Spencer’s Hot Topic

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Monday 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.  

Spencer Strider (ATL) @ ARI (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 72 pitches.

I wanted to take a moment to outline my thoughts on Spencer Strider proper after he made his first start for Atlanta via 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 72 pitches against the Diamondbacks. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this one based on a low expected pitch count and with Coors next, it wasn’t going to be a fun week for Strider managers.

That said, I think it’s worth it to still grab Strider, even if you won’t start him until a week from Friday against the Pirates. I know, it’s a long time for a stash, but he clearly has a ceiling you want to chase. His four-seamer tallied a 41% CSW and a 76% strike rate here, while his changeup and slider each earned strikes. Luck wasn’t on his side, but he’s not as erratic as you think and he’s armed with an incredible heater.

This is an impact starter that can push the needle if you have the roster spot available. Snitker wants Strider to nail down the 5th spot in the Atlanta rotation and I don’t see him losing it across the next few weeks. Take the chance, make it happen, and you could be popping the corks in September.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

 

Pablo López (MIA) @ COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. MY MAN SURVIVED COORS. You love to see it.

Tyler Wells (BAL) @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 88 pitches.

Wells wells wells, look what we have here. He executed the BSB pretty well(s) with sliders down and four-seamers up…and it returned just three strikeouts. I’m not sold and you can Fargo forgo Wells.

Zach Thompson (PIT) @ LAD (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

The curveball made a presence in this one — sweet — and the cutter was solid, too. I’m glad to see Thompson looking more like his 2021 self, but he’s still a Frozen Banana to me until he has that start to turn heads, even if this was against the Dodgers.

Drew Smyly (CHC) vs MIL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 49 pitches.

Smyly left this one early with an oblique injury. Poor guy — he not only had his cutter working, but he was also 1.5 ticks harder on his fastball, too. Man, this was the best he’s looked all year. That’s rough.

Framber Valdez (HOU) @ OAK (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 114 pitches.

Valdez, thank you for showing everyone what you’re supposed to do when you get a matchup against the Athletics. With the Royals up next, you have to feel great about this, especially with whiffs returning to the hook. Very Valdezating. Validezing. Vadezliding. It confirms things.

Ryan Feltner (COL) vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 94 pitches.

Whoa whoa whoa, look at this. Feltner raised his velocity some more to 95 mph and earned a 32% CSW on his four-seamer, while his slider, curve, and sinker all saw massive velocity upticks — three full on the hook, and nearly three on the sinker. Huh. Welp, Antonio Senzatela looks to be returning this week so Feltner is apparently out and there wouldn’t be a good road start to comfortably take a chance anyway.

Zach Plesac (CLE) vs KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 83 pitches.

While the slider returned just 1/18 whiffs, Plesac went — get this — 13/13 strikes with his changeup. That’s insane. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. I was looking for that pitch to return in this one and despite it not earning a single whiff, it makes me wonder if this is enough for a deep stream against the Orioles next. Fortune favors the bold…

Aaron Ashby (MIL) @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 100 pitches.

OH MY. That’s a Golden Goal as Ashby’s changeup was as amazing as ever, earning 10/31 whiffs and a 42% CSW, while the slider took a bit of a backseat for just 52% strikes, getting saved more as a whiff pitch out of the zone and using thee excellent slow ball and hook for non-heaters over the plate. This was everything we dreamed of from Ashby and I’m dang happy it’s here. Yes, you can expect a YouTube breakdown on him tomorrow because DUH. Go get him anywhere you still can.

Matt Swarmer (CHC) vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hey this guy’s got a solid breaker, earning 10/49 whiffs on the slider here and surviving against the Brewers. His heater is awfully pedestrian at 91 mph, though, and if Swarmer gets more chances, I wouldn’t take one on him. If he records twelve outs next time, maybe I’d lead with him and call it Four, The Swarm. Yes, that’s a Starcraft joke. Please clap.

Glenn Otto (TEX) vs TB (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 99 pitches.

Whoa, I’m shocked this worked, especially with Otto relying heavily on a knuckle-curve 23% of the time for a 52% CSW. Normally it’s the slide piece getting the attention, but he featured it just 12% of the time. Weird. I adore the hook, of course, but I hate the heaters. I think there’s too much risk here still, sadly.

Packy Naughton (STL) vs SD (ND) – 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 40 pitches.

