Junis, The Two-Faced God

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Thursday's games.

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

There’s been plenty of talk of Jake Junis in the opening weeks of the season, and I’m sure there will be plenty more after tonight’s horrid line of 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. 5 HRs! Man that’s brutal. I talked about this a bit in the Slack channel today, as this start doesn’t really change a whole lot. We all expected regression with everything pointing more to a 4.00 ERA instead of 2.00 for his previous four starts, but honestly that didn’t matter a whole lot to me. Junis is a prime example of a guy who I’m focusing more on where the quality of his pitches are. Regardless of this start, the situation of Junis remains the same – there’s plenty of upside that he’s yet to reach, but we may be waiting a bit before it all connects, leading to a sin wave of performances. Here’s the ceiling of his repertoire: His slider has plus plus potential, his two-seamer can be a pitch that gets strikes and pound the zone, while the oft-mentioned curveball from the spring turning into a solid pitch to steal strikes. The current state is his slider showing brief flashes while floating into the zone in others, his two-seamer not hitting the zone nearly enough for him to abandon him four-seamer, and his changeup – a pitch reserved for the rare mix-up to lefties – is getting more love than his curveball. It’s a sad state, the ceiling is still intact, but clearly this is a step back toward that goal. Hopefully he can get there before too long. He gets the Sawx next so you’re fine dropping him for now.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Michael Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Guys. GUYS. Fulmer had 14 whiffs on his first 45 pitches and ended this one with 24 in 98 pitches. IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME. I’ve talked about his slider being a pitch that should miss more bats and BAM 10-for-30 whiffs here. The biggest shock was 11 courtesy of four-seamers and sinkers and while I don’t think that will stick around, seeing his slider take a more pronounced role is a beautiful thing. Here’s to hoping he can come anywhere close to this again next time against the Rays. Just give me 15 whiffs. You don’t even need to win another Gallows Pole, just give me 15. Please.

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. If it weren’t for Fulmer, I’d be focusing a bit more on Gibson, who not only earned 10 Ks, but did so going 11-for-26 on whiffs with his slide piece. Check out their locations and if you remember the piece I wrote on him way back in the winter, you’ll recognize it’s nearly identical to the locations we saw during his end-of-season stretch last year that was so lovely. It’s amazing he did this against the hot Yankee offense, but I’m skeptical he can repeat it in his tantalizing two-start week. I’d roll with it if he’s there, but there’s still plenty of concern.

Kyle Hendricks – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Am I being too harsh on Hendricks again? 3.10 ERA now with a….259 BABIP, 89.7% LOB rate, and just a 7.45 K/9. Velocity around 87mph today. Okay, maybe not.

Ivan Nova – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Another Super Nova from Ivan, following a 6.0 IP, 1 ER start last time out. Suddenly it’s not a 3.32 ERA with a 3.45 FIP, 7.11 K/9 and 0.95 BB/9 and I’m expecting comments asking if he’s worth the pickup. Not when he gets the Nationals next. I’m okay rolling with him against the Chi Sox twice in a row + Padres + Reds after, though. Which is kinda weird because this is Nova n all.

Chase Anderson – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Alright, do we have a good name for a good start with few Ks? I know I have Grave Mistake, but that’s more for when it goes poorly…I’m thinking a Blach Party as Ty Blach holds the lowest K/9 for both 2017 and so far in 2018. Anyway, it was a tough move to throw Anderson out there in Wrigley, but he got the job done as he’s 4-for-6 getting you Quality Starts thus far. For all the hoopla about his velocity – 92.5mph in this one, still a little behind – he’s still pitching decently well. Stick with him as I think he should get better as the season develops.

Carlos Martinez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna ace…ish. If you’re going to have just 3 Ks, can we get a little more ratio expression than six frames? No? Okay.

Noah Syndergaard – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He allowed an unearned run in the eighth, ruining his chance for a Win, but whatever, this start is studly regardless.

Lucas Giolito – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Velocity was around 92mph – a small improvement but an improvement nonetheless, but his curveball render 0 whiffs and 1 called strike on 11 thrown. Not what we want. The idea of pitching backward with his slider wasn’t here either with just 9 thrown in 93 pitches. That’s under a 10% rate. Let him stay out on your waiver wire for now.

