Heaney Meanie, Mighty Foe

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

Among all the hoopla about Fulmer, Castillo, Snell, etc., I think I don’t shout my love for Andrew Heaney enough as he responded to a poor 5 ER outing with a 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks line against the Royals. Hot. Damn. 17 whiffs in 116 pitches is good, but overall the Royals simply couldn’t square him up as Heaney did a great job of spotting his curveball down-and-away to left-handers while keeping changeups away from righties. This isn’t going to be a long rant, just that I have him Top 40 and I wonder if I’ll have him outside it again. I’d slot him above Tanaka and Fulmer if redoing The List tomorrow, FWIW. Get on board if there’s any way you can without costing a pretty penny.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Reynaldo Lopez – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s not easy being a ReyLo owner. He can do this one day and the next blow up for 7 ER. I don’t want to call him a full-on Cherry Bomb since the highs like this don’t come with the blissful strikeout production – just 4 Ks here – but y’all know what I see in Lopez to make me think one day he’ll turn from this turbulent mess to a consistent producer.

Sean Newcomb – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s far from exciting as Newcomb collected just nine whiffs and 26 CSW in 95 pitches, but it’s lovely seeing a 1.00 WHIP and 0 ER on the board. Yes, I’m still selling high as this was the Padres.

Ross Stripling – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Stripling is making his case for Top 40 at this point and it’s kinda nuts. The Pirates have been a solid offense this year as well, though there is a tinge of Dodgeritis here as he was pulled at 89 pitches and just four baserunners. Slightly capped upside, but I don’t care when he’s still spitting 7 Ks like he’s shining up a gym (This won’t be the only MJ reference today, don’t ask idea why). No reason to stop tossing Stripling out there, though I’m still a little skeptical that it’ll last through the year.

Steven Wright – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ve waited weeks – WEEKS – to whip this one out for the first time this year. Wright told me he had never heard of Jalen Beeks right before texting “Yeah, you like that?!” to his phone. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer. Oh, Drew Pomeranz is heading to the DL if you’re a bit confused. Beeks is worth a speculative add for those in deeper 12-teamers, but I prefer Luiz Gohara over Beeks, which should give you an idea of where he’d be on The List if he gets the call. Not my favorite chase as I question Beeks’ strikeout ability to carry over effectively.

Alex Cobb – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. You saw this line and I know what you’re thinking. The answer is no, not really. 3 for 21 whiffs on his Splitter – that is technically decent at 14%, but you know that’s not what we’re chasing. This is a Blame it on the Mets and don’t treat it more than that.

Corey Kluber – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Enjoy that #2 spot Kluber, you’ve earned it.

Patrick Corbin – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Corbin keeps finding a way and it’s marvelous. He did an excellent job spotting his slider in this one, he kinda always does, though his velocity is still hovering 90mph. I know it’s been over a month now, but I just can’t get behind Corbin being this good without that 92-93 consistent velocity. Because you’re even questioning if he’s someone to sell is a good thing, you know. It means it’s easier for you to cash out and let’s be happy about that.

Zach Eflin – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Eflin worked out here despite accruing just two strikeouts. That’s kinda what Eflin does as he lacks that money breaking pitch and I’m a little surprised this worked out, especially against the Cubs. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

Marco Estrada – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I called July 1st Estrada’s Judgement Day, as I think that’s enough time for him to get it together and become a solid Toby. Totally didn’t expect him to perform like this so soon, let alone against the Yanks. 32 CSW with 15 whiffs as his changeup did plenty of work. Didn’t love how high a good amount of his changeups were, but overall, solid. Not ready to buy into, of course.

Brad Keller – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s not the Keller you were hoping for and we’re stuck with Brad. Good ole 5.76 K/9 Brad that may pass for his ERA in about a month from now.

James Paxton – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Just don’t allow so many hits, eh?

Madison Bumgarner – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. You could call it a DLH, but Bumgarner is one of the exceptions to the rule and while I wanted a little more in terms of whiffs, I’m satisfied. If you sat him, that’s cool too. This is cool. I don’t think he returns to the Top 10 that soon – I need to see the strikeout ability return like a lazy-written resurrection – but here’s to hoping a sturdy Top 20 arm the rest of the way.

