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Hailing A Cab

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

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 9 am-11 am ET.  

Edward Cabrera (MIA) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 94 pitches.

Can we talk about Edward CabreraI’m dying to talk about Edward CabreraHe made his 2022 debut in Coors and I was all kinds of discouraged by it, labeling him as a Do Not Start, and elected to hold off on picking him up given a likely second start against the tough Giants squad. (Note: With Tuesday’s postponement, it now means Cabrera could next start a week from Saturday against Houston as the Marlins won’t need a fifth starter until then.)

Well, he made me look dumb (as many do) via 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 94 pitches, earning a King Cole and tossing a 96 mph changeup. Yeah. INSANE. That slowball returned 10/35 whiffs as his most thrown offering and consistently wowed all of us watching in the early frames.

Armed with that new changeup, Cabrera was able to elevate effectively at, oh I don’t know, 99 mph and earn 50% CSW on four-seamers. Again, INSANE. There is still work to be done, as evidenced by those four walks. Cabrera’s slider is a work-in-progress, earning just 6/17 strikes on the pitch here. Yeah, not great.

So is he worth the pickup? I’m not sure he is. The Marlins have an off-day next week and my best guess is we won’t see Cabrera again until June 11th — ten days away. That’s a good while to hold onto a player just to start him against the Astros, but it’s a nuanced question. If you don’t feel great about that one stream you need to make this week, you may as well stash Cabrera instead, possibly letting him loose if you find something else before that Houston start…which will be a “Questionable” for me. Just because the changeup was this incredible today doesn’t mean that’s what we’ll see forever, now.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

 

Tarik Skubal (DET) vs MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 103 pitches.

Man he’s certainly feeling like he deserves an AGA label, doesn’t he? Sliders went a ridiculous 24/27 for strikes, though he didn’t do a whole lot fishing for whiffs on the pitch, keeping it mostly in the zone. The fours-seamer and sinker weren’t at their best either, while the changeup did well at the bottom of the zone, for the most part. And yet, despite all of this, it was the line you see above. Wild. I think that’s what’s holding me back a bit for Skubal: He isn’t surgically taking down batters like the guys with AGA labels and there’s a feeling his amazing 2022 season will come back down to Earth a bit. Still, if he’s getting this many slider strikes and still elevating that four-seamer, he should be pretty dang good through the year.

Garrett Whitlock (BOS) vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 70 pitches.

That’s not even a little tiny pat o’ butter, that’s NADA. HAISTBMBWT?! I’m absolutely shocked this is what Whitlock has become, though not as shocked when I see he was down two ticks on his heater to just 93.6 mph and his slider went 1/7 CSW. Yikes. Now he gets the Angels and if it’s anything like this, he’ll get punished for it. I was starting to come around a bit on Whitlock but this was a “I don’t have it tonight and I hope I can just toss mediocre hitters over the plate and get through it” kind of night.

Kyle Wright (ATL) @ ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

I know, the five walks make you think Wright was all over the place, but he really wasn’t. 91% strikes on curveballs with just one hit on the hook, four-seamer elevated with intent, and sinkers landing arm-side nearly every time he tossed it. The real problem here was the changeup as he leaned on it nearly 30% of the time despite a 57% strike rate. The Diamondbacks threw a ton of lefties at him, forcing the slowball more often, but if you ask me, Wright can make it work with four-seamers and curveballs just fine against right-handers. Nick, he didn’t allow a run. OKAY FINE. I’ve been playing Chicken Little with Wright across the last month with his command and I think this was overall pretty solid — not peak Wright, but not Peking Duck! Get out of the way! Wright, either.

Jon Gray (TEX) vs TB (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.

TWELVE STRIKEOUTS?! Oh, the slider must have been whiff-city. Nope, just 2/25 whiffs on the slider if you can believe it. You can thank his prime velocity returning to 96.2 mph on the four-seamer while the slider landed for 68% strikes. He just kept rearing back and firing fastballs past Rays batters and I’m thrilled to see it. I can’t say I’m anticipating this velocity to stick — he’s hit this peak before only for it to fall in 2021 — but he gets the Guardians next and after I was super hesitant about Gray following last week’s start against Oakland, I’m putting my ego aside and jumping back in because duh. The dude just earned 12 Ks with 1 ER in seven frames and gets Cleveland next. I should have said that and only that, huh.

Konnor Pilkington (CLE) vs KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.

I watched this one and it’s hard not to be impressed by Karl Konnor. His four-seamer/changeup combo was better than we’ve seen all year, boasting nearly two ticks of extra velocity on the heater and nearly three on the slow ball. Thing is, this felt a bit…weird. The Royals were missing on plenty of heaters down the pipe — even in 0-2 counts! — and I’m not sure I buy the heater returning eight whiffs and a 37% CSW against a team that doesn’t rhyme with Goyals. The changeup was well spotted and I won’t take that away from him, but after that there’s…nothing? Yeah, nothing. He does get Texas next, for what it’s worth, and I can see Yahoo!’s transaction trends showcasing a massive amount of pickups for that sole start (or as a two-step against Texas & Oakland!). I’m not entirely against it — maybe I’m missing something here and it works! — I just need to see more.

