The Joy of Painting Corners

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Tuesday's games.

(Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire)

Guys, Tyson Ross is kinda amazing again. He demolished the Giants via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. as his slider looked the good ole days and it’s kinda nuts. 12 whiffs on 46 slide pieces with 34 CSW on 102 pitches. He gets the Nats next and I’m kinda all in on that. Also, I imagine some of you have about five pitchers that you want to roll with – Kingham, Soroka, Ross, Mikolas, Erod, Minor, Gohara, etc. – and don’t know what to do. I’d trade. Trade the other guys for legit upgrades in your lineup and then fill in the slots with these players. If it doesn’t work out, you didn’t lose currency and can most likely make another move to recover. But the best way to wheel-and-deal is by selling the known entity and making the profit on those that have yet to establish. Some of these will hit through the year and make you plenty more value than their current worth, it’s just how it works. Anyway, do what you can to hold onto Ross. I know I was scared about the 127 pitches a week ago, but he looks completely fine and I don’t see him losing his skill with his slider again. Get in on this.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Mike Soroka – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. An impact pitcher making their MLB debut would normally be the lead, but I wrote a GIF Breakdown on Soroka that will be coming out before noon tomorrow morning that will give you the whole rundown. Here’s the quick hit: pick him up. Ceiling is limited based on meh secondary pitches but his array of fastballs is legit and will make him a solid floor play on a given night. Really impressive stuff for a 20-year-old and I can imagine him only getting better with time. There’s no guarantee he stays in the rotation – he sure deserves to – but pick him up and see what happens. Kingham is the better add at the moment based on job security, but given equal opportunity, I think Soroka’s heater creates a stronger longterm foundation.

Noah Syndergaard – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. We just want Thor to be incredible and he just isn’t doing it. He’s still productive, just not elite of the elite. As our injury expert Jeff Davis puts it, he is a DANGER – Different Approach Needed, Genuinely Exceptional Repertoire. This might be Glossary worthy.

Doug Fister – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Fister, buddy, pal, please stop doing this. It’s frustrating for everyone involved and the fact that you had a 2.88 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP entering this game says oh so much.

Jordan Montgomery – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. The Bear had himself a lovely seven-pitch frame against the Astros, then left the game with elbow tightness. Welp, you can drop JorMont now. Domingo German took over and killed it, earning 11 whiffs on 61 pitches, using his curveball and changeup to miss bats and pumping 95mph gas. There is upside here if he gets the starting job, but he is a bit too sporadic for me to buy into him for a 12-teamer just yet, especially when there is no guarantee about what’s going to happen here.

Nick Tropeano – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Atta babe Tropeano, solid work against the Orioles. Lucky you, getting the Mariners next instead of Coors and I think I’m okay with it if you desperately need a Sunday start.

Justin Verlander – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace. As mentioned with Thor falling behind Verlander, the staff was asking today if I’ll be raising Jimmy V above deGrom or Severino. I might. Thing is, both deGrom and Sevy are also killing it with 30% K rates and fantastic ERA/WHIP numbers in their own right. At least we can all recognize that they are dope and feel dope. Enjoy your Gallows Pole with 21 whiffs, ya filthy animal.

Matt Boyd – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Even with this start, Boyd still holds a 6.52 K/9. There are few guys with a bigger TEEs label than Matt, so I’m still Boyd Watching.

Zach Eflin – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Eflin had a 5.54 ERA in 2018 and a 6.16 mark in 2017. There is nothing here to suggest that he is a new man, just like…wait. No there is something. Eflin averaged 93.7mph last year with his heater. This start? 95mph. Huh. I’m not going to do anything with that information, but…Huh.

Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This start increased his ERA from 1.00 to 1.09 and I cannot scream TEEs loud enough. My neighbors think I’m upset at someone in my apartment and I blame Jarlin for it. I blame him for everything. He’s not on The List and I seriously don’t expect him to be there on Monday. I just don’t see this sticking.