Lucas Giolito – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. This is one of the best starts of the year from Giolito and that is saying so much. Just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT? Wait, THREE PITCHERS HAD JUST ONE K TODAY?! This type of hunger is unparalleled. Sorry for yelling.

Artie Lewicki – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Artie Schmartie, that’s what I always say. Yep guys, it’s that kind of night.

Sean Manaea – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Four walks with two coming at the very start of the game…Manaea, buddy. Please fix this. I know we’re fine with a 3.38 ERA, but let’s get real here and…I’m sorry, is that three whiffs? THREE? Sort it out.

Carlos Martinez – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. DLH here as CarMart openly said he threw softer to make sure he wouldn’t hurt himself in his first start back. Well great CarMart, that’s wonderful, can you please at least throw strikes too then? No? Then what’s the point you being back? Expect better next time out.

Fernando Romero – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. This is why you shouldn’t have dropped Romero after his previous outing was a complete disaster akin to a Carl Pavano signing. 0 walks is a bit of a shocker, but it’s what made this a productive day and you should be happy. Still not super pumped, but a Spice Girl, nonetheless.

CC Sabathia – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Great rebound from CC as he tore through the Jays lineup. It’s weird, I guess I consider Sabathia a Toby, though he’s still kinda just a glorified streamer…which I guess is a Toby but you know what I mean.

Max Scherzer – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Enjoy yet another Gallows Pole with 24 whiffs. I wonder if he’ll ever fall from #1 this year.

Jason Vargas – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s three of his last four starts tallying 2 ER (albeit, a 5 ER in the middle and 19 ER in his three other games, bleeeeegh), and you may be thinking there’s something here. Ron Howard: There wasn’t.

Kyle Freeland – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. While Anderson and Bettis haven’t followed The Rocky Mountain Way, you can stay with Freeland, who has only faced one tough opponent since the middle of April (in Wrigley). Today was hosting the Giants and while that WHIP is meh, I’ll take this. You’ll take this. The IRS would take it as well because IT WAS MONEY. At least the 7 Ks are. Just keep following the RMW and you’ll be solid.

Junior Guerra – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a PQS from Guerra and I’m okay with that. I don’t see Top 50 potential here, but a Toby with a tinge of strikeout upside? Sure, I’ll take that.

Matt Moore – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s a VVPQS for Moore as he continues to make me think I could have actually made the bigs.

Joe Musgrove – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Why do I get the feeling that this a line we should get used to, like waiting to ride Space Mountain or the high life of a Tony Montana. This was supposed to be the easy before he faces the Cubs again and while you’re probably not going to bench Musgrove in your H2H league, I kinda feel like you should.

Anthony DeSclafani – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Welcome back Tony Disco! Glad we got your DLH out of the way, now we can consider a start against St. Louis. I think I’m game if I’m desperate for a Sunday start.

Nathan Eovaldi – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I may be dipping into Eovaldi as a streamer at some point, but this was the Nationals and a clear sit.

Jose Urena – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Kyle Hendricks – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hendricks loves his fives here like he’s citing a Subway ad, but unfortunately that’s bad news for owners. Because Subway is a terrible place? No. Well yes, but no, it’s because that’s a 9.00 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. Just 86mph on his sinker today and maybe, just maybe, he’s falling down a bit. He’s been teetering that fine line well this year, it’s possible he’s cracking. Monitor this.

Zack Littell – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. Zack had his MLB debut as was properly met with jitters that clearly held him back. Consider him a Cup of Schmo for now as you want…Littell to do with him. I’m so sorry.

Dallas Keuchel – 6.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Keuchel took a bit of a hit this week on The List and I’m wondering if I was a bit too gentle. That’s at least 4 ER in 3 of his last four starts, though I should mention those teams were the Indians, Yankees, and tonight’s Mariners. He’s now boasting a horrid 4.13 ERA despite entering this game with a 3.65 mark, while his 7.03 K/9 is really, really unnerving. Yep, I’m thinking the 40s for next week until Dallas spins off at least two straight outings that resemble his 2017 self.

