Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday 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 am ET.
Alek Manoah (TOR) vs TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches.
We wanted it to be different. Today was a new day, with the sun streaming past the curtains, a new cup of coffee brewed, and Alek Manoah getting a shot at redemption. Now with the sun long gone and another disaster in front of us – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 101 pitches against the Rays – we have to ask the question. What am I supposed to do?
Entering today, the problems were apparent. Manoah wasn’t carrying the same elite four-seamer from 2022 while the sinker hadn’t improved and his slider wasn’t turning into a legit breaker. His velocity fluctuated as well and something was clearly wrong. Today featured a four-seamer with a bit more life (and 37% CSW!) but a slider that still fails to confound batters as it’s still featuring the same lost movement (2/28 whiffs), a changeup that he can’t command, and a sinker that just isn’t enough.
I say it often: Late April decisions are the hardest we make as fantasy managers. Is this the season where everything falls apart or should I hold just a little longer? When is it time to cut bait? Holding José Berríos last year was incorrect, but Lance Lynn and Brandon Woodruff were able to shake off their first four starts and help fantasy managers from that point moving forward.
In the end, I think you’re stuck in purgatory. Maybe you can trade away Manoah and get something better than a small waiver wire improvement, but the risk/reward of holding and stashing until a good start appears is likely in favor of a flat-out drop. With the velocity returning from the heater, it does suggest there is a tweak or two to make instead of his raw repertoire failing him. Maybe it’s an injury that sends him to the IL (like Woodruff last year) and allows us to get the waiver wire play + the improved Manoah after.
In the end, there is no outright wrong play here. Some will be dropping Manoah in their leagues and while we can all say “You can’t do that!” maybe for that manager, they needed to. We don’t know for sure that this is going to get better soon – and if I told you he starts being productive on May 9th, would you endure three more weeks first?
This is the longest opening blurb I’ve written for the roundup since…maybe ever and I hope it outlines my struggles I feel deciding what’s best. I’m personally holding but that’s just my gut talking. I hope that gives you solace in whatever decision you make.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs MIN (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 109 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. His velocity didn’t waver throughout the game at 97 mph while both the change and slider were excellent complements. That’s my SP #1.
Luis Castillo (SEA) vs COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 91 pitches.
Aces gonna ace with a share of the Gallows Pole. It’s so nice to not have the cold Cincinnati weather slow down April Castillo for a change. He’s still not throwing sliders down-and-in to LHB yet, though. ONE DAY.
Wade Miley (MIL) @ SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 89 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! I had zero interest chasing Miley here and boy was I wrong. His cutter and changeup were messing up the Padres a ton and while I’m a little skeptical that it was so good that it outlines a series of dominating starts, there’s a chance he keeps it going against the Red Sox and Tigers next.
Zac Gallen (ARI) @ MIA (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. I think he’s all good, y’all. But it was the Marlins! Okay, fine. I’ll wait until he takes down the Padres next week to say it with conviction. Be excited to see a better cutter show up in this one, even if he still has work to do with his changeup and fastball leaking armside a bit too much.
Andrew Heaney (TEX) @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 88 pitches.
You stuck it out with Heaney against the Astros and while the strikeouts weren’t plentiful, we’re going to take this every single time. So strange to see just seven total breakers thrown and 74% fastballs, but the man was feeling the heater and he did such a good job avoiding mistakes. Seriously, this is unreal. You just don’t see that. I know, three walks and just four strikeouts, but still. I want this every day from Heaney, just with a few more sliders and we’re good.
Noah Davis (COL) @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.
Say whaaaaat. Davis throws a middling 92-94 mph sinker and a decent breaker and that’s about it. And yet, here we are, seeing a line that Aaron Nola would have been cool with. Wild. Anyway, you don’t need me to tell you not to chase this.
Yu Darvish (SD) vs MIL (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 100 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. It’s good to see Darvish act like the man we knew he should be with a Golden Goal. He finally went heavy with the slider like we wanted him to, featuring it 34% of the time for 32% CSW, while the splitter was filthy for 9/18 whiffs. That’s crazy, and sadly something I can’t expect moving forward given the whole “splitters are volatile” thing (and specifically with Darvish, too!). It’s not like we’re putting Darvish on the bench, though. Just saying you can sell high here if you get a legit offer.
Framber Valdez (HOU) vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.
Ayyyy look at that 1.00 WHIP! He played his normal game of sinkers and sliders and while we’re sad it didn’t come with a Win, this was a fantastic outing. By the way, we should throw Valdez into the list of names inside the “sinkers for called strikes, breakers for whiffs” clump and name his as the pinnacle of the approach – after all, it was 12 called strike sinkers and eight curveball whiffs here.
Garrett Whitlock (BOS) vs LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 99 pitches.
Oh snap! Speaking of sinker/slider guys, Whitlock earned 12 called strikes on sinkers and paired it with 11 slider whiffs. THAT’S THE DREAM. There’s a chance his changeup takes a step forward across the season to make him more than the aforementioned mold, but we’re totally fine with this with the Brewers up next. But his velocity was down! Meh, don’t care. He was amped last time and I really like Whitlock’s command and stuff.