This was essentially a bullpen game and I can’t tell y’all, in my moment of “old man yells at cloud.” how much I despise them. I WANT MORE PROPER STARTERS DANGIT. 

Kyle Gibson (PHI) vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.

That’s a nice surprise from Gibson who had his slider doing great things here, while the rest earned outs constantly. He gets the Angels next and I’d be hesitant to throw the die a second time.

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs ATL (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 97 pitches.

Gallen placed his changeup super well at the bottom of the zone and while he allowed two hits with it and few whiffs, I’m encouraged at his feel for the pitch moving forward. Meanwhile, the heater was the bigger culprit as he featured too many in the heart of the plate and it led to the high WHIP. Overall, I’m cool with this outing, though, and it does give me hope Gallen can break out proper in future starts.

Ethan Small (MIL) @ CHC (ND) – 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 69 pitches.

I watched this one with the Twitch crowd during today’s List stream and promptly jinxed him after his first two frames. Look at those four-seamer locations, though, and I can see how Small could carve up lineups with that four-seamer paired with his changeup located down properly. That’s not what we got from the slow ball, though, and it all fell apart in the third. Small likely doesn’t hang around the team — they have to fill Brandon Woodruff’s start this week with someone else + they have a day off next week — but I’ll be keeping an eye for his return in the summer.

Logan Webb (SF) @ PHI (ND) – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ayyyyy this was great, even if it came with some Careful, Icarus in the ninth. Just 3/35 slider whiffs isn’t, but it earned a lot of strikes while the sinker and changeup were fantastic. I don’t think this is a standard affair for Webb — it may be the highest strikeout total he reaches all season — but if he’s able to keep up the changeup whiffs (and hopefully up the slider whiffs), I can consider him Top 20 again. It’s likely Webb is a ~22% strikeout guy across the year and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it hold him back from being a legit Top 15 starter.

Jonathan Heasley (KC) @ CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.

You’ll take a VPQS from Heasley all day…if you’re into that kind of league. For the rest of us, this is three strikeouts on a stick. Please take the stick back.

Nick Martinez (SD) @ STL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 93 pitches.

That’s a VVPQS and you’re wondering why you still care at all about Martinez. Look, I was a fan at the start of the year and I’ve been past it for a while. H*ck, there’s a chance he heads back to long relief after this one with Mike Clevinger possibly returning before his next start. There are better options out there.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) vs HOU (L) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’m glad he was able to keep the WHIP low, but I can’t shake the thought that Blackburn is a Toby and nothing more. Boston is next and it could be more of the same, but if there is one thing that will keep him afloat it’s that curveball, which returned a 55% CSW here. I hope he’s got it.

Dylan Bundy (MIN) @ DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.

He went 31% sliders (yay!) but his four-seamer went 4/34 CSW and that’s an atrocity. We need that heater to do a bit more work than that, or his slider has to hit 40% usage.

Beau Brieske (DET) vs MIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 91 pitches.

You know, I bet Brieske played a few games on the playground back in the day. I’m thinking Beau jacks on the asphalt. Wow, Nick. Wow. Annnnyway he doesn’t do enough to warrant your attention so let’s move on and forget I ever mentioned the two-sport legend.

David Peterson (NYM) vs WSH (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 88 pitches.

Womp womp. I was hoping the improved slider would stick as Peterson was our reluctant streamer, but sadly it went just 2/19 whiffs and he struggled across the board. And now it’s the Dodgers? Absolutely not.

Walker Buehler (LAD) vs PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

He allowed a three-run bomb in the second and to his credit, he stuck it out for six frames to limit the damage. Thing is, it’s still 0/31 whiffs on the four-seamer (sigh) and I’m worried like all of you are, even after lowering him on The List today. Get it together Buehler, we know you’re better than this.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) @ TEX (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 67 pitches.

Blegh. The slider was horrific in this one and the normal three-way split between fastball/cutter/slider turned into a four-seamer focus that made none of us happy. That’s a pair of high ERA outings now, but I’d stick with it against the White Sox next. I think his stuff speaks to better nights than this.

Rich Hill (BOS) vs BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Yeaaaaah. Don’t die on this Hill.

Erick Fedde (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 52 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Game of the Day 

Lucas Giolito vs. Kevin Gausman – Two aces squaring off is always a fun time.

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 Joe Robbins/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.

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