Nathan Eovaldi @ BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.
It’s Wednesday (my dudes), which means we’re seeing the final start from pitchers across the league, save for a Game 163. In all likelihood, today’s 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches marks the end of Nathan Eovaldi’s remarkable 2021 campaign, carrying a 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 195 strikeouts. Incredible.
The secret wasn’t much of one over the second half – Eovaldi found a curveball as it carried a 41% CSW and a low .180 BAA. After years searching for a sustainable #2 pitch, he found one and it carried to legit success, all while staying on the field and earning over 155 frames for just the second time in his career. I would wager the health would take a small dip next year and it’s tough to bank on the hook being this good again, which may turn him into a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP pitcher, and not exactly someone to target in a 12-teamer, but we’ll talk about this later. I’m very curious to see where he ends up in drafts.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Adrian Houser @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 67 pitches.
The ratios are cool but just one strikeout?! “HAISTBMBWT?!” The sinker did all the heavy lifting and it’s not the 2019 pitch we want it to be. I have my doubts we’ll see it across a sizeable chunk of a season again.
Alex Wood vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 74 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! His first “King Cole” of the season on the very last chance he had, on the back of a stunning 57% CSW with his slider. Incredible. What a renaissance this season has been for him and while I don’t think he can be this good for a full 2022 year, I’d be interested to take a flier if his near 10 K/9 and sub 4.00 ERA doesn’t shoot him up draft boards.
Merrill Kelly @ SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 96 pitches.
Ayyyy, nice job Kelly! Sure, it’s a wonky WHIP and only a few strikeouts and he got lucky in the field, but he survived the strong Giants lineup. The man hopes to be a “Toby” next year and I look forward to streaming him here and there.
Frankie Montas @ SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.
It’s absolutely crazy how well Montas recovered his season from the depths. He’s ending his season with a 3.37 ERA despite holding a 4.79 mark through his first 15 starts. Yes, that means he held a 2.24 ERA across his final seventeen starts (including today) to carry that sub 3.50 clip. Amazing what being in rhythm with your splitter and slider can do. Are we believing in the volatility or is he destined to carry this feel in 2022? I’m inclined to say he’ll have some bumps along the road, but I wouldn’t completely ignore the chance for another strong campaign.
Drew Rasmussen @ HOU (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 54 pitches.
This is just hilarious. Rasmussen essentially had a “Vargas Rule”, earning 5 IP with excellent ratios with ease despite earning fewer than four strikeouts, against great offenses at that. I’m happy for those that took the leap of faith, but I just can’t buy he’ll do it again next season, even if he does sit 97 mph (well, 95.6 mph in this one). The Rays likely will keep at a “Two-times vs. the lineup” and upset managers everywhere when he doesn’t face just 16 batters in five innings.
Carlos Rodón vs CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 69 pitches.
Wow, I didn’t expect Rodón to toss five full frames here, especially when he averaged 91 mph on his fastball. Jeeeeeeeez. Just let the man rest for h*ck’s sake. I think we’re going to need to see him in the spring sitting 94/95 mph before we jump back in for next year, but hot dang, was the guy great.
Roansy Contreras vs CHC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 46 pitches.
So hey, this kid is kinda interesting. He sat 96.3 mph on his four-seamers while flexing a decent slider and curveball in the mix. It was just 46 pitches, but if he gets a chance at the rotation next year, he could make an impact. It’s too small of a sample to make a true assessment, but having that velocity gives him a chance.
Logan Gilbert vs OAK (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.
Despite just 1/20 whiffs on his slider (yikes), Gilbert had his best fastball and survived 5.2 frames. I’m excited for what’s ahead in 2022, though it will be on the back of that sweeper getting its act together. Maybe he can find consistency with his changeup and curveball as well – that would be cool.
Zac Lowther vs BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.
Hey, this is the best we’ve seen of Lowther and it’s still not great across the board. There just isn’t enough in that repertoire.
Max Fried vs PHI (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.
Atta boy Fried. He hasn’t hurt you since the start of July and he seems like a sturdy arm for 2022. I’m crossing my fingers we can get his old slider back while the fastball command is stable and the curveball keeps missing bats. That’s what missing and holding him back from a proper ascension.
Michael Pineda vs DET (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.
Atta boy Pineda, even if the WHIP ain’t great. The man had multiple starts this year just shoving sliders and heaters over the plate and having success and it doesn’t speak to a long string of success. Consider him as an early streamer and not a draft target.
Janson Junk @ TEX (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.
Sadly his Junk isn’t filthy and we’re still not interested. Be more like junk, Junk.
Elieser Hernandez @ NYM (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 65 pitches.
Elieser was at his peak against the Mets, stealing 45% CSW with his four-seamer, allowing the slide piece to earn 9/30 whiffs at Citi Field. It’s great to see him show off his ceiling before the season came to an end and I could see some leaning on it for a possible 2022 breakout. Personally, I don’t think his fastball can be anywhere close to this good regularly, and his changeup needs more work before I buy in. It’s a wait-and-see.
Taijuan Walker vs MIA (ND) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.