Jordan Lyles – 4.1 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. I know it can be tough to imagine this kind of floor after Lyles’ 10 K game, but it’s starts like these that make us question jumping on board to a fantastic debut. Keep it in mind, not just for Lyles but many starters that have moments of brilliance. For Mr. Jordan here, I believe he can fly to the waivers and stay there.

Today’s Streamer

Clay Buchholz vs. San Francisco Giants – I don’t love this one – if you did that would be a little weird – but there aren’t many options here.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Frankie Montas vs. Kansas City Royals – Not a big fan of this, but I can imagine Montas getting through this one without much damage.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brandon McCarthy vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Turner may be out again and McCarthy is looking better.

Game of the Day

Dylan Bundy vs. Zack Wheeler – I’m excited for Bundy to walk over the Mets + Wheeler has been throwing gazzzzous lately and I want to see if it continues.

Nick Pollack

Founder of PitcherList.com. Rotographs and Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

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Comments


Sean Anderson

Hey Nick,

Gohara, Zack Wheeler, or Heaney ROS? Everytime I pick up Heaney, he has a terrible start (11 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 5 K’s), so I’m hesitant to trust him up again.

Taylor

Heaney has had one rough start in his last 8 games. In those 7 games, Heaney gave up 6 ER COMBINED… in 51.1 innings with 42 Ks and 4 of those 7 games he only had 1 BB per game. Gohara might have a higher ceiling but I don’t think chasing his ceiling is higher than taking Heaney for what he’s been this season.

Nick Pollack

And that one bad Heaney start was a first inning where nothing went his way. The following four frames were beautiful – he would have lasted longer if it were not for a high PC due to the first frame.

The dude is legit.

Jeff Meredith

I’m in week two and a half of what I’m guessing is about a 4 maybe 5 week learning curve on your glossary. Looking forward to when your references become second nature. Since I’ve found PL, I don’t miss a write up. Great job bro and thanks.

Manley Ramirez

Nice writeup. Noticed that one of the pitch data systems on Fangraphs classifies Heaney’s curve as a slider. Do you have a preference for one system over another?

Also, wondering why Godley is regarded as better than fellow sinkerballer Cahill, not just here but industry wide. Cahill has better velo and groundball rates. Is it because Godley has the plus curve (or, at least he did last year)?

Nick Pollack

I personally think it’s more of a slider than curveball, but I’m fine calling it either.

Godley’s sinker is more aggressive than Cahill’s offering, and a pitch that routinely induces weak contact like few others.

Goldey’s deuce is also better than Cahill’s when it’s working (50% O-swing last year!).

Taylor

I didn’t get the chance to watch Disco’s game. But I like his 1 BB and 10 whiffs in 5 innings.

Nick Pollack

It’s not enough for me to get excited, but it does make me think he can be a decent Toby through the year and a little more than just a streaming option.

Bill

Heaney is available in my 10 team Roto league where I have a pretty good starting staff.

Drop Tyson Ross or Alex Wood for him?

Nick Pollack

Nope, I think you hold both of those.

Maaaaaybe Ross, but only if you want a higher ratio floor over strikeout floor.

Anyone else to drop? I’d consider trading and adding Heaney.

Barry

Love Heaney! Grabbed him over a month ago because of your excellent column. Dropping slumping Semien today. Do you like a streaking Crawford or Swanson for ROS?

Thanks as always.

Eric

5×5 Roto with QS instead of wins. I realize I could just look at your list but given this slight change in category, who would be your bottom two out of this list? Porcello, Bundy, Godley, Manaea, Newcomb, Ross, Soroka and Kingham. I have Rhys and Acuna coming off DL and 2 SPs have to go.

MH

Hey Nick, what are your thoughts on Mike Montgomery? I know rotation spot could be in danger once Yu is healthy but if anyone should be bumped when Yu is back it should be Chatwood. Do you agree?

Nick Pollack

I don’t think he’ll help a whole lot in 12-teamers, but not the worst option for deeper leagues.

Maybe a possible stream, but that’s it.

