Loving Your Duff Links

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

(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

You probably wanted me to talk about Jon Gray’s return from the minors, but there is a more pressing pitcher to discuss and that man is Danny Duffy after he went 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks against the ChiSox last night. First, yes, the ChiSox, but Duffy has allowed just 1 ER total in four of his last five starts (yes, it’s a 6 ER outlier against the Indians). Here was 37/114 CSW as his changeup earned 10/20 CSWF (plus fouls) and dominated with his heater. Here’s something fun. Prior to these five outings, Duffy has been throwing 21.6% sliders, good for a pVal of -9.5. STOP THROWING SLIDERS! is what you’re shouting and I have great news for you. He’s reduced his slider usage to 10.7% in his last five games with introducing a curveball for 18% of his pitches, returning a 1.4 pVAL. Whiff rate is suddenly 12.5% and a 26% K rate in those 31 frames. He threw the deuce under 2% of the time prior and you have to buy into this in some way. Look, I’m not elevating him to Top 50 or anything, but suddenly Duffy has value. He’s made an adjustment and has had lots of success as a result. Consider him again in 12-teamers. There’s a chance he goes Twins/Tigers/ChiSox out of the break and I’m for it.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Not the most overpowering start and he was pulled super early under 70 pitches due to the rain delay, but this helped and you should keep rolling with Flaherty in all leagues.

Zack Greinke – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. We’re done to a 3.18 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a 25% K rate. Hope you guys stuck with me and Greinke.

Clay Holmes – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. You know what they say about people that live in Clay Holmes. You can sometimes hear the ghost of Swayze whispering Ditto…But seriously, I was actually pretty impressed with what I saw. Don’t like his cutter at all, changeup was fine, but 97mph heat – four-seamer and sinker – with a curveball that will get whiffs. Now I noticed him rushing his delivery after the leg kick a little bit, which could have been a product of nerves, but this was a better guy than the other start against the Dodgers. I think it’s a Young Gun hinting at possible consistency in the future, but there isn’t a spot in the Pirates rotation at hte moment (this was a double-header) and let’s move on for now.

Yefry Ramírez – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey, Yefry did a thing! He now has a 14% whiff rate in his 23.1 IP, which definitely is something, but…meh. I don’t actually think Yefry is that bad, but he’s way too unpolished and you’re going to see a lot of short starts from him this year (this was 94 pitches!). Not something to consider in 12-teamers.

Trevor Richards – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I hate hope Trevor is the last Richards left standing. Please represent them well. I know you want, but please.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Give me love, give me land, give me SIX FREAKIN INNINGS. But alright, this helps everywhere -including the dub – but…what’s this? Oh you were actually set to go 7+ with under 70 pitches but you sprained your ankle and were pulled from the game. OH COME ON. Here’s to hoping he only misses 2-3 starts.

Chris Archer – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Heaters up (a little too up, actually), breakers and changeups down, and life was good. I’m amazed he threw 25 slow balls here – FINALLY – and guess what, he earned 14/25 not-in-play strikes with it. THAT’S EXCELLENT ARCHER. Please do more of this. PLEASE. Yeah yeah yeah, under five frames, but seeing that faith in the slow ball really is something special.

Gerrit Cole – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace as it’s nice to see Cole back in form. Another Gallows Pole for the man – 22 whiffs to his name 14/57 on his four-seamer! – and life is good entering the second half.

Sam Gaviglio – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He got the early hook against the Sawx after throwing under 50 pitches in his previous start. There might be a Toby in here, maybe not. That’s not my kind of chase. Is Anderson? Ugggh not what I meant. BUT IS HE? Meh and stop yelling at me. Sorry.

Jon Gray – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. You want a detailed report of this start. What you’re going to get is this. He pounded the zone with heaters at 95mph, sliders went 6/37 whiffs, and it was good. I’m not ready to say “he’s fixed” n all that – it’s one start where the BIP went his way, balls in play that held an 87mph average exit velocity! (That’s not good) – and I’d still have hesitation moving forward.

Ivan Nova – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. We wanted a Super Nova. What we got was Ivan the super mediocre.

Martin Perez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You know those times when you see someone you haven’t talked for ages and conversation dies about 20 seconds in? Perez, I just have nothing to say to you.

Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It helps, it’s also so lame that I feel like I’m watching Carlos make a joke. Uggggh Carlos…

Chase Anderson – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh, did you hear us talking about you? I’m impressed that you have allowed 5 ER total in your last five starts, but there isn’t much else to be excited about. Maybe he’s a Toby now. That’s cool.

Luis Castillo – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Ugggggh. Get your changeup together Castillo, YOU NEED IT. 3/11 whiffs is just so not you. Fastball is still good and slider is where it should be, just figure out your #1, okay?

Andrew Heaney – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Yep, that’s a solid outing and you’re nodding your head in approval. I wrote about Heaney recently and you’ll see how his changeup has been the impetus for his swing in whiff rates. Last night’s game? 12/103 whiffs – double digit % – and his changeup was…good. Not great – that was his hook – but it worked, got a few swings and misses and Heaney had a solid night. He’s currently #38 on The List and I’m thinking about pushing him closer to #30. He’s still plenty undervalued in my view.

Kyle Hendricks – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. After his terrible starts, he gave us an incredible outing last itme. Here? Pretty boring. It’s like all the excitement is over and we’re sitting in a room with balloons slowly falling from ceiling. It’s still not bad – I’ve had some great times in that aftermath – but the thrill is gone. This could be what Hendricks does the rest of the way, save for a few more baserunners.

Aaron Nola – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This started blegh then Nola made it solid because that’s what he does. THAT’S WHAT HE DOES.

Jeff Samardzija – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Yeah, I’m still waiting for something to get excited about from Loose Lips. Right now, he will sink your ship.

Brett Anderson – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Oh hi Anderson. I guess you do things so here we are talking about said things. Just kidding, we won’t because your time is precious and so is mine and I’M RAMBLING ABOUT LITERALLY NOTHING. One last thing because I go. Just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Sean Newcomb – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. Newcomb has raised his tudly 2.59 ERA on June 22nd to 3.51 in four games, failing to exceed 3 strikeouts in his last three. We knew regression was coming, but not like this. Not like this…

Alex Wood – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s a legit VPQS with 6 Ks. Sure, that’s fine.

Mike Clevinger – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Even with one ER too many, Clev still gave you 8 strikeouts because his secondary stuff is stupid good once again. Kinda. His slider actually went 0/15 in whiffs, but 10/15 for strikes works. Believe in the new deGrom hair.

Wade LeBlanc – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. LeBlanc went to Coors and we got nothing back. Womp womp.

CC Sabathia – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. After a weak outing against the Orioles, Sabathia responded with another meh effort, this time against the Indians. I think he ultimately settles in as a 3.70/3.80 ERA, which totally plays these days, but it’s far from the near 3.00 ERA we saw briefly. It’s fine.

Zach Wheeler – 7.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I talked with Sporer about Wheeler in the Fireside chat that will be out tonight, which in short can be summed up as “I need to see better sliders under the zone instead of exclusively glove side in the zone.” He averaged 97.2mph on his heater, which is all kinds of encouraging, I just want to see the secondary stuff to catch up. It could and I’d be owning him in 12-teamers – this is a Win despite the 4 ER, right? – and we could be seeing a strong second half ahead. Streaming Record:  57-31.

Reynaldo Lopez – 7.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. On the plus side, he did focus on the trio of heater (still great)/slider (it’s where it needs to be) /changeup (2/15 CSW…yikes). One day that changeup will click and BAM, you have yourself a Top 50 starter. One day…

Luis Perdomo – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. This 6/2 K per BB is actually impressive from Perdomo. Yes I’m overlooking everything else and he’s not good and please don’t own him, but I don’t expect much of anything from Perdomo so this is cool? I guess? Maybe? I’m just trying to be supportive ya’ll.

Jose Berrios – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. His curveball wasn’t gone but it wasn’t overpowering here. I still believe in him for the second half and I wouldn’t freak out over the recent turbulence.

Michael Fulmer – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Okay this was the Astros, I was 50/50 on if I wanted to start him, and this was atrocious. I have to leave this tweet here as Fulmer did not deserve all of this fate. Seriously, that’s probably the worst called strikezone I’ve seen all season. But hey, so it goes and I’m not hesitating throwing Fulmer against all but the elite offenses.