Despite this great effort against the Marlins, Walker failed to the Win, marking July 3rd as his last start with a Win. He’s had fourteen starts without a Win. Wow. I was shocked to see Taijuan’s heater sit 94/95 mph all season long and the success that came with it, though he had plenty of bumps and he’s likely someone I pick up at the end of drafts for a good early schedule, not rely on through the 2022 season. I just don’t buy the rest of the arsenal to bail him out when the fastball isn’t cooking.
Kyle Hendricks @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 78 pitches.
Phew. It was the Pirates n all, but Hendricks has been all kinds of rough in the second half and I think it did enough long-term damage to make us avoid him next year. He’s not the potential #2 SP rock anymore and what’s the point of drafting him in 12-teamers if guys like Cal Quantrill, Chris Flexen, Wade Miley, and James Kaprielian exist?
Aaron Nola @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.
That’s a “VPQS” for Nola and that’s a blegh. His changeup wasn’t there and it’s been a thorn through the year, though I have to believe another full season will correct it while the fastball and curveball continue to dominate. I’m in for a rebound next year and given his volume and ceiling, you should too.
José Berríos vs NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 98 pitches.
Unreal. I’ve been asking the question Will Berríos ever have a season under a 3.50 ERA? and despite sitting below the mark for a few weeks, he found a way to end the season at 3.52. The Flag strikes again. At least you know what you’re gonna get next year and there’s something very comforting in that.
Casey Mize @ MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 65 pitches.
At least we saw more than four frames, but this wasn’t destined to be fantasy-relevant. Mize is back on the menu for 2022, of course, and I wonder if he can be anything more than a “Toby”. He doesn’t really have that repertoire that speaks to overwhelming dominance, sadly, but guys can change. I’m excited for what we’ll see.
Luis Garcia vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches.
Another Garcia start, another day wishing he had his slider. The heater oddly earned 7/35 whiffs here, propelling a “Gallows Pole”, but I have my doubts Garcia can be his incredible first half self without that slider doing wonderful things. I wonder if it was fatigue or if it was simply falling out of rhythm and it makes drafting him in 2022 a tough decision.
Miles Mikolas vs MIL (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 96 pitches.
Seven strikeouts?! They were a product of his slider going 7/27 whiffs and that kinda gets me hyped. I’ve wanted Mikolas to turn that pitch into a strikeout offering since 2018 and maybe this hints at what’s to come in 2022. Absolutely do not bank on that but just a moment showcasing the possibility is enough to make me raise an eyebrow. Lean into it, Miles. It gives you strength.
Daniel Lynch vs CLE (ND) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.
Lynch was removed after taking a comebacker, but it’s not like he was cruising before it. I really believe in Lynch long-term with mid-90s heat + a whiffable slider, but this 2021 rookie campaign truly was rough. It’s hard not to wonder if the Royals themselves are a part of the issue. Anyway, he should go undrafted and we’ll be watching his early results for a possible quick pickup.
Paolo Espino @ COL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 34 pitches.
I mean, yeah. It’s Coors. You didn’t do anything silly, right? Right?!
Taylor Hearn vs LAA (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 91 pitches.
Welp, this one didn’t work either. Streaming Record: 92-77. I’ve considered Hearn a “Toby” through the year and the Angels made for a worthy outing to close out the season. In the end, his stuff really is that pedestrian and let’s not consider him for 2022 until further notice.
Max Scherzer vs SD (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.
Whoa, Scherzer and Cole failing in many managers’ most important start of the year. Brutal. Scherzer ends the year with a 2.46 ERA, shocking all of us, daring the industry to draft him inside the Top 5 starters next year despite his age. It’s tempting y’all, not gonna lie.
Zach Plesac @ KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 97 pitches.
Awwww dang it. I was hoping Plesac could make this one work against his worst opponent in a hot second, but nah. He failed to have his changeup and slider working in tandem all year and I really hope he finds them over the off-season. If they can act like their 2020 selves + play nice with his new curveball, there’s legit upside here.
Ryan Weathers @ LAD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 62 pitches.
Oh hey, it’s Weathers. It’s like me looking back at my eight-year-old self as I was into pogs. How could I have ever been a fan of that.
Peter Lambert vs WSH (ND) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 58 pitches.
In like a Lambert, out like a wet blanket. Coors does that.
Sonny Gray @ CWS (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.
Womp womp. The ChiSox are great and Gray wasn’t overwhelming. It could be more volatility for Gray next year and I’m seeing him as a chance play more than as a solid play. He’s destined for ups and downs all year. He’s never been black-or-white, it’s always a Gray area.
Gerrit Cole @ TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.
Wow. This start brought Cole’s ERA to a mortal 3.23 mark, concluding a wild ride of a season. The man still fanned 243 batters and boasted a fantastic 1.06 WHIP, but we all want that sub 3.00 ERA, you know? I can’t help but wonder how this start will affect him in drafts next year – is he the #1 starter off the board? If not, how far down? – and I’m not completely decided yet. 243 strikeouts and great ratios are tough to beat.
Game of the Day
Shane Bieber vs. Kansas City Royals – I really want to see ace Bieber do his thing.
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 EST Monday through Friday.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Nick – did you happen to catch Ashby’s 2 inning relief outing last night? Mixed into the typical filth were three elevated four seamers. All whiffs.