And Ken There Were None

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Wednesday 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.  

Ken Waldichuk (OAK) vs LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 100 pitches.

Welp, this is it y’all. Another 178 days of SP Roundups in the books as we had some fun times talking about pitchers and making horrible horrible jokes. So what better way to end it as we saw a young arm excel on the final day of the year with Ken Waldichuk going 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 100 pitches strong against the Angels for a Win.

He was acquired in the Frankie Montas deal from the Yankees and while he didn’t have the most overpowering four-seamer here, it was the pitch that helped him coast through seven. He held a sub 10% loLoc on the heater, pairing it was some changeups down, and a whole bunch of erratic breakers in his curve and slider, and while I often love seeing young arms dominate and display a glimpse of their potential future, this…wasn’t that.

Sorry Ken, I wish I could end this on a higher note, showcasing my passion for lesser-known arms displaying the upper bounds of their ability, but this ain’t it. Well, unless you believe his 92-95 mph fastball deserves to make lives difficult for batters inside the zone. In that case, I’m happy for you and your perspective.

I guess I’ll just have to watch film of some other inexperienced arms, like Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson, Luis Ortizand Cade Cavalli to hold me through the winter. We’ll be back in 2023 with some stupid fun things to share and if you’d like to show your thanks for the season, I hope you can consider hanging out with us on the PL+ Discord by getting a subscription sometime this winter.

Thanks for a great year y’all, let’s do it all over again in 2023.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

 

Louie Varland (MIN) @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 78 pitches.

Ayyyy way to be Louie! It seems more like a Birthday Party than a statement for 2023 as he kinda just hurled four-seamers and cutters into the zone and the White Sox elected to offer them tea as they nestled in for a strike. So warm and cozy. Don’t gamble on LV for 2023, there’s a whole lot left to work on here.

Framber Valdez (HOU) vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 88 pitches.

I dig this so much. Framber has been such a workhorse that instead of taking it easy on the final game of the year that has zero meaning, he went out there and did his normal business, but taking it slightly easy by stopping after just five frames. Fiiiine, I guess I’ll just settle for a King Cole and call it day. I’ve been one of the bigger Framber doubters and I’m nothing but impressed by the guy. What a fantastic season.

Corbin Burnes (MIL) vs ARI (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 40 pitches.

Aces gonna get pulled after three as he looks into his glove and asks what’s the point? What’s the point?! The point is to chuck a ball into an imaginary box and see the other man’s face of distress – anxiety and frustration caused by you. If that ain’t enough for you, I don’t know why you’re playing this game. You had me at an imaginary box.

Trevor Richards (TOR) @ BAL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 14 pitches.

Mitch White eventually showed up in this one for 73 pitches as he tossed the final four frames…and blew it in the eighth. Yuuuuup.

David Phelps (TOR) @ BAL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 14 pitches.

Am I the only one who sees Phelps’ name and reminisces about the time he had a starting gig in Miami for a brief moment, was phenomenal with his high-velocity cutter, and then got hurt for it to never happen again? Yes? Cool cool cool no doubt no doubt. What about Yusei KikuchiWhat, the guy who tossed 18 pitches today? This is the SP Roundup, you’re looking for Reliever Ranks. Ohhhhh BURN.

Bailey Falter (PHI) @ HOU (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 11 pitches.

They wanted Falter as a bullpen option for the Wild Card series. This is why you end your fantasy leagues the previous week, y’all.

Mychal Givens (NYM) vs WSH (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 18 pitches.

He opened for six frames of Trevor Williams who cruised for just 2 ER and a 1.00 WHIP to go with six strikeouts. Good stuff, Trevor, you made me feel like we’re back in 2019 for a second…the nightmares of terrible headlines are coming back to me. Noooo NOOOOO!

Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

You gotta love the taste of some sweet sweet redemption. Kelly deserved to go out on a high note after his miraculous 3.37 ERA season that put him in contention for the award formerly known as the Spider-Mannow referred to as the Holly – it’s the best Toby of the year, okay? Sadly for Merrill, that’s Tyler Anderson’s crown and you can’t deny it. What’s the point, Nick? The point? Why, it means I’m not drafting either one next year, THAT’S THE POINT. Throw a fiesta in celebration, invite the whole town, eat some cake, toss some confetti around, then wake up the next day and realize you don’t trust Kelly will be able to pull it off for another full season. The hangover has arrived. On the real, what got better? The answer is his four-seamer jumping to a 10.6% SwStr and reducing its average to just .212. That’s it. It’s not enough for me, sorry.

