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Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Nestor Cortes Jr. @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 88 pitches.

You wanna know something I do? I underestimate guys all the time — it’s the nature of this job, there’s zero chance I get things 100% correct and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The best things in life are pleasant surprises and seeing pitchers I don’t expect to succeed to instead prove me wrong and soar like Nestor Cortes Jr.? That’s just a beautiful thing.

And what did Nestor do? Well he only went 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 88 pitches against the Orioles, including an immaculate inning. That’s 12/15 outs via way of the K. That’s INSANE. He froze batters constantly with back-door cutters while sneaking 90 mph heaters past bats. It was truly a special thing to watch.

We saw Cortes roll in the second half of last year and I was skeptical — it’s a very rational thing to do when a pitcher is sitting around 90 mph and doesn’t have that overwhelming secondary pitch to let you forget it. I assumed he’d fall back down to Earth and we’d whimsically mention him in conversation with a lovely chuckle on a summer day. Nope, this wasn’t just the Orioles being the Orioles, this was a man possessed. He gets the Guardians next and I don’t see any reason why he’s not an auto-start after tossing 88 pitches in this one. He was rostered in fewer than 25% of leagues yesterday and there may still be a chance in yours.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Bailey Ober @ BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 70 pitches.

Oberizzi is back on the menu! He really didn’t put this pitch in the zone here and it didn’t matter with 60% strikes regardless. His slider and curveball earned the strikes he needed and the BABIP went his way. It’s good to see, but he sure did get lucky on some of these — just four hits on 20 balls in play and 11 of them had xBAs above .400. Whatever Nick, that seems like a shrug of baseball to me. Sure, are you willing to wager that shrug continues in Ober’s favor against the White Sox next time? After facing Boston and Chicago, the man is destined to have some pink laundry. All I’m getting at is Ober isn’t at the place of “oh hey, he’s great and I expect him to be great most times” quite yet.

Michael Wacha vs MIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

The velocity really is dipping for Wacha, down to just 92 mph in this one + the changeup went just 2/24 whiffs…and he allowed 0 ER. I blame the injured Twins…? I wouldn’t trust this.

Alex Wood @ CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 87 pitches.

Soooo this is great and I’m happy. Whatever. Nick, what’s wrong. HE’S THROWING THE SAME VELOCITY AS LAST YEAR. But wasn’t his 91.8 mph part of the reason why he was great last year? That’s a good thing! HE WAS SITTING 93 LAST WEEK. I dunno, he looks good to me. Hmmmmph.

Bruce Zimmermann vs NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 75 pitches.

Cortes overshadowed this stellar performance from Zimmermann, who boasted a fantastic changeup — 39% CSW, 8 whiffs — and didn’t get demolished on  his heater, despite it sitting 2 ticks down. Yeaaaah that’s not gonna do it for me. It’s nice to see the changeup working at its peak, though.

Drew Smyly @ COL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

Whoa, not only did Smyly do this tossing at just 90.9 mph (yikes), it was inside Coors. I haven’t wanted a DS since Nintendo’s 2004 press conference and this doesn’t change that.

David Peterson vs ARI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ayyy this worked! Mostly! Just 4.1 frames is a bit disappointing, but he helped out otherwise, featuring a tick extra velocity & 42% CSW sliders. It makes you want to double-dip with the Sneks again later this week, doesn’t it.

Humberto Castellanos @ NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches.

Oh snap. I’m surprised there wasn’t a drive into deep left field allowed by Castellanos in this game when he earned just one whiff on 71 pitches. ‘Nuff said.

Aaron Ashby vs STL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

Ayyy it’s Ashby! He was far from sharp early on, but settled in nicely. Don’t worry, that Albert Pujols HR in the third on a hanging slider was unearned after a Kolten Wong error. Anyway, I’m thrilled to see him at 74 pitches and it may mean he sticks around for at least another pass as he paves the way to five full frames. This was far from the most dominant we’ve seen from him and I expect him to get better with more frames, so I just hope we get them.

J.P. Feyereisen @ CWS (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 28 pitches.

This was a bullpen game proper, with Tommy Romero eventually showing up for 29 pitches and two solid innings to end the game. I imagine this is how it’s going to be for a little bit. Cool cool cool, no doubt no doubt.

Andrew Heaney vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 89 pitches.

I spent the entire off-season discounting the idea that Heaney would be fixed in Los Angeles. His command is too wonky, I said. Well, fastball’s command was worse in this one than the first start we saw (and his velocity was down a tick to 91 mph), but the new slider is ridiculous — 14/39 whiffs and 46% CSW! — and even if he’s not facing the Reds, that thing is going to work if he can keep placing it glove-side and down. I didn’t see it coming and for all of y’all that took a shot on it, good on ya. I sure didn’t anticipate the command and a new pitch. 100% pick him up if you can.

Yu Darvish vs ATL (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.

Hahahahaha. I mean that’s all you can do. I hope y’all rationalized what last week’s start was and still let Darvish fly instead of doing ridiculous things like some Twitter replies suggested to me. Welcome to the premium Cherry Bomb that is Yu DarvishWe wish you the best of luck on a happy season.

