The Rook of Eli

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Eli Morgan @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 71 pitches.

I don’t think any of us expected me to lead with Eli Morgan today, but tonight’s game of 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 71 pitches gives me no choice. Nine strikeouts?! A King Cole? From HIM?! I know, it’s ridiculous, but the kid had a 52% CSW on his 90 mph four-seamer and a 50% clip on his changeup and there’s a good amount to unpack here.

In short, this was the peak. Three of those earned runs came in the sixth — Careful, Icarus — as he was a little gassed, made a mistake with his slider and Eddie Rosario couldn’t catch a ball that isn’t over every left fielder’s head. His heater made one major mistake of the night — a 91 mph fastball down the middle that Kris Bryant sent to the seats — and found the edges with ease, while that changeup, my heavens that changeup was brilliant. The pitch floats in 15 mph slower than his heat and made a ton of Cubs bats look foolish.

But as I said before, this was the peak and peaks rarely turn into plateaus. I don’t like his slider at all (13% CSW = yuck) and his heater needed to be pristine to get through five strong frames (before it came apart in the sixth). And don’t forget he tossed just 71 pitches and looked a step down in that final frame. I’m excited for the kid and I imagine he’ll get the chance to stretch himself out while hopefully retaining that fastball command, but it’s simply too much risk for your 12-teamers.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Blake Snell vs LAD (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

Whoaaa! Sure, it wasn’t an efficient start, but zero ER against the Dodgers?! After the struggles you’ve had? Snell was able to locate fastballs in the zone, while he went 11/18 strikes on sliders + 7/12 on changeups. I want to see a bit more from his breakers, though, and I think he got away with a decent amount of heaters. I’m still a bit cautious here.

Andrew Kittredge vs BOS (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 16 pitches.

We saw “The Fratty Pirate” after this one, and it was a Tuesday, not a Friday, so he allowed five ER in two frames. It makes perfect sense, I swear. It’s a terrible schedule ahead and there’s no reason to hold Ryan Yarbrough.

Charlie Morton @ NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 107 pitches.

That’s Morton’s second straight seven-plus IP, zero ER outing as he dominated the Mets. And guess what’s next? NYM, MIA, @MIA. I really hope you bought in while you could.

Anthony DeSclafani @ LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 97 pitches.

Man, this is just wonderful. Now the true test comes as Tony Disco faces the Dodgers. Can the man stay alive? Stay alive?

Marcus Stroman vs ATL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 18 pitches.

Stroman left this one early with a hip injury because clearly the Mets needed to have more bad things happen to them and still lead the NL East. Poor Stroman, I hope he’s okay.

Kyle Hendricks vs CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 93 pitches.

You know, since I called Hendricks “teetering” between a Toby and something more, he’s had two straight six IP, no ER outings. You’re welcome. His changeup did a ton of work while he snuck sinkers in for called strikes. Next up is Milwaukee and I don’t see why this wouldn’t continue.

Freddy Peralta @ ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The four walks are silly, but that’s what the man does. You don’t get called Professor Chaos for looking normal. FWIW, he was about 150 rpm lower on his slider, yet it returned 50% CSW soooo who cares.

Zac Gallen vs MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 68 pitches.

Oh my. Gallen, I was thinking you’d pitch roughly five innings of quality, but like this?! Eight strikeouts and a 37% CSW?! You DOG! He’s just under 70 pitches now, and I imagine he’ll flirt with us and with 80 pitches next time against the Cardinals. We’re so close to the Top 15 arm we’ve dreamed of. Also, like Peralta, Gallen did have a dramatic 100+ rpm drop in his major pitches, though there may be something there about his recovery instead of Spider Tack. Nah, it’s probably Spider Tack. Welp, his stuff was still good so hey, I guess we ignore it…right?

Chris Flexen vs COL (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ha! So I guess Flexen really could take advantage of a start against Rockie Road. That’s a Gallows Pole for the mad man, sharing it with the Mad Max as Flexen earned 10/42 whiffs on four-seamers, if you can believe it. Believe it? I can’t believe any of it! I’m with you random person, especially with Toronto next. Maybe it means we have some interest against the Rangers after, now. Maybe.