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs COL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 72 pitches.

That’s “TAITAGA” for you. He just had to go a full five frames in his “abbreviated” start while fanning nine to close your season at a 2.28 ERA like it was the ole days. He’s still got it.

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) @ OAK (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 69 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Guys, I’m sorry, but I’m giving Ohtani the MVP. You can’t just go out there and toss so many quality innings like this and be a Top 10 hitter in the game. I don’t care how good the hitter is (I know, Judge is INSANE), Ohtani doing both at an elite level transcends it. It’s such a special thing.

Spenser Watkins (BAL) vs TOR (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 55 pitches.

Surprise! No Lyles, it’s Watkins. And? Yeah, I’ve got nothing. Like Pez, I’m giving Watkins a grade of D-Spenser. You just had to get in your worst joke of the year right under the deadline. Sure did.

Austin Gomber (COL) @ LAD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 46 pitches.

Oh hey there, Gomber. What’s that? No no no, I definitely didn’t forget you were a thing. And look! Your slider is up two ticks to 86 mph! Huh? Tell you your middle name? AND WHY WOULD I KNOW THAT?!

Adrian Sampson (CHC) @ CIN (ND) – 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 65 pitches.

REALLY?! This was a massive blowout and if Sampson just found a way to go another seven outs, I’d have my 100th streaming victory. Sigh. 99 bottles of shame on the wall, 99 bottles of shame…take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of NICK DIDN’T GET 100 STREAMING VICTORIES… on the wall.

John Brebbia (SF) @ SD (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 15 pitches.

It’s 2022 and there has to be a bullpen game every day. Thems the rules. Sidenote: I forget what the actual phrase is supposed to be every time I write that bit. I imagine I’ve gone through a dozen iterations by now and I apologize for the confusion it has caused you.

Glenn Otto (TEX) vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 77 pitches.

Wait, this worked?! But the curve and slider combined for 5/35 whiffs! Ohhhhh the Yanks benched Judge. Okay, that makes sense.

Aaron Civale (CLE) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 84 pitches.

Yessssss. Civale boasted 70% cutters and curves and returned a whopping 64% CSW on that hook in this one, catalyzing a Gallows PoleWhy must the season end so soon? I truly hope the Guardians escape the first round so he can get a bigger stage for his potential success in the ALDS, even if it is against the Yankees.

Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

You see four frames and think he was limited, then you see the 103 pitches and lean your head back slowly, winding up for a heavy forward nod, filled with your deep understanding of Pivetta’s…characteristics through 2022. That was a sentence. YOU’RE A SENTENCE.

Johan Oviedo (PIT) vs STL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 61 pitches.

1/27 four-seamer whiffs despite his 96 mph heater + 2/26 on the slider is all kinds of Tim Allen HUUURREEEGHH?! I can see myself falling into the trap of getting too excited for Oviedo’s potential in 2023 and I think you’re better off just skipping him in 12-teamers, but I’ll be watching you Johan, I’ll be watching

Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs DET (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aha! This maybe worked! I mean, it’s a sub 4.00 ERA…without a Win…but a quality start! …and a 1.43 WHIP. I don’t think I’ve written a better blurb to describe Marco.

Elieser Hernandez (MIA) vs ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

I’m happy for Elieser that he got a taste of the big league mound one more time before the off-season hit and it’s good to see his slider velocity jumping up a touch. That said, this is a very clear wait-and-see situation for the spring.

Jackson Stephens (ATL) @ MIA (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 56 pitches.

Congrats to the one guy in Utah who had Jackson Stephens on their bingo card for tonight’s Atlanta starter. What do I win? Steve?! IS THAT YOU?! No, I’m Dave. Oh. In that case, nothing. Welp, see ya later.

Tyler Alexander (DET) @ SEA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.

Womp womp. There was some hope T-Lex was a deep option to get you through a day of terrible options and you came up short-handed. Yes, I’m going to say that every time. DEAL WITH IT.

