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 10 am-12 pm ET.
Jack Flaherty (STL) vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 7 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.
I don’t feel like I need to go long on this one, but I do need to make a point of it. Jack Flaherty tossed 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 7 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches against the Jays today and yes, he did walk seven batters in five frames without allowing a hit.
I don’t think you need me to tell you this isn’t a great indication of Flaherty “feeling good,” but I’ll also mention his heater ranged from 88-94, sitting 91 mph ultimately as his slider went just 3/37 whiffs. He’s not the Flaherty you remember and even with a wonderful inspiration video to get us hyped, in the end, the numbers don’t lie. But it was a 0.00 ERA! …Fine, they have a good lawyer. I’d be terrified starting Flaherty moving forward – even against the Brewers next (then Coors) – as this isn’t a problem that gets fixed overnight. Just chase something else and save the Aspirin for another day.
Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:
Aaron Civale (CLE) @ SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.
MmmmmMMM! That’s some good stuff. Civale went exactly 65% cutters + curveballs like we requested, generating a ton of outs and helping his four-seamer sneak over the plate for a 41% CSW in its limited usage. This is how it’s done Civale, don’t forget it. He gets the Mariners (again) + the Yankees across his next two starts and I want to believe he can lean on the same approach and get the same melody, but he may be flat – after all, this was a lovely BABIP game. Be cautiously optimistic for your QS leagues.
Kevin Gausman (TOR) @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.
Aces gonna still have a terrible WHIP. We talked, debated, yelled, screamed, SHOUTED, and politely discussed Gausman’s 2022 BABIP and its destiny to come down to a reasonable level and here we are, watching Gausman return 8/19 hits for a .421 BABIP. WHEN WILL IT END? Meanwhile, it’s six frames of 0 ER ball (stupid errors) with seven Ks and he’s still an ace with the best splitter in the game. Let the man cook.
Justin Steele (CHC) vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 84 pitches.
The secret to success each day for Steele isn’t the slider – that’s always gonna be great – but instead if he’s having success with his four-seamer. Well, it should be not surprising he earned six whiffs on a 32% rate on his fastball today, spotting the pitch up well over half the time. That plays. However, this is a sample size of one and we’ll have to wait and see if it sticks. Take a shot on it if you like, you may not enjoy starts against the Rangers and Dodgers, though.
Spencer Strider (ATL) @ WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 96 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Will everyone stop walking so many batters please? And funny story here, Strider failed to hit 30% CSW on either four-seamer or slider here. He needed to go 4/6 on his changeup to give us that 31% clip. What a savior that slow ball is.
Sonny Gray (MIN) @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.
What is it today with the super high walk rates matched with a low ERA? Sonny featured just 25% fastballs, which inherently I’m cool with, but when it means you can’t throw strikes nor tally strikeouts (HAISTBMBWT?!) then we’ve got a problem. He was really good at nibbling around the zone, though, and while I kept getting frustrated at all the bounced sliders and changeups, I’m not actually worried moving forward. He’s a solid 12-teamer play.
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) @ CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 97 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Yep, that’s Woody alright. And boy am I glad to see you. Seriously, everyone else is doing all these weird things and I’m just so glad someone is acting as they should.
Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs CLE (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 85 pitches.
Ayyyy 3/6 splitter whiffs! That was the game changer! Suuuuure. In actuality, it was the 8/38 whiffs on curves and sliders, pitches he relied on heavily to steal strikes the entire game. It’s a good sign, y’all. I really hope this sticks…though I have to remark on the 200 rpm drop on his four-seamer from last season + its 1.5 mph dive. I hope that isn’t something we’re quoting later on this year.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 45% CSW, 76 pitches.
Aces gonna ace for TATIAGA. That’s King Cole, raising the bar for the highest CSW of the season at 45% – his slider returned a whopping 50% clip. Baseball is best with Kershaw at his peak. Please stay healthy.
Jordan Lyles (KC) vs MIN (L) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.
Oh Lyles. You have something like a 1/3 chance every night to skirt by without much harm, acting like a mosquito 40 feet high where you’re not something people want but you’re conveniently ignored. Keep up the, um, work.
Patrick Sandoval (LAA) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.
