May I Have Some More

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Dustin May vs SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 93 pitches.

I won’t hide from it, I know I haven’t been very high on Dustin May since he wowed us with his two-seamer in his debut. The main problem was clear: he threw a hittable fastball and didn’t have a whiff pitch. Well, after earning a King Cole via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks against the Padres, I think it’s time I acknowledged how the man has changed and my views of him have as well.

It helps having threats like David Price and Tony Gonsolin firmly out of the rotation picture but even with the opportunity, I didn’t anticipate May to succeed like this. The main difference has been a new curveball he’s tossed 30% of the time here for 34% CSW — it gets whiffs and it’s everything I wanted for him. I can’t ignore a cutter that went 4/15 whiffs as well and with his sinker effectively getting strikes, the whole package speaks to a Top-40 arm — especially with an easier schedule ahead. Sure, we don’t know how many innings are in the tank and how #Dodgeritis will rear its ugly head, but feeling confident in a pitcher outside your top four studs is a wonderful feeling (sup Duffy!) and I’ll never get sick of my excitement shouting It’s Gonna Be May when I see he’s a probable pitcher.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Zac Gallen @ ATL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. How dare Gallen allow a single hit to Freddie Freeman and prevent the back-to-back doubleheader no-hitter. That would have been the coolest. A very low 10% CSW is strange for his changeup, alleviated a bit by its outs in play, but his curveball is wonderful and filled in the gaps. Remember, that curve was the pitch that bothered him the most during his injury, and let’s be thrilled it’s clearly working now. We’re all Gallen Gals now.

Hyun-Jin Ryu @ TB (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 62 pitches.

Ryu left this game with a glute strain and is hoping to make his next start. We drafted him knowing we’d only get about 150 frames, but I still hope he can soar past it. You gots this, glutes. Hang in there.

Luis Patiño vs TOR (ND) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 42 pitches.

It’s cool seeing Patiño pitching again, but he’s not being used as a proper starter and it just…is? Josh Fleming followed for 4.1 frames of successful baseball and that’s cool ‘n’ stuff but coming from the completely biased perspective of wanting to see a starting pitcher do good things, starts like these feel wasteful as I can’t act on it, you know?

Danny Duffy @ DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 83 pitches.

The Duff man is on fire. Fastball still 93/94 mph as he earned 10 whiffs on the pitch en route to a Gallows Pole, while his changeup worked beautifully as a complement, going 44% CSW on its own. He’ll get a small test next time against the Twins, but then it’s back to easy street with Cleveland + Detroit and it has to feel so good to be a Duffy manager right about now.

Michael Fulmer vs KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 36 pitches.

We knew this would be a short outing, but not this short. It’s good to see the fastball still at 95 mph, though I’m tapping my foot with impatience waiting for his changeup to return in full(mer). I’m out until then, sadly, especially with @NYY and @BOS next.

Brandon Woodruff @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I slotted Woodruff above Burnes last week to little fanfare, but the man just keeps producing and will do so for more innings this year. Can’t argue with that. Try me. Sorry. Please don’t argue with that.*

Madison Bumgarner @ ATL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

It was a seven-inning doubleheader and Bumgarner pitched all seven without allowing a hit (plus one baserunner via error). It’s a no-hitter. Atlanta struggled in these two games, though seeing Bumgarner firmly at 91 mph through this outing is something to consider. His curveball did the whole whiff thing Arizona was hoping for back in early 2020, and I can’t help but wonder if this is an indication of Bumgarner becoming relevant. Want the best news? He gets Rockie Road and 2x Miami next. Absurdly so, you may want to jump in now.

Ross Detwiler @ SF (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 16 pitches.

This may have well been a bullpen game with the follow-up Paul Campbell tossing just three frames. So let’s move on here as you clearly don’t want the Deets.

Logan Webb vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 107 pitches.

Ayyyyy, there’s the Webb we dreamed of! Well, kinda. The line is great, the changeup wasn’t. Soooo we’re back where we started in 2020 and that’s not the Webb we were promised. This feels like a trap and unless I’m dyslexic and thinking that’s a tarp instead, I’m generally avoiding those. Wait, you enjoy tarps? Who doesn’t?! Think of all the activities you can do with a tarp!

Taijuan Walker vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Walker looked far from dominant in this one but does that really matter in the end? He’s fighting for Spider-Man, and if he get called strikes on four-seamers and outs with sliders like this, he’ll be nominated in the off-season and possibly pull a Nomadland. He gets Boston next, and I’m leaning no there, sadly.

Jack Flaherty vs CIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. His slider returned and the rest is history. I mean, every that is is history by definition, I guess, but you feel me. We’re good like that.

Michael Kopech vs TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 87 pitches.