Mike Baumann (BAL) vs TOR (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

I get the sense Mike has dealt all his life with people saying “Ciao, man” like they’re making fun of his last name, and I can feel that vibration down his spine as he holds himself back from releasing his rage. I feel you, Mike. Anyway, Bau, mann.

Josh Fleming (TB) @ BOS (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

I got the impression Fleming was going to be limited as an opener, but they let the fella go a full 93 pitches here. Remember when he had something like a 11.70 K/9 through the first two or three weeks? That was wild, wasn’t it. Cooooool.

Domingo Germán (NYY) @ TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 70 pitches.

Blegh. You relied on Domingo as a safe play among all the highly questionable and got burned for it. That’s baseball, Suzyn. If he still has a rotation spot next year (the Yanks are sure to sign someone, right?), he could be a sneaky play at the end of drafts again.

Matthew Liberatore (STL) @ PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 95 pitches.

I thought this could be sneaky as Liberatore was stretched out, and it was too sneaky, like hiding behind a curtain only to show yourself to everyone outside the window. The velocity is still up, though, and the curve was looking much better…hmmmmm. Super sneaky sleeper alert for 2023? Only for your deep leagues, y’all.

Craig Stammen (SD) vs SF (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.

Seeing Stammen toss nearly 70 pitches is so dang strange to me. I can feel his gaze into the dugout every pitch after the 25th, deepening with horror as he tried to escape the third. WHY ISN’T ANYONE DOING ANYTHING TO STOP THIS?!

Jonathan Heasley (KC) @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

For a man who struggled twice to the Tigers, it wouldn’t be fair if this one came through. Baseball can be kind, but not that kind. Also, he sat over two ticks down on everything today – poor guy, something is obviously wrong.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs CHC (L) – 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

For a guy that so comfortably hits 101 mph, he really struggles on the mound. I wonder if we see some heavy tweaking this off-season – even throwing softer but getting a better VAA or locations or something else could unlock some legit value here.

Erick Fedde (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 2.1 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 67 pitches.

REMEMBER KIDS, DON’T TRUST THE FEDDES. Grandpa, why are you yelling? This one has to last for six months, child.

Davis Martin (CWS) vs MIN (L) – 1.2 IP, 9 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 53 pitches.

Hahahaha OF COURSE. I mentioned on the pod with Fast that the dark horse arm of the Do Not Start tier (read: DO NOT START TIER) was Davis after earning 10 whiffs on sliders in his last start. Welp, it wasn’t meant to be, y’all, after all, he has TWO FIRST NAMES. The White Sox shouldn’t be in a position next year to give Martin regular starts next year, so it’s best to forget him until that dire moment arrives.

 

Game of the Day 

None – This is always the hardest SP Roundup to write each year and I can’t thank you all enough for reading this column for its eighth season. What a wild ride it’s been – I hope this was at least entertaining if not maybe helpful for your fantasy squads. Here’s to another year in the books and many more in the future.

Photo by Tim Bogdanov/Unsplash | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram

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.

8 responses to “And Ken There Were None”

  1. Wenger says:

    Thanks Nick, great job the whole season.

  2. Searcy says:

    Thanks Nick! First year I’ve ever played fantasy and won my league on the back of PL’s analysis (and lucking out by drafting Ohtani).

  3. Max Mantis says:

    Thank you so much for doing this every day. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s fantastic.

  4. Jeremy Pink says:

    Thanks for another great year of analysis, Nick. I won my fantasy league for the first time in seven years, with considerable help from your roundups and streamer advice. May the legend of Sticks McKenzie continue to grow, and may this site continue to thrive (but remain unknown to my leaguemates…).

  5. RJ says:

    First year playing fantasy baseball. Ended up winning the title on Kelly’s QS yesterday. The season was a wild ride. Religiously checked your site throughout the season. Couldn’t have done it without your help!

  6. Peter says:

    Thanks, Nick- I read this all season and learn a lot from it. Much appreciated!

  7. CrimeDawgEsq. says:

    Thanks for another great season, Nick! I’m going to miss these particular articles until they are back again. But, I will remember, don’t draft Fedde!!

  8. Alex says:

    My favorite fantasy analyst across any sport, great job all season Nick.

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