I truly love how Sandoval goes just 1/3 fastballs and leans so heavily on his premier slider and changeup. They weren’t as overwhelming as we’ve seen in the past, but a 64% strike rate did the trick to help him get through five against a poor offense. Now against the Jays…? That’s gonna be a tough one that I’d prefer not to chance.
Zach Eflin (TB) vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 74 pitches.
Thank you, Eflin. This is everything we envisioned back in February when we circled you for a potential opening weekend stream. He made the most of his 74 pitches with a strikeout per inning and a Win, featuring what seemed to be a four-seamer circle change grip to go with a sinker, thus producing more vertical rise than his fastball. Fun stuff. Anyway, the Athletics are next and with his curveball still cooking at 39% CSW and a higher pitch count on the horizon, you might as well hold for that one too.
Alex Cobb (SF) @ NYY (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 76 pitches.
The slider! It’s here! And it’s…GREAT! 47% CSW, 68% strikes, and everything Cobb needs to set up his splitter which went…19% CSW with one whiff. OH COME ON. It was right there for you. RIGHT THERE. At least his sinker still gets called strikes and the slider looks to be here to stay, making me excited for the long-term Cobb in 2023.
Nick Lodolo (CIN) vs PIT (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 109 pitches.
That’s a horrible WHIP as Lodolo was Singled Out, but huge props to him, earning the highest whiff total of his career to earn a Gallows Pole. I can’t say much about it with the Pirates being the Pirates, but he sat 93 mph instead of the 94/95 mph we saw last year, while the curve got four more inches of break today with 13/44 whiffs. I’ll take it and I’d start him against the Phils next.
Tylor Megill (NYM) @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.
This felt like a game where Megill wasn’t all that great, but the Marlins were a lot not greater. You won an award for writing?! MAYBE. After all the talk of holding back his velocity this spring, I was a bit sad to see him still hovering 94 mph instead of 95/96, but at least he had his best slider here – 8/38 whiffs – as he kept it down consistently. He gets them a second time and I think I’m cool with that start too, just not jumping to the wire for it.
Lucas Giolito (CWS) @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.
Is he totally back? Ehhhh not quite as he’s at 93 mph (not 94/95) and his changeup earned just 4/30 whiffs. He also floated a fair amount of sliders and I kinda think he got away with this a bit. That said, this was the Astros and now he gets the Pirates. Phew. Feel good about that start and we’ll take it from there.
Edward Cabrera (MIA) vs NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.
I hate that I chuckled when I saw he granted six walks today. Sigh. We all know the stuff is there, but you really want to avoid all the Cherry Bomb types you can. Cabrera seems like a HIPSTER (Headache Inducing Pitcher Stifling The Entire Roster) who you’re better off letting float away onto the wire, like the petals of a dandelion at the mercy of a spring wind. Go live your life and be free. But seriously, YOU CAN’T HAVE A 45% STRIKE RATE ON YOUR FASTBALL DANGIT. You have…a way with words. Thank you.
Nathan Eovaldi (TEX) vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 82 pitches.
Ehhhh, that’s a Dusty Donut with some blegh ratios but a Win and six strikeouts. The velocity is at 96 mph so we’re fine with Eovaldi moving forward n all, especially with the Cubs and x2 Royals up next. Just find a rhythm, okay? Like listen to Muse or something.
Rich Hill (PIT) @ CIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches.
You know, I didn’t see a single person discussing Rich Hill in the preseason, let alone showing any interest in this start, but there was one thing that cared a whole lot about it – PL Bot. Seriously, Hill was its streaming pick of the day and honestly, getting 1.00 WHIP and 7 Ks is a streaming victory in my book. The dang thing is 3-0 so far and I’m going to lose to our PLV projection system this year, aren’t I? Anyway, congrats to Hill, I have zero faith he’ll do this again, especially with the ChiSox, Astros, and Coors up next. Noooooope. Sidenote: I wonder how his family pronounces Aunt as I’m sure they have a lot of fun calling his sister Aunt Hill. Why are you telling me this. I DON’T KNOW.
José Urquidy (HOU) vs CWS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 82 pitches.
Blegh. The sweeper was fantastic, the rest was not. And when you’re a kitchen sink pitcher, it’s about the whole package, not just the broom. Don’t rule out a better night at the park against the Twins – it’s a like a BOGO as the Pirates follow for what should be a cushy Win.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs SF (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 76 pitches.