Matt Koch – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I wonder if Matt will ever be a coach. Coach Koch, put me in. Does wonders teaching kids to be sensitive to those with a stutter. No, this isn’t a man you want to roll with.

Jordan Montgomery – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhhh I’ll take it but 98 pitches in just five frames express how much his labored to get it. This isn’t The Bear that I was expecting this season. He isn’t hitting spots with his fastball, his breaking pitches ending at-bats early, and he finds himself in too many deep counts. I think he can get there, but it’s not here yet. I’ll just sit here, waiting til then. Feel free to chase other Spice Girls in the meantime.

James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. 16 whiffs here, as he averaged near 96mph. Yeah, Paxton is totally fine y’all. Juuust fine.

Chris Sale – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna…wait, this is a PQS. Aces don’t PQS. Whatever, he’s boasting a 2.31 ERA, sub 1.00 WHIP and ~35% K rate still. So it goes.

Chris Archer – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Yes this is disappointing. Yes you’re frustrated and you have every right to be. What I’ll tell you is that you can’t forget the tales of Jose Quintana, Masahiro Tanaka, Justin Verlander, and many others that struggled in the early goings of 2017 only to kill it as the season progressed. I won’t tell you that Archer is going to follow the same blueprint, but you have to believe there are better times ahead. His still has that lovely TIARA on his head and I’m not taking it off yet.

Homer Bailey – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Homer Bale was pulled with just 50 pitches before his final act as the Reds wanted a pinch hitter in an effort to spark a rally. This is reason #14 why the DH should exist. It’s not like Bailey could do much to salvage this start anyway, but still, that’s not right. Streaming Record: 16-8.

Mike Clevinger – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. It was a tough third inning for Clev that lead to plenty of a good contact and 3 ER and while I still feel he’s close to taking that step forward to being a Top 25 starter, he’s not there yet with his secondary stuff. We’re not seeing the 20% whiff rates yet with his curveball/changeup/slider and that’s the last piece to this puzzle. His fastball is actually performing better than expected as well, which makes it hurt a little more – he’s so close! I’m starting him next time out against the Rangers.

Sean Newcomb – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. You own Newcomb for the strikeouts, not the ratios. If this lost you a few teeth and you’re not happy with it, then get a new comb. Wait, get Newcomb? No, a new comb. Totally different.

Marco Estrada – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. After a poor outing against the Yankees, Estrada was given no time to lick his wounds, thrust back into the ring to throw down against the Sawx. And it went just as badly. I still feel better days are ahead for Estrada, so keep an eye out over the next month to see if he starts trending up, but he’s a questionable play for next week’s two starts.

Dylan Bundy – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Um, no. No no no no. Against the Rays?! I watched most of this, what’s weird here is that the two HRs in the first/second frames were actually good pitches. He hit the glove up-and-in to Ramos, and the fastball to Cron was a decent pitch knee high. However, Bundy was so off in this one. A ton of terrible pitches, rarely hitting spots, nor setting up his fantastic slide piece. This was an off day like it’s following the All-Star game and you have to hope that he gets it back next time out. If it’s 80% studly through the year, that’s still Top 25 SP, so hopefully that’s all this is.

Ben Lively – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. Oh Raggedy Anne, you’ll never be a lively one. Not like that Pinocchio fella.

Today’s Streamer

Tyler Anderson vs. Miami Marlins – I debated heavily between this or Mike Minor against the Jays, but I’ll go with Anderson as the Fish are floundering as much as anyone.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Chris Stratton vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Either guys are well above the 20% threshold or they are facing tough teams, so I’m going with Stratton as he has three 6.0+ IP starts under his belt and could pull it off against a Dodger offense that has been feast or famine.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Zack Wheeler vs. San Diego Padres – He hasn’t looked great since the Marlins, but the Padres are the Padres. That’s a surprisingly decent argument.

Game of the Day

Sean Manaea vs. Dallas Keuchel – The man is pitching against the Astros following a no-hitter against the Sawx. Yes I want to see what happens + Keuchel is also there. It’s also Aaron Nola day and obviously I’ll be catching Luis Castillo against the Twins as well.

Nick Pollack

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

  • Brad says:

    Hey nick, loved the breakdown of Junis as a royals fan I think he has a ton of potential but is going to take a while to reach that level..

