Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Wednesday 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.
Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) @ TEX (ND) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.
I saw Brandon Pfaadt’s four-seamer look lively in the spring, paired with a fantastic slider. I heard all about him this off-season and how he was ready to dominate the majors. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, we got the debut today (and benched because we know the rules of MLB debuts) and it was…frustrating. Even with a poor matchup against the Rangers, a line of 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches is still massively disappointing and we have to talk about this.
First and foremost, I’m still holding in my leagues after stashing for a month. Why? Because debuts are weird and the Marlins are next. At the same time, this wasn’t the man I expected. This heater wasn’t dominant (1/54 whiffs?!) and while we saw some good sliders, it didn’t take over in the way we expected.
Allowing four home runs to the Rangers during an MLB debut completes the trio of reasons for us not to react too strongly to this game, but the underlying skill set isn’t as strong as that of Miller x2, Bibee, or Allen…unless that four-seamer begins to dominate once again. It makes me wonder if something changed in April in the minors between now and last season and if that’s something that can be found again.
At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to at least hold for one more game, but if you’re debating between Pfaadt and the other prospects, you’re not being rash to abandon ship for another arm. It’s the right thing to do. Sigh.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
JP Sears (OAK) vs SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! Sears was fantastic with his four-seamer, boasting a monstrous 12/49 whiffs as he pounded the zone with it + sliders. I sadly didn’t see the greatest command from any of his offerings, but with this many strikes and a fastball/breaker that clearly works to some degree, I’m totally in to pick him up for his next start against the Yankees. Just don’t get too enamored that you hold him through the Rangers and Astros after.
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 62 pitches.
The mad man did it again. At some point you have to believe he can do it, Nick. No, I don’t. Coors is undefeated and Mr. Sub 90 miles per hour ain’t gonna be the new champion.
Zack Greinke (KC) vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 44 pitches.
Oh hey, don’t mind me, I’m just future Hall of Famer Zack Greinke. Whoops! Sorry I stumbled upon 0 ER, I didn’t see you there. Please excuse my 44 pitches, I didn’t mean to! Seriously though, I can’t get over the fact Greinke tossed five shutout innings and just 44 pitches and the Royals said “yeah, that’s enough from you today.” WHO DOES THAT.
Eric Lauer (MIL) @ COL (L) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
Don’t go getting hyped here – he allowed four unearned runs to take the Loss and couldn’t find the zone with his cutter and slider. At least the heater is now 91/92 instead of 90 mph? Ehhhhh we’ve got a long ways to go. Remember, it was 94 mph last year.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs CLE (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 79 pitches.
The WHIP is horrendous and I guess you’re okay with that ERA? Yeah, you can do so much better than this.
Michael Lorenzen (DET) vs NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.
Ayyyy, he survived! Sure, with just one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!) but still, pretty dang cool to see. A tinge of BSB here with four-seamers and sliders with the latter returning a ridiculously good 12 called strikes and 47% CSW. You love to see it, far far away from your rosters. Wave to the nice man on the wire, sweetie. Yes, the absolutely yoked gentleman. No, he has no butter for your bread, stop asking.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) @ WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.
Another day, another solid performance from Stroman that leaves us wanting just a little bit more. It’s what he does as a Holly and I’m fine starting him against the Cardinals next time out as we likely hold him near the end of our rotations all year.
Seth Lugo (SD) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.
Yessss. Sure, a bit of a Dusty Donut with the 1.50 WHIP, but give me that ERA and Win all day of the week. He’s a Toby in my book, which means the Twins up next is a toss-up. Your call there.
Shane McClanahan (TB) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 93 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. 49% CSW on the four-seamer today because why the h*ck not.
Mitch Keller (PIT) @ TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 100 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you. Clearly I’ve been missing something with Keller and there are times you have to throw your hands up and admit defeat. I’m sorry I missed this one y’all, at least I have an explanation now, even if it still feels a little like overperforming. I guess I’ve underrated the fact that his cutter and four-seamer have been elite Hard Contact mitigators this season (he was 7th best among all SP in hard contact entering today!), though that’s generally noise this early in the season. Still, his four-seamer has gotten far better results than I’d normally see from a pitch that leaks into the heart of the plate incredibly often, but hey, a 39% CSW here and 90th percentile four-seamer in the majors are clearly showcasing something I haven’t picked up. So I guess it’s Mitch szn y’all. Sorry I was late, it happens. FWIW, don’t expect his sinker to continue being a 33% called strike rate pitch and his new cutter isn’t going to hold a .150 BABIP all year long – without that getting strikes for his four-seamer, it may create some cracks in this clay jar.