Kyle Freeland @ SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ayyyy Freeland was successful in his lovely matchup! His slider was acting like 2018 all over again as he leaned into it 42% of the time and that’s really the only praise I can give as I don’t love the rest of the stuff. But the slider! Boy, we had some nice times with that!

Sandy Alcántara vs TOR (ND) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The man did it. Sure, it came with few strikeouts, but Alcántara gave you yet another deep outing with fantastic ratios. Like they have with Wheeler (well, save for tonight), the strikeouts will come over time. Meanwhile, enjoy starting Sandy with confidence indefinitely.

Max Scherzer @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace, get checked for sticky stuff, get upset about it, and earn a Gallows Pole. Just another day at the office.

Ross Stripling @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

And look at that, Stripling came through. Streaming Record: 46-34. You look at that line and think “clearly, Stripling had his secondary stuff working like last time.” You would, wouldn’t you. Nay, this was four-seamer city as the man tossed them 63% of the time and did everything. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it and with the Cherry Bomb-esque Orioles lineup next, I’m a little scared throwing Stripling at it. I think you still do, but he’s not the same guy I loved last week. Please get your curve/changeup/slider back. Please.

Zack Greinke @ BAL (W) – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

It ain’t the greatest start ever, but it most certainly works. It’s so nice for these Houston pitchers to finally get a lax schedule.

Lucas Giolito @ PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 111 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. All of this helps, save for the lack of a Win, but whatareyagonnado. He’s the rock you need in your life.

Wade Miley @ MIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

It wasn’t the easiest matchup for Miley, but the man just doesn’t care. The cutter earned outs while his changeup and four-seamer earned lovely CSW marks, and voila, there’s a solid Miley start in the books. It gets easier now with PHI, CHC, @MIL next and I’m starting him for all of it.

Tarik Skubal vs STL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

Awwww, Tarik couldn’t quite get that final out to secure a win, but you can’t blame the hook as he climbed to 97 pitches. I’m not too concerned for the long haul, but his secondaries didn’t overwhelm as we’ve seen previously. They were decent, just not featured a ton as he went two-thirds heaters instead. We want the sliders! GIVE ME CHANGEUPS OR GIVE ME A WAIVER WIRE ADD.

Johan Oviedo @ DET (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 82 pitches.

Oh wow. 82 pitches on just eleven outs? The ideal goal is sub-five pitches per out and Oviedo needed 7.5. His command wasn’t as stable as it was last week and not even Detroit could save him. Good luck against PIT if you were forced to start him for both – I’d only consider him for a desperate Sunday stream and avoid in most cases.

Jorge López vs HOU (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 95 pitches.

Whoa, we saw the upside of JorLó today! That’s a King Cole as he earned 18 called strikes across four-seamers and sinkers (way to be ultra passive, Houston), and that’s exactly what you shouldn’t expect to stick start to start. Just sayin’.

Gerrit Cole vs KC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The spin rates are still massively down, but his slider was excellent and his fastball did the trick. We’re not seeing the same whiff-heavy nature of his four-seamer, but it’s not seeing to matter…so far. There is a growing sense that the heater taking a step back will cause some trouble, but Cole is certainly doing everything he can to stave off that instinct. We’ll see.

Brady Singer @ NYY (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.

This looks like the Royals elected to piggyback Singer, but in actuality, the man threw 96 pitches in under four innings and I think any semblance of interest you had has been fully extinguished. The real intrigue is Kris Bubic coming in for 2.1 frames and needing — get this — just 21 pitches for seven outs. His changeup was FILTH. This was the best form of the man I’ve seen, and if Bubic gets the chance to start and showcases the pitch count we want, I’m kinda in. Seriously, it was beautiful. I’m using a lot of italics today. I’m sorry, I just need to express myself a lot tonight.

Cole Irvin @ TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 69 pitches.

Ehhhh this ain’t it. Irvin is a Toby and he’s supposed to help against a team like the Rangers, but here we are as this start looks like a troubled bird for mine Cole shares. That joke didn’t quite work. Neither did Cole. Neither did Cole…

Clayton Kershaw @ SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna serve a PQS with a very digestible 1.00 WHIP and seven strikeouts. I think that’s acceptable from TATIAGA against the strong Padres, no?

Zack Wheeler vs WSH (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 73 pitches.

