New Torque Nick

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Nick Pivetta @ TB (ND) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

I’m amazed Nick Pivetta has forced his way into the SP Roundup feature, but here we are after he went 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches against the Rays tonight. Yep, that’s a no-hitter, wisely pulled early, with glorious marks to his name.

The whole season has featured 95/96 mph heaters at the top of the zone and this start is no different – but the change here was the breakers. 9/53 whiffs and a combined 34% CSW between the curveball and slider is everything we want as the two looked as good as I’ve seen them at the bottom of the zone. Pivetta pulled off the BSB as well as anyone, mixing 96+ at the top of the zone, then spinning a heavy 81 mph hook to the bottom. It’s glorious when it’s working and all I wonder is how often he can do it.

Don’t forget, he’s just two starts removed from a six-ER game against the Jays and this is the first outing since April where Pivetta has had fewer than two ER. What I’m seeing is a glimpse of 2018, where there are legit highs and there are depressing lows. Pivetta is a proper Cherry Bomb once again, and while I’d love for him to rid himself of the label in the best way possible, I find it hard to jump back in. Consider him if you need to chase the ceiling, otherwise don’t be upset if you’re not putting yourself in these potential fires.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Anthony Kay vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.

Whoa, Kay really impressed me in this game. Sure, it was the Orioles, but he sat 95/96 on his heater and touching 97/98 times, while he lived up in the zone and spun some excellent breakers + a nifty changeup in there, too. The stuff speaks to legit, it’s a matter of stamina, command, and approach. Around the 70 pitch mark, he began falling into 92-94 mph lands (stamina), he racked up nearly 50 pitches across the first two innings as he couldn’t spot his fastball in the zone with ease (command), and he isn’t relying enough on his secondaries, which include a curveball and changeup that combined for 8/18 CSW (approach). There’s something here and while he’s not fully polished yet, Kay has the makings of a legit arm. It’s more like a Young Gun scenario, but if the Jays keep needing him in the rotation, he should catch your eye in deeper leagues and maybe your 12-teamer soon.

Michael Wacha vs BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 75 pitches.

What a wild night this was with many highly volatile pitchers showcasing their best selves. We saw Wacha hone his fastball/changeup approach here, even mixing in effective cutters for 13/17 strikes as well. It looks like he has Tyler Glasnow’s spot in the rotation solidified for now (sorry Luis Patiño) and while this outing wants to entice you for the Nationals next, I wouldn’t wager it. Wacha has had these moments in the past only for them to fade fast, like my ambition to get this out before midnight tonight. HA Ha ha…THERE WERE SO MANY PITCHERS TO WATCH.

Zach Davies @ LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

Like this game where the Cubs, despite walking eight batters, combined for a no-hitter. I’m sorry, it really feels like we shouldn’t celebrate over a near-1.00 WHIP for a pitching staff. Sure, a 0.89 WHIP is a lovely thing, but it seems too poor for a historic night, you know? suit man whispers in my ear. Whatever, I don’t care if EJax is crying in the corner now, he knows it to be true. Annnnyway, I’m sure Davies felt this was cheating and seeing 19% CSW on his changeup is just wrong. This changes nothing and we’re all avoiding Davies still.

Joe Ross @ MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 101 pitches.

Yesssss! Streaming Record: 48-34. Another worthy stream as Ross cruised with his slider while pumping strikes with sinkers. That’s all you need against Miami. I’m not so convinced for the long haul — even the Rays next have me questioning holding onto Ross as it’s really just the slider that’s working right now – but hey, maybe he keeps that slider working and he carves up more Quality Starts ‘n’ stuff. That would be lovely.

Tony Santillan vs ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

Hot dang! Ant-Sant earned himself a Gallows Pole as he did his best impression of Adbert Alzolay, tossing 45/45 sliders and fastballs, with the former earning 13 Whiffs (!) and the latter sitting 93/94. The rest were changeups and we’re going to ignore that. Is this a sustainable approach? Sure, why not? His slider is certainly filthy enough to make it happen, but the question isn’t the approach, it’s the consistency. His command was atrocious last time and it was a clear step ahead here. It’s hard not to be a little impressed, though the bad news here is he gets San Diego next. As intrigued as I am, I think it’s best to wait on the sidelines — if he can pull it off there, I’m down for the Cubs after.

J.C. Mejía @ MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

You know, I don’t hate the kid’s slider. It went 36% CSW here and paired with solid sinkers that found gloves for a cool six frames. I think we’re going to get a lot of hurt along the way and…double checks notes…Awww, I already made a JCM 800 joke. BUT THE AMP IS SO GOOD. Unlike Mejía long-term. Touché.