Jake Irvin (WSH) vs CHC (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.
His very first pitch in the majors was a HBP and I’ll be honest, that’s how you set the tone. But seriously, he chucks 92/93 mph heaters and a decent curveball and that’s it. There’s a reason you didn’t hear anything about this MLB debut today…and yet he held the best ERA by far. That’s baseball, Suzyn.
Shane Bieber (CLE) @ NYY (ND) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.
This is kinda what you expected – solid ratios against the yAAAnkees but not a whole lot of strikeouts. He’s really leaning into the whole Holly thing as the slider failed to get whiffs once again, despite 47% usage. If you haven’t sold high yet, there’s little time left.
Logan Webb (SF) @ HOU (W) – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.
This is everything you wanted to see and I’m sorry I ever doubted you. Into the Auto-Start tier from now on. But his changeup and slider each had a CSW under 20%. Shhhhh. The changeup earned outs while the slider…well that was a 39% strike pitch so yeah, he’s gotta work on that. A lot.
Framber Valdez (HOU) vs SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 90 pitches.
I couldn’t help but think of this watching Valdez vs Webb tonight. At least Valdez showed up with more strikeouts, but y’all wanted that Win, didn’t ya. And guess what? It was a 1.17 WHIP because THAT’S VALDEZ BAYBEEEE.
Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.
A touch of Careful, Icarus here as the Athletics tagged him for two in the sixth, losing any hope of a Win. His curve had some lovely moments here and I really hope it’s a step toward having a legit #2 pitch in that arsenal. Sadly, he gets the Rangers next and I really don’t want to risk that one. The Rangers are scary, yo.
Alek Manoah (TOR) @ BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 103 pitches.
A 1.80 WHIP with three whiffs tells you all you need to know. This dude is struggling right now, I’m glad for his sake that he allowed two earned runs (albeit, three unearned along the way that didn’t help things). I don’t think this gets better in the near future, honestly.
Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.
You flipped the coin and you won with a PQS and a dub. Congrats, I guess. But his slider was really good! Yeah, that’s a good point. The slide piece returned 41% CSW and 11/32 whiffs, limiting his fastball to just 31% usage. Maybe that’s it – super low fastball usage and a ton of sliders – but then again, can Pivetta keep up a high enough strike rate with breaking balls to make this work? This may end up the best night he has with the slider all year, after all.
Miles Mikolas (STL) vs LAA (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.
This is awfully close to a VPQS and let’s be honest – you didn’t expect anything different. I don’t think I wanna stick around for the Cubs, Sawx, or Dodgers next.
Luis Cessa (CIN) @ SD (L) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 71 pitches.
WHERE. IS. ANDREW. ABBOTT.
Kyle Wright (ATL) @ MIA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 55 pitches.
Soon after this game, Wright was placed back on the IL with a shoulder injury. Sigh. I’m sad to see this (w)right when Kyle was figuring out his approach to toss nearly 50% curveballs, and Atlanta looks to be turning to Dylan Dodd tomorrow to take the rotation spot with Mike Soroka allowing eight runs in his previous outing. Dodd against the Marlins sounds kinda interesting…
Aaron Nola (PHI) @ LAD (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 98 pitches.
Dude. Aaron. What is going on. At least the curve did it’s normal thing of 41% CSW once again (phew), but the heaters are 90/91 and simply not returning the outs we need from them. Meanwhile, the changeup is back to being a 19% CSW pitch and it’s all kinds of frustrating. Welcome to the third tier, where we’ve removed your AGA label and instead replaced it with a Joker covered in sharpie. I’m an Ace of Clubs! Sure you are.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) @ STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 97 pitches.
Aces gonna earn a Golden Goal and yet allowed 4 ER off a pair of home runs. Life ain’t fair, y’all. IT JUST AIN’T FAIR.
Dylan Cease (CWS) vs MIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.
Blegh. The slider was good, the rest wasn’t. A tale as old as time…He’s going to swing that pendulum again – it’s what he does – but I feel for all y’all going through this. I really hope he can figure out the heater and curve at some point and rid himself of these stretches for good.
