Touki To My Heart

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

We’ve been waiting for a healthy dosage of Touki Toussaint for a good while and after last night’s 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 40% CSW against the Blue Jays, it may be time to get excited. His curveball was acting like the best in the league, carrying a 50% CSW across 26 thrown, his heater was holding steady at 94 mph,  and even his splitter was doing great things with a 43% CSW on its own. It’s everything we’ve dreamed of…right?

Kinda? That curveball will carry Touki a good amount, but I’m not sold that his fastball is commanded all too well and it could lead to problems down the road. Same goes for his splitter, which goes in-and-out (shocking! A splitter being volatile), but nevertheless is a solid #3 pitch to help earn whiffs along with his excellent curveball that can find the zone and dart out in a hurry.

It adds up to a pitcher you should grab ASAP against the Phillies and Marlins but don’t go overboard UPDATE: Okay I read the schedule wrong and it’s the Yankees next. Ouch. I wouldn’t start him there, but I would against the Nationals after. This likely isn’t the savior of your season and could run into trouble as soon as his next start. Still very much worth your love and that’s a great thing.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Carlos Carrasco vs CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSWAces gonna ace against a very good Reds lineup. Four walks are odd and I’d move past that and focus on the 39% CSW on 39% sliders thrown. Carrasco threw the same amount of fastballs as sliders and I can’t emphasize how much I LOVE THIS. The Indians have clearly gotten the memo that over-throwing meh heaters is not the way to go and I couldn’t be happier. Also, can we all be thrilled for Carrasco for dealing with Leukemia and now performing at such a high level? So happy for him.

Brad Keller vs CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSWHey, Keller is back! He did an excellent job following the Blake Snell Blueprint, but I’m a little sad as the fantastic 95.5 mph heater he showcased last year wasn’t apparent, holding his standard 93.5 mph fastball instead. Womp womp. But Nick! A 36% CSW! 0 ER! Yeah, yeah, that’s nice and I think Keller is a decent streamer but it’s harder to bank on him being a true asset now.

Tyler Anderson @ COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSWIt’s cool to see Tyler do well, especially in Coors, but this isn’t anything to latch onto. He’s just going to disappoint, sadly.

Brandon Bielak @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSWSo there are things to like here. It’s a solid slider at 89 mph, he was able to elevate and jam batters at 92-94 mph on his heater, and his changeup earned outs as well. The problem was his overall command that just doesn’t preach to sustainable success. It was a HAISTFMFWT?! because of his inability to setup batters the right way as a product of wonky locations. I can see him being decent if he gets rotation time, but it’s missing that spark you want.

Zach Eflin vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSWWay better than any of expected as Eflin faced the Yankees, but it was just four frames and it’s still Eflin. I’d consider him for a stream against the Marlins, Royals, Orioles, Giants, or Tigers (I think that’s all of them…), but that’s only if I need to.

Dylan Bundy @ SEA (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 43% CSW. Man, he’s really working hard to earn an AGA label. I sadly can’t give it to him as he’s faced the Mariners in 2/3 starts and that lineup was oh-so-terrible yesterday. Still, that’s a King Cole for Bundy with a co-share of the Gallows Pole as well as he stuck to the game plan of few fastballs and a ton of secondary stuff. I do wonder if the Mariners are the most swing-reluctant team out there as Bundy recorded 30 called strikes in this one, which is all kinds of wild. Changeups aren’t quite where we want them to be overall, but he had some nasty ones in there as well and you best not be removing Bundy from your lineups. He’s locked in.

Zac Gallen vs HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSWAfter a horrific first outing against the Padres, many were terrified as he had dates with the Dodgers and Astros ahead. But not you, as you’re a Gallen Gal, right? Those two starts combined for 12.0 frames of a 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 31% K rate, and just a 4.2% BB rate. Gallen is dope and makes you feel dope for rostering him. I’m thinking of handing him an AGA label in the near future.

Josh Lindblom @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW. It looked like Lindblom had a new slider today and that’s all kinds of cool as it earned a 60% whiff rate when swung at, though there’s a little more polish to figure out on that end. Still, it’s a very welcome new weapon and I’m thrilled to see him toss 84 pitches here as we were worried the delayed games + his back cramps ending his previous start short would equate to a low pitch count here. I’d let him stay on the wire for now as he gets the Twins next, but I’m all for the Cubs after.

Kyle Freeland vs SF (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSWThis outing had Careful, Icarus all over it (hey! First one of the year!) as Freeland pitched six spotless frames, eventually leading to a blegh WHIP and 2 Ks. However, a Quality Start is the bare minimum for a Streaming Win and we got a pair of extra outs there, too. Streaming Record: 8-6. I know it’s not the CSW or strikeouts you want here, but I’m still seeing a solid Freeland on the hill. Great fastballs along the edges and changeups arm-side as well (they do need to be lower, though) both showcase an improved Freeland. That slider wasn’t there at all yesterday, returning just 2/18 CSW (yikes), and I’d consider starting him next week against the struggling Arizona lineup in Coors. Not great, but I’d consider it.

Kenta Maeda @ PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 22% CSWWeird to see the low CSW from Maeda, but honestly this was a great outing – he allowed two batters in the second that led to a Gregory Polanco HR and allowed just one other baserunner in six frames for a PQS. A bit annoying not to get a Win out of it, but you should feel confident in Maeda.