Jameson Taillon vs KC (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Whoaaaa, Taillon did it! He went six-plus IP with just one ER! And he’s still struggling to get whiffs on his breakers! Oh. That isn’t to say they were poor — he did a fantastic job keeping them down — it’s just that I don’t see the electric ceiling that makes it worth all the bumps and bruises. It was the legit BSB pitch separation I’ve been chasing, though. It’s not the easiest schedule ahead (LAA, NYM, @HOU) and I’d still proceed cautiously. Remember the rules: first as an exception, second is a suggestion, third is confirmation. We’re at #1 right now.

Chris Bassitt @ TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

That’s six of Bassitt’s last seven starts with two ER or fewer as he had the first of three Rangers starts across four games. This is gonna be fun.

Chad Kuhl @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Sure, the ratios are great, but it’s two strikeouts and you know that heater leaves so much to be desired. Even the slider isn’t quite its old self with just 7/46 whiffs. 37% CSW is pretty darn nice, though. So fine, the slider is cool but the fastball is cruel, Kuhl.

José Berríos vs CLE (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 96 pitches.

Awwwww yeah Berríos! Look at that King Cole! And glorious WHIP! Nine strikeouts! JUST ONE EARNED RUN! His curveball earned 41% CSW as the heaters earned effective strikes + his changeup induced poor swings. This works and we’ve entered the Zone of Bliss. Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times and be sure to jump off quickly when the ride comes to stop as it will slowly dissolve into liquid hot mag-ma upon completion. Disclaimer: You have agreed to all damages received while on this ride. Entire ride usually lasts four weeks and doesn’t care about your fantasy team. 

Jesse Chavez @ CIN (L) – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 36 pitches.

Jesse ChavezJesse Chavez…where have I heard that name befo—wait. The 37-year-old? Seriously? Whoa. I had no idea you were still a thing, JC! Cool to see you have success in this bullpen game. Please use this spot for Kyle Muller moving forward, though. K thx.

Luis García @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 96 pitches.

So it’s not as amazing as we’ve seen (cough 1.50 WHIP cough) but we’re all nodding our heads with approval. Go fourth in the rotation forth and conquer.

Walker Buehler vs CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna earned a PQS and fan six. It’s fine. We’re all feeling a bit down on Buehler these days (rightfully so), and I think it’s pretty clear he’s under Rodón and Gausman at this point. It’s a great repertoire, just not elite and massively overwhelming, you know?

Kolby Allard vs OAK (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 97 pitches.

I’ve been getting a decent amount of questions about Dralla and the answer is he’s…well, this. Just one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!”), questionable ratios, and not a whole lot of upside. But hey, at least he’s gonna get volume in the Texas rotation, eh?

Jose Ureña vs HOU (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

It was Ureña. Against the Astros. points to everything around the room I don’t think you need me.

Brad Keller @ NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 114 pitches.

He was at 95 mph last time and sat 93+ here, while the slider earned a low 16% SwStr rate as he featured it nearly 40% of the time. In other words, it wasn’t enough. I was a little excited that the velocity could stick, but it’s clearly not something to bank on. He’s just a desperate streamer now, nothing more.

Cody Poteet vs WSH (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 77 pitches.

I was leaning that Poteet was good enough after his Still ILL to perform well against the Nats. Ha, not even close. Let’s avoid this for a bit.

Carlos Martínez vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 7 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 87 pitches.

After allowing eight ER, some may have wanted to give CarMart a second chance against the Pirates. Whoops. That’s seven walks. SEVEN. Just forget about Martínez for a bit, it’ll do you good.

Dean Kremer @ TOR (L) – 0.1 IP, 6 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 39 pitches.

Make it stop. Please, just make it stop. I easy to forget Kremer had 20 strikeouts and just three ER across 16 IP in his first three MLB starts. Every day we stray farther from the light…

 

Game of the Day 

 

Yusei Kikuchi vs Carlos RodónTwo fantastic southpaws, both averaging over 96 mph on their heaters. Can’t wait.

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

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Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

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 abangs says:

    Missed opportunity to use the title “Non-Legendary Kremer,” but I suspect this won’t be the last such opportunity.

  • Avatar Jayson says:

    “We’re all feeling a bit down on Buehler these days (rightfully so), and I think it’s pretty clear he’s under Rodón and Gausman at this point. It’s a great repertoire, just not elite and massively overwhelming, you know?”

    So to sum up, we arrived at a point where we can safely state that Buehler is a disappointment cause we all know how early he was drafted this season in fantasy leagues, while Rodon was probably available in the FA market and Gausman drafted at the end of most drafts.

    I’m even wondering if Buehler still has a room to grow! I think he’s at his best and his ceiling is capped. He remains an awesome pitcher with the AGA for sure!

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