Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday 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.
Dakota Hudson (STL) vs NYM (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches.
Ohhhh boy do we need to talk about Dakota Hudson after he earned a Win against the Mets via 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 99 pitches. I’ve considered him a desperate quality start option over the years, but now with a rotation spot and another chance to showcase any development, we may actually be seeing something new and worthwhile.
In previous seasons, Hudson has been a walk machine, while his heavy groundball tendacies mixed with a horrific strikeout rate (we’re talking 13% in 2022) made for a high hit per nine, propelling his WHIP north of 1.40 across over 130 innings. In other words, even with the QS potential, his lack of strikeouts and poisonous WHIP made him a clear avoid.
But he looks a bit different now. In his four starts since returning to the rotation this season, Hudson has now fanned exactly seven batters twice, and tallied just four walks in his last three games. His slider usage has jumped north of 30% and, more importantly, its SwStr rate has ballooned from a 13% rate to 23% across all of 2023 (and a 24% SwStr Rate in his three games as a starter). He matched that 23% rate today with 9/40 whiffs on the slider piece at 40% usage, while relying on a four-seamer instead of a sinker to get strikes with heat. His command of those fastballs were better than expected, albeit with plenty of uncompetitive mistakes outside of the zone, away to left-handers.
It spells a new pitcher. One who is slider first, and rightfully so as it darts down and out of the zone to great effect. With the Phillies and Pirates up next, I’m awfully tempted to pick him up on the hope he keeps this approach alive. It could make for a sneaky final push to get you through the end of the season.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Dallas Keuchel (MIN) vs PIT (W) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.
Look at Keuchel go, earning himself a Gold Star today with just one hit in the books. It was his classic Neckbeard approach with very little in the upper half, though he got away with a lot in the bottom the zone, leaning on 16/17 balls in play returning outs. Y’all know that isn’t meant to be.
Kyle Bradish (BAL) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.
It really is spectacular how Bradish has figured himself out as the season continued. We’re down to just nine four-seamers thrown, with a heavier lean on sinkers that have served him well (74% strikes and just three in play), allowing him to get his outs and strikeouts with sliders, changeups, and curves. This works, y’all, and huge props to Bradish for making it happen. Enjoy that King Cole. Okay and there was some Blame it on the Athletics. Just a little.
Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR) @ CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 83 pitches.
Hot dang, look at you! The changeup and curve each returning a 40%+ O-Swing while the fastball landed for 11 called strikes is the Ryu dream. With Cincy out of the way and date with Cleveland on the horizon, I’m all for picking him up. Just bench him for Coors after.
Trevor Williams (WSH) vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 94 pitches.
If it weren’t for Keuchel and Hudson, you’d have your Gold Star here as Williams made it work with his changeups, sliders, and sinkers all keeping down and out of the zone, mixed with four-seamers over the plate to steal strikes. He’s a Werewolf and if you grabbed him on a desperate Sunday, I’m happy for you.
Emerson Hancock (SEA) @ HOU (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 31 pitches.
Hancock left this one early with a shoulder strain and it’s all kinds of annoying. (Sidenote: sorry for saying lat strain on the podcast this morning.) I don’t expect him to be back this year with Woo likely to step into the rotation anyway later this week.
Ryan Borucki (PIT) @ MIN (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 19 pitches.
If you were chasing Osvaldo Bido for a vulture Win, you nearly had it as he went 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks across nearly 70 pitches. That’s as good as you could realistically hope for and sadly, Keuchel helped shut out of the Pirates. I don’t recommend spinning this wheel again.
Jakob Junis (SF) @ ATL (ND) – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 43 pitches.
Oh, so Junis went 43 pitches and was pulled for Alex Wood, who I guess is not starting tomorrow, who only tossed…19 pitches?! And then it was 41 pitches of Tristan Beck…I DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH THIS ANYMORE.
Josh Winckowski (BOS) @ NYY (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 21 pitches.
40 Wincks opened for 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 74 pitches of Nick Pivetta and while the traditional slider wasn’t the man of the hour, his sweeper stepped in nicely to take over the same role. The four-seamer was generally well-spotted and it would normally be good enough to keep rolling with him, except that he gets the Dodgers and Astros up next. Yeah, that’s an easy drop for me. Pivetta isn’t worth the two-week hold.
Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) @ CLE (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.
Erod had a solid slider under the zone in this one, a good cutter to back it up, and a four-seamer that the Guardians simply couldn’t handle. It’s fun watching starts like these from Rodriguez at 93 mph, especially with changeups sprinkled in for 64% strikes as well. It’s too bad he gets the Astros next – that’s too risky for me.
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) vs KC (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.
