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Kopech In Order

Nick Pollack recaps every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

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 9 am-11 am ET.  

Michael Kopech (CWS) @ NYY (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 92 pitches.

Well how about Michael KopechI’ve been preaching all this doom and gloom across the last few weeks about how his velocity has been mediocre (94/95 and sometimes lower in later innings) and his secondaries inconsistent, but here he comes, strutting to the hill and pumping 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 92 pitches against the Yankees for a defining Win. Oh and hitting 100 mph on the gun.

Yep, after averaging 94.9 mph on his heater this year, Kopech sat 97.4 mph in this one, earning 10/54 whiffs on heaters. But it’s not just that — his breakers returned 76% strikes between sliders and curveballs, boasting a phenomenal 45% CSW for the night. If you’re asking what prime Kopech looks like, THIS WAS IT.

I have to wonder if the stage was set for a sparkling evening — the horrible Donaldson comments sparked the White Sox + this game taking place in Yankee Stadium & playing nationally on ESPN — and if this is just a tease at what Kopech could be, rather than the new normal we should expect. But hot dang, you have to start somewhere if you’re a stud pitcher and maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of Kopech’s ascension.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) vs ATL (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 25 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 115 pitches.

But he doesn’t get whiffs! Okay, that’s still kinda true as he needed 115 pitches to earn enough swinging strikes for a Gallows Pole, but everything was working with sliders for strikes, changeups for whiffs, and his four-seamer going a whopping 33% SwStr rate in this one. I’m still waiting for the game where his slider becomes the weapon of the past, but if it means we get CGSHO in the meantime, I think I can settle for that. He gets Atlanta a second time and considering their being weak against  right-handers + Sandy looking pretty dang good, yeah, I’d be excited about that.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

I’ll take results I never would have guessed for $400. Not only was this Coors, but Walker sat just 93.4 mph and didn’t get burned for it. His splitter was great at 7/30 whiffs and 73% strikes and he even flung some solid hooks in there too. I’m not going to buy his secondaries being this good to mask his worse fastball moving forward, sadly, but boy am I proud of any of y’all who went for it and succeeded today. You deserve it.

Luis Severino (NYY) vs CWS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.

There’s something about the hilarity of being with friends, checking my phone and making a noise, forgetting I’m with people who won’t understand my glee when I say “SEVERINO EARNED 8/27 WHIFFS ON SLIDERS TONIGHT.” I’ve been waiting a while for him to lock in with the pitch and while the strikeouts aren’t exactly what you’d expect seeing this, I imagine that’ll come if the offering is the same moving forward. Feel good about Severino, he’s got the goods.

Brady Singer (KC) vs MIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Good news: He’s back up with the team and his slider went 43% CSW. Bad news: His changeup was atrocious and it means he’s still sinker/slider for the most part. I dunno, I don’t think a whole lot has changed here and while you’re more than welcome to try it out, but I think you’re going to be a little frustrated if you do. I’d rather take a shot on Roansy Contreras‘ callup.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) @ NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 95 pitches.

I can’t believe he did it a second time. Wild…he wasn’t. Well, except for his four-seamer and changeup which combined for…wait for it…0/27 CSW. ZERO OUT OF TWENTY-SEVEN. What a wild world we live in. You don’t want to get suckered in here.

Steven Matz (STL) @ PIT (ND) – 0.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 4 pitches.

Soooo Matz was removed after just four pitches with a shoulder injury. We’ll find out more soon and it may mean Matthew Liberatore gets another shot in the rotation. Can’t say I’m too amped after watching his debut, as his curveball looked a bit mediocre, but he’s something to be aware of.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs OAK (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

The Irish Panda faced the Athletics and did what he had to do. His changeup wasn’t as overwhelming as we’ve seen, but still had a 22% SwStr rate, while the slider was fine and the fastball earned called strikes. This start was the equivalent feeling of sipping coffee on the deck as you overlook the wonderful countryside.