It was 33% sweepers (not 40%) and he didn’t locate them as well as we’ve seen, but still promising moving forward. I think there’s something here with Schmidt and with more time, he can refine it to get through a whole lot more than 10 outs in 76 pitches. The Orioles are next and they are crushing in Fenway right now, so let’s see how they perform over the next four/five days before jumping on that start, but I have my eye on Schmidt right now. I’m all for dropping Schmidt to chase someone who hasn’t started yet instead, like Wesneski, Manaea, Shuster, etc. He’s not there yet and it’s not a lock that he will be.
Michael Wacha (SD) vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.
Nothing to see here, just 3.5 ticks down on the changeup and two ticks on the heater. To be fair, he signed with the Padres relatively late in the spring and likely will ramp up in time. He was actually cruising until a tough sixth frame and didn’t pitch as poorly as the line suggests, but I’d still wait on rostering him for now – he gets Atlanta next and I’d wait until the velocity and peak command returned.
Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna continue to spook me into the season. His command was better, but he’s still failing at jamming RHB and his slider, oh my his slider was hung like a lamppost. A lamppost? You know, the ones that drop like a hanger. Sure Nick. Sure. Anyway, I’ve been getting the sense something has been up with him through the backend of the spring and despite the 17 whiffs, I’m still a bit weirded out here as Wheeler’s command has been his thing over the years. It very well may be me being dumb, and y’all know I honestly want that to be the case. Prove me wrong, please.
José Ureña (COL) @ SD (L) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 71 pitches.
If you’re rostering José, Ureña boatload of trouble.
Josiah Gray (WSH) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.
I didn’t expect Josiah to perform well, but I was still awfully curious as to what we’d get. I love the fact he’s tossing four-seamers + sinkers at just a 25% rate, using his cutter/slider/curve for the rest and on a day where his overall command is better (it was rough in this one), I think you’ll see some shocking stretches from Josiah. Give it some time, though – the Nationals have ghastly schedule to start the year.
Madison Bumgarner (ARI) @ LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 85 pitches.
Let’s take Bumgarner’s poor 2022 campaign and lower him by about two ticks across the board. That should do the trick. What trick? Why, get Brandon Pfaadt into the majors, of course. Jokes aside (Bumgarner ain’t leaving), there’s no reason to chase Bumgarner these days. Truly.
Dean Kremer (BAL) @ BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 56 pitches.
Is it bad that I imagine each of Dean’s starts like the Dean from Community wearing a new outfit each episode? What are we going to get this time…Shockingly, we saw a significant 1-2 ticks increase in velocity, but it came with terrible locations down the middle and the Sawx made him pay. I wonder if we can keep the velocity when command gets introduced.
Chris Sale (BOS) vs BAL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 74 pitches.
For a guy with 48% CSW on his secondaries, this line doesn’t quite feel right. Sure, he sat 94 mph (not 95/96 mph that we want) and he tossed some poor sliders and heaters, but 7 ER?! The man didn’t deserve that. Also, his changeup was pretty dang fantastic at the bottom of the zone and below it and I see his next start against the Tigers like a lovely slice of cake after enduring this tofu & broccoli. But there’s no substance in that. Quiet, stop ruining my analogy. I’m all for trading for Sale from a worried manager, even with the lower velocity – he did hit 97 mph, after all. It’s in there.
Spencer Turnbull (DET) @ TB (L) – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 63 pitches.
Welcome back from TJS. You have to think jitters got to him as he’s been gone for roughly two years and I won’t knock him for it. I will knock him for the Red Sox and Jays on the docket, making it easy for me to keep him on the wire til the end of April at best. We’ll talk soon bud, I know you’re better than this.
Shintaro Fujinami (OAK) vs LAA (L) – 2.1 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 55 pitches.
Ohhhh dear. Fujinami was his best self for the first two frames, but it fell apart in a hurry in the third inning as the prophecy of his life as a Cherry Bomb was fulfilled. If you missed the game, make sure to read Ben Palmer’s fantastic GIF Breakdown of the start – he outlines it perfectly well as you can see the splitter’s ceiling mixed with his inability to find the zone a second later. Stay away, y’all.
Game of the Day
Jared Shuster vs. MacKenzie Gore – I’m stoked to see if Shuster can dominate against the Nationals while Gore still has potential to be legit if his four-seamer lays the foundation for his secondaries effectively, even against the Braves.
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)