Aces gonna…go just three innings?! He was a tick down in velocity and not particularly sharp and I imagine the Phils saw the high pitch count and general inefficiency as a “hey, this isn’t his day, let’s just get him out of there early.” I wouldn’t react harshly to this.

Tyler Anderson vs CWS (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 86 pitches.

I’ll take a slightly better PQS from TyAnderthal any day against the ChiSox. Even on Jessica Days? Even on…yeah, even on Jessica Days. I’m glad he had his changeup here, but it’s too risky to trust for it to continue as we take this journey together in the land of fantasy baseball.

Eduardo Rodríguez @ TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

Eduardo had a rough first frame on no account of his own and did better than the PQS would suggest. It was a product of four-seamer command more than anything — his changeup had moments but wasn’t to be trusted and that slider/cutter? Pfffft — and if Erod has that heater on point, it gives him a fighting chance each night. When the changeup clicks, he’ll be back to his old self but this can work, too. Problem is, I’m not sold it will stick around, making his next start against the Yankees still a concern.

Taylor Hearn vs OAK (L) – 0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 34 pitches.

The stuff? It looks fantastic — 96 mph heaters and a slider that can miss bats. The problem? Poor command rooted in an arm circle that whips so dang fast and way too late in his delivery, resulting in an inconsistent release point. I’d be shocked if Hearn suddenly turned into a command guy, but there is a tipping point where Hearn is good enough with his command to let his stuff actually do their thang. We’re not there yet, though. Definitely not.

Bailey Ober vs CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 78 pitches.

This is Bailey. Over. Hello Bailey, we can’t trust you and will not be accepting your application to get off the wire. Over. It’s Ober. Over. Yeah, it’s over Ober. Over.

Andrew Heaney vs SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 107 pitches.

Hey Nick, when are you going to get rid of Heaney’s label as a Cherry BombNever, random person. Never. Life just isn’t fair, his stuff can be so good yet so bad. I can’t tell you the last start a starter went 10 strikeouts with 10 hits allowed, so I’ll ask Sarah Langs tomorrow as we record Nick Pollack & FriendsShe always knows.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Kevin Gausman vs Shohei OhtaniIt’s the two best splitters in baseball. That’s pretty cool.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted 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 pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar DB says:

    What Joe Girardi and the umps did to Mad Max was bordering on criminal in his entry into free agency.

    I mean what I said: “criminal.”

    It oozes disgusting implications for pitchers the rest of the year unless there’s more clarification and less abuse than what was clearly on display there.

  • Avatar MortonIsBae says:

    Hey Nick thanks for suggesting offering up Eovaldi to Morton owners way back when. I took your advice and it has been GLORIOUS. Cheers!

  • Avatar DB says:

    Saw some beauties in Morgan’s last start and put him on my watchlist. Haven’t watched this start yet, but I’m not at all surprised he dominated. I don’t think it’ll be dependable, but there were some siiiiiiiiiiick pitches in his last start… and he has “the poise.”

    “The poise” is why I kept starting Manoah (he’s dropped now): it’s why I’ve held onto and almost always started McClanahan. It’s why I wouldn’t touch Pearson or Manning, or a number of other hyped minors pitchers.

    Newbies HAVE to show, not only faith in their stuff, but rock-solid comebacks from failure. They also need to start with a “20 yard stare” when they hit the mound the first time for me to trust them before their physical peak years.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      You are always best off just ignoring the young SP. The list of young SP over the past year is comical if we were to look at their results.

  • Avatar Mudcat says:

    For whatever reason, Snell pitches like a Cy Young candidate at home and like a minor leaguer on the road. He has always had large home/away splits, but this year is an extreme.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I am half expecting Wheeler to miss a start. The recap of the day sounds bad.

    Why would anyone have any faith in Gallen to be durable? Asking for that to happen and him to also be great seems way out there on the very fringe of possible outcomes.

    Compare Alcantara’s season line to Rich Hill’s. Its close and Hill is coming off of bad starts. Now compare last year and the rest of their careers. This is probably the best way to illustrate how young the list has gotten. Sure, I get that Alcantara has some stuff going for him, but he also has things working against him. He has never been a great source of Ks – I doubt throwing more strikes helps with that. I am not saying that Hill is an ace… more that other guys are not either. I get that nobody wants to ready that!

  • Avatar Darrell says:

    Check out Snells Home/Away start stats…..somethings up

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