I know that we don’t have the highest expectations of Dylan Cease but after going 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW against the Royals last night, I think we need to talk about this. What was the one thing you expected from Cease? It wasn’t a good ERA or WHIP, but you thought at least you’d get some strikeouts along the way. After just one strikeout last night (HAISTFMFWT?!) Cease now holds a 16% strikeout. WHAT. Yeah, that’s kinda ridiculous. His overall SwStr rate has fallen from 11% to 9.4% and any sort of growth we anticipated has failed to emerge.
There has only been one area where Cease has improved: his ratios. His ERA has fallen from an atrocious 5.79 to a 3.29 mark, while his WHIP dropped 21 points to 1.34. Not great there, and it’s a product of his BABIP dropping over 100 points while his LOB rate spun around to go from 68% to 86%. This is all pretty damning.
Looking at his pitches, it’s all just the same but worse. His slider holds the same SwStr but a significant drop in O-Swing and Zone rates, his four-seamer has called 3 points in SwStr rate, his curveball has been flat out terrible, and his changeup is getting smacked around for a 273 wRC+. Yikes.
It makes for an incredibly risky play that I don’t even want to call a Cherry Bomb as Cease has yet to strike out six batters all season. I know it’s the Pirates next and that should be okay, but really, all you’re chasing it that 3.29 ERA to stick – his WHIP hasn’t helped you out at all. Is that worth it to you?
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Andrew Heaney vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Well this was an interesting start. On one hand, Heaney’s heater was excellent, touching 94.6 mph and sitting 92/93 mph, while his changeup was gone at 13% CSW and his curveball wasn’t as good as we saw last time out. I love that Maddon trusted Heaney for 117 pitches, allowing him to earn that co-share of the Gallows Pole, and a matchup against the Rangers next should work well. I still consider Heaney a bit of a Cherry Bomb though and it doesn’t help my confidence seeing his secondary stuff take a step back from his last start.
Clayton Kershaw vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW. The other holder of the Gallows Pole went to TATIAGA as he earned himself a Golden Goal as well. Four-seamers were stupid effective in this one as he elevated often and pounded the strikezone. Sliders weren’t the overwhelming whiff pitch we’ve seen before, but a 16% SwStr rate is certainly good enough for me. It’s really wonderful to have Kershaw back to being one of the better starters around once again.
Martin Perez vs TOR (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Perez had one of his better outings of the year on the back of his changeup – 9/33 whiffs! – though there isn’t much else to be excited about here. It’s low 90s velocity (not close to the peak we saw last year) and I wouldn’t anticipate his slow ball being this well commanded often. There isn’t enough here.
JT Brubaker vs CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Another solid start from Brubaker as he spotted his sinker and did damage with sliders. Sadly he gets the ChiSox next and that’s a sit. But keep him in mind for your streams down the road.
Anibal Sanchez @ PHI (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW. He got the early hook after laboring into the fourth. He was Singled Out a good amount and left with just one strikeout – HAISTFMFWT?! – and we’re nowhere closer to starting Sanchez.
Mike Clevinger @ LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW. We got our first look at Clevinger in San Diego and it was…meh. His slider isn’t back to its 2019 self, his curveball is blegh with 1/10 CSW, and his fastball isn’t hitting the edges like we want. You still start him every time, and his rank around #20 or so seems right. Maybe slightly lower.
Taijuan Walker @ BOS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Walker is leaning into the BSB a bit and I’m all for it. He needs to find something to stick outside of his heater, though, as his cutter/splitter/curveball returned just 1/35 whiffs yesterday combined. That ain’t what you want. If we hear of Walker learning a new slider or curveball or something in the spring, I may start to get a little excited. Just a little.
Luke Weaver @ LAD (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Seeing 2 ER is a bit unfair as without a throwing error, Muncy doesn’t advance to second and doesn’t score on the single that followed. After that first frame, Weaver shut down the Dodgers completely getting 7/34 whiffs on changeups and holding back on damage with his fastball. I still want to see that cutter have a bigger presence, though, as it was a major part of his 2019 success. here? 0/5 cutters for strikes. Ouch. I’m not sure I trust Weaver going just two-pitches, especially with neither hitting 27% CSW. I’d be careful.
Zack Greinke vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Aces gonna ace. He’s nearly replicated his 2019 season thus far and you should be stoked about that, even if you got a PQS here. I should probably raise him a bit on The List, though I don’t expect nine strikeouts much more. I’d consider pushing him up on The List but…yeah, that’s not happening again. It’s schedule List time already. What a weird season of chaos – five weeks just isn’t enough for proper SP analysis! Welp, it’s what we got.
Zach Eflin vs WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Blegh. Streaming Record: 22-20. That curveball that was so good last time? Not this time. 9% CSW. Welp, that’s just not what we want and I guess we can call Eflin a Cherry Bomb rooted in that breaker showing up or not. Just 6/82 whiffs overall and that’s not cool. He gets the Red Sox now and that’s…meh.
J.A. Happ @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW. I was super happy to see Happ do great things with four-seamers, but the question is always how well he can get by with a very blegh changeup and slider. They weren’t good, his fastball got tattered a bit and voila, four runs and a 1.80 WHIP against the Mets. He’s still a decent Toby but I very much understand not wanting to trust him in 12-teamers.
Alec Mills @ PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW. Womp womp. Cycle through Alec for different streamers like a true Mills deck.
Robert Gsellman vs NYY (ND) – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 12% CSW. The Mets are trying their best to stretch out Gsellman and now at 52 pitches, it looks like he threw 25. I wonder if he’s a deep sleeper for 2021 – I doubt it – so yeah, not great Bob.
Lance Lynn @ HOU (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Nooooooo. Lynn had a nightmare first inning with a trio of singles (two of which were jammed shots), followed by a blast, returning 4 ER in a hurry. 2 ER across the next five innings isn’t great, but helped relatively to that first inning. He’s still excellent, brush this off, and choose to be happy.
Danny Duffy vs CWS (L) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Bleeeegh. The White Sox are not a fun team to start against and Duffy moved away from the BSB, returning a poor 17% CSW on four-seamers and too many changeups in the middle of the plate. Solid slider, though, and his curveball earned some strikes as well. He gets Cleveland next and I wouldn’t rule him out for a stream there as his fastball command could be better.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Dane Dunning vs. Kansas City Royals – There are 20 games scheduled for Friday and I imagine there will more options for Friday as starters solidify, but I’m loving this one for Dunning against a poor Royals lineup.
Anthony DeSclafani vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Okay, I know. This is crazy. There just isn’t a good play out there and it’s the Pirates and I feel strongly that Tony Disco is not the 7 ER guy we’ve seen. I’d be very cautious with this one, though.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Game of the Day
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)