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 pm ET.
Bailey Ober (MIN) @ CLE (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.
Our streaming pick of the day Bailey Ober came through in a big way against the Guardians with a fantastic 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches performance, securing a Win and the hearts of managers everywhere.
Thing is, this was run of the mill for Ober from an execution standpoint – four-seamers were up as Oberizzi does, his slider and curve were down, and the changeup did it’s best to help. What separated this one was the consistency of said pitches, especially the curve and slider that combined for a 40% CSW across 35 thrown. That’s the good stuff. The bad news here is the Guardians are a far worse offense than the Padres or Dodgers in Ober’s next two outings + this was Ober’s peak. Considering Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda are on the shelf, Ober’s spot in the rotation is secure for a good while and I imagine he’s a legit 12-teamer play for the full season (and better than a Toby), though if you’re enduring a roster crunch and Ober is the last man standing, I’m okay letting him go for the next week or so. Don’t expect starts like these each time he pitches, but it’s good to see him go a full seven for a change.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Chris Bassitt (TOR) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.
See? Bassitt is totally fine y’all. Four walks, Nick. Don’t worry about it. He’s a Holly and we keep starting him without a second thought.
Kodai Senga (NYM) vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 101 pitches.
When Senga has a decent game with his forkball (33% CSW), things work out well. I’d argue this wasn’t one of those with a putrid 46% strike rate on the pitch, but it’s Rockie Road and sometimes that’s good enough. He heads to Cincy before enduring the Rays and Coors and I’m scared about it. He’s too much of a Cherry Bomb for me.
Dane Dunning (TEX) @ LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 72 pitches.
Is it Dunning szn? With deGrom nursing an injury (how could this happen), Dunning took over in the rotation and did a good job locating his vast repertoire along the edges to silence the Angels. Do I think he brings legit upside to the table? Not really, no. He could be fine against the Mariners next if you want to go after it, but he’s a Toby at best in my book. His cutter + slider returned 0/31 whiffs, y’all.
Justin Steele (CHC) vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.
Atta boy Steele, you did exactly what you should against the Marlins…and yet I’m a little worried as the slider hasn’t looked great for a few weeks now. The four-seamer dominated, though and we’re in a bizarro world suddenly as Steele was supposed to be an “elite slider, poor FB” guy entering this year. He gets the Cards next and we keep riding this train until something slows down, but I kinda think he’s a great sell-high.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.
A good Toby comes through in their starts against weak teams, and Kelly made a statement here against the Nationals. So what is he doing different? Nothing, really. Just a fantastic command evening with his changeup and cutter, while the Nats didn’t jump on the fastballs. And now it’s Miami + Athletics? Easy.
Yu Darvish (SD) vs LAD (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.
Darvish performs however he does regardless of his opponent. I’m thrilled to see him come through for trusting managers in this one, though he once again featured a game of odd command – a heavy number of pitches in the zone, but not a distinguished location approach. He did turn to sinkers far more than four-seamers though and they were fantastic with a 42% CSW. Go figure. He gets ’em again and who cares? Y’all already forgot the first sentence of this blurb.
Dean Kremer (BAL) @ ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.
Props to Kremer coming through against Atlanta. I don’t buy it at all, but hey, good for you.
Antonio Senzatela (COL) @ NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.
Despite being a clear Still ILL as he returned from TJS and it being, you know, Senz-A, he still came through because that’s just what he does. HE MADDENS ME. And, you know, the Mets being the Mets. He’s throwing harder post-surgery (up a tick!) so that’s cool for him, but yeah. It’s Senz-A. We don’t attend this dojo.
Peyton Battenfield (CLE) vs MIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! When we’ve seen Peyton succeed thus far, it’s been on the back of his cutter earning a boatload of whiffs, but with the pitch going just 23% CSW here, he leaned on everything else to make it work. We’re talking 44% CSW between curves and changeups with his four-seamer stepping up for outs and a 30% CSW. Don’t get too enamored, though. Battenfield chucked a fair number of mistake pitches that weren’t punished by the Twins. That said, he has Zach Plesac’s rotation spot now, which means he’s a solid stream against the Tigers next. That seems like a decent shot to take.
Jordan Montgomery (STL) vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 89 pitches.
Hey, I’m not underrating what The Bear is doing this year, looking like a proper Holly with a 3.29 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 22% strikeout rate. But because he’s JorMont, he has a 2-4 record. Poor fella.
Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Just 25% CSW on the cutter is a bit disconcerting though. Is he just an SP #2 these days? He has a…20% strikeout rate?! You know, we were doing early iterations of PLV projections and kept using Burnes as the litmus test for if it was “good enough to publish”. Why Burnes? Because the first runs had Burnes at a 23% strikeout rate and we couldn’t let that go public. PL BOT, WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE DOUBTED YOU. Thing is, the big difference between 2022 and 2023 Burnes isn’t the cutter – it’s the curve. The pitch is getting far fewer chases, thus far few strikes, and it’s messing him up. The cutter is the foundation, but Burnes needs that hook (and slider, FWIW) to come through. I imagine it’s a tweak that will get fixed in time.
Tyler Anderson (LAA) vs TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.
Ayyyy he survived! With a 2.00 WHIP! At least the changeup is still legit, which makes his next two starts against the Guardians and Twins a lot easier to lean into. Thanks, Anderson. I’d pick him up for those if I could. Anderson with his prime changeup against middling offenses generally works.
Cristian Javier (HOU) @ SEA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 94 pitches.