Jameson Taillon (NYY) vs CWS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

I still don’t quite know what to make of Taillon. His slider went 45% CSW (yay!) but I don’t trust it as a proper whiff pitch yet, while the other secondaries are…there. His four-seamer didn’t do its whole “high whiffs” thing either, yet he plodded through the ChiSox lineup, got his outs, and fanned a good amount of batters along the way when he needed it. You just gotta keep starting him, clearly.

José Urquidy (HOU) vs TEX (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 98 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Ten strikeouts from a guy I was heavily questioning last time out. His four-seamer earned a whopping 10/50 whiffs as it gained a tick of velocity, while the changeup supported it like the good ole days. I got a bit nostalgic watching this and I can only hope it sticks. I want to believe, Urquidy.

MacKenzie Gore (SD) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s you again! This time around, the slider was terrible but the curve was fine and the four-seamer did most of the work. I guess that’s cool against the Giants, and with Mike Clevinger back on the IL, Gore will get more looks in the rotation again. This should make y’all thrilled, as Gore gets the Pirates next.

Tony Gonsolin (LAD) @ PHI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 90 pitches.

FINALLY. His slider was legit for real this time, returning 52% CSW and 81% strikes. THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Now do it again. Please. It shouldn’t be too hard with the Sneks and Pirates up next, you gots this.

Bailey Ober (MIN) @ KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 78 pitches.

This was a Still ILL for Ober…for the most part, as he managed to make do with his limited amount of time on the hill. It was fastballs painted red up with secondaries down and you really couldn’t ask for anything more. Start him next time.

Shane Bieber (CLE) vs DET (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 24 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 106 pitches.

That’s a King Cole for Bieber on the back of, well all of it as his slider was delicious, his curve deadly, and fastball sneaky…and deadly with 7 whiffs. Thing is, velocity is further down at 90.4 mph, so I’m not confident he can do this against stronger teams — teams he won’t face for a bit as it’s the Tigers + Royals next. So fine, have yourself a ball with your phenomenal breakers, Bieber.

Austin Gomber (COL) vs NYM (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 97 pitches.

I wouldn’t start Gomber at home against pretty much anyone, let alone the Mets, but hey, this worked despite the Grave MistakeNow he gets the Nationals on the road and there’s a decent deep stream.

Zach Eflin (PHI) vs LAD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 106 pitches.

Wait, that’s twelve strikeouts?! Against the Dodgers?! Checks Notes 33% CURVEBALL USAGE?! Eflin, buddy, where has this been?! I know, I know, I remember a quote way back when about you getting a feel for curveballs in the pen before the game and if you have it, you have it. You often don’t, so fine, it gets shelved. But this one returned 12/35 whiffs and was flat out AWESOME. I just hope this isn’t a Birthday Party and it sticks for the Mets next. I feel like Picard when I say MAKE IT SO.

Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) vs SEA (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.

Five homeruns, shmive shmomeruns. His splitter was unreal as he earned 12/28 whiffs with a 54% CSW on the pitch. Insane. That’s all there was to it, do you believe in this splitter being this incredible moving forward? I don’t, but all that means is Eovaldi is more Top 40-ish instead of Top 20.

Cole Irvin (OAK) @ LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.

Welcome back from the IL, Irvin. He’s a Toby and faced the Angels in his first outing back, which was never gonna be a favorable matchup, maybe the Rangers are on Friday. Maybe.

Alex Faedo (DET) @ CLE (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

After yesterday’s rainout, Faedo got his chance to become a great stream for us and it was…a bit of a Dusty DonutThe strikeouts were few and the WHIP hurt, but a Win is a Win and the ERA works. I’m disappointed the slider didn’t continue its 25%+ SwStr ways with just four total on the day and I’d consider rolling him out there a second time against the Guardians later in the week — his slider has to do better, right?

Aaron Sanchez (WSH) @ MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 89 pitches.

Leave it to Sanchez to allow nine baserunners and cough up just two runs. We all know the 3.60 ERA isn’t worth this, especially with just one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!). Sorry buddy, you aren’t what we need.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.

So he allowed a pair of runs in the first then settled down a bit, though I’m still not seeing a major breakthrough from Kikuchi here to make me think he’s going to sustain these strikeout numbers and ratios moving forward. I’d be cautious starting him against the Angels next.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) @ TOR (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 76 pitches.

