Nest In Show

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday 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 (NYY) vs BAL (W) – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 20 Whiffs39% CSW, 93 pitches.

What a season for Nestor Corteswho sent himself into the off-season with a statement – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 20 Whiffs39% CSW, 93 pitches – earning a Golden Goal as he trounced the Orioles one more time.

It ends his season with a 2.44 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 26.5% strikeout rate, and 6.2% walk rate across nearly 160 frames and I’m stunned. I didn’t buy Nestor’s heroics last year and he not only held onto that bliss but took a step forward in 2022. His four-seamer went up a tick and gained nearly three points of SwStr, he reduced his cutter’s HC%, and was able to steal called strikes at a remarkable 26% rate on his slider.

All that is to say he improved his heater and leaned on the cutter + slider to support it. His fastball velocity is low, but still clearly works, and the overall precision of his approach is obviously above-average.

We can’t draft him next year expecting a replication – he’s not a Top 15 SP y’all – and I wonder where he’ll eventually fall in drafts. He’s a Top 30 guy and seemingly safer than some budding stars, but I completely grasp those questioning the heater’s success, and without that pitch, the cutter and slider can’t hold up the walls effectively. It’s gonna be a tough call.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Ross Stripling (TOR) vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yesssss. What a wonderful season for Stripling, who has allowed 3 ER just once since returning to the rotation in early June. Once! The changeup has stepped up in a major way – 22% SwStr rate this year – and while it didn’t overwhelm here, he wielded his entire arsenal well with low changeups, curves for strikes, sliders down-and-gloveside, sinkers armside, and fastballs elevated. THIS WORKS. I hate that I have skepticism that he’ll keep the same rhythm in 2023 and I bet you’re going to see someone put him inside their Top 40 SP (if not higher) and I think that’s silly. Yes, it was a 2.64 ERA, 0.94 WHIP in those nineteen starts to end the year, but a 20.6% strikeout rate, .256 BABIP, and a sub 10% HR/FB rate. He had a good rhythm, things went his way, and the strikeouts are lacking. I’m cool drafting him, but there are bigger impact plays to make.

Cristian Javier (HOU) vs TB (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.

Sooooo where does Javier and his 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 33% strikeout rate go in drafts next year? The four-seamer is one of the best around and there’s room for more consistency if he can raise his slider strike rate to 65% next season. I think you’ll find me drafting him a ton next season as we say “why get Strider when you can get Javier?” – Strider is better, y’all, just in case you thought that was me…though Strider and Javier have near identical fastball and slider strike rates…hmmmmm.

Noah Syndergaard (PHI) @ WSH (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 78 pitches.

Thor made the most of his limited pitch count, though I didn’t anticipate 78 pitches here. Three whiffs tells you everything you need and despite a full year to make adjustments, he never got there. The name is not the name you know.

Kris Bubic (KC) @ CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh dear, this is sure to get some talking over the long and cold months ahead. It was the 92/93 mph heater we’ve seen here and there this season, but this time it came with 11/47 whiffs as he consistently spotted it up. The changeup was a coin-flip if it was located well, while the curve…yeah, the same. I don’t have faith in Kansas City helping Bubic take the next steps toward consistency here and I think it’s a trap for next season, but I sure hope I’m wrong.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) @ MIL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 42 pitches.

So he did ultimately start, but they limited him…and he went three perfect frames. Baseball. I get a sense ECab will get over-drafted next year as I have many concerns about his command – I don’t think I’ve seen a single start that has showcased him fully harnessing his arsenal this season, including this one – but it’s all about constructing your teams and what’s available around it. I’m getting excited to dissect all of this stuff soon with y’all – My Top 150 Starting Pitchers for 2023 article comes out October 10th (watch the stream live on Twitch.tv/pitcherlist that day!)

Scott Alexander (SF) vs ARI (ND) – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 15 pitches.

He opened for Jakob Juniswho stumbled for 4 ER in 4.2 IP. Let’s move on, sorry Junis.

Mike Clevinger (SD) vs CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 66 pitches.