With Lucas Giolito delayed from a finger cut, Kopech got another outing and this time was allowed to hint 90 pitches. Somehow. The result was everything we’ve dreamed about with a four-seamer averaging 95/96 mph and returning 11/55 whiffs + 45% CSW. Yeeeesh. Take it easy on those lone rangers, will ya? I was a bit underwhelmed by the secondary stuff but with a fastball this effective, it’s honestly okay. There’s time for those things later. I hope we can see another outing from him, but sadly I don’t think there’s room, even with Dylan Cease’s struggles. Sigh. It feels like Mike Clevinger all over again and we just need to accept it.

John Means vs OAK (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

Atta boy Means. 93 mph fastball is alright as long as you’re still getting whiffs with us + have your changeup command, and it’s what we saw here against Oakland. He’ll face them again as he skirts around the Yankee series and we’re all for this.

Jake Arrieta vs MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 101 pitches.

That’s another strong outing from Arrieta and sadly I can’t get behind it. That slider wasn’t good and it was sinkers in the zone that the bandaged Brewers couldn’t handle. It’s hard to think he won’t get burned against the Reds and Dodgers next.

Wil Crowe @ MIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 81 pitches.

I mean, we’re all happy for Crowe, right? It’s as pedestrian of a start as it gets but yeah man, good for you ‘n’ stuff.

Joe Musgrove @ LAD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches.

Blegh. After pitching so well recently, Musgrove just didn’t have it all working against the Dodgers. Hey man, you’re allowed — it’s the Dodgers. Your respite is now ahead, and we all know you’re going to do wonderful things. Go forth and prosper.

Matt Shoemaker vs PIT (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s not a major strikeout effort, but it’s a positive rebound for The Cobbler and that’s fine with me. His slider did return with 36% CSW, though his splitter got center stage in this one. And after this PIT start, it’s CLE, TEX, DET. Jeeeeeez Shoe, take off the cheat codes and share them with the rest of us. Streaming Record: 13-9.

Jon Gray vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

The Gray train continues as he earned 48% and 9/33 whiffs on sliders here + the BABIP went his way on fastballs. I’m a bit annoyed he doesn’t get three road starts now, and it’s just one in Arizona now, but fine, I’ll take that. Probably not Coors with the Giants and Padres after, though, even with this performance. It’s just too risky and you know that.

Lance McCullers Jr. vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 106 pitches.

See? Lance is totally fine when he’s not enduring a COVID vaccine. The new slider wasn’t as overwhelming as before, but his curveball did the rest and he should be cruising moving forward. Feel good about this.

Dylan Bundy @ HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 86 pitches.

Wonderful rebound, Bundy. He’s still 92 mph and while the whiffs weren’t there, the called strikes were with a 22 count for the night. Seattle and the Dodgers are next, good luck avoiding the hard drives, DB.

Eduardo Rodríguez vs SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.

Yep, that works Eduardo. Your four-seamer and changeup were grooving and it’s wonderful seeing you in rhythm. Please stay here, like you’re at the Hotel California.

Jesús Luzardo @ BAL (L) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.

It’s a slightly better VPQS from Luzardo and I’m a bit annoyed, but it did come with eight strikeouts and the skills are clearly there. Whiffs across all three of his pitches and I’m glad he’s essentially all four-seamers now. It’ll come around in full, just be patient. We already took off the TIARA after all.

Bryse Wilson vs ARI (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 61 pitches.

Yeaaaah, I’m not sure I’d pair up with Wilson even if he was the only person on a deserted island.

Triston McKenzie vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

Blegh. He had a few breakers that did wonderful things but McKenzie isn’t a finished product yet. There’s work to be done with fastball command (91 mph ain’t it either!) and he needs to get in rhythm with his curveball and slider. I’d have some hesitation against Minnesota, though the fact he’s hinting 90 pitches already does mean he could grant you six frames of production. These are difficult times to navigate.

Jameson Taillon @ CLE (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

I watched this one and I’m frustrated. On one hand, Taillon’s four-seamer is playing well with 31% CSW and hanging at the top of the zone. On the other, his secondary stuff just isn’t there — in both command and in aggressive whiffable movement. His slider is more like a cutter and his curveball should be doing more damage, but it earned just 1/16 whiffs. Maybe he can get more comfortable with those pitches in the zone to focus on heaters up with two strikes. At the same time, it’s getting harder to believe he can squeeze more out of those breakers. I’ve been saying Taillon should improve as the season develops and I still believe that, though I feel all of you who are incredibly impatient, especially against Cleveland. We gotta stay strong, y’all, at least he’s helping with that WHIP with just two walks on the season.

Luis Castillo @ STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.

Bleggggggh, this is becoming a real issue now, isn’t it? Castillo is struggling with his heater, going 0/7 CSW on four-seamers and 0/24 whiffs on sinkers. Yikes. His changeup could only do so much with 2/28 whiffs on its own and the man just isn’t in rhythm. It’s a clear TIARA situation as I don’t believe Castillo is toast now — buy low I guess? — and sadly all I can tell you is to keep starting him until this gets righted. I know he’s slightly down on velocity this year, but that can change quickly. He’s still pumping ~96 mph, after all.