Elieser Hernandez vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

Oh hey Elieser, totally forgot for a moment that you could be dope like this. Man, it’s really been fun to see these guys who feel so far away from their former selves to just whip it back into shape five days later. Nick, is that sarcastic? What?! No seriously, I mean that. It’s helpful for everyone to remember how pitchers are just people — they have the bad days and the good days just like all of us. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that. Here we saw Elieser not only feature a strong slider, but even earn eight whiffs on four-seamers, which you don’t see a whole lot from him. Pretty dang cool, not cool enough to start against Atlanta, but hey, keep an eye on this.

Bryce Elder @ SD (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.

Womp womp. Elder was plenty better against the Nationals and he didn’t have the same feel today. He badly needs that feel and without precision, this is what happens. You can respect your Elders, but you don’t need to keep them around all the time.

Adam Oller @ TOR (L) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 75 pitches.

Hey Nick, long time listener, first time Oller. Why did I do this? Hey random person, I have no idea. Cool, thanks for the help! Any time. The Rangers are next sooooo yeah.

Matt Brash vs HOU (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 85 pitches.

So we got a good glimpse at my biggest concern about Brash: His stuff, despite all of their awe and glory, can fail to earn strikes and disciplined hitters can make him labor. Sliders returned just 3/29 whiffs oddly enough here for 66% strikes (I’ll take that!) but his fastball, oh man, his fastball. 51% strikes. NO. You can’t do that Brash, you gotta sneak that 95/96 mph heater in the zone more than that and if you miss, earn that O-Swing. Please, you’re too good at creating uncomfortable swings to let batters off the hook with free passes. You can do this.

Patrick Corbin @ PIT (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.

I mean, you can’t be upset about this given it’s Corbin, but it really isn’t a whole lot. He’s still struggling to get slider whiffs — 2/29 — and that’s a Frozen Banana.

Alek Manoah vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 84 pitches.

Yessss. Okay, I wanted better than a 3.00 ERA, but that’s a quality start with a strikeout per inning and a 1.00 WHIP. He earned that Gallows Pole via 9/35 whiffs on sliders (Sliders. For. Strikes.) and eight more on heaters. It’s only a matter of time before the AGA label comes his way.

Vince Velasquez vs TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

Seeing Velasquez return a 42% CSW on four-samers is giving me nostalgia, then seeing just 5/49 whiffs on his secondaries is a…different type of memory. I feel bad that the White Sox need to rely on this right now. What terrible injury luck.

José Suarez @ TEX (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 59 pitches.

Blegh. We’re far away from chasing this.

Aaron Civale vs SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

The curveball and cutter were both great in this one, but the fastballs weren’t and the splitter/slider didn’t help things either. Meanwhile, he’s two ticks down on essentially everything and I’m not a whole lot interested in Civale with the Yankees and Angels ahead. Go grab someone else.

Martín Pérez vs LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 67 pitches.

Man, imagine if the Rangers had a legit rotation. They’d be serious contenders with how much that offense is clicking – at least Gray should be returning soon.

José Quintana vs WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 85 pitches.

You know, José is actually doing his best to execute the BSBFor real. It’s just not actually working, despite his best efforts. It’s hard to see it coming to fruition given his command should already be “good enough.” Yikes.

Dakota Hudson @ MIL (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 68 pitches.

Blegh. I think Hudson will be a very sneaky streamer this year with that defense behind him, but we’re just going to have to wait for the right moment is all. For now, act like a lover of 1973 baseball and replace the DH.

Austin Gomber vs CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.

We have a Frozen Banana here as we’re waiting for the right moment of Gomber clicking with his secondaries and avoiding Coors. It’ll come.

José Urquidy @ SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 70 pitches.

Bleeeeeegh. This hurts. Urquidy’s stuff simply wasn’t enough here as he floated curveballs nad sliders without much of anything doing a whole lot for him. He’s considered more of a command guy than a stuff guy in my book and when he doesn’t have his best asset, the pitches themselves aren’t going to save him. Now he gets the Jays and that’s terrifying, but hey, you never know. I can see someone dropping Urquidy in a league where Brash, Heaney, Megill, Cobb, etc. are available and you’ll see on The List tomorrow how I’d handle exactly that.

Tyler Mahle @ LAD (L) – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 73 pitches.

Womp womp. But it was on the road! Hahaha, yeah. It just didn’t work out here. His secondaries weren’t ideal, his fastballs were hit, and voila, there’s seven runs on the board. Keep starting him.

Zack Wheeler @ MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 66 pitches.

Noooooooo. NOOOOOOOO. Wheeler sat 97.2 mph last year and after his shoulder issue in the spring, sat 95 mph last time out. Fine, I said, ignorantly. That’s just him ramping up. He’ll be better next time. Nope, Wheeler sat 94.4 mph in this one and got WALLOPED. He still had his sinker and slider command, but four-seamers weren’t great and the lack of velocity helped Marlins batters lay off sliders out of the zone. This is a problem y’all. I wouldn’t be shocked if he heads to the IL as the Phillies give him the rest or whatever he needs to get that velocity back. We can’t live like this.

 

Game of the Day 

Alex Cobb vs. Tylor Megill – Be still my beating heart.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

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

One response to “Nestworld”

  1. Mike Honcho says:

    If both had secure rotation spots…Nestor or Ashby?

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