be giving Fried a little more love. It’s weird, I don’t think he’s complete just yet, but he’s doing well enough that he’s a clear start each time. That 1.24 ERA is more like 3.60 to me, but hey, that’s great too.

Cristian Javier vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSWSo a few things. Obviously, it was the Mariners so it was a clear start and it paid off. Nice. It’s great to see him at 88 pitches as well, but man was he struggling in that sixth inning as his fastball dipped to 89 mph. It was an average 92 mph across the game, but that stamina is still a bit of a problem. His slider was also way worse than normal and now he gets…COORS?! Yeah, no thanks. The Angels are after that and I have a feeling he won’t be great there either. You’re in a very weird position now – either hold, miss a week, and flip the coin against the Angels, or likely drop (will anyone actually buy him?) despite at his “peak”. The choice is yours, it would be a bit bold to drop right now, but it’s something you should consider.

Ryan Yarbrough @ TOR (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW. So this is annoying. The Fratty Pirate was cruising along just nicely until the game was suspended due to rain. So hey, here’s your roundup blurb for something that technically doesn’t exist but it does and is more of a glitch in the Matrix than a true slice of steak. It happened, I guess. He was looking decent through nine outs. Thumbs up.

Matt Foster vs STL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 40% CSW. The White Sox played two against the Cardinals and elected to push Dallas Keuchel to today, so here we are with a bullpen game. Don’t Foster any love for Matt as a starter, maybe for his changeup though.

Ian Kennedy @ MIN (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW. A bullpen game for the Royals as they had a doubleheader against the Twins. Yes, I was startled to see Kennedy starting once again, we can all rest easy now.

Daniel Castano vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Sadly this is a Cup of Schmo as he faced a depleted Braves lineup. I watched some of this and I grasp he’s your standard sub 90 mph crafty lefty, relying heavily on command to get his outs. Do you want to risk that with only two strikeouts to salvage when it goes poorly? I don’t. I imagine when Caleb Smith and Sandy Alcantara return from the COVID-IL, Castano is the first one gone, meaning we may see just one more start against the Mets. I’m not down for that.

Danny Duffy @ MIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW. He’s still throwing just 92 mph, but it was up in the zone and he paired it well with changeups and sliders down, leading to this absurdly good line against the Twins. I think he got a bit lucky along the way,  but seeing Duffy embrace the BSB and earn 9/44 whiffs on four-seamers (despite that low velocity!) is certainly raising an eyebrow. He’ll get the Twins again, though, and I wouldn’t roll that die twice.

Adam Wainwright @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW. So Waino is a Toby with just three strikeouts in the books, but hey, you’ll take it if you somehow went with him despite a limited pitch count (67 pitches), a solid White Sox offense, and expected rust. He gets the Reds next, so that’s a negative sheep. Naaaaaaaah.

Alex Young vs SD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW. You’re hoping for a Toby from Young and this is good as you could hope for considering he’s not stretched out (just 63 pitches). I think you should keep him on your radar in September, especially if this Bumgarner spot remains open. There could be some sneaky starts down the road, just not now as the pitch counts will be relatively low.

Cal Quantrill @ ARI (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW. We didn’t expect much from Quantrill and I’m happy he was able to earn five strikeouts with a decent slider and some well-placed sinkers. That’s cool, you’re still So-SoCal, sadly.

Chase Anderson vs TB (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Hey, Chase wasn’t terrible in this rain-suspended game. That’s all we can ask for, right? He’s not in the place we want him to be for future consideration, though. So…yeah. How’s your day?

Jake Woodford @ CWS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 35% CSW. The Cardinals are thrilled to be playing baseball again, but that doesn’t mean their rotation was ready to go in full. Woodford was their opener and that’s cool. I wouldn’t expect to see him in these roundups again. Goodbye Woodford…

Kyle Gibson @ COL (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW. Hey, the man survived Coors! Sliders were terrible, though, and he got incredibly lucky with his fastball in play. This is not encouraging, at all. Decent curveballs and changeups, sure, but that fastball/slider combination is what we’re looking to get through starts and despite Coors, I’m worried.

Nick Margevicius @ HOU (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW. I’m pretty impressed with Marge doing this against the Astros, but you know this ain’t legit. That’s a sub 90mph heater with a bad offense behind him and just 7/94 whiffs with 3 Ks. Don’t you dare get sucked in.

