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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.
Framber Valdez (HOU) vs TEX (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 80 pitches.
Times are tough for Framber Valdez. We had understandable reasons for his recent struggles – an ankle injury and a calf injury – but tonight he has nothing but himself to blame as he was trounced by the Rangers for 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 80 pitches. Yikes.
I’m absolutely shocked to tell you that he didn’t throw a single cutter. The pitch has done a phenomenal job limiting hard contact and boasts a 33% CSW on the year with a 23% SwStr rate, and nope. Nah. Don’t need it. Meanwhile, the usually elite curve was thrown just 15 times for 20% CSW and he elected to go heavy on sinkers and…changeups?! Valdez, you’ve had just two starts above 20% usage of the slowball all year, why oh why are you throwing it 25% of the time now?
It doesn’t make sense to me and at least that’s good news, right? Reduce the changeup, throw more cutters and curveballs, and don’t throw a hittable sinker over 50% of the time. I consider him a fantastic buy low given the weirdness of the past month for Valdez (and the seemingly easy tweaks to be made here), though I have to rid him of his AGA label with his fourth start in five with at least 4 ER. Those are the rules.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Freddy Peralta (MIL) vs CIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks – 24 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 89 pitches.
HO BOY THERE WE GO. That’s a Golden Goal for Peralta as he absolutely OBLITERATED the Reds with 45%+ CSW on both his slider and four-seamer, even going 71% CSW on his seven curveballs. This was the Peralta we’ve known was inside him all along and to see it come to its peak is just a beautiful thing. Now don’t lose it.
Peter Lambert (COL) @ WSH (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 78 pitches.
During an evening where so many studs faltered, seeing Lambert quietly earn himself a Gold Star is awfully wholesome. Enjoy it, kiddo. I hope it was a wonderful Birthday Party.
Gavin Williams (CLE) vs KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.
So the four-seamer is still fantastic, but the secondaries aren’t doing their part yet. I’m not sure when he’ll get those pitches working and in a place where I can trust Gavin regularly to dominate – it may be next year or even years from now….or next start. Who knows, at least he has that heater foundation. It’s a doozy.
Ryan Walker (SF) vs OAK (ND) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 40 pitches.
Did the Athletics and Giants agree to terms before the game started not to have a proper starting pitcher? What is this, my fall league scrimmages?
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ TB (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.
THERE HE IS. The changeup and slider were excellent, especially paired with fastballs that earned so many outs inside + earned a fair number of whiffs as well, even hitting 100 mph in the latter frames. HE HATH RETURNED. Sadly, we’ve seen Sandy have a game like this, then regress in his very next outing, but it’s hard not to get excited here.
Johan Oviedo (PIT) @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.
It’s awfully strange to see a successful start like this from Oviedo when he went 38% four-seamers that returned 41% strikes. That’s atrocious. But hey, Tigers are next and that’s good enough for us. Now please excuse me as I take a shower. Shiver
Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! Sure, the WHIP is poor as he hung far too many sliders, but the new curveball is good and he was able to get whiffs on four-seamers in the upper half. Yeah, okay, we hold onto Kikuchi everywhere right now.
Carlos Rodón (NYY) vs NYM (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.
I’m encouraged, but those strikeouts are not what they should be and I see it as a product of a few more four-seamer foul balls than what we’ll get in time. Good pitch separation, a solid 7/26 whiffs slider, and after a laborious first frame, he settled in well. Keep believing in Rodón, he’ll get there.
Seth Lugo (SD) vs PIT (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 84 pitches.
This was a pretty easy call and Lugo was fantastic with curves, sliders, and both fastballs. It’s too bad he gets Coors and the Dodgers up next (I think I’d bench for both) as Lugo seems primed to take advantage of weak offenses at the moment.
Ben Lively (CIN) @ MIL (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.
What’s Lively’s best pitch? If you said slider, well that offering was decent but just went 1/20 whiffs. Oh. The answer was nothing. There isn’t anything I’d classify as obviously great with Lively at the moment and I just can’t get behind these results.
Spencer Strider (ATL) @ BOS (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 91 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. One strikeout away from beating his own record of earning 200 strikeouts in a season in fewer innings than anyone else. It’s bonkers and I love it.
José Quintana (NYM) @ NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.
I’ll absolutely take this. The WHIP will get better, don’t worry, as Quintana’s pitch separation was fantastic. Four-seamers upstairs, curveballs down, changeups armside and down, and even sinkers landing nearly exclusively armside. There’s some tiny polish to be done to throw a few more strikes, but the approach and command is there. And now he gets the Royals?! He’s ready. I’d pick him up for that.
Brayan Bello (BOS) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 92 pitches.
Ayyyy, he survived! Sure it was a PQS, but it’s Atlanta, and a solid WHIP without a terrible ERA is cool with me. He started throwing a few cutters in this one for 4/5 strikes, and while I kinda dig it, I need to see him lean into it more before I can consider it as a legit direction in the second half. After all, his slider isn’t doing a whole lot of good (sub 50% strikes in this one) and the cutter could replace it in time.
