Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday 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.
Max Meyer (MIA) vs PHI (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.
Today marked the highly anticipated MLB debut of Max Meyer and as if to appease my rule of not starting arms in their first major league starts, Meyer went 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches against the Phils. Not exactly what you want to see, but this wasn’t as bad as it seems.
He allowed a pair of homers tallying three runs and was pulled with two runners on in the sixth for the final 2 ER (Careful, Icarus) while he did something I don’t believe I’ve seen before in a proper MLB debut – the man tossed 50% sliders. The pitch returned a 41% CSW, though I wouldn’t classify it as a breaker that is destined to overwhelm constantly – it’s more like a loopier cutter than a vicious breaker. He had some excellent moments locating them out of the zone for whiffs + he confidently tossed them in the zone and set a solid foundation for the rest of his arsenal.
That said, I don’t know how great the heater is. It’s a cut-action four-seamer that can be located well, but it wasn’t as overpowering as I expected at 95 mph. I’m curious to see how it performs moving forward. As for the third offering, his changeup is lagging behind (1/12 CSW, 42% strikes), though its movement suggests plus if he’s able to locate effectively.
All-in-all, I think I’m holding for another outing, but wouldn’t favor him over already reliable options. It’s awfully tough to gauge a guy like Meyer after just one outing, and the game is grasping how much of what I saw today is all he has to offer, or if there’s another gear we’ll see in the near future. He gets the Reds next and I think that opens the door for a step forward now that the early jitters are out of the way (I hope). Here’s to an improved heater and changeup to allow him to rise on The List.
Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:
Alex Cobb (SF) vs MIL (ND) – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.
Ahhhhh, there’s the luck. Why couldn’t you have this in your last two outings against the Diamondbacks?! His splitter earned a remarkable 14/45 balls in play and it went Cobb’s way for once. He should get the Dodgers out of the break now and sadly I don’t think this outing was the dominance that 0 ER and a low WHIP suggest. Be careful.
Mitch Keller (PIT) @ COL (L) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 95 pitches.
I’m sorry, Keller featured just 93.8 mph velocity, barely touched the new sinker, earned three whiffs on his secondaries, and dominated in Coors?! Why do I even try to figure this game out.
José Ureña (COL) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.
YOU TOO?! I can’t do this anymore. Nick come back here. NO. I CAN’T. I just can’t anymore.
Cal Quantrill (CLE) vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 100 pitches.
Okay good. Quantrill struggled against the Tigers last time he faced them and I’m glad he was able to do what we expected of him here. Sadly it’s the Red Sox next so we’re out there. He’s just a Toby, ya’ll.
Justin Verlander (HOU) vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 106 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. It’s the Athletics, so not too much praise, but we’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop here and it simply hasn’t. What a fun story this has been.
Ranger Suárez (PHI) @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 64 pitches.
Hey, that’s a solid outing from Suárez, bringing his season ERA to a respectable 4.07 mark. That changeup isn’t missing bats like last year, but was spotted incredibly well and his curveball woke up for 90% strikes, getting the most out of his limited pitch count as he returned from the IL. I can’t help but wonder if that curveball/changeup usage will stay up as a product of his rehab – maybe this was a discussion he had when on the IL? Sadly he gets Atlanta next and I’d avoid that one, but I’m intrigued. There’s still time to get that 3.50 ERA with a strong second half.
Julio Urías (LAD) @ LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 91 pitches.
That’s more like it. Give me another start like this and you have your AGA label as our memory of your start against the Cubs fades. 93.9 mph velocity is super encouraging as well as you’ve sat 92.8 mph all year (and at times under 92!). Please let it be real.
Miles Mikolas (STL) vs CIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches.
You can’t try to stop Mikolas, you can only hope to contain him. Nah, this was the Reds on the road and he threw a ton of strikes, even with a tick harder on his sinker and slider. I really hope this ride never ends.
Eric Lauer (MIL) @ SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 108 pitches.
That line is wonderful, save for the few strikeouts, and while the 94 mph heater helped, he surprisingly earned just 3/51 whiffs on it here, returning more balls in play than we’d like. Let’s be thankful the BABIP gods arrived on the Lauer. He’s still missing his old cutter (just seven thrown?!) as the slider and curve did the extra work, and it makes me generally skeptical this will stick. However, it’s Rockie Road and Eric can easily pull that off. I’m holding for that, of course.
Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.
Walker got the Cubs and kept on rolling because that’s what he’s supposed to do. Oh, so baseball is just that easy is it? YEP. THAT EASY. Splitter/four-seamer/slider is the way of life for Walker these days and they all did their part to make this work. He may get the Yankees next, though, and I’m curious if he can stand up to the challenge. That’ll be a questionable start.
Jameson Taillon (NYY) vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 79 pitches.
Huge props to you Taillon as it’s been a rough month. Plenty better command overall and while I’m still a little tepid on my enthusiasm for a Top 30 SP run, it’s starts like these that make you generally worthwhile in 12-teamers like a proper Toby. I understand chasing those Wins.
Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.
I’ll take it against a heating-up Texas offense. His four-seamer was fantastic, the rest was not, and I’m already tired of repeating this. Gilbert isn’t a lot of things, but he certainly is what he is.
Drew Smyly (CHC) vs NYM (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 83 pitches.
Hey, that’s pretty good for Smyly and that says everything. I miss soggy arm Smyly.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) vs NYM (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.