German Marquez vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSWSo here’s the thing. He still had his slider, but elected to throw fewer of them while his fastball (40% usage) was bad. Too many hittable fastballs with 0/21 whiffs on it. ABSURD. It’s why he was Singled Out here – oddly one ER too few for a proper VVVPQS – and the Dusty Donut line. I think that’s the record for the most terms in one sentence. Anyway, keep starting Marquez (duh) and let’s be glad a Coors start is out of the way.

Sean Manaea @ SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW. There was an unearned run here as well as Manaea was on the hook until 9th inning heroics once again from the A’s offense. His heater is back to 91 mph – yay! – and his changeup held a 36% CSW…but wasn’t commanded all too well. Slider and curveball earned some whiffs and were solid, but barely touched and I’m still feeling weird about Manea. This was the Giants after all. He gets the Angels next and it’s a middling start to me. I guess worthy in 12-teamers, but he’s yet to break out of the Toby label for me.

Jake Odorizzi vs KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW. This is more like it. Sure, he was on a pitch count, throwing just 79 pitches here, but the top of the zone was painted red with four-seamers (47% usage) and sliders/splitters/cutters down. Feel good starting Odorizzi moving forward.

Adrian Houser @ CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 35% CSW. This was an interesting start from Houser, cruising with his sinker and mixing in decent secondaries along the way. I think his ability spoke to a better line than above and I’m still rolling him out there save for the worst matchups. 

Asher Wojciechowski vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW. His cutter wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen, but Woj’s curveball was solid enough to put up a decent line. Still worthy of consideration as a streamer against poor offenses, but I’d look elsewhere for a consistent 12-teamer arm.

Colin Rea vs MIL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Forever the reason why the Padres don’t have Luis CastilloRea is a thing again. Kinda. Not really, but at least here his is. This isn’t fantasy, this is Rea life. Do we care? Oh, sadly not. At least not now.

James Paxton vs BOS (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Look at this smattering of talent down here at the bottom of the roundup. Just make sure to end a little early but hot dang that’s a lot of disappointment from Saturday. Bear with me, as there’s obviously a lot to say about each one. For Paxton, we’re still seeing ~92 mph heat, while his command of it here wasn’t what we wanted it to be. Mix that with curveballs that didn’t do a whole lot and you have a recipe for disaster. There’s something wrong with Paxton and he’s become fringe 12-teamer now. The Rays + Braves are next and…ugh, I guess that is worth it to keep sending him out there, but it’s a lot scarier than you want it to be given his blegh heater and lack of curveball/cutter saving him as we’d want them to.

Spencer Turnbull vs CLE (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Turnbull. Please stop throwing that sinker for the love of Pete Harnish. He threw 39 four-seamers to the tune of a 36% CSW – sweet! – and also threw 26% sinkers to the tune of 15% CSW – not sweet! – and I’m going nutty over here. Sorry, sorry, I just see an arm that can go four-seamer, slider, curveball and have success, just like his opponent Shane Bieber was doing. He’s better than this and I have to think this adjustment comes next start or soon after. Stick with Turnbull.

Andrew Heaney vs LAD (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSWOh thank heavens, Heaney is back up to 92 mph. He didn’t get good pitch separation here with his four-seamers located in the middle of the zone too frequently, changeups not clustered arm-side and down, though curveballs did find their way to the ankles of right-handers effectively. Okay, I’m more encouraged now moving forward despite the rough line (Dodgers, yo), and he gets the Giants next. I’m for that, just get that heater up, Heaney.

Lucas Giolito vs STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Ugggggggh. Want to know the biggest difference between 2020 and 2019? His changeup has returned a -1.6 pVal so far after earning a 14.4 mark last season. Its dropped in SwStr seven points, zone rate by six points, O-Swing by seven points, and its wRC+ has gone from 77 to 161. It’s just not the same pitch it was last year and neither is his fastball. Okay I lied, maybe his four-seamer’s full tick drop in velocity is the biggest difference, as it has dropped from a 28% O-Swing to 21%, outlining at-bats where hitters are more comfortable inside the box. Back to this start, Giolito went more slider heavy here and while it was decent, it’s not a whiff pitch (3/28 whiffs) and his overall approach needs adjusting. He can’t just float changeups into the zone like last year anymore – we need to see more of the fastball up, changeup down, not just everything up. Now, I won’t rule out that Giolito can’t improve and I’d still be starting him each time out (Tigers next!), but it may still be a bit bumpy the rest of the way.

