Steven Matz @ TEX (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.
As is tradition since the start of 2015, I put out my Top 100 Starting Pitchers earlier this Monday and I neglected to put Steven Matz inside the Top 100. I even told Fast during the On The Corner podcast after that I probably should have. Well Nick, you definitely should have as he went 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 9 Ks shortly after, taking full advantage of a start against Texas. What. A. GEM. It came with 15 whiffs and 34% CSW, products of a Lucas Giolito-esque meld of fastballs and changeups north and south. His curveball was effective at getting strikes and his slider stole a few swings, but playing his heater and slowball off each other steered this machine forward, especially with a sinker sitting 95/96 mph — nearly a full tick jump from 2020.
Looking ahead, Matz gets the Angels and Royals next, and despite the nine strikeouts and solid approach today, I think I’m going to pass. I want to buy into the increased velocity helping him evade the Angels’ bats and maybe it’s worth it. It’s close and I’d err on the side of being conservative in your 12-teamers. Fifteen? The fact that he’s allowed to toss over 90 pitches with a great offense behind him after a start like this should be everything you’ve dreamed of.
Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:
Carlos Rodón @ SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.
Whoa whoa WHOA. That’s a Gallows Pole for Rodón! We saw rumblings that Rodón was throwing harder in the spring but after years of never putting it together, we had to be a bit skeptical. It was a solid matchup against the Mariners and boy did Rodón capitalize here, carrying over that velocity to sit 2.4 ticks higher than last year. He’s at 95+ after never averaging above 94 mph in any season prior. Hot DANG! Meanwhile, his slider was fantastic with 39% CSW and earning plenty of strikes. I’m in, y’all. Go pick him up in your leagues and I’m thrilled Rodón was the streamer today — this is the goal, after all. To pick up a streamer and after the start elect not to throw them back to the wire. With the Chicago team watching his back and Kansas City ahead, you should feel great about this.
Dustin May @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 85 pitches.
He did. He actually did it and earned 16 whiffs. The secret all along was his slider, coming in at 93 mph and boasting a 50% SwStr on the evening. How it’s suddenly doing that is beyond me (maybe that’s just the A’s being the A’s?), but there it is and with those whiffs in his pocket, he went to work with sinkers in the zone for days. I was curious to see how the four-seamer would be used, and sadly, he wasn’t elevating it or even command it well at all, but hey, he has a glorious cutter now. Who cares. With a rotation spot firmly in hand (Tony Gonsolin on the IL + David Price looked horrific over the weekend), I’m already stuffing the crow in my face after all the negativity I threw toward May. I like to be the first one to tell you I’m wrong, and boy was I wrong here. You love to see it.
Anthony DeSclafani @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.
Tony Disco was able to survive against the Pads, but I’m not seeing enough here to make me think he can pull off a legit 12-teamer relevant season for the long haul. His slider is good enough, but the rest simply isn’t. Maybe that four-seamer, once again. Just maybe.
Adrian Morejón vs SF (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 64 pitches.
So this was mediocre. His splitter wasn’t much of anything here and it was mostly fastballs with some breakers and the split-change sprinkled in. The best news was the dude was throwing hard at 97 mph, but Morejón returned just a pair of whiffs on 25 thrown. That ain’t it. I’m not ruling out that with more starts, he’ll refine his approach and possibly explode for a wonderful evening when the heater pairs super well with the splitty, but for now, I think I’m okay passing.
Luis García @ LAA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 68 pitches.
Three whiffs. THREE. 0/49 across his four-seamer and slider. Can you feel my aura of disappointment? It burns. It’s not supposed to soothe, you know. They don’t call it “praiseappointment”. It’s an appointment for a dis. Excuse me, Nick, your 2:20 is ready for you. Ah yes, who is that again? It’s me, sadness and regret. Ah, Mr. García. Please, please, come in. Yes, all of this when I had zero expectations in the first place.
Yeaaaaah. The Astros are good, so don’t start Quintana. It’s simple, y’all, just stick to the plan.
Justus Sheffield vs CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.
Blegh. I’m not a huge fan of Sheffield’s sinker, and I’m not sold that it can earn over double-digit called strikes often. Meanwhile, his changeup is still fleeting, and his slider doesn’t do enough to lift a 92 mph fastball to greater heights. This ain’t it, y’all.
Frankie Montas vs LAD (L) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.
Nooooo. I had my concerns starting Montas against the Dodgers, but I definitely didn’t think it would be this bad. His splitter didn’t do enough, his slider failed to get strikes, and he was forced to pummel the zone with four-seamers…which he’s throwing harder than last year. So the good news here is that if Montas was facing a middling offense, he likely would have been fine. Welp, he gets the Astros next before his respite against Detroit and Baltimore, so hold onto yer butts.
Jacob deGrom @ PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 77 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. And leave it to the bullpen to somehow — even with Matt Moore on the other side — to mess it all up for you. It’s simply crazy. Crazy! Also, deGrom threw over 90% heaters across his first 50 pitches because he felt like it…or he didn’t have the feel for his slider. And it didn’t matter, did it. Sigh, what a guy.
Matt Shoemaker @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 92 pitches.
You drafted The Cobbler for this start and he didn’t disappoint. Is he someone you hold through the year? Nah. Can he go six solid frames against the Mariners over the weekend? Yeah, sure. That’s what The Cobbler does. I also want to note that Randy Dobnak also appeared in this one for 52 pitches…and one whiff. So yeah, that ain’t what you want it to be.
Danny Duffy @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 97 pitches.
