Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Friday 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.
Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs NYM (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.
It feels like 2022 again with my adoration of Jesús Luzardo, as he sat over 97 mph in his first start of the season, taking down the Mets via 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches. The fastball velocity is real and it’s spectacular. Those days of sub 96 mph fastballs are a thing of the past. This is Jesús.
The walks are a product of a low 57% strike rate for the night as his changeup and breaker (Savant wants to call it a slider now after we’ve gotten used to calling it a curveball for years) sat low, but too low a bit too often. That should get fixed moving forward, and with this four-seamer velocity (heavily favored over the sinker!) mixed with those secondary whiffs, this is the arm we know and love. As long as he’s on the field, Luzardo will help your squads and that’s a lovely thing.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Dustin May (LAD) vs ARI (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 84 pitches.
The whiffs haven’t returned yet, but at least he’s trying to go four-seamer heavy over the sinker (and that sinker is sitting armside against RHB!). It’s good to see him keep the walks in check and hopefully something clicks in the whiff department to build upon this solid foundation.
Kyle Freeland (COL) @ SD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.
Duuuuude. That’s a HAISTBMBWT?! but if there is no one eating bread nor asking for butter, does it matter? That’s two whiffs across 74 pitches with a slider that lost over 100 rpm, and all I can do is throw him a bone, not write the standard Rockies blurb, and put some USA respect to his name. It’s already Free Land, Nick. Sure. Fine. Anyway, he sat under 90 mph and you simply can’t buy into this. For more deep analysis on Freeland, check out Justin Paradis’ analysis of his start here.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 74 pitches.
Just 74 pitches as I’m assuming the Diamondbacks are playing it a little safe with him after his time in the WBC, and it led to Drey Jameson tossing 66 pitches across four frames of 1 ER ball. Pretty fun watching Drey pump 97 mph heaters with a wicked slider. Annnyway, I’m happy for Kelly as he prevented any runs from crossing the plate, but he didn’t showcase anything new for us to latch onto moving forward – his changeup returned an 18% CSW, after all. Let him enjoy his tea on the wire.
David Peterson (NYM) @ MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
Here I was getting all excited about Peterson flexing a BSB in the spring and it’s already thrown out the window. The slider was solid – 21% SwStr rate with its tighter breaker and 33% usage – but he didn’t locate it where we want to see it down-and-gloveside, and I think he got away with it this start. Thank you Marlins, you’re always so helpful. Unfortunately for all of us, Luzardo is a fantastic starter and forced Peterson to leave this game with a tough Loss. Keep your head up high, though: Peterson has a cushy schedule for the next three weeks and even with a disappointing approach here, he could easily rebound and be worthwhile. Stick with it.
Lance Lynn (CWS) @ HOU (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.
Ehhhh, I’ll take it against the Astros. Why are you walking so many though? Like Tony La Russa staying awake during games, it’s not your thing. Those 17 whiffs are, though, so we don’t worry and expect the Lynning to arrive shortly.
Cristian Javier (HOU) vs CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 82 pitches.
AGA. That’s a Golden Goal for Javier despite a poor 1.80 WHIP along the way – blame the oddly high slider for that. Clearly, the same ability we saw last year is still there and I’m glad any velocity concerns I had are out the window now with him sitting 93/94 mph per usual.
Robbie Ray (SEA) vs CLE (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 91 pitches.
Wait what. Ray has been cruising all spring and while he sat 93 mph (that’s fine), he didn’t utilize his new splitter once, his slider returned a horrific 12% CSW, his curve went 0/7 CSW, and he struggled to find the plate with heaters. Not great, Bob. At least that dang sinker is gone…right? This should be better moving forward.
Nick Martinez (SD) vs COL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.
Bleeggggh. A two-run shot in the fifth to Blackmon on a sinker that caught too much of the plate ruined what could have been a wondrous evening for Martinez. The approach is there with just 37% heaters and stupid good changeup at 11/31 whiffs, it was just that one dang sinker. I still believe in you Nick, I still do. Were you talking to Martinez or yourself? Yes. But I asked— YES.
Hunter Gaddis (CLE) @ SEA (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 70 pitches.
I took a good look at Gaddis and saw an arm with a cutter/slider without either being an exceptional offering (Savant calls the cutter a four-seamer, but it’s a legit cutter à la Rasmussen or Ashcraft. That turns the slider into a cutter, apparently. It’s weird, I know, don’t worry about it.). The primary pitch fell into Mariner bats too easily while the slider looks standard and easy to track. This isn’t it, y’all.
Game of the Day
Spencer Strider vs. Josiah Gray – You’re likely super into Strider, but Josiah?! Trust me, there’s intrigue here. The new cutter could be a game changer and I’m super interested to see what comes of it.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)