Walker Buehler @ LAA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Yeah, this is starting to be a problem. He was able to throw 89 pitches, but certainly wasn’t efficient here and got the hook in the fifth. His cutter was crushed, earning just 1/14 CSW on the pitch despite finding the zone constantly, and he tried to do too much with his four-seamer instead of relying on curveballs, sliders, and changeups. Blegh. I think you have to hold the faith that he’ll figure this out, but I need to bring him down slightly until we see it. All we want is Buehler to not take a day off, you know?

Jose Berrios vs KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSWOkay, this is weird. On one hand, you should be frustrated with Berrios and with his 5.92 ERA and struggling against the Royals, he seems very much in the “Drop Zone”. At the same time, this was a much better start with his sinker and curveball and I do wonder if his repeat matchup against the Royals will be when we take off his TIARAWe’re talking a 44% CSW across 25 sinkers here, with solid curveballs and a little more consistency than we’ve seen there. Four-seamer and changeup were whack, yes, but there’s more here than I expected when first seeing the line. I think you power through this poor month, as crazy as it sounds.

Patrick Corbin @ BAL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 18% CSW. This is scary. sub 90 mph velocity once again, while his slider earned just 21% CSW across 35 thrown. Against the Orioles. Something is clearly off with Corbin at the moment and I need to pull him down drastically tomorrow. Yes, it’s a bit of a TIARA situation and I think it will at some point, but it’s questionable if it happens next time out. You shouldn’t be scared to start Corbin, but here we are. Fortunately it’s the Marlins next and yes, you still roll with Corbin. Fingers crossed.

Steven Matz @ PHI (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSWOuch. Good pitch separation for the most part, though sinkers were a little too close to middle instead of hinting the top of the zone. Curveballs were excellent here for 37% CSW, and while it was just a 24% CSW, I did like the feel for his changeup overall. Not as bad of a performance as the line suggested, but yeah, Matz is a Toby right now that you likely went for here. It hurts, I know. He gets Miami next, though, and don’t rage drop before that one.

Nathan Eovaldi @ NYY (L) – 5.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSWHey, we still saw 14 whiffs! We also saw plenty of middle height pitches from Eovaldi and that’s just not what we want to see. Cutters and four-seamers need to be landing at the top, not middle-low. The Orioles are next and I think you’re okay with that – the Yankees are no joke and you can’t be too harsh about a start you know you shouldn’t have rolled with in the first place.

 

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.

 

 

Adam Plutko vs. Detroit Tigers – I see at least five innings and a Win here for Plutko as he doesn’t destroy your ratios. That works for me.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Touki Toussaint vs. Washington Nationals – I’d consider Robert Gsellman but I don’t think he’s stretched out enough yet. Brandon Bielak hosting the Rockies on the road could be strong as well.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

David Peterson vs. Miami Marlins – Sure, let’s do it again.

 

Game of the Day

 

Max Scherzer vs. John Means – I don’t expect Means to go long here given his week off, but man I want to see that velocity back. And, you know, Scherzer.

 

 

(Photo by Cody Glenn/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.

6 responses to “Gausman of the Hour”

  1. Avatar Elliot says:

    I’ve been offered Cole for Blackmon and Happ, or DeGrom for just Blackmon. Thoughts? Do I need to see DeGrom pitch again? OBP and QS league if that makes any difference.

    • Avatar rainmaker says:

      Both of those are great deals imo. Whichever one you want to go with depends on your tolerance for risk. It seems like DeGrom will be fine but we won’t know for sure until after he pitches a game (supposedly next week).

  2. Avatar Boom says:

    “I don’t expect Means to go long here…” NAILED IT!

  3. Avatar The Math Guy says:

    Gausman which brings to mind a Guass Cannon… thus the nickname “The Cannon”? (Works also since he throws 98)

  4. Avatar Mike Honcho says:

    Given the outing Means had today, do you drop him for Touki’s 2 starts or Gausman this week?

  5. Avatar Triumph the Dog says:

    Wow loving the praise for Gausman and despite the poor ERA his underlying looks like only some bad luck came his way?

    Sounds like you’d prefer Gausman over any of Elieser, Mills, Kikuchi or Castellani?

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