He came through, but still featured the same problems we’ve seen all year – few breaker whiffs, a diminished heater, and questionable command (not control). You’re going to hear “I’m expecting a rebound from Clevinger in 2023” some this off-season and I’m inclined to not trust it. He had a whole lot of time to make the tweaks here…we’ll see. Depends on his draft price – if it’s free, sure, why not? Grab him, see if the slider is working, then get out if not.

Luis Castillo (SEA) vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 77 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He’s unlocked his slider and four-seamer this year, which is awfully weird to see with his changeup getting used just four times. You know, the pitch we called the best changeup in the game. I’ll still hold out hope he finds it this off-season.

Kyle Freeland (COL) @ LAD (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Look, a Dusty Donut from Freeland is something you’ll devour against the Dodgers. I gotta give him credit – save for the Padres outing last week, Freeland has returned 2 ER or fewer in six of his last seven. I sure avoided it completely and those daring to do so, you earned it. That said, it was a 20% strikeout rate and 1.38 WHIP in those games, too. Even if you gambited (i.e. started all seven starts blind) for all seven starts, you a) wouldn’t know which to start and avoid and b) I think it hurt more than helped for the 3.11 ERA and two Wins.

Cole Ragans (TEX) @ LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 71 pitches.

AHA! See? I knew he’d come around! On the real, I think Ragans is getting better at nibbling with heaters, cutters, and changeups, and there will be a point next year when it clicks for a good mini-stretch. This is a decent deep Draft Champions play next year, but nothing close to being on your radar for 12-teamers.

Nick Lodolo (CIN) @ CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.

The walks are annoying as he lost his feel at times, but the stuff is still soooo good and I think Lodolo keeps improving over time. Get pumped. Also, Savant is calling his heater a four-seamer now as it should. It’s the little things, y’all.

Zach Plesac (CLE) vs KC (L) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 69 pitches.

Awwww. I was hoping for more pitches from Plesac but he got Singled Out and didn’t have his secondaries working at all. HAISTBMBWT?!

Drew Smyly (CHC) vs CIN (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 62 pitches.

We didn’t expect this start and when we heard the news, it was clear he’d be limited. I’m so curious about next year, but let’s not get too aggressive on Smyly next year – he’s had stretches of success in the past and it could be completely gone in six months.

José Suarez (LAA) vs TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 90 pitches.

I consider Suarez a Cherry Bomb and I’m thrilled he came through for everyone who trusted him on Sunday. The harder slider was there, the four-seamer was able to sneak into the zone and the changeup tempted off the plate. He’s a bit sneaky for deeper 15-teamers next year, but I still think of him as a desperate streamer for 2023. That tune may change when I watch more of him this off-season, but I get a sense he’s too volatile + doesn’t have good enough stuff to be anything more than that.

Drey Jameson (ARI) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.

Hey guys, I want to apologize in advance – I’m going to be hyping Jameson a ton this off-season and it may be a Joe Ryan kind of situation where he becomes a ~200 pick next year. I sure hope not, but yeaaaaah his stuff is kinda legit. There’s concern about his command and arsenal depth – just sinker/slider right now – but I think he’s hard to hit and throws enough strikes to help in 12-teamers next year + there’s room to grow. I’m excited.

Jordan Montgomery (STL) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

We needed this Monty, thanks man. I’m expecting The Bear to go around pick 150-175 in your drafts and that’s completely cool with me. He’ll help your teams and that’s cool.

Kyle Wright (ATL) vs NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hmmmm. Just three strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP ain’t pleasant, even if you got a Win and a…yes, an ERA. It concludes a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 23.6% strikeout season from Wright and what a glorious time it was. Now excuse me as I likely step aside in 2023 as I question if he’s all that great outside of his curveball. But what if he’s going past pick 100? Well, okay then. That’s the hardest part right now – how will the market treat these players? Watch I’ll be in on Wright when all is said and done. Get ready…

Shane McClanahan (TB) @ HOU (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

We didn’t know what to do with McShane and the end result was…fine. I think that’s pretty dang fitting. I feel as if his late-injury woes have hampered his draft stock in some degree for 2023, but we’ll be forgetting all about this in a few months, especially if he’s healthy in the post-season on the national stage. I love this man.