    Question about a potential trade, in a 6×6 with OPS and QS, 4 keeper league would you rather have JUpton or Acuna? And would you rather keep Godley or Corbin?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That Junis bit was so long that I reached the word limit in the tool I use to write these. Whoops.

      Godley over Corbin, Upton over Acuna.

  • KYEONGHAN says:

    Hi Nick. I picked up Andrus from WW(Someone dropped him because he will come back a month later). I think maybe I can trade him for Bundy. Do you think it is good trade for me?

  • DodgerTom says:

    Nick, need to get Jeff Samardzija activated from his DL stint. Which to drop, Mike Minor or Tyson Ross. Currently is first place in all pitching categories thanks to the wisdom of Pitcher List.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Nice! Minor is the better longterm play, but if you don’t need tonight’s start, then go Ross for his next start against the Giants (Minor gets Sawx).

  • Morgan says:

    Blach Party is pretty solid, could go with “Blach Out” as well to mess with the pronunciation. Also using Ty; “Ty Down” or “Ty’d Up” or “Fit to be Ty’d”

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks, I think I’m sticking with Blach Party as it resembles both something bad – Blach sounding like Blegh – and good – Party n all.

  • Mike says:

    Nick,

    I need to drop 2 players to activate Pomeranz and Flaherty in a 12 tm QS instead of W and OBP instead of AVG league.

    My options are Franchy, Montgomery, Ryu, Ross. My pitching staff is Verlander, Quintana, Snell, and Wacha to go with the 3 options.

    I’m leaning Franchy and Montgomery or Montgomery and Ross.

    Thoughts?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      JorMont + Franchy. The Bear gets two bad starts in a row now while I want you to have that Ross start and Ryu start both against the Giants.

  • EV says:

    Hey Nick, Fulmer is available in WW in my 10 h2h league, who you rather have ROS
    Taillon, Fulmer, Flaherty, Castillo… just two spots for these guys but Im chasing upside. Thanks!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Flaherty is the odd man out, with Fulmer being a must add among those.

      Castillo vs. Taillon…that’s a super close one. If you’re chasing upside, go Castillo.

  • Jack says:

    can you rank these pitchers going forward- Luke Weaver, Michael Fulmer, Chase Anderson, Miles Mikolas, Eduardo Rodriguez.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Fulmer > Weaver > Anderson = Mikolas = Erod.

      Erod for strikeout upside, Anderson as a better longterm play, Mikolas for a combination of both.

  • Joel says:

    Would you trade andujar for Carlos Martinez? I’m in a dynasty league and pretty loaded at 3rd and my pitching needs help. Is that fair or should I try and get more out of the rookies hot start

  • Tommy says:

    Hey Nick are you starting Castillo in Minnesota tonight? I feel like he’s still in must start territory bc he’s either going to turn it around and take off or end up on the DL.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It completely depends on your situation.

      In roto, I think I bench. In H2H, you start only if you need the help for the weekend, especially in the K department.

  • DGM says:

    So I was offered Goldschmidt for my Jmart, Berrios & Godley and I’m seriously considering turning it down. No one else is giving him a decent offer and I have great pitching (which he seriously needs). Am I nuts for holding to no more than Godley/Ohtani/Jmart?

    C Realmuto
    1 Rizzo
    2 Kinsler
    3 Frazier
    SS Seager
    OF Betts, Rosario, Marte
    Util Jmart & Lowrie
    BN (DL) Rendon
    DL Eaton
    DL Murphy

    SP Verlander, Price, Berrios, Ohtani, Godley, Castillo, Weaver, Shark, Lopez

    • DGM says:

      Or Berrios/Weaver/Jmart

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s too much to pay for Goldschmidt.

      • Manny says:

        I just realized Jmart sounds like JD Martinez and not Jose Martinez. To be clear this is JOSE Martinez. Would Jose Martinez/Ohtani/Godley make you feel any different?

    • theKraken says:

      You should turn that down. Might want to add a GFY for good measure. JD and Goldy are not miles apart, Berrios is pretty acey and so is Godley. I think one of the two SP would be a deal you probably lose.
      lol I scrolled down to see your Jose Martinez update, but thought I would leave my original reply as it is funnier.

