Cease and Persist

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Friday's games.

There was a ton of hype surrounding Dylan Cease before his call up and after last night’s 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. You’re sick and tired of the man. It makes sense, but if you were owning him before this start, are you really dropping him now after a start against the #1 wOBA in baseball? The Twins are no joke and now he gets the Mets, which should go better than this one, though I should mention, Cease did not look good here. Good offense aside, his curveball was meh, fastballs left in the middle, sliders failing to be vicious, and blegh changeups. But that’s fine! He’s young, developing, and could turn it around against the Mets. He’s still pumping 97mph here and I’d roll with him next week.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Kyle Hendricks5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. You know what is amazing? Hendricks, a man with a sub 87mph fastball, elevated heaters last night and succeeded. Seriously, it’s kinda crazy and wonderful. He faced the Brewers and it didn’t matter last night. Ride Hendricks to the end.

Zach Plesac7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Great to see Plesac continue his solid stretch. I don’t think he’s going to be Top 35 or anything like that – his secondary pitches aren’t good enough – but he’s well worth your roster spot. Just maybe sit him for Houston next, okay?

Ryan Yarbrough – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Fratty Pirate continued his production, though no QS this time. It may come to pause as he faces the Sawx next, but a possible date with the Jays after could be right up our alley.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s not the best schedule ahead for Greinke…but maybe he gets dealt before the deadline? Don’t do anything rash here.

Joey Lucchesi6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Atta boy Lucchesi, I’ve been labeling you as a Toby lately and you’ve responded with a strong strikeout effort. I don’t think he keeps this up and I’m keeping him in the Toby range, but prove me wrong Joey. Prove me wrong.

Lance Lynn6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Phew, I’m glad we have those crooked ER games behind us and we can get the strikeouts without the ratio hits. Is it time to give him an AGA label? Crazy to even consider that, right? I think one more start like this and he has it.

Hyun-Jin Ryu6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t run out gas before this is all over, I think y’all can see the low Ks and nod your head understanding why he’s still in the second tier.

Jeff Samardzija6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s a 2.48 ERA since the start of July in five starts and you’re lifting an eyebrow. 19% K-BB rate as well is impressive, even if it is a 4.05 SIERA along the way. Is this something to hold? Ehhhh maybe, but I’m thinking this falls soon. He gets the Phils next and this stretch, while including Coors also has the Mets, Cardinals, and Padres twice (including last night). Feel free to Vargas Rule this, I wouldn’t be shocked if that ends against Philly. He just doesn’t have great stuff anymore.

Anibal Sanchez7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The cutter is back and effective, finally. It set up 10/22 CSW on his splitter – 33/89 CSW overall. And this was against the Dodgers! You feel good starting Anibal moving forward, even with Atlanta next.

Mike Soroka4.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Weird to see Soroka get pulled in the fifth, but he had just loaded the bases with a walk after throwing his 88th pitch and already allowing a run. Fine, Snitker. Fine. It worked as Newcomb got the out, but you’re left without a Win and a poor WHIP. It’s the third underwhelming start in four games and you have to wonder if it’s regression hitting. His 7.65 K/9 isn’t winning you weeks and the 2.44 ERA may be rising closer to 3.00/3.50 range. That’s still very helpful and I do believe that Soroka is a better pitcher than the heavy majority of arms, he simply has a capped ceiling. Meanwhile, his floor is a little low given how the Braves are being careful with their 21-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate (Peter Alonso?). I don’t think you’ll have plenty of buyers, so let’s hold and hope for plenty of volume down the stretch.

Jose Urquidy6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It wasn’t masterful, but 32% CSW as he continued getting outs with changeups + a good dose of strong curveballs made this work. I’m still a little worried about his fastball command, but he was able to coast through the Cardinals and solidify himself as the clear #4 in the Astros rotation. Let’s hope he gets to hold onto the #5 spot when the deadline passes – at the very least, he gets Cleveland on the 31st and that should work well.

Sandy Alcantara6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sandy is super raw and sometimes that’s okay. Like Sushi. That kinda works. Alcantara is like sushi that you just came across. Is it going to be fresh and delicious or old and destroy your life? You just don’t know.

Jack Flaherty6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. We were all scared about this start in Houston, even with Flaherty’s slider looking as good as ever lately. Well, we now know that if his slider is working, it doesn’t matter who he’s playing. 30/108 CSW is a bit lackluster, though his spotted sliders were beautiful and I’d feel great about Flaherty moving forward. Still has the floor that comes when his slider isn’t there, but we’re in a hot stretch right now. Let’s ride, even against the Cubs.

Gio Gonzalez6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Wait, what?! Gio with nine punchouts against the Cubs is easily the most shocking line of the day and his still touts a sub 90mph heater, yet went essentially two-pitch in fastballs and changeups for 18 whiffs. Whaaaaaaat. Just look at his plot. He barely touched the zone and the Cubs obliged. WHY DID YOU OBLIGE. I just don’t buy this from Gio and I think y’all are walking into a trap.

Yusei Kikuchi6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Come on Kikuchi, you’re still throwing sub 92 mph heaters, your changeup went 1/12 CSW, and while I liked your slider a lot in this one, it ain’t enough. Blame it on the Tigers.

