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 Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.
Touki Toussaint (CWS) vs CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.
I’ve been calling Touki Toussaint fantasy irrelevant this season, despite enjoying the fact that the former exciting rookie is getting another chance out of nowhere to start regularly. And after a lot of, well, nothing, Touki did this last night: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches. That’s good enough for a Gold Star, but is this something for us to consider going forward?
Maybe. I finally saw a legit skill in Touki that could stick around – a curveball that reminds me of Domingo Germán as it went 35% usage for 8/29 whiffs and 38% CSW and firmly in the zone. He paired it with high four-seamer effectively and a splitter that…he can’t rely on.
The question is if the curveball is this good moving forward and if the fastballs + splitter are enough to get Touki through starts consistently. I don’t think we’ll see that personally – Germán’s fastball and change are better than Touki’s offerings – but this was a cool thing that at least has me scrutinizing Touki moving forward. For those that are on the fence, get off the dang thing with Texas up next. I don’t even know how you sit on that thing without being in immense pain, mentally and physically.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) vs NYY (ND) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.
Yay and nay? He’s going more BSB, which is wonderful, but the low secondaries were inside the strikezone. Isn’t that good? Don’t you want strikes? Sometimes, but I want those secondaries under the zone to get all the whiffs and turn those four strikeouts into eight or nine. It’s why he went just 4/36 whiffs on sliders + changeups. That said, he was cooking at 98.3 mph on the heaters (that’s over a tick up) and keeping them mostly upstairs as the pitch carried him throughout the game. Steps, not leaps. He’s getting there.
Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.
WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME. I had Braxton super far down because the command has been an atrocity for four straight and I wanted to see him do it again. And this was…oh. Hmmmm. Not great. There were some good sinkers and four-seamers(ish), but the cutter was blegh and he got through this with a much better slider. Hmmmm. I think it means Braxton is a streaming option (like this Blame it on the Tigers) and not the guy from the previously dominant stretch. Even if he was a tick up here. I’m not sold yet.
Joe Musgrove (SD) vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 105 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. You love to see it, even if the curve and cutter went just 2/53 whiffs. He spotted the curve down, pulled off the Canibal McSanchez approach and still had some solid four-seamers up, sinkers inside to right-handers, and sliders down. Life is good.
Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ BAL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 110 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. I loved Cole featuring a cutter in this one as the slider can be saved more as a whiff pitch and the cutter reserved as the strike stealer. There’s a little more polish left to apply to the combo, but I see this as being a legit change that can work wonders. As if he needed to be better. Fun fact: That’s a 2.30 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 29% strikeout rate across his last ten starts, averaging over six frames per game.
Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ PIT (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. He could have gone longer if it weren’t for a stupid rain delay at the end of the seventh. It was a 1-2 count, let the man FINISH HIM. Anytime the defense isn’t letting him down as much behind him as he holds the best FIP in baseball. I don’t quote FIP often for many reasons, but it’s a quick and easy way to understand how Wheeler is far better than the ERA and WHIP would let you believe. One starts away from AGA as he holds a 3.04 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 29% strikeout rate across his last nine games, averaging over six frames per game. Huh, that sounds a whole lot like the hot streak of Gerrit Cole I just mentioned…
Max Scherzer (NYM) vs WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. I wonder where he ends up and if it’ll mean anything for fantasy. Probably not.
Kevin Gausman (TOR) vs LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Velocity is back to 94 mph (fine with me, though we could see 95/96 next time) and his splitter was stupid good at 12/41 whiffs. The only blemish was an Ohtani HR because duh.
Kutter Crawford (BOS) @ SF (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.
Pitching on the road in Oracle Park is a wonderful thing. The Giants are struggling mightily and the spacious park (save for pulled right-handed flyballs) makes for a pitcher’s haven. Why am I saying this? Because those seven strikeouts and a dominant outing from Crawford came with a ton of hittable pitches that found gloves with just a few attracting grass. The cutter is working along the edge while he pounded four-seamers in the upper-half, mostly well inside the zone and it doesn’t speak to sustainability yet. I need to see a little more precision on the four-seamer in the upper third and above, while the cutter (and hopefully sweeper/slider) lands down-and-gloveside more often.