Louie Varland (MIN) @ CWS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 87 pitches.
Bleeeeegh. The White Sox decided to wake up just in time for Varland’s outing, though Varland did a poor job locating his heater in this one, a pitch that was supposed to be 96 mph but sat just 94.5 mph. I absolutely dug the cutter’s spots and 43% CSW here, but without that heater doing wonderful things, I can’t be into this. It’s just not the same. He gets the Padres and Cubs next and I think we move on to the next guy. Sigh.
Gavin Stone (LAD) vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 77 pitches.
The prospects went 0-for-3 today with Stone confirming my biggest fears – the changeup is good but that’s it. It looks more like a strong #2 pitch, and the heater isn’t a proper #1 to make us feel great about life. I know, “MLB debuts” n all that, but I’m seeing it here. Sure, it doesn’t rule out a good start when he has his rhythm or gets a little fortunate, etc., but with prospects, you need to be chasing an elite ceiling or you’re better off just streaming pitchers who can go six frames.
Joey Lucchesi (NYM) @ DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 46 pitches.
Womp womp. The Mets needed him for the doubleheader and even against the Tigers, this wasn’t meant to be. This is likely the last we see of Lucchesi for a good while.
Joey Wentz (DET) vs NYM (ND) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.
Blegh. The fastball was down and nothing else was good. Even if you had six Wentz, you’d be none the richer. Better yet, on a day he actually succeeds, no one will have him rostered. Thus he would be Sick Wentz, none the richer. Yes, this is what I spend my time doing at 2:00am, why do you ask.
Kyle Gibson (BAL) @ KC (L) – 6.2 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 14% CSW, 74 pitches.
Bleeeeegh. Another great matchup wasted from Gibson as he went – checks notes – zero strikeouts in 20 outs. HAISTBMBWT?! What a ridiculous thing to do. DO YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME?
Andrew Heaney (TEX) vs ARI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 92 pitches.
The ball was flying out of Texas in this one and it felt like the old days. The steroid era? Nah, when Heaney was a death sentence for fantasy managers. I don’t think it’s wise to anticipate three longballs per game moving forward, but Heaney hasn’t had his slider for a few games now and you have to wonder if he’s back to his former Cherry Bomb ways. It means Heaney is a debatable drop with the Mariners up next…but you may want to return for the Athletics and Rockie Road after. It’s up to you – don’t feel guilty if you need to let him go.
Max Scherzer (NYM) @ DET (L) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 75 pitches.
Aces gonna realize that they can’t just take ten days off and feel fine. If I stop practicing for a day, I can tell. If I stop for two days, my wife can tell. If I stop for three, the world. Good ole Vladimir. Anyway, Scherzer’s heater and slider command were rough and he clearly was shaking off some rust. Also probably scared to touch any rosin whatsoever. Give him a break here.
Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs ATL (L) – 4.1 IP, 11 ER, 14 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.
Yikes. Garrett is a matchup-dependent arm in my book, which means I’m hoping most of you didn’t consider this start in the slightest. Don’t cross him off your streamer option list for the future – the Marlins should have pulled him far earlier than they did. Just follow the schedule, y’all.
Game of the Day
Dylan Dodd vs. Jesús Luzardo – I feel like Luzardo has so many tough matchups and I just want him to succeed + remember Dodd? He’s back with a vengeance. This could be the start we wanted to see a month ago.
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 Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)
10 team weekly 6×5 -standard + OPS
Give: Carroll + Cease
Oneil Cruz also coming back with Strider, though that doesn’t move the needle much. It’s a 10 team weekly OPS league, with 3 keepers for one year. I almost never keep pitchers (but I might reconsider if Strider keeps ascending). Current keeper options are Riley, Harper, Jazz, & Carroll. Would be spread thin at OF; would grab Ward or Duran to fill the void left by Carroll if I accept. Thoughts?
Staff is Cease, Rodon (IL), Musgrove, T. McKenzie (IL), Greene, Snell, GrayRod, Lodolo, Bassitt, Cobb, Ed-Rod, Bibee, Mason Miller, Logan Allen. Punting saves, and would probably replace one or two of the above with bats if I nab Strider.
“Wave to the nice man on the wire, sweetie. Yes, the absolutely yoked gentleman. No, he has no butter for your bread, stop asking.”
Incredible . . . the genre perfected . . . chef’s kiss