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Carrasco got out of some tough jams in this one — it’s how you have a 0.00 ERA with a 1.80 WHIP — and despite the slider not being great, he pushed through five scoreless. The fastball wasn’t doing a whole lot for me, either, and I’m continuing to assess Carrasco as a fringe 12-teamer. I think he’ll be fine against the Padres next, but this is a start-to-start situation and likely the bottom of your rotation or near it. Don’t settle in with Carrasco, keep a watchful eye on the wire.

Dakota Hudson (STL) vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 104 pitches.

It was a rough first frame that made it seem like Hudson was destined for a short outing, but he cruised from the second through the sixth and managed to escape a final jam to go a full seven. Amazing. Hudson is like life in that he finds a way. Sometimes. Okay, he’s like life if it’s both great and terrible. So actually like life then. Yes. WELCOME TO DAKOTA HUDSON, THE MOST HUMAN OF ALL PITCHERS. 

Cole Irvin (OAK) vs HOU (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.

As we step forward, we can see the Toby in its natural habitat. Houston carefully approaches, and the Toby looks stiff. Tobys are quite timid around tough offenses. The Toby offers bait in the form of baserunners as it makes its escape through the innings. Houston doesn’t notice, and the Toby has fled with only minor damage. He will live to see another day. 

Carlos Rodón (SF) @ PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Rodón turned on the jets in the fifth inning to get some strikeouts your way, earning nine whiffs in that inning alone and pumping his hardest pitches of the night. The Phillies gave him a tough time hitting some out-of-the-zone pitches for hits and he powered through it. He’s still awfully good with that ridiculous heater.

Jason Alexander (MIL) @ CHC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.

This was something else. Alexander’s sinker had so much lateral movement on it, making it incredibly hard to barrel, but also tough to limit the walks. His changeup looked great too…when it worked. Just 6/17 strikes sadly without a whiff as batters constantly took the pitch for an easy ball. His slider is a big sweeper that fell for 9/19 called strikes and I can absolutely see how this ended up being just 2 ER — he’s chaos in a bottle. I can see you yelling SERENITY NOW! if you actually relied on him as he had no idea where each pitch was going. I don’t expect to see him again any time soon — this start was the  product of a double-header — but you may be able to find another Quality Start here in the future.

Madison Bumgarner (ARI) vs ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 103 pitches.

Pretty standard affair here for Bumgarner, who lost some points being a southpaw against Atlanta. He’s still 90/91 mph and could do well against the Reds in Cincy next time. He’ll be questionable there.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.

Whoa, a Gallows Pole for Springs?! That changeup and four-seamer messed up the Rangers despite not the best locations around the zone and I have to hand it to the slider for going 75% strikes as well. Awesome work across the board, but here’s the weird situation: Does he get another start? You’d think the Rays would let him do it — they just let him go 85 pitches! — but Shane Baz is expected back next week and they have an off-day on Monday. Does Ryan Yarbrough get the boot instead? I hope so, though I don’t like the vision of Yarbrough physically “getting the boot.” I need better phrases in my life.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs SEA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 80 pitches.

On one hand, Bradish sat 96 mph, nearly two ticks harder than what we’ve seen this far. On the other, his overall command was bad, featuring fastballs in the heart of the plate constantly, and being all kinds of infrequent with his slider. We’re not at the point of picking him up, though if he keeps that velocity, there’s a chance he’s on one night and he goes off again. So if he’s on, he goes off? Yeah, like a light. BRADISH IS THE LIGHT. No, not at all what I mean. Please don’t be like this.

José Quintana (PIT) @ LAD (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 84 pitches.

Soooo it was the Dodgers and we all know deep down he wasn’t going to repeat his last ridiculous performance. That said, I still kinda dig his pitch separation and lean into the BSB the best he can. Makes me think he has a decent shot at a good start against the Tigers next. Not a bad NL-Only stream.

Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR) vs CWS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 58 pitches.

Sadly Ryu left this one early with forearm tightness and it’s even more frustrating given he had a solid feel for his changeup. Don’t worry, I’ll talk to some people and make sure there are fewer injuries moving forward. I know a guy.

Evan Lee (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

I watched this one and sadly we didn’t see heavenly Evan Lee. Instead, we saw the leading female role of Severance, Helly. Yes, that’s her name in the show and it works. Stop yelling at me and just watch the show already. But what about Evan? He tosses low 90s heaters with a decent hook and may see some innings for the Nationals as he carves 5+ innings every so often. Oh. Yeah.

Justin Verlander (HOU) @ OAK (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Verlander didn’t have his best command but it’s Oakland and he made it work regardless. That’s an ace for ya.

