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.
Xzavion Curry (CLE) vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 81 pitches.
With the Aaron Civale deal and both Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie mending, we’re getting an extended look at Xzavion Curry, who has come through in two of his three starts since joining the rotation, including yesterday’s peak of 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 81 pitches against the Tigers. Let’s talk about that.
In short, it’s a Blame it on the Tigers. I would love for Curry to be the next pitcher of excitement (y’all know that’s my favorite thing about analyzing pitchers), but I’m not seeing a path to consistent production here. Where other pitchers have either two stellar offerings or an array of fantastic offerings, Curry is essentially two-pitch with a 92/93 mph four-seamer and a slider, neither of which I’d call elite.
But Nick! The slider had a 38% CSW and 7/34 whiffs yesterday! A 5.27 PLV across these three starts! And that’s easily the best thing Curry has going for him. I don’t dislike the slider, though it’s not a pitch I can depend on to pull him to the finish line. In fact, it’s held a sub 15% SwStr rate and sub 30% CSW across the full year, performed poorly last time out against the Rays, and performed well against the White Sox and Tigers. Not the greatest endorsement.
Meanwhile, the four-seamer leaves a lot to be desired. It holds an average SwStr rate, 26% CSW on the year, holds a 39% hard contact rate, a terrible .455 xwoBACON, and all the things that spell “just a fastball” and not legit. With the Dodgers up next, he was an easy avoid, but those targeting his start against the Twins after, I suggest restraint.
Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:
Spencer Strider (ATL) vs SF (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 97 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. There’s your SP #1.
Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) @ SD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 107 pitches.
Well FINE, take the Gold Star. I’ve been out on Pfaadt and he came through in a big way here against the Padres and…I still don’t love it. OH COME ON NICK. Well hold on, I recognize that I’ve been underrating Pfaadt’s four-seamer a little bit as it’s continued to get good results while the slider is looking like a legit elite pitch now – it earned a ton of outs with a 63% strike rate and was spotted beautifully here. But is it enough? There are times the changeup or curve steps up (they didn’t here) and it feels too reliant on two pitches that I’m not fawning over. All that said, those in your league who picked him up based on results are now holding with the Reds next and maybe the ride continues a bit through September. It feels more like he’s squeezing the most out of his arsenal, rather than hitting a plateau that makes him more than a Toby, and even that’s in question.
Bryce Miller (SEA) @ HOU (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.
I love seeing Miller survive against a legit offense, but this was a fortunate day, not a young arm taking a step forward. His four-seamer went 1/29 whiffs on the night. The slider held a sub 50% strike rate. The sweeper was solid but not consistently spotted, and the sinker found gloves, not grass. Let’s hope the skills or luck return against the White Sox and Athletics. He doesn’t need much there, after all.
Seth Lugo (SD) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 104 pitches.
The four-seamer and sinker held a 40% CSW between them, making up for the curve returning a sub-50 % strike rate. Whoops, missed another curveball, lemme just land a fastball in the zone to make up for it and try again. That explains the walks, but not the strikeouts, which you shouldn’t get too attached to. It’s a solid stretch of MIA + @STL + SFG next, though, so we hold on tight.
Pablo López (MIN) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. After seeing a near 50% CSW on four-seamers last time out, PabLó dominated this time with a vintage PabLó changeup (7/23 whiffs!) and 5/21 whiff sweeper. That’s. What’s. UP.
Joey Lucchesi (NYM) @ STL (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches.
Props to Lucceshi coming through here as the churve did all the things you want it to – 8/31 whiffs, 39% CSW – while the sinker backed it up with a 25% called strike rate. I’m not ruling out that Lucchesi can land that churve (they call it a curve, it’s a changeup grip thrown like a curveball) and nail the sinker armside in the future, but it’s unclear whether he gets more chances, and if so, it may be Atlanta next. Keep an eye on him but don’t do anything now.
José Berríos (TOR) @ CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.
