Greene Light

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Hunter Greene @ ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Despite placing him comfortably inside the Top 70 on The List last week, I’d say I haven’t been the biggest advocate of Hunter Greene since his coronation inside the Reds’ rotation. And after watching today’s Golden Goal to the tune of 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches, I still have my hesitations. What?! NICK. HE AVERAGED 99.7 MPH. And allowed four hits on them, including a double and two homeruns. Spoiler alert after you’ve already been spoiled: His changeup didn’t do a whole lot to nullify the heater with 15% CSW across 13 thrown. Blegh.

The bigger story to me wasn’t the velocity that wasn’t commanded well, nay, it was the slider that was more mischievous than I expected. I’ll take a 15/23 strike rate on it with a 39% CSW all day. What I see here is a Cherry Bomb of incredible strikeout performances mixed with legit disasters that will make it so dang hard to trust Hunter consistently, especially with Great American Ballpark as his home. He could certainly be worth your time and I may be undervaluing how effective the heater actually is — Atlanta is a strong offense, after all — but he could see the Dodgers next time out and I just see cataclysm in the crystal ball. Still worth the pickup if you have the space, just bench him for a week.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Daulton Jefferies @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 48 pitches.

Ayyyy good job Daulton. Does this mean you want to roster me now? What? No. Your fastball was down two ticks and returned 15% CSW. You relied on BABIP alone with four whiffs. Hang the DJ up on the coat rack for a random rainy day when you need a deep stream, nothing more.

Zach Eflin vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 68 pitches.

He did what we expected him to do…only across four frames instead of the full five. Womp womp. He gets the Marlins next and should be near 80 pitches for that one and that’s a lovely thing.

Nabil Crismatt @ ARI (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 53 pitches.

Soooo Blake Snell was scratched with adductor tightness (his thigh, essentially). Crismatt ain’t someone to get excited about, but it could mean we see MacKenzie Gore sooner than we expected if Snell heads to the IL. Something to note and I recommend making the move if you can.

Corey Kluber vs BAL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

We got our first look at Kluber and there’s some good and some bad. The good: His cutter looked great and the breaker was still good while he flirted with 87 pitches. The bad: He also sat just 89 mph on the sinker and struggled to find the zone a good amount. You know, in these roundups I often say the same thing “he could be decent at some point but there’s no reason for you to pick him up now” and I feel like I need a term for that so I don’t have to feel like I’m being repetitive and formulaic. As I search my delirium for a spark of inspiration, let me take the time to tell you to avoid Kluber’s start against the ChiSox this week.

Michael Kopech @ DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 69 pitches.

So this was better than I anticipated as I didn’t think Kopech would be all the way at 69 pitches. Cool. His stuff was far from overpowering and while I didn’t expect the 97.3 mph from his relief days to stick, hovering 95 mph for the day is a little less impressive given his history of overwhelming heaters. Pair that with 2/21 slider whiffs and I’m a bit bummed out. I’ll repeat, however, that Kopech is still ramping up and I expect him to be far better with his command as we continue through the year…just sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself if you need to gamble against the Rays.

Antonio Senzatela vs LAD (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 66 pitches.

10 baserunners. 10 outs. Zero strikeouts. One run. WHO ARE YOU.

José Urquidy @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 72 pitches.

I’ll absolutely take it. There’s more strikeout upside here than the four whiffs suggest and I imagine with time we’ll get more than 18% combined usage between his changeup and curveball. We’re cool.

Marcus Stroman vs MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 79 pitches.

Yep, that’s Stroman. He’ll give you lines like this often, and let’s hope he does as I don’t expect a 23%+ strikeout rate this year. Keep on starting him unless the air turns stiff, the leaves wilt, and the animals begin racing south.

Carlos Carrasco @ WSH (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 72 pitches.

We saw great changeup command + 35% CSW from sliders…wait a second. THAT’S WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR. His heater is a little down, but when he has those two secondaries working, we get lines like these. He faces the Sneks next and that’s a decent gamble — just keep in mind that Carrasco could lose the feel before next game.