  • Joe says:

    Hey Nick, I’ve had Pomeranz on the DL for the last week even though he was activated, and haven’t been able to make any roster moves because of it. Would you drop Junis to activate Pomeranz? What about Reynaldo Lopez? Or should I just drop Pomeranz? 12 team points league.

  • Vinny says:

    Happy Nola Day Nick!
    My Paxton/Nunez/C.Taylor for his Castillo/Moncada in a points league.
    I know you love Pax & Castillo, but am I giving up too much to buy low?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Paxton side.

    • theKraken says:

      I think this is a matter of preference, but I prefer the Moncada side. I have always firmly been against the Paxton ace label – he should only have about 100 IP left this year at most, which I am only partially kidding about. Castillo can only trend up, right? The Moncada side is risky, but at least there is reward. It really depends where you fall on Paxton – a lot of people really write a lot of praise about him, but it depends how you value him.

  • Let's Play Two says:

    Standard 5×5 season-long roto using QS instead of W, K, ERA, WHIP. In order, who do you want ROS after Weaver’s 2nd poor start – Weaver, Pivetta, E-Rod?

  • The Dude says:

    Nick, Deep H2H / QS League – who offers best ROS upside/filler:
    *Gibson
    *Cahill
    *Marco Gonzalez
    *M Boyd

  • David says:

    Newcomb looked dominant til the 5th…then a couple walks and a homer and it’s all erased. I wish he’d figure out where that control disappears to, when he locates he can be a beast.

  • Barry says:

    In the long run this year, dropping Estrada for Gibson is a no-brainer correct?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Long run, it’s plenty close. Chase Gibson for now, I don’t imagine Estrada being a highly sought after wire add right now.

      • Barry says:

        Thanks for the feedback. Cahill is available as well and I see in a previous reply you lean towards him over Gibson. Your brief thoughts?

    • theKraken says:

      I have never seen Gibson not burn his owners by the time it is all said and done. Gibson is a streamer! They probably both are, but I know Gibson is.

  • Manny says:

    I just realize Jmart sounds like JD Martinez and not Jose Martinez. To be clear this is JOSE Martinez. Would Jose Martinez/Ohtani/Godley make you feel any different?

  • Upton Funk Gon' Give It To Yu says:

    Think Newcomb can inch closer to that mid-3 FIP and xFIP? With that K-rate and those BBs, he’s reminding me of Robbie Ray, in both a good + extremely frustrating way. He also seems to have a pretty great schedule ahead (lots of NYM, MIA, SF, SD).

    More specific to my roster decisions, trying to figure out if I should inch him ahead of Tropeano (for Trop’s meh short term matchups) + maybe Yonny (for same reason as Trop).

    • theKraken says:

      Newcomb’s command is far worse than that of Ray. Don’t mistake the small samples of 2018 with anything more than they are. If Ray keep walking this many, then he won’t be of use to anyone. I think it is an open question as to whether Newcomb will stick in a rotation. When your ceiling is pitching 6 IP, then you are really hurting your team throughout the year. There is also the reality that some of those Ks will dry up if he ever gets starter command, which he probably won’t. As a minor leaguer, lots of people thought he would never throw enough strikes, so it is really playing out according to script. That being said, that upcoming schedule is pretty sweet, I would just keep in mind what he really is. If you are thinking he’s Robbie Ray, well… Ray is pretty unique and has proven that he can make it work. Ray also works with 2 plus breaking balls when he is successful while Newcomb only has one based on pitch split types.

      • Upton Funk Gon' Give It To Yu says:

        Much appreciated! Didn’t know about him in the minors. Agreed that I’d be thinking of Newcomb as an interesting streamer for matchups as a bargain basement Ray, not anything more stable than that.

  • Launch Angle says:

    Received and offer of Syndergaard and Benintendi for Acuna and Pivetta.
    In a standard, season-long 5×5 roto.
    Current OF’s: Trout, Judge, Pollock, Springer, Acuna
    Current SP’s: Kluber, Severino, Bauer, Corbin, Godley, Pivetta, E-Rod.
    Accept?

  • Steve Kahn says:

    Thats 2 stinkers in a row for Bundy. He pitches for a bad team in a bad park in bad division. How is he still top 20? I’d rather have guys like Porcello, Bauer, Corbin, etc, all ranked behind him.

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