Just like his teammate Bassitt, Berríos has become opponent agnostic. That means you started him here regardless of pitching in Cincy, allowing you to get production almost across the board, with a share of the Gallows Pole along the way. Fun.
Joey Wentz (DET) @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! That’s seventeen whiffs for Wentz (three strikeouts?! Stupid putaway rate) on the back of the best cutter I’ve seen from him all season. The four-seamer did its part with a marvelous 81% strike rate and just two hits allowed, and the rest of his arsenal helped along the way. So he avoided the heart of the plate and had a well-spotted cutter? Okay when you put it that way, it seems easy doesn’t it? Yeah, it does. Command is everything, y’all. It’s sadly the least sticky of all metrics and I’m not sure the Tigers will give Wentz another chance. If they do, it would be the Cubs and I’d probably hold off, save for a dire stream…or it could be Houston and that’s an obvious avoid.
Brett Kennedy (CIN) vs TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 75 pitches.
Hey, that’s a solid line against the Jays. He’s east-west with four-seamers and changeups and I don’t like it a whole lot, but props to him. It can work against left-handers, but I worry about right-handers a bit too much here.
Peter Lambert (COL) vs CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 85 pitches.
Whoa whoa whoa. This was Lambert’s best start of the year, reaching both seven innings and five strikeouts for the first time. Ah. Yeah, this isn’t sustainable, but it was cool! Great for him. So the changeup won’t go 60% CSW? No. Rats.
Brayan Bello (BOS) @ NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 98 pitches.
Solid stuff from Bello, who has settled in as a Holly for most of the year. He is what he is and I wouldn’t expect development of the fastball and breaker until next year.
Tarik Skubal (DET) @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 88 pitches.
96 mph + the best changeup Skubal has to offer, making a wonderful BSB. That’s the good stuff.
Jameson Taillon (CHC) vs KC (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.
He allowed two more unearned runs, removing him from Win contention and overall pitched well against a hot Royals team. The cutter and sweeper were the heroes here and he didn’t make low mistakes on the four-seamer, while the curve didn’t quite work as he wanted it to. With the gift of @PIT + MIL + SFG up next, it’s hard to argue against Taillon as a Toby for the moment.
J.P. France (HOU) vs SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 105 pitches.
That’s some good Toby baseball. The cutter, four-seamer, and curve did some legit work here (sweeper and change could learn a thing or two) and his return to the rotation has been fantastic. Next up? The Tigers. YES.
Zack Thompson (STL) vs NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 82 pitches.
Whoa, that’s a King Cole for Thompson in his first true start as he was able to go five innings, replacing Steven Matz in the rotation. I made Thompson the lede about two weeks when he last got his chance to start and we saw the same repertoire but maximized – cutters better-located armside, the curve landing for some strikes (sub 50% strike rate, but most were very competitive), and four-seamers confidently pounding the zone. This can work and now with the Pirates next, I’m interested in 12-teamers. Let’s see what happens.
Andre Jackson (PIT) @ MIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 71 pitches.
This is the best we’ve seen of Jackson and a high CSW on sliders + changeups gets me a little intrigued, but I don’t trust the command here at all and his pitch count is still limited. No thanks.
Cole Ragans (KC) @ CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 106 pitches.
COLE. RAGANS. Okay, I’ll stop. I want to make it clear that I’m absolutely amped for Ragans’ potential – he hit 98 mph in his final two pitches here + a whiff-heavy slider, called strike machine curve, a great (and under-utilized so far) cutter, and a changeup that is getting thrown more than it should but holds a 23% SwStr rate – but I also recognize that there will be bumps in the road as his command isn’t pristine (not chaotic, but a little ragged at times) and he’s figuring out how to wield his deep repertoire. I got frustrated tweets during his annoying fourth inning that made this start look like a disaster before making it work in the fifth + striking out the side in absolute dominance in the sixth, an inning I didn’t expect as he was already at 90 pitches. The best part? The schedule is beautiful. It should be better than a VVPQS, y’all.