Trevor Rogers @ SF (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

The changeup nor slider performed the way we wanted them to, but Rogers’ heater is still a dang good pitch. It’ll come through.

Cal Quantrill @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 76 pitches.

Cal continued being silly in that he went two-pitch nearly 90% of the time and it just worked. The man is a Toby you can feel okay streaming, that is all.

Erick Fedde vs NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Remember Kids, don’t trust the Feddes. Well, this wasn’t the worst as you got some strikeouts and a decent ERA. And his curveball was filthy for 40% CSW. And his cutter wasn’t terrible. But yeah, don’t trust the Feddes…unless he plays the Marlins.

José Suarez vs HOU (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 75 pitches.

I think Suarez can be a decent streamer at times, which means he should be avoided against Houston. Because duh. This isn’t the JS script.

Anthony DeSclafani vs MIA (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

Blegh. This was the Marlins and Tony Disco is better than this. The slider was still cooking, but BABIP didn’t go his way and that’s the game. He heads to Cleveland next so things should be just fine.

Marco Gonzales @ MIN (L) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 61 pitches.

Tossing 61 pitches and serving a HAISTBMBWT?!  — That’s the Marco we know and hate. Don’t worry, he’ll become a proper Vargas Rule by June and we’ll be thrilled about it.

Tanner Houck @ NYY (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 78 pitches.

You see the CSW and think he’s okay, but this game was a struggle. Houck didn’t have the command he needs, going just 50% strikes with his slider and only turning to the splitter once. The Yankees’ passivity at the plate made Houck work as well, but this is the biggest hurdle Houck will need to overcome across the season.

Julio Urías @ COL (L) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 57 pitches.

This is the most disappointing start of the night. Not because of the line…well okay the line is terrible, but because of his 2.7 mph velocity drop that matched his final spring outing. Urías’ heater was the only weak point last year and he powered past it, but if it’s a worse pitch now (0/23 whiffs!), it may get a little dicey. Sure, this one was Coors and he struggled there last year as one does and maybe he needs a few weeks to get that velocity back. Or maybe his massive workload from last year is indeed affecting him. We can only hope it’s the former.

Jordan Montgomery vs BOS (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to communicate my discomfort with The Bear and I think it’s because each at-bat seems like a struggle. There are certainly times where he spots two heaters and follows it with a low curve, but far too often I watch and it just takes forever, you know? This isn’t a man dominating batters. Anyway, he took a comeback to the back of his knee/calf and fortunately stayed in the game to toss near 60 pitches. I imagine against a weaker offense and a few starts down the road where he goes 80+ comfortably, JorMont will be good for you, but those expecting a legit breakout should sit down and watch the fella. You’ll understand what I mean quickly.

Bryse Wilson @ STL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 64 pitches.

Would you look at the CSW — a mark that would earn Bryse a King Cole if he could only have lasted another inning. The Cardinals were all kinds of passive with Wilson today, with 18/64 called strikes, but to Wilson’s credit, he did a decent job of avoiding the middle of the plate. And he still held a 6.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP with two strikeouts. Yeaaaaaah.

Freddy Peralta @ CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yikes. I thought he retired from the whole Professor Chaos thing! His slider was nothing like we saw last year — I feel wrong displaying its 1/16 whiffs. THE HORROR! — and heaters danced all around the zone constantly in this one. What has gotten into these Brewers pitchers? Is it just Chicago being Chicago? I sure hope so.

Bailey Ober vs SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 79 pitches.

I was afraid we’d see lines like these from Ober, which I would think is a product of a hyper reliance on heaters, but actually he only tossed 44% four-seamers in this one. Huh. I wouldn’t say his command was terrible, but it wasn’t pristine either, and Ober’s stuff isn’t quite elite enough to cruise through games unless he’s at a higher level of precision. But that’s okay, not every team is the Mariners and he should be more good than bad this year. I think.