Jon Gray – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s two in a row for Gray, though this one against the Cubs wasn’t as dominating as last time. Still great, obviously, but I wanted to see the overpowering Jonny we’ve seen in the past that made us inspired for his next outing. He’s hosting the Angels in Coors and I know this was great n all but how comfortable do you feel starting Gray there? I’m still feeling way too much like Larry David despite his recent success and that’s a problem.

Felix Hernandez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Felix has allowed 3 or fewer ER in all but one of his seven starts this year. That’s about where the niceties end as he’s boasting a meh strikeout rate – even with this one! – a 5.32 FIP and 3.72 BB/9. This seems more like fools gold than hidden treasure.

Chris Sale – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Of course without a win. Duh.

James Shields – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Right, Shields kills it but I have to talk about why Thor or Chase are struggling. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother…words that I’m sure Shields said after allowing a homerun to Bartolo Colon. I thought we lost you for a moment there. You kidding? This is my lifeblood. MY LIFEBLOOD. It’s baseball, y’all know I’ve been wrong a ton – duh – and I will be wrong moving forward to. Not even sure why I feel the need to say this especially with James freakin’ Shields as the trigger BUT THERE YA GO.

Max Scherzer – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. A slightly better performance than Kershaw, though I wanted to see that goose egg and double-digit Ks for me to rest easier about the #1/#2 debate.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhhh Archer wasn’t killed by his heater tonight! Okay, it actually wasn’t all too great, but it was good enough that things worked out against the Tigers. Next up are the Braves on Tuesday and I’m not feeling so great about that.

Alex Cobb – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. If you ran with Cobb, you’ll definitely take this, even with just two strikeouts to his name. I don’t have a term for it, but Cobb earned the fewest whiffs as well save for injured JorMont with just 2. Two whiffs on 89 pitches. I can’t roll my eyes any harder.

Kyle Gibson – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, I’m cool with this. You may have trusted Gibson for his two-start week and so far so good. Now it’s the ChiSox and let’s hope he goes 2-for-2.

Jake Junis – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid outing from Junis as I’ve been backing off this train, especially as it came against the Sawx in Fenway. Slider did good work to get him through this one, and I guess you’re safe using him against the Tigers next. Clearly that’s the one where he screws up, right?

Clayton Kershaw – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Great rebound for Kershaw after his atrocity last time out and especially after many clamored for him to be demoted from the #1 spot on Monday. And that still might happen next week or the week after, but I felt I needed to give Kershaw one more week to figure it out – he did tonight (fortunately he saw the sixth inning…that was close) and hopefully he will in two starts next week. I may have to give it to Scherzer by default, but at least Kershaw has let owners rest easy tonight.

Matt Koch – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m going to be honest with you. I just sat here thinking to myself “man, I hope Matt allows 9 ER one game so I can say that I’m happy I turned doing Nines of Koch.” These are the thoughts I have when I have absolutely nothing productive to say about a pitcher. Matt, you are as basic as Sheepshead filled with ill people.

Andrew Suarez – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. If you’re looking at that 8+ K/BB and 3.11 xFIP and get any ideas, it’s my duty to be the one that gives you that stern look. Think twice.

Michael Wacha – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhh Wacha looked like he was taking a step forward after his last start, but this one didn’t feature nearly the same cutter as before – 0 whiffs and 2 called strikes on 20 thrown! – and we’re back to square one. That’s a terrible square, trust me. It has one sad little tree in the middle of a roundabout with a single bench that made you wonder why anyone ever thought this would be a place that someone would suggest going to.

Mike Clevinger – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s not gorgeous through and through but I’ll take this from Clev as he earned nearly 70% strikes with 13 whiffs to boot. He only needs one secondary pitch to be elite on a given evening and it was his changeup in this one, earning 8 whiffs on 20 thrown. 35 CSW as well and BAM, you have a solid evening. Now please do it again so I can consider raising you on The List.

Kyle Hendricks – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. He won’t get much fanfare from me, but Hendricks will sit comfortably in the late 30s/early 40s for a long time as his upside is capped but he’s somehow maintaining a great floor despite a sub 87mph fastball.