Vinny

Hey Nick,
Thanks as always for helping me start my day off right with the SP roundup! Do you think that manaea or godley turns it around first (if at all) or should I roll out Kyle Gibson instead for the time being? (cant believe I just said that)

Nick Pollack

No problem! I have to push myself to get these out at night instead of waiting til the morning more often.

If I had to guess, I’d say Godley first, Manaea second.

Gibson gets the Angels, Indians, and Sawx next, can’t say I’m a huge fan of that…maybe just for the Angels start.

AC

Hard to drop Stripling during this great run, but would you for Heaney? Or better to drop an extra bench bat (9-team mixed OBP, Tim Anderson or Juan Soto would be possible hitters to drop)?

kbpms1

Hendricks’ mechanics were way off in a way that I’ve never seen. He threw a “curveball” that started and ended up eye level. I would pay attention to whether his mechanics are sound his next time out, but this seems flukish to me.

larry

At what level do you consider a pitcher a streamer vs keep in your weekly lineup, ie. Heaney, Cahill, Skaggs and ERod. Thanks

Nick Pollack

In 12-teamers, those are all holds to me, not streamers. I’d want to own all of those guys in order of Heaney, Erod, Cahill = Skaggs.

Looking at The List, streamers start around the mid 70s.

Swfcdan

From yesterday, didn’t get a response:

I think Godley should be further down, below Marco Gonzales who’s been teriffic. His BB rate on the road was over 6 before last night! Now I’m only considering him as a streaming option at home against weaker lineups.

Any worries about Thor getting shut down due to an innings limit this year? Or has he had his break already now and should be good to go health permitting. Need another top level SP, and considering a deal for him with Arenado in (not straight up and salaries play a part).

Nick Pollack

That’s a major short vs. long term decision.

I don’t buy Marco Gonzales like others do, while I want to give Godley the TIARA as I think his second half will be wildly better.

With regression coming for Marco, I’d rather invest in Godley.

Thor on an innings limit? Definitely not.

Swfcdan

Understand might be reactionary, but I’m not sure what Godley is doing well this year and what he can be expected to if his curve isn’t getting chases like last year. BB rate is night and day between the two and the K rate is very similar.

With Thor just feel like it’s going to be a dead duck season for the Mets. Come september is there really any point pushing their co-ace? Same can be said for a number of pitchers, but Thor has shown his fragility this past year.

theKraken

Has Thor shown fragility? He is skipping one start, but last year was rough. I am actually pretty happy – pleasantly surprised – that he has shown some durability this year.

If you want to choose Marco over Godley, then go ahead – the price will certainly be right. IMO the issue for Marco is that he gives up a ton of hits and he has been terrible every year prior to this one. Last year matters too.. I do worry about Godley, but at least he has shown some sustained success in the past. To me, that’s worth a lot more than 1/3 season of solid IP. I think one has the ability to move the needle for your squad and one doesn’t. Godley may very well be a bust, but I don’t see Marco doing a lot for you in any case.

Bob

I don’t understand why you question Corbin so much not being able to get it done at 90-91 vs. 92-93 but you loved Sean Manea the first month of the season and he’s 89-91. Corbin’s velo is not his bread and butter. You loved Godley too. I know you try to be as objective as possible but sometimes your love for these guys and dislike for others seems to cloud how good/not good a pitcher is. Just my two cents.

Nick Pollack

Bob, just so we’re clear, there’s little emotion tied to these rankings. I have zero shame in zooming guys up the ranks if they perform well to dictate it – Snell at #13, Morton, #15, Happ/Pivetta at 26/27 – while dropping others that don’t deserve it – Samardzija, ReyLo, Jon Gray, Sanchez, Weaver, and of course Castillo.

It’s worse for everyone if I let something get in the way of not doing my best objective job at telling you how to feel about pitchers from this point moving forward.

Also, I try to make clear why I like or dislike a player. It’s not superfluous like “the smell of his hair” or “got a great look to him”, I try to show you the root of my thoughts in order to help the process for everyone. I don’t hide my reasoning for love or distaste and if you don’t agree, awesome! We have some fun stuff to talk about.

