A Zack Of Cards

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

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.  

Zack Thompson (STL) vs COL (L) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 60 pitches.

Some days we get a massive surprise out of nowhere and Zack Thompson (no, not that one) did just that as he made a spot start for the Cardinals: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 60 pitches. That’s an overall 25% SwStr rate with eight strikeouts in twelve outs. Whaaaaaaat.

First of all, it’s unclear if he’s going to get more opportunities. I would personally prefer him starting over Dakota Hudson and Matthew Liberatorebut that’s the current situation for the Cardinals as Thompson stepped in for the suspended Miles MikolasWhat we saw was a Rockie Road team giving into everything Thompson featured, but the cutter and curve did their jobs while the four-seamer earned whiffs out of the zone. It’s not the greatest fastball I’ve seen at 94/95 and solid vertical break, but it gives him a chance.

I don’t see Thompson soaring to be the new hot thing for your leagues, but I do recognize that if he gets stretched out that there is a decent three-pitch mix. He’s got a big breaker with cutters that come inside to right-handers + a solid four-seamer. That plays and if he gets a shot to start against the Royals or Athletics this weekend/early next week (unlikely), I’d consider streaming him and taking it from there.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:


Johan Oviedo (PIT) @ MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 101 pitches.

Do I need to give Oviedo more respect? For a guy I was in on as a deeeeeep dynasty sleeper last year, I’ve been a bit tepid this season as I haven’t loved his four-seamer and sinker. The slider does come through often, though, and it returned a 45% CSW in this one, doing whatever it could. In short, this was a product of four-seamers avoiding the heart of the plate and generating outs. I dig that all day from Oviedo – it’s not typical at all – but I still feel weird chasing Oviedo with just one excellent pitch in that slider. The four-seamer? Sub 25th percentile in CSW, strike rate, and PLUS%. It isn’t just “not above average”, it’s actively bad.

Austin Gomber (COL) @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 79 pitches.

Ummmm, Gomber has allowed 2 ER or fewer in seven of his last eight starts. What. Yeah, I know, it’s really weird. Entering this start, it was a 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and…16% strikeout rate with five of those seven starts coming in Coors, and Gomber has continued that legacy of few strikeouts and low ERA for another game. So he has a wonderful BABIP, that isn’t gonna last! Ummm, it was a .300 entering today. Then the LOB rate! 73%. WHAT. Okay, he’s held off home runs, but it is weird, isn’t it? His most successful pitch has been the curve, but it hasn’t jumped up in usage and gets featured just 15% of the time. Yeah, I’m not gonna buy this. Sorry Gomber. I’m glad it’s been nice for you.

Andrew Heaney (TEX) vs MIA (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 81 pitches.

We’ll absolutely take this from Heaney. Did he pitch at his best? Absolutely not. Do we care? Nope. He gets the Giants next and that’s still a questionable Cherry Bomb scenario. He’s not pitching in a fashion that demands success.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs NYM (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

Sure, it’s zero earned runs, but this wasn’t a fun day at the park for Bradish. He couldn’t find the zone with anything but his slider and we’d all rather just forget about the whole thing. Start him against the Mariners and take it from there.

Brennan Bernardino (BOS) vs TOR (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 24 pitches.

Nothing spells a relaxing Sunday like popping on the TV for some good ole bullpen action. I relieve, you relieve, we all get relief! Thanks, Red Sox.

Chris Bassitt (TOR) @ BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 96 pitches.

I was scared of Fenway, but the rule to start Bassitt regardless of opponent came through, even with that poor WHIP. I don’t make the rules, y’all.

Lance Lynn (LAD) @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 96 pitches.

It looks like the Dodgers are in fact influencing Lynn as the four-seamer usage stayed up for the second start, reducing cutters to just 17% of the time. It obviously is working, but the secondaries as a whole are still lacking. I don’t think Lynn is suddenly legit and cured from his clunker days, but this certainly looks better than what we had before. He gets Rockie Road next and it’s easy to embrace that outing, too.

Dallas Keuchel (MIN) vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 74 pitches.

Yeah, he’s back and earning a Gold Star out of the gate. And returned a 2.00 WHIP without a single strikeout, bringing back some…memories. Fond ones? Nah, just memories. Like that time when I had to eat the driest toast of all. HAISTBMBWT?! You know better than to add Keuchel.