Dylan Bundy (MIN) @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 78 pitches.

Ayyyy this worked! Blame it on the Tigers. Thanks Bundy, we appreciate this. Enjoy the winter.

Aaron Ashby (MIL) vs MIA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 65 pitches.

We didn’t expect Ashby to go a full five frames here, but he did well with his limited pitch count as the slider asserted itself as an elite offering. There’s still command stuff to work out with everything else, though, but I kinda wanna jump in again next year now that he should have a rotation spot out of the gate. This could be fun.

Drew Hutchison (DET) vs MIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

Blegh. Can’t say we expected anything from Hutch, but at least had the leash to do something as opposed to the other options. I’m so curious what the Tigers rotation looks like next year.

Adam Oller (OAK) @ SEA (L) – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 36 pitches.

Oller opened for JP Searswho was able to go 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks as his slider was able to fall for 13/32 called strikes. Wild, especially when many of them were hung inside the zone. Sears worked the edges well here, too, and maybe there’s a fun dart throw with Sears next year with this approach, but that’s an April discussion, not March.

Max Scherzer (NYM) @ ATL (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna let down an entire fanbase who believes paying $40M+ for a pitcher is for starts like these and he came up short. Me, on the other hand, will say this start is just one of those days and it happens. You’re gonna be fine in the playoffs, Mets fans. Don’t worry. Sorry for your fantasy teams, though.

Austin Voth (BAL) @ NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches.

Yeaaaah, I think with all the Orioles pitchers, we just take a backseat and see how things play out in April. Even Bradish? Yeah, even Bradish.

Michael Grove (LAD) vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 76 pitches.

Noooooo. I liked this Grove start against Rockie Road and while he did last five frames, he couldn’t land his breakers for strikes (16/33 = sub 50%), forcing him to rely too heavily on the fastball. I feel for ya. I don’t see him being a major thing for 2023 out of the gate, but keep an eye through the year when the Dodgers surely need some backup starters.

Dylan Cease (CWS) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna slow down in the second half dramatically and make us really think about the next season. His fastball held just a 20% CSW in his final nine starts, while the slider wasn’t nearly as dominant, here just going 4/45 whiffs against the Padres. This is going to be an interesting off-season discussion.

Aníbal Sánchez (WSH) vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

It was a desperate play to steal a Win or a QS and I’m glad you got one of them if you chased it. I wonder if we see Sánchez again next year. These vets have some magic, you know?

Brayan Bello (BOS) @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 87 pitches.

Womp womp. When comparing Bello to the other young arms who have made their debuts in the final month or two of the season, I’m lower on Bello. I think his path to success lies in his slider and changeup as the 96 mph sinker doesn’t miss bats nearly as much as you want at its velocity (1/36 whiffs) and I’m not sure I want to lean on the changeup coming through consistently.

Tommy Romero (WSH) vs PHI (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Romero again! Annnnd he’s still going through nerves. Next year, buddy. Next year.

Luis Ortiz (PIT) @ STL (L) – 0.2 IP, 6 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 38 pitches.

Okay this was terrible and I’m so sorry for everyone who relied on this and got burned. Here’s what happened: Oritz had terrible command, and with one-out and bases-loaded, he induced a grounder to Pujols…which skirted through the infield for two runs. Then he allowed a grand slam and voila, that’s your ball game. The Pirates have every reason to keep him in the rotation next year and I’m excited to see what happens.

Kyle Gibson (PHI) @ WSH (L) – 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.

Oh dear. I’m sure Gibson destroyed leagues this year, being the quintessential Cherry Bomb as he went from stud to scrub between each start. Kinda like the old Jeremy Hellicksonfor those who have been reading since the days of Pitcher GIFs.

 

Game of the Day 

Chris Bassitt vs. Charlie Morton – Seriously, this series is THE BEST. Also, Simeon Woods Richardson already pitched by the time I’m getting this article out.

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.

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