Mitch White (LAD) vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 78 pitches.

Whoa, seven strikeouts?! Ohhhhh. The Pirates. Still, White was able to get his breakers in the zone constantly and it led to that pretty 36% CSW. It looks like he’s getting an extended stay in the rotation, which means he’ll get the White Sox with more than 80 pitches…eh I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. Deeper leagues? Sure, there could be something there. I adore the shape of his breakers, but they’ve traditionally been low strike rate pitches and his fastball is far too hittable. It’s too risky for most leagues.

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 79 pitches.

He’s a Cherry Bomb who blows up more than blossoming into something sweet. I mean, just one strikeout against the Brewers?! HAISTBMBWT?!

Brad Keller (KC) @ CLE (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 99 pitches.

I look down at the pavement, staring at the spinning copper. The air heavy with inevitability but I insist I’ll see the face of success. Heads! PLEASE! I beg internally as its velocity delicately declines, finally resting its journey, face flat on the stone. Tails, my man, he grins at me. Dang it Keller, HAISTBMBWT?! 

Robbie Ray (SEA) @ BAL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

He allowed a three-run shot to Odor and that was about it…? His four-seamer was a little softer and didn’t miss as many bats, but he had great pitch separation and I’m still a believer. He’s pitching too well for this stretch to continue, sometimes it just is that way. I’m still buying low.

Hunter Greene (CIN) @ BOS (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 73 pitches.

So Greene allowed six hits here, and three of them were off excellent pitches literally on the corners of the zone, while three of them were off meatballs, one from each of his three pitch types, including a changeup that had no business being in the middle of the zone. What are ya doin’ here changeup? GET OUTTA HERE. The slider overall was as good as we’ve seen, landing down-and-armside constantly, though the heater and its 99/100 mph velocity was a bit over the place. In the end, Greene is who we thought he was: a Cherry BombDo what you want with that information.

Yu Darvish (SD) @ STL (L) – 7.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Darvish didn’t earn his first strikeout until the sixth inning of this one, if you can believe it. His slider didn’t do the work it normally does, while the heater and splitter were…blegh. Some days Darvish has it, some days he doesn’t. For the most part, he’ll help more than hurt, and so we continue forward with Darvish in our party.

Aaron Nola (PHI) vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Nola had 0 ER through five innings. Careful, Icarus is an UNDERSTATEMENT for what Nola has been through and all we can do is throw our hands up, lean on our friends and thank them for letting us vent to them, then start Nola again the next time out. This is the way. 5 ER on five hits + walks is DUMB.

Bailey Ober (MIN) @ DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

To be honest, Ober kinda did what Ober does: lots of four-seamers up and trying to get his secondary stuff down effectively. It didn’t work out today and that’s gonna happen. He gets the Yankees next and I’m not thrilled about that one, though it could work in his favor, too. Low questionable start there.

Trevor Rogers (MIA) @ COL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 86 pitches.

Okay okay okay, so this is terrible and you’re upset! I am too! But it was also a “Do Not Start” given Coors and the Nationals are next. This shouldn’t ding Rogers more, right? IT’S COORS. At the same time, the changeup and slider were really not good at all sooooooo do whatever you want. Wanna drop him? By all means, have a ball.

Michael Kopech (CWS) @ TOR (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 85 pitches.

“Give him extra rest” they said. “He had extra velocity and will perform at his peak with extra rest!” they said. “Sigh,” wait that one was me. Kopech didn’t have his 97+ mph velocity and instead sat 95.2 in this one, while both of his breakers failed to eclipse a 50% strike rate. Yeaaaaah, I can’t get the idea out of my head that Kopech was amped given the Donaldson v. Anderson situation and gave his best effort on National TV. This comes at a poor time given the Dodgers are next and it feels like a coin flip if he’s able to get it together and be the man we know he can be.

Antonio Senzatela (COL) vs MIA (L) – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 13 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 85 pitches.

Y’all know that I treat Senzatela with indifference most of the time, but he gets my rage today as his return has kicked Ryan Feltner out of the rotation — a man whose new velocity has made me raise an eyebrow like hearing contradictory testimony during an investigation. And now you’ve taken that away from me, too. WHEN WILL THE PAIN END, SENZ-A?!

Germán Márquez (COL) vs MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 75 pitches.

Welp, at least he makes it easy for those still tempted by Márquez to move on entirely. Sometimes hard love is what we need.

 

Game of the Day 

Alex Wood vs. Sandy Alcantara – Y’all know I have a Sandy Crush and I believe in the redemption tour of Wood.

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.

Featured image 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.

2 responses to “Hailing A Cab”

  1. EJ says:

    Hunter Greene’s changeup is not a member of PL+

  2. Change Up says:

    96 mph changeup and 99 mph fastball seems more like the changeup was mis-identified to me… shouldn’t there be better separation between fast and slow to be effective or nah?

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