Bryce Miller (SEA) @ LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 85 pitches.

Is this the routine now? You make us sweat for two starts before you recalibrate and dominate for a Golden GoalNo worries if it is, just communicate with us. The four-seamer was as good ever with 13/47 whiffs while the slider chimed in for 43% CSW (beautiful placement!) + a sweeper at 63% CSW (eight times). You have to love those constant breaker strikes. This was the best version of Bryce I’ve seen and boy do I hope it sticks around.

Erasmo Ramírez (TB) @ DET (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

Wait, he’s still around? Weird. This was supposed to be Tyler Glasnowbut he was scratched due to back spasms because I obviously jinxed the outing. My bad, y’all.

Zac Gallen (ARI) @ MIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Phew. Gallen retains his AGA label as he cruised with the BSB and actually executed it well with curves leading the way downstairs. The four-seamer is still elevated and clearly works when he has those secondaries. Sign. Me. UP. It’s the best Gallen has been in a while, even if this was more heater/hook than a full mix. As long as he has those two pitches, he’s golden.

Chase Silseth (LAA) vs SEA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 100 pitches.

Whoaaaa, y’all know I was in on this because of the new breaker. Still, no one could have predicted the splitter showing up to the party with sunglasses, multiple partners, and hopefully fake fur around his shoulders, shouting “PARTY’S HERE!” as he stands in the foyer. It stole the show with TWLEVE WHIFFS across 25 thrown and that’s just cheating. Isn’t it fun when we worry about a new skill disappearing and instead it reappears and brings a friend? What a class act. Hold onto Silseth, even if the splitter likely doesn’t perform this well again, obviously.

José Quintana (NYM) @ BAL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Quintana was much better here than last time, even if he was a little rough around the edges. Sadly, it’s Atlanta next and I think you may be fine sending him back to the wire, unless you really want that Pirates start a week from Wednesday. I see Quintana as a Toby and not worth the hold if you need some other help this week.

Jesse Scholtens (CWS) @ CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Wait, do we have to take Scholtens seriously now? That’s two starts of 6 IP and 3 ER total, here doing so with a 7/19 whiff curveball leading the way. He’s going BSB with high heaters and sliders earning strikes, but I see the high 16 foul balls on the four-seamers and I get a little hesitant. That fastball isn’t known as a whiff pitch, meaning it stole more from balls in play than whiffs, preventing more damage than we’d normally see. Maybe he’s a deep streaming option against the Brewers next time out, but that’s all I can give him right now. But what about the curve?! Ehhh, just a 10% SwStr rate for the year. It’s likely a fluke.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs PIT (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 85 pitches.

Ohhhhhh dang HE’S BACK Y’ALL. The four-seamer dominated, the slider was fine, and the sinker earned plenty of solid strikes. The only other piece is the changeup, which killed in rehab but went just 18% CSW here. No worries, he’s all ramped up and ready to go. Let’s do this.

Xzavion Curry (CLE) vs CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 65 pitches.

Huge props to Curry for returning five productive innings on a limited pitch count. The slider was as good as I’ve seen with a 50% CSW and 7/24 whiffs while earning outs in play, and yet, I cannot get on board. That’s all he has and I wouldn’t expect it to flirt with anything close to the 92% strike rate it had here. That’s like double Javier’s slider strike rate. Okay that one hurt.

Justin Steele (CHC) vs ATL (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 110 pitches.

Don’t mess with Atlanta. For real, they are just too dang good. Treat it like Coors, if not worse. Too bad he gets the Rangers up next, but I think you don’t have a choice and you’ll start him there.

Jake Irvin (WSH) @ CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

Irvin wasn’t just at 95 mph, he was all the way up to 96.4 mph. Gotta love that, but you need better secondaries to support it. But the sinker earned 10 called strikes! NOT A SECONDARY. Cool, though. The curve is all Irvin has right now and it’s not enough in my book with just 4/26 whiffs here. I need something filthy and then we’re in business. Kinda cool he’s spitting whiffs with the four-seamer and called strikes with the sinker, though. Maybe that can stick around.

Luis Medina (OAK) vs SF (ND) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 88 pitches.