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.
Ayyyy a PQS against the Dodgers! He was pushed to the end of the fifth and in traditional Alcantara fashion, he powered through one more frame (even when up 11-3) to get the full six. What a stud. Is this worthy of the AGA label? I’m not sure. The ERA and WHIP are not what you want, but a Gallows Pole and all his runs coming off solo shots do suggest he’s locked in. In fact, the slider command was stupid good here and I love that he elected to focus on the breaker more than the changeup in this one. (I think he’s been a little too changeup-heavy.) Let’s go with one more game against the Padres and give him the tag if he soars there.
Gavin Williams (CLE) vs DET (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.
Blegh. A disappointing game for Williams, who didn’t blow the four-seamer past batters, with a staggering 33% ball in-play rate (yes, 12/36 heaters wound up in play). That’s all kinds of shocking, and awfully annoying since he was legit at getting his breakers over the zone, especially the slider that was fantastic at hitting the down-and-armside corner. In other words, the breakers were the dream, the four-seamers were not. New skills vs. old skill. It’s a fun game, isn’t it?
Andrew Heaney (TEX) vs MIL (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
I’m glad he threw 84 pitches, but that’s all to be happy about here. He’s a Cherry Bomb, alright.
Francisco Pérez (OAK) vs BAL (L) – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 23 pitches.
He opened for Luis Medina, who has shown just little hints of his incredible slider we saw for a few weeks. Cross him off your list.
Alex Cobb (SF) @ ATL (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 103 pitches.
It’s Atlanta and Cobb still isn’t dominant with the splitter. He’s getting balls in play, which is fine, but we want whiffs and balls in play. I’m waiting for a major whiff game.
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) @ TEX (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.
So close. A pair of HRs in the fourth did Woodruff in as it was mostly the same guy we’ve seen since he returned from the IL, just against a much better offense. Fortunately, it’s easier moving forward, and that AGA label should arrive soon enough. Two starts maybe?
Kyle Gibson (BAL) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 95 pitches.
Bleeeegggh. First Seattle, now Oakland. Gibson is what he is, a Cherry Bomb.
Tyler Anderson (LAA) vs TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 81 pitches.
Womp womp. Even with a 29% SwStr on the changeup, Anderson wasn’t able to squeeze out five frames and ran into trouble. With the changeup cooking, it still creates a solid probability of success against the Mets and Athletics up next, though. Don’t ignore it.
Erasmo Ramírez (TB) @ LAA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 47 pitches.
We didn’t expect him for long and a Shohei Ohtani grand slam did him in for good. What a guy, that Shohei.
Joan Adon (WSH) vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.
There isn’t much to latch onto here, though I applaud Adon for trying to work in a slider to help his fastball/curve approach. Did it work? What do you think? It had a few moments, but no. It didn’t work.
Michael Lorenzen (PHI) @ WSH (L) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 74 pitches.
Oh, you want to hit your wall now?! I’m not going to say this is the no-hitter hangover (even with that being so common) since he had an extended rest in between starts, and that should rectify it usually. He’ll get the Giants next, so we can’t do anything right now but hold hands and hope it’s just a blip.
Jhony Brito (NYY) vs BOS (L) – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 46 pitches.
Womp womp. The ceiling was already limited and this is the floor that makes the ceiling chase not worth it. It’s like standing on a chair on top of the chair just to feel a slab of plaster. Yay, it’s just like my wall.
Michael Kopech (CWS) @ COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 9 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 76 pitches.
It’s Coors and it’s Kopech sitting 93.6 mph. Yup.
Tony Gonsolin (LAD) vs MIA (L) – 3.1 IP, 10 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 97 pitches.
Oh dear. He was placed on the IL after this one with an elbow injury and is not expected to return this season. I can’t help but feel for him for a sad end to his 2023 campaign after his excellence across the last two seasons.
Game of the Day
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