I didn’t know exactly what to make of the Royals offense, and Hendricks plodded along just fine with his standard sinker/change approach. He does what he does really well. You know, if you remove the 7 ER game against Atlanta (since you really shouldn’t have had him in your lineup then), Hendricks now has a 3.32 ERA across 95 IP and sixteen starts. That’s pretty dang good. There’s your Spider-Man.
Chris Flexen (COL) vs CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.
Flexen had the command you want to see from him with cutters armside and four-seamers upstairs. And in Coors? That’s some good stuff. He’s a desperate play inside Camden next time out, but I’ve seen worse.
Adrian Houser (MIL) @ TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.
OF COURSE HE DID. Unreal. UNREAL. Am I supposed to call him a Cherry Bomb now? I don’t even know. But his slider had a 55% CSW! And yet, it was used to try to sneak into the zone and surprisingly worked. Look at it – the goal for these sliders is usually the down-and-right corner. I just can’t buy this.
Jordan Lyles (KC) @ CHC (L) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.
Eight innings while throwing horrible sweepers, cutters, sinkers, and changeups down the pipe?! Some days, throwing eight frames with just two earned runs gets the just dessert of returning a Loss.
Logan Allen (CLE) vs DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.
He’s a Toby doing Toby things. Throw in some sweepers inducing swings out of the zone with his four-seamer setting up shop in the upper half of the zone and you have yourself a pitcher taking proper advantage of a mediocre lineup. I’d stay away from the Jays, even if Allen took them down last time out. That was an unusually good command day.
Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs BOS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.
Atta boy Schmidt, we take those. I’ve loved watching his curve show up in August, here returning a 41% CSW as the sweeper and cutter helped on the side. The sinker got a lot more action than usual, but it was mostly jamming right-handers inside and I will always get behind that. It’s the Rays and Tigers next and I think we’re all good here. Don’t let that Atlanta start misguide you.
Max Fried (ATL) vs SF (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.
Uggggh, Fried, that’s slightly worse than a VVPQS against one of (if not the) worst offenses around. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Fried and I don’t think you have a choice but to keep starting him as I can only hope he’s shaking off rust. He’s not this guy.
Carlos Carrasco (NYM) @ STL (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 75 pitches.
Yeaaaaah. That makes six of his last seven starts being obviously detrimental to your teams. The exception? 2 ER in 5 IP. Yay.
Max Scherzer (TEX) vs MIL (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.
Aces gonna…what. Scherzer struggled to execute fastballs when he needed to and generally struggled to find any sort of groove here. It’s weird and clearly a One Night Bland. Whatareyagonnado. Velocity was normal, spin was a bit down on everything. It just wasn’t there.
Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ WSH (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 99 pitches.
Aces gonna have a horrible first inning, allowing four singles and a double to the first five batters he faced, then effectively return seven shutout frames of 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks thereafter. That’s Baseball, Suzyn.
Dylan Cease (CWS) @ COL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 105 pitches.
It’s weird to see a Gallows Pole from Cease with such terrible ratios, but here we are. Everything was what we wanted it to be – curveballs for strikes, four-seamers upstairs, and the slider earning 10 whiffs as it was the pitch that made him famous. But then Coors had to be Coors and we’re stuck with those terrible ratios. Hopefully that general command returns, without some of the mistakes that resulted in getting Singled Out. Fine, and the hanging curveball to Blackmon that was launched over the fence.
Hunter Brown (HOU) vs SEA (L) – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.
Yikes. The breakers were completely gone, forcing Brown to lean too heavily on heaters. The ones he elevated were pretty dang good, but everything else was…not. I still believe in the kid long term, but this is a valley that we can only hope will be rectified next time he picks up the pearl. The good news here: He’ll get the Tigers next. I think that’s still worthwhile of a start to bank on the ceiling + a reasonable floor.
JP Sears (OAK) vs BAL (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 68 pitches.
Ouch. His overall command was terrible save for some sliders and the Orioles jumped on him. At least it gets easier with the White Sox and Mariners up next. There’s still a shot there, but here’s the floor you may want to avoid at all costs.
Hunter Greene (CIN) vs TOR (L) – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.
Welcome back. Oddly enough, his precision was phenomenal if you just look at the overall strikezone plot, but then you see the hits he allowed and it’s astonishing how incredible the Jays were at taking advantage of his mistakes. What a horrible feeling when you return to the majors – the thought you have to be absolutely perfect or you’ll get trounced in no way to live your life. I mean, look at Houser today. IT’S MADDENING. He’ll be fine, this wasn’t as chaotic and “he’s cooked” as the line looks, especially with @ARI + @SFG + SEA next.
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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