Chad Kuhl – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Kuhl story, bro. He’s still a Young Gun in my mind, maybe one day he’ll get traded to the Astros and figure it all out. Maybe…

Chase Anderson – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Chase didn’t have it with his curveball or cutter in this one, forcing him to rely on his changeup and four-seamer to get it done. They were fine, but Anderson is a guy who needs his full arsenal to succeed, instead of relying on a few tools to carry the load. I’m still a fan of his stuff, but it’s getting real hard to be on his side when he’s totaled 16 strikeouts in his last five starts.

Marco Estrada – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I think there will be a time this season that Estrada is a Top 50 starter. Now is not that time.

Andrew Triggs – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. He was our Call Boy before getting dropped prior to two tough starts and he couldn’t handle the Mariners. Welp, see ya later. Streaming Record 17-11. It is a bit frustrating how Triggs can look oh-so-good in one outing and then lose the plate in another. Nick will remember this.

Homer Bailey – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Homer Bale is a coin flip and this time he tanked. That’s a better joke than you realize. It’s still pretty bad Well, yeah, they all are.

Today’s Streamer

Andrew Heaney vs. Baltimore Orioles – I adore what I saw against the Yankees and he has it in him to do it again.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

None – Seriously, I stared at this horrid short slate of pitchers and I can’t in good faith suggest someone. Just skip it.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Why not, right? He’s getting the start and while I could go Ian Kennedy against the Tigers, Daniel Mengden against the Orioles, or Zack Wheeler hosting the Rockies, I’m going with the fun one here.

Game of the Day

Blake Snell vs. Michael Fulmer – Snell is a legit Top 30 pitcher suddenly with his high breaking ball usage, while Fulmer looked to have figured out how to miss bats finally last week.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

32 responses to “The Joy of Painting Corners”

  1. Avatar Kevin says:

    Hi Nick. 10-team, 5×5. My guys are getting clobbered. Would you swap out Ray, Godley, Weaver, Taillon for any of these availabe SP’s: Folty, Lucchesi, Heaney, Kingham, Soroka, Gohara. Appreciate your sage advice.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Taillon is the most expendable (and Ray, though I’d to flat out drop him), and I’d like to ride the Kingham/Soroka trains if possible in the short term.

      It’s a 10-teamer so it’s all about chasing upside here. Kingham gets the first look as Soroka’s ceiling is capped by lack of overpowering secondary pitches.

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Nothing about Scherzer vs Pit tonight? Maybe that is an even higher form of AGA!

  3. Avatar KDallas says:

    I snagged Tyson Ross in most of my leagues, but missed him in one. Wondering if it’s worth trying to move 1-2 guys that other owners may value more than Ross. For example, Taillon for Ross? Taillon and Wacha for Ross?

  4. Avatar Devin says:

    Hey, just out of curiosity why do you have Verlander now higher the Syndergaard. Verlander has a 95% Left-On-Base Rate, a 28% Ground Ball rate and a 7% HR/FB ratio (in Houston). All of that is screaming regression. I’d still expect a 3-era, but Syndergaard has 70% Left-On-Base rate, 48% Ground Ball Rate, and a 10% HR/FB ratio (in Citi). Both have similar K and BB numbers. Both will clearly be great, but these tell me that Syndergaard is actually doing better than Verlander. Just a thought, I wanted to hear your opinion for me to better understand how to read peripherals.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Not that it isn’t close – it’s very close! – but the biggest separator is IPS as Verlander goes deeper into games, allowing him to express all those elite rate stats for a full inning per start. That’s a lot.

  5. Avatar E says:

    Interested in your note on trading the known quantities . You would, for example, sell price and darvish for a bat and pickup Castillo, soroka, etc? Pitchers who are lower on your list ? Would you still in points? Currently , Thor, C mart, Snell , Yu, Price, Clev, Weaver , mikolas, Kingham. Thanks and love your content.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      As long as you’re getting the proper points back via a bat – your current bat + Tier 3/4 starter – yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. You don’t lose value overall while being able to roll with guys that can grow into more profitable assets.