Jack Flaherty (STL) @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.
Blegh. The Diamondbacks got to Flaherty, whose stuff wasn’t overwhelming enough to get through it. I’m a bit in purgatory with Flaherty as he’s not so detrimental to force us to deftly dodge clunkers, but the rewards aren’t so high that we like going through the obstacle course, how middling it may be. He gets the Twins next and I guess that’s fine. Please don’t throw 92 mph with this amount of hittable pitches in the zone, k thx.
Andrew Heaney (TEX) @ HOU (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 90 pitches.
It wasn’t the worst pitching effort we’ve seen from Heaney this year, which allowed him to keep his head above water for five frames and steal a Win. It’s not the kind of start that should bring you any sort of confidence in him moving forward, though.
Freddy Tarnok (OAK) @ SF (ND) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 49 pitches.
I feel like I just stepped into a room just to find someone else sitting where my friend was. Oh, I’m sorry…is Hogan Harris here? Oh, he is! Just for 3.1 innings and 51 pitches? WHY?! I remember sitting with some scouts in spring training as I watched Atlanta and as we talked about the Shuster/Murphy trade, they mentioned Tarnok as the real prize of the deal. Sadly, I don’t see it. Hopefully I will in time.
Ranger Suárez (PHI) vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 90 pitches.
Like those cookies you’re eyeing on top of the oven, Ranger is not ready yet. It’s getting closer with the changeup and cutter, but not quite yet. Maybe the Marlins next are it and you want to get ahead of it, I think I’ll just wait to see him come through at least once before rostering him again.
Jake Irvin (WSH) vs COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.
At least the four-seamer was back up to 95 mph and the curveball was a 41% CSW pitch, but obviously Irvin needs one more pitch to tie it all together. Like a slider? YES. A SLIDER. Do that. It’s not that easy, Nick. I SAID DO. THAT.
Joe Ryan (MIN) vs SEA (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.
Sigh. I kinda loved Ryan’s pitch separation here, especially the locations of his splitters, but they weren’t sharp enough, and while the sweeper had a strong CSW, I just think there’s something still lacking. It’s just not overwhelming, you know?
Alec Marsh (KC) @ CLE (L) – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 75 pitches.
It was a fun eleven-strikeout game. I’m glad we could share that together.
Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ PHI (L) – 6.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
Ah. When the slider isn’t its elite self (20% CSW) and his four-seamer is his most thrown pitch, you can likely guess this isn’t the best day for Bradish. We’ve seen far better command from him this year and I really hate to see Toronto on the docket next. Sure, he could come through there, but I really would prefer not to touch it.
Zac Gallen (ARI) vs STL (L) – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 102 pitches.
Remember those fears I had about Gallen not having a consistent approach anymore? Yeah, it’s still weirding me out as he’s throwing more elevated heaters while having some trouble getting the change and curve downstairs. Is this Gallen’s experimental phase? I know kids have those and that’s cool n all, but we need you in that suit and tie for your first job in the real world. Maybe even at the point when you find a lovely partner and settle down to start a family. We need consistency, bucko, and a sustainable lifestyle.
Tony Gonsolin (LAD) vs TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 109 pitches.
Wompity womp womp. It was a pretty easy call to bench Gonsolin here, just as easy as it is to slot him into your rotation for the Athletics next. Don’t overthink it, just consider him a Toby and let the decisions be made for you.
Zach Eflin (TB) vs MIA (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 53 pitches.
Eflin left this one with knee discomfort, which explains pretty much everything. He’s off to get an MRI and I sure hope he’s okay.
Bryce Miller (SEA) @ MIN (W) – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.
Blegh. Sure, it’s a Win, but four solo home runs with two off the slide piece are all kinds of frustrating, especially with his final two runs coming with two outs off pitches from the bullpen. Whatareyagonnado. I still love the fella.
Lance Lynn (CWS) vs CHC (ND) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 100 pitches.
I told y’all, I’m done with this. STOP CHASING IT. But he’ll get traded and be great again! Why? Isn’t he trying to pitch well enough to move to a potential championship team? Well…Don’t put yourself through this unless it’s a desperate strikeout play.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) @ CWS (ND) – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 85 pitches.
Well that’s not going to help his trade value. Stroman was the king of grounders at the beginning of the season, spotting his sinker at the very bottom with little effort at all and executing the Neckbeard approach. The weird thing here is Stroman was a bit over the place with his command, but the mistakes over the plate didn’t hurt him – it was mostly sinkers along the edges that returned hits. That’s Baseball, Suzyn. I still have faith in the fella and think he’s worthwhile against the Reds on Monday. The luck will come back around.
Game of the Day
Tanner Bibee vs. Dylan Cease – Only four other games to watch on Thursday (we have a fifth game – the postponed Angels/Tigers affair that may have removed a start from Chase Silseth) and this one is the clear winner. I hope they both have their best command.
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