Patrick Corbin @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Ugggggh this is pain. Corbin did get a few more whiffs on his slider this time around (over 20% SwStr rate!) but his fastball wasn’t spotted well, turning into mistakes that were taken for a ride via Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis. I know you want out and I feel the same way, but I get this weird feeling that with the slider getting better and his velocity above 91 mph that he’s going to cruise against Miami and start making us feel comfortable again. I just can’t drop him in my 12-teamers yet. I imagine many of you have already and it very well may have been the right thing. There’s just too much history of success with Corbin, and there are some signs of turning it around. Here’s to hoping he does.

Nick Margevicius @ BOS (L) – 0.1 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 32 pitches.

Marge nooooooo — said no one save for Mariners fans. It really makes you think if they should be doing this six-man thing and if they really are serious about that, how much longer can they wait before cashing in on Logan Gilbert? Get that man up here, please.

Kohei Arihara @ CWS (L) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 70 pitches.

Bleeeggggh. Four walks ain’t supposed to be possible for a command guy like Arihara, but here we are…uh. Now it’s Boston and Minnesota? Naaaah.

Drew Smyly vs ARI (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 71 pitches.

Bleggggh. While Smyly is hovering 93 mph and his curveball is earning whiffs, he doesn’t look particularly sharp at the moment. I won’t suggest that Smyly is donezo, but are you starting him against the Jays? I wouldn’t. Look to replace him if you haven’t already.

Chase Anderson @ COL (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

I mean, it was Coors and this was Chase. Like not parking on the lines, you know better.

Game of the Day 

 

Trevor Rogers vs Corbin BurnesI feel like this is the classic “buttered toast on the back of a cat” paradox. They are both so good, how could either of them not win?

 

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

 

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 pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Ross says:

    Great, now I have to google “buttered toast on the back of a cat.” Thanks a lot.

  • Avatar Ross says:

    Did not think that idea would come from as far back as 1988:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq0YjR11bx8&t=215s

  • Avatar Sagacious Sally says:

    Roto Cat H2H (K’s, WHIP, ERA, Wins Saves): Owners dropped Hendricks and Paddack. I have Nola, Bundy, Gausman, Civale, Rodon, Lynn and Carrasco as my SP’s. I’m thinking Hendricks for Rodon or Civale. What do you think? Thank you.

  • Avatar Mike Honcho says:

    I have some DL returns and need to drop a couple guys…How would you prioritize these SPs?
    Ray, Fulmer, Cobb, Smyly, Montgomery, Turnbull, Yarborough, Junis

  • Avatar J says:

    Would you drop Corbin or Taillon to pickup Bumgarner?

  • Avatar Matt J. says:

    I always heard it as jelly toast cats, but either way…enjoy this: https://youtu.be/mB5nztzXo24

  • Avatar Jim says:

    T Walker goes to Philly next. Are you still out on him there? I need a solid SP to replace Taillon who will be riding my bench for a while. Ty!

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I will reserve my excitement regarding May until he pitches more meaningful innings. I think success is pretty easy when you throw so few innings for many reasons. IMO, none of his success matters at all until he proves he can throw innings consistently. The Dodgers have abused him to this point in his career and that knocks him back in my book a bit. That CB could be what he needed, but I really don’t like the whole LAD thing – especially in his case.

    With Kopech, it is not that he allowed to hit 90 pitches. It is his fault 100% that he doesn’t pitch deeper into games. All the guy has ever done is pitch inefficiently, get hurt and walk guys. You can’t blame a team for not putting up with what he is. Sure, if all you do is look at tweets about velocity and silly headlines, then he is awesome – on the field, much less so.

    I am thinking that Taillon looks fine. I think he is super underrated tight now. I think this is likely his low-point for value. IMO he needs to simplify things at this point. One breaking ball wold be suffcient. I think that SL took away from his CB and its development definitely preceded the TJ. I thought that his CB looked good – you have to think that he just needs to stick with it.

    I am curious what you think about McKenzie. I like watching him pitch a lot. I suspect that there is something special going on there which isn’t easy to identify. I don’t think the FB velo matters with him. That guy just seems to beat people on swings a lot. He has always had extreme success at every point in his career. I think that he is more changing speeds, deception, command than stuff. Sure the BB don’t tell that story but it is triple his rate from any other season at this point. I think we all have the same deeper concern that the low velo is a red flag for an injury. He strikes me as a pitcher in an era of throwers. He has a pretty crazy track record of limiting hits, walks and always producing Ks. The fact that he does it at such low velo is amazing to me, but I enjoy watching him at this point. The hitters are always frustrated – only a few SP in MLB induce his level of frustration. He just gets them to miss and I am not entirely convinced it is skill, but it might be.

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