Austin Voth – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. We got through a Voth phase at some point, I’m now looking at some of you dreaming of a month from now when you’re back to your normal self.

Today’s Streamer

Andrew Suarez vs. Oakland Athletics – There may be more options as teams decide what to do entering the break, so keep yourself updated come Saturday night.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

ALL-STAR BREAK – Treat yourself to something nice.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

ALL-STAR BREAK – Yeah, it’s still the break. Crazy, I know.

Game of the Day

Trevor Bauer vs. Masahiro Tanaka – That’s a fun one, no?

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.

  • Avatar Jon Seger says:

    FYI, Jack Flaherty was pulled early after 5 IP due to a rain delay.

  • Avatar Jim says:

    I’ve only streamed R Lopez twice this season and in those two starts he has given up 9 ER. Only reason I have rolled the dice those two games is because he is ranked top 100 here and “there must be something Nick sees that owners in my league do not.” His peripherals are meh, below replacement level actually. So what is it about this guy, other than pedigree, that has him ranked above the Mahle’s, Duffy’s and Minor’s of the world that are actually HELPING teams currently?

    Enjoy the well deserved break!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      He has better stuff than many guys on the list. Hes not helping, but he could… Watch him pitch and it is pretty obvious that he has some things working for him. Lots of players have pedigree with a lack of stuff, but he has some stuff and he flashes the ability to put it together. He is best situated on your bench, but worth owning in the event that something clicks – there is also an elite bullpen arm there… I get what you are saying though – there are always arms that lack upside that are much more helpful. I am happy that I don’t have to make a list every week!

  • Avatar Alex says:

    How confident are you that Ronald Acuna will produce ROS in a h2h points league?? And what about Kyle Tucker?? Love what you guys do keep up the great work!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      There is a hitter list too – you may get a better discussion there. I think you need to define what acceptable production looks like to answer that question. Yes, they will get ABs. Will it outpace your current guy or what you could get for these guys? That is the question!

  • Avatar Deki says:

    Could you please reccomend the best 5 from this list in terms of rest of season upside?? Thank you!!

    Quintana
    Godley
    Manaea
    Castillo
    Weaver
    Pivetta
    Buehler
    Jon Gray
    Heaney

    • Avatar Beantown says:

      That’s literally the definition of “The List”. Just follow the rankings

      • Avatar Deki says:

        I’m talking more about a drop vs hold type decisions. Sometimes Nick has a guy lower on the List while very much expecting a second half resurgence. Which in the case of a hold vs drop decision, you wouldn’t want to drop that.

        • Avatar theKraken says:

          I don’t think that is particularly true. They are ordered based on the rest of season value. The list is about value moving forward. That said, you are looking for upside which is different. My five would be Quintana, Heaney, Buehler, Pivetta, and IDK. Probably Manaea, but I am guessing that you are talking a small league with those names and that 5th spot is probably a streamer based on matchups. Manaea is too inconsistent for my liking.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Heaney, Pivetta, Buheler, Godley, Manaea.

  • Avatar Vinny says:

    Hey Nick,

    Do you still believe Castillo can regain his form in the second half or do you prefer taking a flier on wheeler, musgrove, rodon?

  • Avatar Joe says:

    Who do you like better for the second half Nick: Fulmer or Skaggs?

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I thought Berrios actually pitched well in that game. Two of the runs were allowed via the bullpen and one of the “big hits” was a double where the CF actually fell down – it had a hit probability of 30-something % and ended up being a 2 run double that eventually scored. I didn’t consult anything, but I think that Twins defense has got to be one of the worst in baseball without Buxton. In any case, Berrios is one of those guys that has a knack for running into some trouble. Its like he gives up a something to the back of the lineup and then it spirals for a few hitters and then he reigns it back in. Not his best start by any stretch, but it likely is a QS without that not-error and he was generally in control. Excuses, excuses lol

  • Avatar Frank says:

    Better add for second half, Mahle or Rodon? H2H Points. Both are closely ranked so figuredI would take a shit asking.

  • Avatar J.C. Mosier says:

    Thanks for making Clev and Fulmer “maybes” in this week’s “Sit or Start”! Normally, they’re auto-starts, but benching them yesterday has given me a slight lead in ERA and WHIP this week.

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