Ashcraft whips a 97 mph sinker and a 97 mph cutter with a slider…and returned three total whiffs on the day. His slider was erratic, to say the least, returning just 41% strikes, and was incredibly easy for batters to lay off, leading them to sit for 95+ mph offerings with confidence. If he can develop a proper breaker, there’s clear upside given that velocity, but he has a ways to go. Man does he throw hard, though, and a mix of cut fastballs and sinkers at 99+ at times is kinda fun to watch.

Corey Kluber (TB) @ BAL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 73 pitches.

Womp womp. After a strong outing last time, I was hoping for more here from Kluber. Just 5/55 whiffs on cutters and curveballs and now it’s the Yankees. Yeah, no thanks.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ BOS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

The Sawx are scorching hot like a seatbelt in a summer parking lot and Gilbert pitched pretty dang well to get through seven. Sure, 3 ER, but his slider earned whiffs — shocking, I know — while he tossed curves and changeups for strikes. Huh. I watched this and I wasn’t that impressed with his slider to the point that I think he’ll routinely earn 7 whiffs on it, but at least it’s a little more aggressive in its lateral movement than the cutter version we saw before. I wonder if it’s part of his ascension or just a good day. He gets the Astros next and I’m still a little iffy there.

Wade Miley (CHC) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

Our streaming pick of the day gave you a PQSsure, but also a 1.33 WHIP and just three strikeouts. Yeah, that hurts a whole lot more than helps in a standard league, NO WIN FOR ME. And now it’s the White Sox? Absolutely not.

Merrill Kelly (ARI) @ CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 93 pitches.

Hmmmmm. This was the Cubs and you’re a TobyAh, this is what happens when you don’t have your changeup (14% CSW). Man, you better have that changeup moving forward.

Spenser Watkins (BAL) vs TB (ND) – 0.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 13 pitches.

Oh dear. Watkins took a comebacker to the forearm and now he’s just a glitch in the Matrix. He should be out there next time, but should he be out there next time?

Ian Anderson (ATL) @ MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

Anderson came back out in the seventh, allowed two singles, got pulled, and both runners came around to score. Careful, IcarusIt really is unfair given it was a 3.00 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP before those two singles, a start empowered by his curveball earning 70% strikes as he landed it at the bottom of the zone at will. Man, I really hope I can buy into that pitch sitting there consistently, it was a beautiful thing to watch. I’ve been a bit skeptical of Anderson lately, and I wonder if he can truly blossom as we continue the season. The BSB is there for the taking, just a touch more polish and a bit of better lucky, and he’s there. I wonder how we’ll feel on July 1st.

Taylor Hearn (TEX) @ HOU (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

You know what they say, Hearning is half the battle. The other half is waving at him on the wire. This is the worst one you’ve had in a while. That title has to go to something, after all. Touché.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs WSH (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 59 pitches.

Peralta was removed from this one with shoulder tightness, which paves the way for a steady rotation spot for Aaron Ashby after about six weeks of waiting. Let’s hope he can seize it and force the Brewers to keep him there. As for those with Peralta, I feel for you — he had just turned it around.

Alex Wood (SF) vs SD (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 73 pitches.

Bleeeeegh. Am I shocked to see Wood struggle this much? Absolutely…but the Padres are also great at hitting southpaws. Look, Wood has had a rough schedule and now gets the Reds. Say whatever you want about how he’s performed for your teams thus far, I’ll absolutely be starting him against the Reds when his fastball is sitting 92 mph and his slider earns a 32% CSW.

Bryse Wilson (PIT) vs STL (L) – 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 53 pitches.

I knew I should have gone with Spalding instead of Wilson.

 

Game of the Day 

Chad Kuhl vs. JT Brubaker – This is weird, but I see two pitchers who are incredibly similar and I’m super curious who comes out on top.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

One response to “Kopech In Order”

  1. Jim says:

    Left Kopech on the bench, and started M Kelly for his second start. These type of ‘big brain’ moves are what ruins fantasy baseball.

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