JP Sears (OAK) @ COL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! If it weren’t for Touki, this would be a star of gold alright as Sears defeated Coors not just with heaters, but with his sweeper, a pitch that usually suffers in the thinner air and features less break. Well, that did happen here with five inches of less horizontal sweep, but it gained two inches of depth and I do wonder if that’s Coors or a distinct tweak done by Sears to go 8/30 whiffs and nail its location down-and-gloveside often (Sidenote: I want to add dGS% and dAS% to our approach tables inside player pages next year). It’s hard not to love that and yet, he gets the Dodgers next. WHY MUST LIFE BE THIS WAY. I feel like you pick up, maybe start him there (likely not) and then ride it the rest of the year.
Xzavion Curry (CLE) @ CWS (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 54 pitches.
Oh hey, it’s a bullpen game. Smile and wave. Now if you look out the right side of the car, you’ll see a start that is actually very interesting…
Hayden Wesneski (CHC) @ STL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 46% CSW, 35 pitches.
Well this is cool. I really hope the Cubs are transitioning Wesneski back into the rotation with this acting as the beginning of his stretching out process. He was sitting over two ticks harder, which may be a product of the adrenaline of returning to the bigs + tossing just 35 pitches and airing it out, but hey, maybe it sticks? Either way, the sweeper was gorgeous and what we wanted it to be when he started in April and with trades likely happening in Chicago (or not? Maybe they win enough this weekend?) there could be an open spot for him to seize later in the week that begins the journey. Monitor it for late August as he’s not at the pitch count yet to roster him + we don’t know if that command will stick. Suitman whispers in my ear OHHHHH he opened for Drew Smyly! And I actually kinda dug his cutter/sinker opposite sides of the plate approach with a better curveball down (no hits on hooks!) that returned 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT. It’s about dang time. I’m not chasing it against the Reds, but maybe he repeats it and we can get back on board.
Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ ARI (W) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.
Another weird one from Gilbert. I talk about the new skills disappearing before the old ones returned and we saw that here – the slider and curve were terrible, returning sub-50 % strike rates with 10/21 strikes between them. That meant the splitter and four-seamer had to step up and while the splitter was okay, it wasn’t overwhelming at just 5/22 whiffs. So the four-seamer then? Well, I guess. I mean yes, it got all the outs and the Diamondbacks weren’t able to string together consecutive hits often, but it was 1/50 whiffs. A 2% SwStr rate. That’s horrific and I’m still twiddling my thumbs waiting for Gilbert to return to the man we know and love. It’ll happen…right?
Mitch Keller (PIT) vs PHI (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 108 pitches.
Mitch was laboring a ton early on and finally settled in, spotting his sweeper and cutter much better with four-seamers upstairs. The command got better. It’s a wonderful sight and save for a two-run shot from Schwarber (and getting out of a jam or two), this was solid stuff from Keller. I really hope he builds off this one.
Brandon Williamson (CIN) @ LAD (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 77 pitches.
The velocity jump is obviously real at this point and we should expect 94 mph moving forward instead of ~92 mph or so. There are two areas he needs to improve: nailing down the fastball and cutter locations to play better off each other + find himself a changeup to get whiffs on the other side (not necessarily a breaker as that would stay armside and the cutter can suffice against LHB) and until I feel confident in one of those new skills appearing, I’m likely out save for a desperate stream. But he went nearly six frames at 2 ER and a Win against the Dodgers! Twelve. Baserunners. Come on ya’ll, that’s a 2.00+ WHIP with just two strikes. You know better.
Brady Singer (KC) vs MIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 104 pitches.
You can’t be a Cherry Bomb without being sweet, you know? That’s two straight fantastic starts after a pair of terrible ones and sadly that’s not enough for me to say he’s legit again. Maybe it is a groove? I mean, it was 16/55 whiffs on sliders. That’s pretty dang insane with the best slider command I’ve seen him have in a LONG time. Just look at this. Magnificent.
Logan Webb (SF) vs BOS (L) – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 88 pitches.
It’s not the sexiest with few whiffs on the day, but the man churns outs like he’s at the barrel in a Quaker outfit. This buttery out ain’t gonna churn itself. Good to see him get past that ridiculous outing prior.
Cristian Javier (HOU) vs TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 104 pitches.
