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 10 am-12 am ET.
Dustin May (LAD) vs STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 104 pitches.
Can we talk about Dustin May, Mac? I’ve been DYING to talk about Dustin and Friday night’s 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 104 pitches line against the Cardinals outlines everything that’s on my mind. Few secondary whiffs? Check (just 4/40 across curves, cutters, and changeups). A sinker that is a bit too wild? You betcha (here’s the plot, which is actually kinda good but as his primary fastball, he can’t rely on those inside heaters so much when he needs a strike.). A low CSW rate and a middling final line? Dang right it is.
Where are we on our thoughts about May? I look at what he offers, and like an interior designer, I want to make little tweaks here and there as I envision something new and better. Let’s get those cutters and curves more in the mix and aggressively missing bats. Let’s save those sinkers a bit more as a surprise pitch inside. How about utilizing more heaters as a primary fastball to change eye levels and amplify the effects of the sinker?
Thing is, May…may not be able to make those tweaks and pull them off. This could be the only way he can get through five frames (yes, at 104 pitches) without disaster and if it was just one tweak I think I’d be more inclined to believe in the green pastures, but with so much to alter, I’m yelling Mayday and hoping to sell, leaning on someone else’s belief in his upside coming to fruition. That doesn’t mean he’s droppable – no no no – I’m just readjusting my expectations for 2023. Here’s to May making me look dumb and soaring as he finally gets his first full season despite my concerns.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Max Fried (ATL) @ NYM (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Fried is underrated, y’all. I gotta raise him up to like #7 or something. But this game was just five innings long because of rain! So? He still earned 17 whiffs because he’s dope and makes us feel dope.
Jacob deGrom (TEX) vs NYY (ND) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 50 pitches.
deGrom left this one with forearm tightness. Yep. It was “precautionary” but come on. We know.
Aaron Nola (PHI) @ HOU (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 107 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. A really cool thing happened during this broadcast as Ryan Spillborgs waxed poetic about CSW%, making this baseball nerd’s dream come true. As for Nola, his curve still isn’t doing what we want it to at just 17% CSW, but it earned outs and ultimately that works for us. One down, two to go in this gauntlet with @LAD + TOR next. Good luck, we’re all counting on you.
Tyler Anderson (LAA) @ MIL (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 109 pitches.
I can feel the wry smirk of Tyler knowing the reaction I’d give seeing him earning the Gallows Pole. At least the wonder of “hey, will he get his changeup back?” has been realized as the pitch returned 13/45 whiffs with a 47% CSW, mostly featured perfectly down and armside. Is it enough to trust against the mighty Rangers? Ehhhhhh? Probably not. Just one start of excellence isn’t enough to take that risk.
Wade Miley (MIL) vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 84 pitches.
So, you wanna Vargas Rule Miley. Well, you can, but there’s Coors and the Dodgers in the way. Here are the keys, make sure to fill up the gas before it’s returned, and definitely get the insurance.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.
Inside Coors?! Okay that’s pretty dang cool. I feel Kelly is the perfect example of a Toby – you really can’t quit him but you know you should but you just can’t. Kinda like that sandwich you’ve had in the fridge for the last few days. Okay, not that sandwich. You understand. Anyway, you actually shouldn’t get rid of Kelly right now – he’s been blessed with the Nats + Marlins + Athletics next. Get ready for some lovely QS goodness ahead.
Shane Bieber (CLE) @ BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.
What do you know, another productive start from Bieber that comes with a poor strikeout rate. He’s the best Holly in town and we’re just going to have to live with it. He’s absolutely lost his slider over the last trio of starts with just 1/8 whiffs here and a 13% CSW – this was one of the best sliders in the game for three straight seasons prior. Wild.
Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs TB (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.
The Rays are one of the toughest crews out there at the moment and to see Giolito survive is a cool thing. However, seeing the heater at just 92.4 mph and only eight changeups total is not a cool thing. It was a good amount of BSB though, and if he can find that old changeup…then we’re cool. Sidenote: I was sent an email by a wonderful reader talking about how pitchers change their approach start-to-start based on the opponent. Against some guys, they gameplan more changeups; against others more sliders, etc. And that could apply here with Giolito vs. the Rays – maybe the book said more sliders over changeups! To all of this I say: A pitcher may throw a few more here or there, but sweeping changes are not a healthy thing, and generally a pitcher throwing his best stuff is more important than throwing something worse because the hitter is worse at it. That’s never been my theory and I think the majority of pitchers would agree. It feels terrible when you get beat on your #3/#4 pitch. Anyway, I digress.
Jesús Luzardo (MIA) vs CHC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 96 pitches.
It’s one walk more than we want, but the change and slider each earned a 40% CSW and he’s still maneuvering around the zone well with his heater. Keep starting the guy and hope he doesn’t allow a run in the seventh again.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) @ MIA (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 92 pitches.
We wanted more against the Marlins, but fine, we’ll take it. He’s a Holly alright.
Alek Manoah (TOR) vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.
NICK! IS HE BACCCCCCK?! I don’t know why I leaned on that C, it makes no sense, but I find it hilarious now. Anyway, you didn’t actually say that because of that horrid 2.00 WHIP with four walks, but let’s say you did. We have some good things here. The four-seamer earned some whiffs (finally) and the sinker was stupid good at called strikes. However, the slider was one of those pitches where we saw “oh no, he doesn’t have his slider” during the games. It’s just so apparent that it’s a pitch he couldn’t trust. Manoah is still figuring things out (and down a tick on the velocity still) as he still wears the TIARA. I don’t have all the faith he’ll return right now.