That’s more like it. The four-seamer got whiffs, the slider returned a 47% CSW and this feels a lot better. Still some command stuff to work out, but the four-seamer is still great and a 73% strike rate on sliders is pure bliss.
Chris Sale (BOS) @ PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.
That’s a near VPQS…but ten strikeouts and a Win! I’m here for it, and his BABIP has to come down at some point, right? AND HE SAT 96 MPH. Why didn’t I lead with that?! I haven’t seen Sale sit 96 mph – AND TOUCHED 99 MPH. Strap in y’all, it’s time to get amped.
Matthew Boyd (DET) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.
I’m glad to see a PQS from Boyd, but I think this was more of the Cardinals being in a rough state than Boyd being what we want. Just 3/24 slider whiffs isn’t what we’re looking for (42% CSW, I know). As promised, I’m not in until that slider wows us again.
Yonny Chirinos (TB) vs NYY (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 77 pitches.
I’m glad the Rays have extended him to 5.1 innings and 77 pitches, but does that matter when he returns a 0/4 K per walk against a struggling offense? Didn’t think so.
Edward Cabrera (MIA) @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.
Whoa, one walk?! It’s incredible what he does with such a horrid fastball strike rate (50% across 32 thrown here) and I still have my suspicions that he can be routinely productive with such a clear flaw. But maybe he reduces them to 20% usage or figures it out in the future. Until then, still a Cherry Bomb.
Sean Manaea (SF) vs MIL (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.
Ehhhhh, this is all kinds of Dusty Donut. Those ratios are not what we’re looking for in the slightest, but he did secure a Win, collect six strikeouts, and a 15 whiff/32% CSW game does suggest better in the future. What shocked me the most here was a stupid high emphasis on changeups. We’re talking 34% usage with 45% CSW as the four-seamer was thrown just 29 times. In fact, we also saw 30 sliders and I kinda like this evenly split approach from Manaea (regardless of RHB/LHB!). I think I’m holding for one more against the Nationals. The underlying skills are there, and with Alex Wood on the IL, Manaea has the rotation spot, especially with 91 pitches here.
Josiah Gray (WSH) @ ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.
Blegh. I wanted more from Gray here and sadly, he didn’t have his four-seamer nor cutter coming through. Let’s hope it was just one of those nights and given the recent struggles of the Mets offense, you may want to hold him for that start + Miami after.
Luis Castillo (SEA) vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 96 pitches.
The Discord chat asked if Castillo was broken. Broken?! The man just had a sub 1.00 WHIP against the Astros! Sure, his changeup wasn’t there, but 47% CSW on sliders + 96 mph for a notoriously slow starter. He’s wonderful.
Lance Lynn (CWS) @ CIN (W) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 103 pitches.
Lynn and Sale feel attached at the hip as these high BABIP yet incredible K/BB arms that are sure to have positive regression moving forward. Keep holding on, Lynn is cooking with the heater (13 whiffs and 41% CSW here).
Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs BOS (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.
Ugggggggh. His sinker had a 0% O-Swing on 11 thrown. There’s your problem. That pitch earns Wheeler all the outs and easy strikes he wants and without that cooking, things get a bit rough. Well, that and his slider going 2/14 CSW. Not fun. Is he a buy low? I kinda think so. Wheeler is going through a bit of a rough patch, but there’s a bit of TIARA action going on here – he’s off at the moment but it’s not necessarily destined to be at this level. That said, you can’t rule out there’s an injury at play as he sat 95.5 mph in this one – we saw him go through injury scares last season and with him being off, it may be something underlying. Decisions, decisions…
Rich Hill (PIT) vs TOR (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 89 pitches.
This is Hill. We don’t start Hill against the Jays. We do start him as a streaming option against Rockie Road. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) @ SD (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.
Is it The List curse? No, it’s the pitchers who are wrong. His velocity was normal, the fastball command was all over the place. Very unlike Kershaw and you obviously have to expect a bounce back for TATIAGA.
Jhony Brito (NYY) @ TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 65 pitches.
It’s Brito (a guy with a low ceiling) against the Rays (the best offense in the bigs). Please tell me you didn’t start him.
Max Fried (ATL) vs BAL (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 104 pitches.
Jeeeeez, not you too! Even weirder to see it on a day when Fried earned a Golden Goal – That’s baseball, Suzyn. We just shrug and move on. Whatareyagonnado.
Hunter Greene (CIN) vs CWS (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 102 pitches.
Bleeeeegh. He’s like Dylan Cease as a premium Cherry Bomb and there’s not a whole lot you can do at this point. If you want to wait for a good stretch to sell high, that may be your best bet as I wonder if he’s capable to rid himself of that dreaded CB label. But 19 whiffs and 34% CSW! I’m with you, I think he’s just susceptible to the longball in a terrible place to have the trait. But it was a Careful, Icarus! Yeah, that’s fair too. Maybe you can sell high now?
Kyle Muller (OAK) @ KC (W) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 94 pitches.
Muller is a Frozen Banana lost in the Arctic Circle. I can’t wait for that expedition. JEFFREY! Get my Spikey McSpike boots!
Brad Keller (KC) vs OAK (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.
He’s been Bad Keller for a bit and not even the Athletics could save him from a HAISTBMBWT?! You don’t need me.
Game of the Day
Sonny Gray vs. Logan Allen – We all want Sonny to keep this up while Allen continues his play for the AL ROY.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photos courtesy of MLB Images and Canva | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)
Thanks Nick! Whenever you get a chance, can we get some more recent TIARA examples? The current ones are all from 2017