German Marquez7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Okay, I see you Marquez. That’s two straight strong outings following his nightmarish start in Coors…with both starts coming on the road. 30/94 CSW here with a phenomenal curveball did the trick, though I would preach caution as his slider was pretty meh – 2/9 CSW – and he’ll need more than that deuce at home. But good to see him capitalize on the road in Cincy and let’s hope that a repeat against the Giants in Coors won’t go so terribly. Fine, just 10 ER this game. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Daniel Norris6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Good to see Norris above 91mph once again here, earning 29% CSW with his focus on changeups. Slider still isn’t what it needs to be for me to jump on board, but I think we’ve reached the point of streaming consideration. Remember, he’s just two starts removed from back-to-back 5 ER and 6 ER clunkers.

Michael Pineda7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. This is a fantastic line. His 91.6 mph fastball velocity is not. WHAT IS THIS. Really good placement of high heat and low sliders – 5/17 CSW on changeups as well! – and it worked against the White Sox. It’s hard for me to really buy-in with that low fastball velocity, though, and I’d be cautious next time against the…Marlins? Nah just kidding, LET THE MAN FLY.

Asher Wojciechowski7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Mmmmm this was a fun one to watch. Woj’s curveball was fantastic – 12/30 CSW is lovely – but it was great seeing him consistently raise the ladder with heat as well, hovering the top of the zone. A two-run shot on a hung deuce was the only damage done and 32% overall CSW should make you feel good moving forward. That’s three straight now, IT’S A TREND. Fine, but what team does he face next? The Jays. OH SNAP. YEAH. Streaming Record: 66-43. 

Andrew Cashner6.2 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. A near VVPQS for Cashner with six Ks? Sure, you got a cheap win against the Yankees and just three ER in close to seven frames is kinda great. Still a risky floor, but I get sticking with Cash for the Win potential.

Jacob Waguespack5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Let’s be honest. We knew his last 7 strikeout start was a Waguespack of smokes and mirrors.

Zack Wheeler5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Wheeler was pulled at just 73 pitches – 26% CSW – as he returned from shoulder fatigued, but he was pumping 97mph with ease. Good strikes with sliders, splitter/curveball at the bottom of the zone, and while it didn’t come with great fastball command, I’m cool with his performance. Let’s see if he sticks around next week on the Mets – I hope he’s on a new squad…but then again he gets the ChiSox next. Tomato, Tomato. That doesn’t work written out. Nah, y’all read it right. I believe in you.

Jake Arrieta5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. He’s not even a Toby these days. He’s a Panda. He’s knocking on your door wondering if he can come in. No, Arrieta. No you can’t.

Daniel Mengden5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, that was a nice QS you had against the Mariners a few starts ago, but we’re all past that mirage, right? Cool, good talk.

Dario Agrazal5.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher allow more ER than baserunners before but in the perfect face of regression, Dario’s sole HBP (Wheeler, no less!) came around to score as well as a full-on 0% LOB rate was sent his way. With just one strikeout HAISTFMFWT?! His 3.51 K/9 is simply entertaining at this point. Please don’t own Dario. At all.

Luis Castillo5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Bleeeegh. Two HRs served up here as he earned a Gallows Pole with 21 whiffs. Just 8 called strikes though and the Rockies took advantage of the meaty pitches in the zone. It’ll happen, don’t you dare stop starting Castillo and think this is the massive regression hitting. It’s not, he’s fine, we’re all fine.

Jake Junis6.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Awwww, Junis has put on paternity leave and while I’m sure his spirits were high, I can imagine that he wasn’t in his normal routine for this start, causing this catastrophe in front of us. He gets the Jays next and that could be much better with the deuce. Consider as a streamer, nothing more.

Nick Tropeano5.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. This Trop serving came with a lot of pulp. This is a bit of a stretch. YOU’RE A BIT OF A STRETCH.

James Paxton4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Ugggggggh. Paxton, you’re killing us. I was tempted to lead with him, but honestly you already know that you hold tight. The Red Sox came out firing once again, Pax got burned, and now you start Jimmy P the rest of the way regardless. He’s better than this, he still earned 18 whiffs year for 31/99 CSW, and pumped 96+. This will turn around and buy low if you can.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Anthony DeSclafani vs. Colorado Rockies – It’s not in Coors and Tony Disco has been on a nice little roll. Cal Quantrill is also going against the Giants and I’m game for that as well.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Danny Duffy vs. Cleveland Indians – I’m not in love with this, but I could see Duffy continuing his current ride against the Tribe. Pedro Payano could also be a sneaky play against the Athletics.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Brad Keller vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Keller had 95.2 mph velocity last start…after peaking at 94.2 mph this season and averaging 93.2 mph thus far. Now he gets the Jays? Yeah, I’ll give that a chance.


Game of the Day 


Gerrit Cole vs. Daniel Poncedeleon – Cole will overwhelm and it will be fun while Poncedeleon could be good…?


(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

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.

5 responses to “Cease and Persist”

  1. bossmanjunior333 says:

    Hold Canning or drop for Woj?

  2. Chucky says:

    Drop Archer for Canning? Wojciechowski? ROS

  3. Frank says:

    Would you trade Fried and Plesac for Paxton?

  4. S says:

    Lol at first the reason for Ryu not being in tier 1 was injury risk, now your putting up a different excuse.

    Your pieces have become worse. You’re going for quantity or quality.

  5. Mark says:

    I’m digging the Sushi tag. Super raw. When it’s good it’s glorious, when it’s bad, you’re bent over the toilet.

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