Nothing special here, just the Duff man shoving. Fastball is coming in a little harder at 93 vs. 92 mph last year, but he still doesn’t have a secondary pitch that will wow us. Just consider him as a Toby for starts like this one against Cleveland. Atta boy.
Nick Pivetta vs TB (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.
Oh my. It actually worked. Pivetta did the thing I’ve wanted him to do since 2018 — throw more than 50% breaking balls — and they returned 38% CSW. He also sat 95 mph and…no. I can’t. I CAN’T. His four-seamer held a 14% CSW, Nick. OH THANK GOD. That was close, y’all. Almost had me for a second. At least I feel better about slotting him at #100 today. He also gets the Orioles next. … — … Send help.
Jordan Montgomery vs BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 73 pitches.
Mmmmm The Bear got to work in this one, taking full advantage of his start against Baltimore. It’s funny to me, Domingo Germán earned the #3 start and his reward was a much tougher day against Toronto. What would Monty’s line have been if he were the #3? Who knows, I’m just smiling at this one. He’s kept the increased velocity from 2020 while leaning into that changeup for 9/25 whiffs (!) and even returning 50% on 14 curveballs. The man was locked in and for a start that was likely limited around 80 pitches, you have to be thrilled you got six frames out of it. Here’s to starts in the future where he can hit 90 and more. Start him against Tampa.
Daniel Ponce de Leon @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 93 pitches.
The key to success with Ponce de Leon is having a secondary pitch to throw for strikes. His changeup and curveball combined for 0/10 CSW and 30% strikes. This ain’t it. It’s pretty impressive that he can survive five innings with just a 92.4 mph heater and allow just one ER and if I’m going to be interested in him again, I need to see another pitch show up — likely his curveball.
Jose De Leon vs PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 81 pitches.
Whoa whoa whoa, no way José, there’s only room for ONE “de León” here. Daniel is the GREAT LEON! after all. Come on Nick, be cool. Fine, fine. What did you do anyway…a 1.00 WHIP? 3.60 ERA? Nine strikeouts? A 17% SwStr on your sinker?! Ohhhh, you faced the Pirates. It’s not a full excuse for this outing, but I am a bit hesitant to jump on board here as that sinker found the heart of the zone oh-so-much + I’m not in love with his secondaries. He does get the Giants next, though, and maybe I’d be okay with that one. I watched a decent amount of this and his sinker was a bit deserving of that CSW clip. I’m 50/50 there.
JT Brubaker @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 82 pitches.
Coffee Cakes over here (Brew + Baker) somehow fanned six batters in just four innings, throwing his slider more than any single pitch. Not gonna lie, it’s kinda interesting, though he had plenty of deep counts that dragged him out with just 12 outs to his name. I’m not sure I want him for the Cubs, but the Brewers + Tigers after may be a wonderful fit.
Logan Allen vs KC (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 72 pitches.
I watched some of this and I’m not that impressed. Just 3/34 whiffs on secondary pitches and a kinda mediocre fastball. He was able to get outs but I just don’t see what we want to be chasing here with Allen.
Trevor Rogers vs STL (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 77 pitches.
On one hand, the man had 17 whiffs as his four-seamer overwhelmed the Cardinals for 13 whiffs and 95/96 velocity — he averaged 93.6 mph last season! On the other hand, his changeup went 0/10 CSW. His slider was spotted well down and glove-side, and I’m encouraged for the most part, but there is a bit of command that still needs to come with the fastball/slider approach. He can get there and to see the whiffs + velocity already hitting is a wonderful sign. This isn’t a “oh, I guess that didn’t work out” start. The man hasn’t tossed over 80 pitches yet. Stick with Rogers.
Matt Moore vs NYM (ND) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 74 pitches.
Matt’s version of Mandy’s “Candy” features licorice and endless candy corn. That’s what watching this start feels like.
Trevor Williams vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 85 pitches.
What a ridiculous day where T-dubs earns a King Cole on the night deGrom pitches — just two whiffs away from the Golden Goal. Unreal. It was a kitchen-sink approach here, with all five pitches used above 10% of the time, and he did an incredible job keeping changeups, curveballs, and sliders down. Fastballs avoided the heart of the plate well, and there you have it – -the ideal T-dubs start. And there’s more: he faces the Pirates next. Yeah, I’m game with the way he’s clearly feeling his command.
Jorge Lopez @ NYY (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.
There are moments in every López start where you think “oh snap, that was beautiful” and then he allows a bomb and you nod your head, defeated. Like Gonzaga. (Sorry, too soon?)
Mike Foltynewicz vs TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.
His heater sat at 94 mph here — it’s not what you want — and despite the seven strikeouts, those few whiffs and poor CSW tell you everything. 95 pitches for just 12 outs is a rip-off, and I deserve my money back. Sir, this is a Wendy’s. Oh. I’ll have a chocolate frosty then.
Brett Anderson @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 79 pitches.
This…this is about right. Sorry Brett, I don’t really expect any different from you against the Cubs. They’re kinda good.
Michael Wacha @ BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.
He was throwing harder in the spring, but somehow “April 5th” doesn’t constitute spring for Mr. Wacha over here as he sat below his 2020 average velocity. His cutter was as good as I’ve seen in this one, but everything else wasn’t there for him and…yeah. The good news is that the Rays let him go 90 pitches, but he won’t get a comfortable lineup for a bit. Just the Wacha way, Renee.
Jose Urena vs MIN (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.
Y’all know what’s coming. If you rely on Jose, Ureña boatload of trouble.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)