Hmmmm, that’s just 4.1 frames, but he helped across the board as his sinker stunned Mets bats. His cutter/slider wasn’t all too impressive at just 50% strikes combined, while the splitter was…just 33% strikes. Yikes. There’s some work to be done here, but given he’s stretched out now, I think I’m okay against the Phils. A little cautious, though.
Max Scherzer (NYM) @ CHC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 102 pitches.
Aces gonna ace as Scherzer has been so dang good since he returned. That’s a well-earned Golden Goal and there’s not much else to say. What a stud.
Ryan Yarbrough (TB) vs BAL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 65 pitches.
So he’s throwing more sinkers these days (26% usage is more than any other pitch today) and he did a good job placing them around the edges, along with the rest of his stuff. The Fratty Pirate makes a living off avoiding the heart of the plate with his slow stuff – it’s what gives a crafty lefty his name…outside of the whole not-throwing-with-your-right-arm thing – and it’s the ticker to success…which looks like the line above. It’s not the highest of ceilings with a floor that ain’t pretty. I’m generally against leaning on this precise command start-to-start, and if you’re jumping in here, know what you’re getting into.
Spencer Howard (TEX) vs SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 91 pitches.
Annnnd we’re back to 50% heaters as his cutter + curveball + changeup returned…the sole whiff of the night. 1/91 whiffs. HOW.
Max Fried (ATL) @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. It’s a little bit of a Dusty Donut, but that’s a good WHIP and decent ERA. Blame the slider going just 3/15 CSW here as he featured far too many pitches in the heart of the plate. Whatareyagonnado.
Sean Manaea (SD) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 94 pitches.
Ehhhh, I’m not happy with a VPQS from Manaea as I was searching for something tangible to get me excited moving forward. Instead we got 0/35 whiffs on his secondaries. Blegh. At least the heater sat 92, but we need that slider and changeup to wake up – they earned strikes, but we want more than that.
Paolo Espino (WSH) vs ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 87 pitches.
He’s stretched out now and I’d keep an eye on Espino in deeper leagues – he can be a decent streamer after the All-Star break now with a pair of solid breakers. Don’t let him be an unknown in the mix.
Dylan Bundy (MIN) vs CWS (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.
I dunno, is this noteworthy at all? His slider + changeup returned 2/36 whiffs and he got a lot of strikes on four-seamers despite his lack of precision along the edges. No thanks, bucko.
Tyler Gilbert (ARI) @ SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.
Yep, there’s nothing here you’re happy about, despite not actually being anything dramatically detrimental. HAISTBMBWT?! That’s the life of Gilbert. It’s comical.
Dean Kremer (BAL) @ TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 79 pitches.
At least this makes me feel better that Lodolo didn’t come through…? Nah, I never wish ill of a pitcher (I want them all to be dope, y’all know that) and it is a bit shocking to see 13 whiffs return just a pair of punchouts. The cutter was pretty dang good over the game and spotted well on the corner, but the rest of his stuff was…pretty dang mediocre. And now it’s the Yankees? Yeah, no reason to hold onto Kremer to get his starts after that. Just drop him and if you want to dive back in later, he should be there.
Daniel Lynch (KC) @ TOR (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 76 pitches.
The slider was poor, the Jays are not, and there’s your ballgame. I know it wouldn’t be for years, but I really want to see what Lynch looks like pitching for a different club. I think there’s something fantastic here and I hope we see it come alive in the near future.
Max Castillo (TOR) vs KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 53 pitches.
There was some chatter about Castillo making this one work as he faced a rugged Royals crew, but he went just 23 pitches and sure didn’t make the best use of them – HAISTBMBWT?! It’s too bad, I was gonna call him MC Fanner, but NOPE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Jared Koenig (OAK) @ HOU (L) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.
Save for a grand slam in the second, Jared did pretty well to navigate the Astros lineup. He relies far too much on BABIP, though, and he’s just a desperate streamer in the future. Don’t go to Jared’s often.
Nick Lodolo (CIN) @ STL (L) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 67 pitches.
Womp womp. His command was off here, with sinkers sitting in the middle and his secondaries all over the place. Blegh. I still love the ability of Lodolo, but this was a step back and makes his next outing against the Marlins a bit more contentious. I think I’m still rolling the dice, but I can see some avoiding this floor as much as possible.
Lance Lynn (CWS) @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.
This was a bench given Lynn’s struggles + the Twins offense and I’m upset it was the right play. It’s not like his four-seamer and cutter were bad, though, his slider and sinker were the real culprits and it’s encouraging for his next start against the Guardians. I think I’m jumping back in there.
José Suarez (LAA) vs LAD (ND) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 79 pitches.
It was the Dodgers, y’all know this wasn’t the time for Suarez. Sorry if you accidentally added José instead of Ranger today, it happens.
Nick Pivetta (BOS) @ NYY (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.
Oh dear. Sure, we didn’t want to start Pivetta here, but this is…yeah. I think the Vargas Rule wall has been very well hit by now, even if this was the Yankees.
Michael Pineda (DET) @ CLE (L) – 2.0 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 47 pitches.
How does he do it each start? Ummmm, Nick. He allowed 8 ER in two frames. Oh. Well I guess he doesn’t, then, does he. Feels like the Mr. Smith start – It is inevitable.
Game of the Day
Chris Sale vs. Gerrit Cole – The perfect matchup to take us into the All-Star break.
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)
You may need a new category of All-Time Aces Gonna Ace for Verlander and Scherzer.
Hi Nick, when you mention the shoe dropping for Verlander, does that mean you expect a gradual decline from him? So I should look to trade?