Any way, back to Corbin. I question him but at the same time I have him at #23 on The List, so it’s not like I’m hating on the guy.

Not all velocities are the same. Corbin is a weird case where I still believe his repertoire doesn’t speak to longterm success as along as he’s not throwing 92-93. At 89-90, that’s a tougher sell to me.

You have to keep in mind that in no way am I saying that Corbin will fall off a cliff – remember, #23 on The List! – I’m saying that I’d love to cash out at his current price and not risk that his lower velocity will dictate a decline in performance that isn’t the current elite numbers.

Bob

Nick..I understand you try to stay as objective as possible and base your rankings on the numbers. I will also say I really respect your list and the work that you do. But, it seems
as though there are guys you favor and like more even when they are pitching like crap. Like Godley and Manea, for example. I know you have moved them down the list but in your write ups it just seems like you are rooting for people like Corbin to fail and ignoring that Manea had 7.31 ERA through the entire month of May ( I know how good he was in April). Maybe he’s not as good as you think. He could’ve been pitching over his head in April. And maybe Corbin even with slightly less velocity is better than you think.

I’m saying it seems like you come down easier on the guys you seem to favor when they pitch poorly than the ones you don’t favor. It should be fair across the board and an even keel.

Nick Pollack

I think this should sum up what I’m trying to say here.

“It should be fair across the board and an even keel.”

No, it shouldn’t. When Player A does well and when Player B struggles, I try to inform people that it doesn’t mean Player A is suddenly better than Player B. That’s the whole point.

We all play fantasy baseball and we all know that the performance of someone in April doesn’t dictate their performance for the following five months. What you’re suggesting is that I shouldn’t be looking forward at the skillset of the actual pitcher at hand, but rather solely how they have performed up to this point, and treat everyone as if they have the same abilities to do well.

That’s completely against my methods and something I recommend. I’m not “rooting” for Corbin to do poorly, but from my perspective and analysis, he seems ready to do so.

And of course, maybe Corbin succeeds tremendously even with lower velocity, that would be great! He has a tough road ahead if he is to do that, so I have to bake in that challenge in his ranking. Also, I feel it’s very important to once again point to The List on the right that still has him in the Top 25.

So in the end, I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking me to do. Should I be looking at an ERA across the last month as a dictation for the rest of the season and ignore their skill set? I understand that’s how a lot of people do this, and it’s not the way I do things.

Oh and “there are guys you favor and like more even when they are pitching like crap” is not wrong at all. I like them when they are because it’s when they get dropped in leagues and you’re able to snatch them up, like Dylan Bundy after his three-game stretch. I like them at their price. That’s the important part.

theKraken

That’s why Nick is the best at this as well. He doesn’t hide behind arbitrary usage of select metrics – he uses his judgement and it is quite good. Nothing is perfect – a lot of people do a lot worse and provide far less value!

Glenn

You’d put Heaney ABOVE Fulmer??? WHOA! That’s an endorsement! (I kid. I kid. Mostly.)

Sam

Hey Nick –

Pivetta, Heaney, Stripling. Pick 2. I currently own Pivetta and Stripling, but am considering the Heaney addition after his gem last night. Thanks!

Nick Pollack

Man, I want to own all three and I’d make a deal to make that happen if possible.

Forced to choose, Stripling is the odd man out :-/

Dan

Hey Nick

Just wanted to give the hattip and thanks for your recommendations this year. My SP staff was pretty awful at the back end outta auction. Followed ur advice and now I have Ross, Cahill, Stripling and Heaney to go with my auction guys Greinke, Tanaka, Arrieta and McCullers. 4 months of the year to go and oodles of pitching points in front of me…feelin pretty good now.

Keep up the good work.

Dan

Nick Pollack

Nice! Glad it’s worked out well for you.

That right there is why I always recommend going for hitting early 🙂

Hope we can keep that staff cruising through the next four months!

Knucklebear

Musgrove’s outing was such a bummer. In the first inning he struck out the side on 13 pitches and looked unhittable. It was all downhill from there but it was a glimpse into the talent that’s lurking. If he can be more consistent then he has a shot to be a real solid pitcher.

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