Awwwwww. The slider that has been so good wasn’t at its peak with just 21% CSW and four whiffs here. Without that pitch taking over, Medina is awfully pedestrian and paired with a huge struggle to find the zone, it makes for a poor day at the park. I’m not saying he won’t recover, but I question if it’s worth the risk to hold. Probably not.

Taijuan Walker (PHI) vs KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.

He ran into trouble in the first frame and then settled down to go 1 ER in six frames after. Props to Walker to get you that Win despite the early hiccup, but he sat 91 mph on the sinker in this one, reducing its usage to just 19%, a typical thing to do when you’re tossing a worse heater. This Vargas Rule may be coming to an end next time out.

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 105 pitches.

Three longballs did Sandy in – two on hanging sliders that deserved to get crushed, and one on an 0-1 fastball that happens. Otherwise, Sandy was the man we know and love and we can just pin this on the Rangers being one of the best offenses in baseball. Be glad you got a 1.00 WHIP and seven strikeouts.

Lyon Richardson (CIN) vs WSH (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 66 pitches.

Poor kid, he allowed 2 HR on his first two pitches in the big leagues. You know, I often say the scariest hitter is the first hitter you face – they know they’re likely going to see four-seamers down the middle and are often more aggressive than usual. Anyway, for a guy who chucks 96/97 mph, it’s pretty remarkable to see 0/29 whiffs on the four-seamer. Throw in a history of just 3.0 IP in the minors with Cincy as your home park and you have yourself a prospect we clearly avoid.

Alex Cobb (SF) @ OAK (ND) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 77 pitches.

Cobb threw 18 splitters and didn’t earn a single CSW. No whiffs, not even a called strike. Is that bad. Let me put it this way. If you order a turkey sandwich and it comes without any turkey, would that be bad? No, because I’m a vegan. THEN WHY DID YOU ORDER A TURKEY SANDWICH. For my friend. Okay we’re getting off track here, Cobb threw more sliders to compensate for the poor splitter, but it wasn’t enough and I’m at the point of moving on from Cobb. We’ve only seen the splitter come through once since his return from the IL in seven starts. He’s not where you want him to be and I’d drop, personally. Something is up for him to go just 1-for-7 with games featuring legit splitter whiffs.

Charlie Morton (ATL) @ CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

Mix Morton’s volatility with the hot Cubs offense and you get a start that looks like Luke hanging on for dear life in Cloud City – the fours are with him, but it ain’t pretty. Morton is a HIPSTER and if you want to try something else, I truly don’t blame you. I imagine it’ll overall help to start him regularly in roto leagues for the rest of the year, but H2H leagues are playing with fire each time as you chase those Wins and strikeouts. Good luck.

Zack Greinke (KC) @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 59 pitches.

Greinke does what Greinke does.

José Urquidy (HOU) @ NYY (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 62 pitches.

It was a Still ILL for Urquidy and I think we saw the hints of what works for him – sweepers away, sinkers inside, four-seamers up, changeups down – but the execution wasn’t quite there. Looks like some rust to me and once he’s ramped up to 85+ pitches, there could be some solid Win value here.

Carlos Rodón (NYY) vs HOU (ND) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 58 pitches.

Rodón left this one early due to hamstring tightness, though allowing 5 ER with two home runs wasn’t demanding more time on the bump. That said, I’ve seen Rodón pitch worse than this. Fastballs were finally sitting over 96 mph, returning a 37% CSW, and his slider held a 42% CSW. This was Houston, after all, and if it weren’t for the haze of when his next start would be, I’d actually be a little excited. Nick, this is ridiculous. Stop making excuses for him, he’s been so terrible for my fantasy teams. Yeah, I know. It’s rough as anything. And yet, the skills are akin to the sub 3.00 ERA we saw the last two years. Seems more rational that he’s shaking off rust instead of “being cooked”, right? Dunno, that’s just where my head is at.

Matt Manning (DET) vs TB (L) – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

At least we saw a harder lean on sliders at 42% usage, but that four-seamer is not hitting 95 mph. Not 94, not even 93 as it sat 92.5 mph. Yikes. Yeah, that’s horrific.

Rich Hill (SD) vs LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 77 pitches.

It was the Dodgers and Hill isn’t someone to start against the Brewers. You don’t need me.


Game of the Day 

Eury Pérez @ Cincinnati RedsI’m just so happy he’s back.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Have Questions? – Join my morning Playback.tv livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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