Luis Castillo (SEA) @ TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 95 pitches.
Aces gonna be okay against one of the best offenses around. Neither the slider nor changeup were exceptional and the four-seamer returned a 12% CSW…and yet here we are, surviving. Good on ya Castillo.
Zach Eflin (TB) @ CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 74 pitches.
I questioned how long the Rays would let Eflin go in this one and I’m glad we come a full five in the end. I’m not glad he didn’t snag a Win, nor was he able to give you a stable WHIP. The curve was the star of the show and should make you feel generally fine moving forward with Eflin, especially as he gets a longer leash.
Framber Valdez (HOU) vs PHI (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 109 pitches.
Should I just call a WHIP around 1.15-1.20 the Valdez curse? But this was a 1.14 WHIP. I SWEAR YOU’VE BEEN LIVING ON THAT COUCH FOR TWO MONTHS. Anyway, Valdez made do despite featuring a worse curve than we usually see and y’all should be exhaling as you survived what could have been a whole lot worse. I don’t think I’ll be able to give him that AGA tag anytime soon, sadly. He’s not doing anything new.
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 94 pitches.
A PQS with a solid WHIP is glorious from Freeland and y’all should get any idea out of your head that this + the early run are legit. Bu—STOP IT.
Drew Rucinski (OAK) vs CIN (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.
Welcome back to the majors Drew! This is one out away from a VVVVPQS, which is as large as I think I have it programmed into our glossary to appear as a tooltip. Oh, and a “HAISTBMBWT?”! too because why not, let’s get this pot spicy. He sat 89 mph on the heater with sliders hoping to land for strikes and a sinker that got battered and while I think there is hope for a Toby here – he’s a command guy who is allowed to toss 90+ pitches – let’s take our time choosing the right stream.
Luis Cessa (CIN) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 71 pitches.
This looks unsalvageable until you realize he faced Oakland and thus earned a Win. WHERE. IS. ANDREW. ABBOTT. He had to take a quick call, it’s his mother. Oh. Can you tell him to come here once he’s done? I’ll pass the message.
Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 100 pitches.
You flipped a coin and whilst in the air, you wondered why you’d ever do this to yourself. The twist of metal, conceived in a factory hundreds of miles away, decides the outcome of your very own life. You had all the choices at your disposal and you settled on Pivetta to determine your fate. The choices are yours and yours alone. You can do better. And no, this doesn’t just apply to streaming Pivetta. We make choices every day and we can change them whenever we want. Be your best self.
David Peterson (NYM) vs ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 73 pitches.
Peterson earned a King Cole in a game that got called due to rain after five innings and Peterson just had to allow all four of these runs in the top half of the fifth. So. Close. Peterson tweaked things a bit here, featuring 30% sliders for 23% CSW and saving fastballs for just 40% overall usage, with his changeup being the star with 7/19 whiffs. I don’t really buy it, but the Tigers + Reds + Nats are next and this has to be good enough for that, yeah?
Jack Flaherty (STL) @ LAD (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 110 pitches.
He passed the two requirements we have for Flaherty – 93/94 mph fastball and a breaker returning a boatload of whiffs – but it wasn’t the slider, it was the curve going 11/30 whiffs and 50% CSW. Huh. Obviously, these requirements aren’t everything and he made some mistakes and got hurt by it. But this feels a lot more like a “good pitcher got burned” than “bad pitcher gets what he deserves as the Dodgers make a queue toying with their weapon of choice…why is he holding a frog?!” That’s 3-out-of-4 starts where Flaherty has looked better and while I expect some to say “ugggh we don’t know what we’re gonna get!” I’d actually say you should be encouraged by Flaherty as he gets the Angels, Cubs, Brewers up next. Hold onto the fella…even if the Angels and Cubs have been kinda strong offenses as of late.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) @ TEX (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.
The result is what we anticipated against the Rangers, but the slider is still a cool pitch at 38% CSW. There was a lot of chatter about Schmidt’s inability to deal with LHB and I kinda agree – he doesn’t have a pitch to feature away against them with cutters/sliders/curves going inside and that sinker not performing well away. I wonder if a four-seamer is the answer as he could play the fastball/cutter game inside effectively. Or just spot heaters down and away. Something to think about.
Pablo López (MIN) vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.
Pablo got a Win here in what feels like getting party favors leaving the Bar Mitzvah where you just watched Jessica dance with Mike and not you. That’s oddly specific. WE COULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING JESSICA. The velocity was a bit back up to 94 mph (not 95+) and shockingly the hook stupid good with the changeup down low. I watched this one and honestly, this felt like one of those weird starts where things just didn’t go Pablo’s way. I’ve seen the games where guys get demolished and this was one of those “uggggh” starts. Buy low here, he’s still really good.
Jordan Lyles (KC) @ MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 94 pitches.
You took a chance and it failed. Lesson is, don’t trust a guy that looks like his name is “Lyes”. It’s just so obvious how could you ever fall for that?
Game of the Day
Sean Manaea vs. Joe Musgrove – Are they going to be able to keep the ball in the yard in Mexico City?
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)
Lmao sorry about Jessica!