Shane McClanahan (TB) @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Every secondary pitch held a CSW above 30% because of course they did.
Drew Smyly (CHC) @ LAD (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 81 pitches.
Hey, that’s pretty good! The pitch separation was there and now he gets…the Dodgers again. SERENITY NOW! Let him cook on the wire some more.
José Butto (NYM) @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 83 pitches.
Butto was a sneaky stream today and you nearly stole a Win if it weren’t for the pesky Mets bullpen getting in the way. Butto got the start to give Max Scherzer some extra rest and there’s no need to pick him up. If he does become a staple of the rotation, I’m not all too interested. Maybe for a stream like this, but that’s about it.
Reid Detmers (LAA) @ BOS (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.
Yep. Detmers belongs inside the Top 40 starting pitchers y’all. And now he gets the Royals + Athletics…
Aaron Nola (PHI) @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Still not his peak self, but we’re getting better. Give me better than an 18% CSW on the curve, next time k thx.
Dylan Cease (CWS) vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 113 pitches.
Wait, I thought the walks before were because you were sick…? Cease, I’m so ready to tell the world how wrong I was about you and here you are, earning a near 2.00 WHIP and just five strikeouts. Figure it out fella.
Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.
Something about a borked watch or whatever.
JP Sears (OAK) vs NYM (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.
The new slider returned a 32% CSW and the improved fastball is still getting outs. He gets the Rangers + Reds up next and Sears may be forming into a respectable Toby right in front of eyes.
Pablo López (MIN) @ NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 103 pitches.
The velocity is still there and that makes me all kinds of happy. He didn’t get the whiffs on sliders and changeups like he normally does (just 1/39 ain’t it), but I still dig the sweeper and López should have one run fewer after allowing a dumb porch-shot off a really good up-and-in fastball. I still don’t understand how DJ LeMahieu turned it into a home run.
Kyle Wright (ATL) @ KC (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.
I’ll take it from Wright. I’m not expecting the world from him and it’s a decent set of ratios with six strikeouts. The curve was elite per usual while the rest wasn’t…per usual. Wait, don’t you preach to not trust a guy with just one great pitch? Makes you wonder if you should risk it against the Astros next time out, doesn’t it?
Julio Urías (LAD) vs CHC (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.
Aces gonna flirt with a VPQS and hurt your WHIP plenty. This was mostly the same Urías we know and this changes absolutely nothing. Also, yay for 100 pitches!
Miles Mikolas (STL) vs PIT (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 92 pitches.
Ehhhhh, that’s one run and out away from a VPQS and Mikolas is supposed to be better against the Pirates. What’s the point, you know?
Mitch Keller (PIT) @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.
That’s a VPQS with just three strikeouts, which means he didn’t do squat to help those in standard fantasy leagues. The four-seamer was down 1.5 ticks and the sweeper returned a paltry 9% CSW – I saw more CSW playing Wordle this morning – and I really wanted this to be the game that made me pumped for Keller moving forward. Now I think he’s a Cherry Bomb but I hope I’m wrong and the Reds are a good team to test that.
Shane Bieber (CLE) @ WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 87 pitches.
Our first VVPQS of the year goes to Bieber as he once again fails to earn a strikeout an inning as he sat 91 mph. You can blame the slider for going just 15% CSW (2/27 whiffs) as it’s the pitch that carries him through games these days. Without its dominance you get, well, this. What a Shane.
Zack Greinke (KC) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 88 pitches.
Look, Greinke earning a strikeout per inning is great for baseball. So today was great for baseball? Today was a great day for baseball.
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) vs ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 82 pitches.
Aces gonna mostly redeem themselves. A troublesome sixth frame that began with an error turned into four runs on the board and it’s the kind of inning you should be able to brush off moving forward. But I’ve now brushed off three of Sandy’s four starts. Sure sure sure, you missed a spot. Sandy’s skills are the same, y’all. He’s elite.
Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) @ CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.
Ugggggggh. He had a horrid first frame with two home runs, then settled down for four great innings after. Just warm up longer, ya dingus. But seriously, I’m happy he got eight changeup whiffs, but does he have to toss them so much inside the zone? Same goes for the slider with a ton of called strikes and very few actually where he wants them. The raw stuff is here for GrayRod, but his command is still out of whack. The day it clicks, he’ll be phenomenal and fortunately he gets the Tigers twice in a row. Surely he’ll come out of that and be the man we want him to be.
Luis Cessa (CIN) vs PHI (L) – 3.0 IP, 11 ER, 14 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 88 pitches.
Why are the Reds letting Luis do this? They are InCessant in their obnoxious ways.
Game of the Day
Shohei Ohtani vs. Brayan Bello – It’s hard to turn down Gausman vs. Javier, but it’s Bello making his season debut + the wonder that we call Sho-time.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Weekly H2H. Drop any of these for Heaney?
Senga, Singer, GrayRod, Bassitt
Nice Wordle call out!