  6. Avatar JerryOnDrums says:

    Sup Nick! Which two out of these three starts are feeling better about the rest of the week? CallBoy Heaney tonight vs BAL, Pivetta @ WSH, or Edu @ TEX ? Thanks man!

  7. Avatar Twiggy- What's happenin' Buck? says:

    Nick! I want to pick up Tyson Ross, but I’d need to drop someone from this group…
    Greinke, Godley, Manaea, Weaver, Price, Kingham, Mikolas, Taillon
    What do u think?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I think you hold. For the struggles Taillon has had, he has a solid schedule coming up and I think he’s worth the roster spot.

  8. Avatar Joe says:

    Hey Nick, is Chance Adams a good speculative pickup with the JorMont injury?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      In 12-teamers, no. I think German and Cessa get the first stabs at it before Adams, while I’m not in love with Adams’ upside like Soroka and Kingham.

  9. Avatar Let's Play Two says:

    Reading your summary about your injury expert and Thor. I recently traded Acuna and Pivetta for him and Benintendi. Should I be concerned about Thor?

  10. Avatar ESB says:

    Hey Nick,
    I know the weekly rankings are fluid, I’m curious with the following players on the wire, Garrett Richards, Maeda Faria, Mahle, Stroman, Heaney, and Castillo. Which one would you want to add ROS, I’m carrying one too many bench bats and plan on dropping one to add an arm.

    Also would you drop any existing arms to add multiple guys from the above list of available players? Thanks in advance…
    10 team 5×5 HTH QS Current Staff:
    Current Roster:
    SP Luke Weaver
    SP Mike Clevinger
    RP Brad Boxberger
    SP Carlos Carrasco
    SP E-Rod
    RP Kenley Jansen
    RP Craig Kimbrel
    SP Carlos Martinez
    Bench SP Jameson Taillon
    Bench SP Sean Manaea
    Bench SP Milokas
    DL RP Britton

  11. Avatar Let's Play Two says:

    Would you drop Tanaka for Ross or Soroko or hold?

  12. Avatar David says:

    So you’re not buying Aaron Boone’s “not very worried” about JorMont? That was what he said after the game. I’m holding for the MRI since it’s still concerning and maybe Boone is doing manager BS, but I’m trying not to overreact in my deeper leagues.

    re Soroka: is he gonna keep Gohara down? I guess Anibal might keep both down? That’s my concern on adding him.

    Thanks as always!

  13. Avatar Andy says:

    Drop Chase Anderson for Gohara? Chase has a 7.20% K-BB%, 6.60% SwStr% and a 5.02 SIERA for the year.

  14. Avatar larry womack says:

    Need to pickup two streamers for the weekend.
    Junis vs Det,
    [email protected] Tex
    C. Smith @ Cin or Mahle vs Mia-same game
    Cahill vs Balt.
    Ross vs Was
    Weaver vs Cubs
    Faria vs Tor

    Could you put in order which three you would go with

  15. Avatar Tony Womack says:

    We all love Tyson Ross. Thanks for bringing him to our attention. HOWEVER, let’s love him for what he is … without need to embellish. I believe he had 9K and not 10 last night. You’re not his mom! Are you?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Whoa, it looks our stats feed got that one wrong. Thanks for letting me know!

      And maybe I am his Mom…

  16. Avatar John says:

    Hey, NIck!

    I’m worried Clevenger and Nola’s strikeouts just aren’t going to meet expectations. Thinking about trading them both for Cole in a trade. 10 team H2H.

  17. Avatar Charlie says:

    Hey Nick! I’m in a 10 teamer with K, ERA, WHIP, CG, and QS. It’s a pretty competitive league from a prospect perspective, but somehow Buehler is on the wire. How high is his ceiling, on The List? Would you prefer to have him or Soroka?

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