That’s a Gallows Pole from Javier in one ridiculous outing. HE’S BACK?! I don’t think so, sadly. The slider is just not there with a sub-50 % strike rate once again, though the curve did step up a little to make his breakers overall return 56% strikes. I need that at 60-65% to feel great moving forward. The real wonder here was his four-seamer, a pitch that has failed to replicate the top-tier heater of 2022, earned 17 whiffs as it got all the swings and misses at the very top of the zone. You love to see that, especially when the Rays knew the pitch was coming often. That said, I still worry a little about the breakers not being there and it has the feeling of the four-seamer having a peak outing, contained inside a single good game. Really encouraging, of course, just not quite the outing I’ve been waiting for, oddly enough.
Sonny Gray (MIN) @ KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.
That’s a PQS but a solid line that was saved in the ninth to prevent a Loss. He tossed breakers for strikes and that’s all I can really ask of him. Get the curve down, too, you know. Maybe it won’t go 0/16 whiffs if you do. Just a thought. He knows Nick, it’s not easy to pitch. I know I know, sorry. My bad Sonny, I know you’re trying.
Jordan Montgomery (STL) vs CHC (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.
Blegh. That’s a VPQS with more walks than strikeouts and all I wonder is where he gets traded. Throw better changeups, please. You can’t go 2/22 whiffs with a 50% strike rate.
Lucas Giolito (LAA) @ TOR (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 73 pitches.
Welcome to Los Angeles, well, Toronto via Los Angeles, where you did have a little extra velo given the new team, tossed a ton of hittable sliders down the pipe and didn’t have your best changeup. Cool cool cool. Now it’s Atlanta and that’s an avoid because it’s Atlanta. Don’t overthink that.
Shane McClanahan (TB) @ HOU (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.
Is McShane busted? Pfffft, absolutely not. Sure, he’s living a little too much in the middle of the zone and leaving some breakers upstairs, but the man is as filthy as they come – 17 whiffs ya’ll and a 41% McCSW changeup – and all pitchers have brief lapses. This is 14 ER across four outings and we’ve seen way worse stretches than this from others before recovery. Baseball does what baseball does.
Bobby Miller (LAD) vs CIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.
He had a dumb first frame including a two-run shot and then was filthy the rest of the way. I know it seems like I’m finding excuses, but when the skills are so obviously there and we’re seeing all the normal signs of a young arm finding his way, y’all know I’m going to buy in. What you’re seeing now is what Development actually looks like. Yeah, but what did he actually do? Oh I don’t know, throw 34 curveballs for 41% CSW, not allow a single one in play, and earn a 26% SwStr on the pitch. Wait, I thought the slider was the whiff pitch. IT WAS. New skills baybeeeee.
Dane Dunning (TEX) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.
Yep. Stop rostering Dunning.
MacKenzie Gore (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 95 pitches.
Blegh. This is why you’re better off just ignoring Gore all together. You’ll be a happier person, I promise.
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs OAK (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.
Oh hey, it’s Freeland again. Sup. You know what, just a head nod. The one going up, not down. This isn’t a respect headnod, it’s an acknowledgment of your existence. What about to the left or right? What, telling him to come over here? GET OUTTA TOWN.
Reese Olson (DET) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 88 pitches.
Blegh. The changeup isn’t what I want it to be, the slider earned just 2/19 whiffs, and he’s not jamming batters as well as I hoped. He still does jam them, it’s just not overwhelming enough for me, you know? Maybe if the secondaries come through more, it’ll become something like Wheeler. Wouldn’t that be fun…
Tommy Henry (ARI) vs SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 94 pitches.
Oh FINALLY the slider is back at 33% CSW and 29% usage and look at that, he was super close to a Bailey Special. Please continue using that slide piece okay? Thanks.
Yonny Chirinos (ATL) vs MIL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 61 pitches.
Yeah. Like mixing coke and beer, this isn’t it.
Adrian Houser (MIL) @ ATL (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.
It’s Atlanta and it wasn’t wise to trust the ten strikeout game last time out. We know this. It is Washington + Rockie Road next, though, and those in NL-Only leagues could take a shot on Houser in both. Definitely not 12-teamers and I’d try something else in 15-teamers if I could.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)