Tarik Skubal vs CWS (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

Yeaaaah this wasn’t great. I’ve been conflicted about Skubal over the preseason as he’s a guy I think will be fantastic during the year, but maybe not until May or June. It puts you, the standardized fantasy manager, in a tough spot in April so let’s hope the whole adage of showers and flowers devours the hours of our scours. What does that mean. It means I hope his time of doing poorly passes quickly, JEEZ. Skubal was just two-pitch for the most part, which was a bit shocking given a solid pair of breakers in his back pocket. I imagine we’ll see both get more action soon.

Tyler Wells @ TB (L) – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 54 pitches.

Wells had a good season in relief last year but I’m not seeing a whole here to grab onto. Maybe his slider/changeup turns into something legit later in the year as the 94/95 mph velocity performs well, but no need to dip the pen into the Wells at the moment — you have one of those normal pens. Like whatever the Angels have in their relievers.

Caleb Smith vs SD (L) – 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 41 pitches.

Oh hey, Caleb is back in the rotation again. Man, I wonder why he even left it in the first place. Sees a grand slam hit Ahhhh, right.

Ian Anderson vs CIN (L) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 74 pitches.

Oh my. I lowered Anderson on The List last week as I awoke from my gut feelings and saw a guy who could very well not figure things out and turn into a disaster, but maybe I should have moved him closer to #60 if he’s going to look anything like this. I believe he was laboring so much, that he joined the /r/antiwork subreddit after the game. His fastball was as erratic as anything and while his changeup and curveball were actually not that bad (save for a fair amount bouncing on the plate), the horrible heater ruined everything. I wonder if Anderson’s toe blister messed him up either during the start or prevented him from finding a spring training groove, but either way, he needs a moment. Or two. Or ten. I wouldn’t anticipate this to repeat against the Padres, but yeah, feel free to play it safe.

Kris Bubic vs CLE (L) – 0.2 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 29 pitches.

GrandpaWalkingInAndSeeingBartAndLeaving.gif.

Hyun Jin Ryu vs TEX (ND) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 70 pitches.

Oh no. He’s at just 90 mph still – 2021’s diminished velocity – and his curveball/changeup were not the stellar pitches of old. The Rangers are strong and it’s far too early to make any assessments, but this line looks…right. I will give Ryu credit for well-commanded curves and changeups, though. They don’t get the same results as before, but if his heater and cutter were to suddenly, oh I don’t know, become good, then the foundation is there. It’s the “Make-a-wish-on-things-that-aren’t-your-foundation” foundation.

Spencer Howard @ TOR (ND) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 49 pitches.

He’s throwing a full tick harder at 95/96! And it doesn’t matter! I’ll never understand why Howard has elected to go 61%+ heaters as the fastball just isn’t that good. You had a slider and changeup when you came up with the Phillies. I want to believe that if Spencer were to one day find two legit secondaries (and not this meh cutter), he could go from Howard the Duck to Howard the Swan. We’ll likely never know.

Steven Matz vs PIT (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 75 pitches.

Well this didn’t go to plan. Matz allowed an early grand slam and it set the tone for the evening. We expected the BABIP to go a little more in Matz’s favor given the defense behind him, but there goes baseball, being a dingus and doing unfair things. The good news is that he still tossed 75 pitches and should be able to go 5+ against the Brewers. I think you’re still just fine starting him there.

 

Game of the Day 

Nick Martínez vs. Alex Wood – I think Martínez is kinda great, while Wood, who is actually great, is apparently throwing harder than last season. I want to see it.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

3 responses to “Greene Light”

  1. Mark W says:

    “could be decent at some point but there’s no reason for you to pick him up now”
    An Orson? As in “no wine before it’s time”.

  2. Floyd says:

    Love the graphic on this article!
    I don’t want to over-react but drop Houck for Nick Martinez? I am concerned about Houck going much more than 5 innings on the regular (despite his final spring start being 6 IP). In 2021, his high was 5 and 1/3. Wins are a big deal in H2H…

  3. Punny - Haha says:

    “could be decent at some point but there’s no reason for you to pick him up now”

    Lukewarm Today, Chili Tamale? A sub/inversion of the punchline malapropism: “chile today, hot tamale.”

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