Luis Castillo @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSWAces gonna earn a co-share of the Gallows Pole but you hate to see those four walks. It’s a bit frustrating that his ceiling will always be capped by his lower arm angle that can create moments of volatility, but honestly, Castillo was pretty solid here with pitch separation and avoiding the heart of the plate. He’s a defacto ace.

Nate Pearson @ ATL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSWIt’s not the line you’d want and I think Pearson isn’t quite there yet, but he pitched good enough to stick to your team moving forward. He gassed it up to 99 multiple times here and two of those ER came off an inside and off the plate slider that Freddie Freeman somehow yanked for a longball. I hope we can watch Pearson develop that command over time as he has a solid four-pitch mix here, but there will be some bumps along the way. I wouldn’t expect that true ceiling to show itself until 2021 at the earliest.

JT Brubaker vs MIN (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 31% CSWI watched a decent amount of this and Brubaker isn’t your standard Cup of Schmo with a sinker that sits low-to-mid 90s and a decent breaker to boot. It’s hard making a debut against the Twins, though, and I wasn’t in love with his command. Something to keep an eye on if he gets for opportunities (more on the streamer end than a 12-teamer roster spot), but for now, we sit and wait.

Mike Fiers vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSWIt’s an ER too much for a VPQS and we don’t even like those.

Gio Gonzalez vs MIL (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSWThat should be GG for Gio if you’re still rostering him for some reason.

Jordan Yamamoto vs BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSWYeah, this is the line we expected from Yamamoto – few walks, few innings, and like the 1800s, not much electricity. He shouldn’t be on your radar as a “kitchen sink” kind of starter.

Taijuan Walker vs LAA (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 35% CSWYou saw 7.0 IP last time out with eight strikeouts and figured you’d roll the die against the Angels. I get it. His fastball was better than I expected, earning 39% CSW at 93 mph and he was able to get some called strikes with his cutter, but nothing else is clicking with Walker and that’s the root of the problem. There isn’t a significant whiff pitch and his called strike ability isn’t good enough for me to roll with.

Mike Minor @ OAK (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSWHis fastball is still two ticks down, his slider is being used way too often, and his command is a little meh. This isn’t what you want and I’m totally fine letting him go for streaming and upside plays. It stinks – his changeup is still great and the Rangers are letting him get his innings. I don’t think I can buy in until I see his fastball velocity climb back up.

Jordan Montgomery @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Bleeegh. It’s weird to see The Bear fail to get a single whiff on breaking stuff, while his sinker wasn’t well located in this one. It’s good to see him still at 92/93 mph velocity, though, and I’m hoping he’s better at burying that curveball next time out + jamming effectively with cutters. It really wasn’t his night. He gets Atlanta next and my gut says start him there, but it’s certainly a risk you don’t have to take.

Wade LeBlanc @ MIA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSWAwwww there was a part of me that really thought LeBlanc could carry his changeup into this start against a depleted Marlins lineup. Nope, we got a HAISTFMFWT?! and a horrible ERA/WHIP on top. I’m not even sure I’d even dip my foot in at this point, Wade.

Tyler Chatwood @ KC (L) – 2.1 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Oh no. We didn’t think Chatwould struggle this much against the Royals and the thing is, that’s zero walks! This isn’t the old Chatwood, but he did throw a bit too many hittable pitches and he was punished hard. Still, a 3.47 SIERA for the game with a .750 BABIP and 37% LOB rate. His cutter was still at 90+ mph and located decently well. I know it’s crazy to say stick with Chatwood (he’s only had two good starts and this line is classic Chatwood!), but I still think he’s an improved pitcher who had a rough day instead of a full relapse. He gets the Indians next and I’m starting him there. Yep.

 

Today’s Streamer

 

For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

 

Yusei Kikuchi vs. Colorado Rockies – He’s hosting them in Seattle (Rockie Road) and with that new cutter and increased velocity, this is everything we want.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

David Peterson vs. Miami Marlins – The Marlins offense is incredibly easy to stream again and Peterson is good enough to help. I’d also consider Alec Mills against the Cardinals who will be coming off a long stretch of missing games.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

John Means vs. Washington Nationals – The velocity is up, the pitch count is coming up, and I think his command improves with each start. Get in while you can.

 

Game of the Day

 

Matthew Boyd vs. Chad Kuhl – It’s two PL darlings as I just want them both to have fun.

 

(Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

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 Kyle says:

    Isn’t Touki facing the Yankees next start? His schedule looks absolutely brutal.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Great call Kyle, thanks for the heads up. I thought he’d get the tail end of the Phils, but he’s the first of the Yankees, then Nationals after. Wouldn’t start him for the Yankees, but would with the Nationals. Updated!

  • Avatar Bryan says:

    Are you holding or selling high on Bundy at this point? I’ve drafted him for 3 of the past 4 seasons, so I’m ecstatic he’s finally come around, but I still have my doubts, haha.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I’d hold, but it depends on what I get back on the market, too.

      To put it differently, I’m not anxious to sell and believe he’ll help through the year, but I’m fine selling if someone is buying his current stretch and offers a higher floor with a similar ceiling.

  • Avatar Johnny C says:

    Looks Like Touki will get the Yankees in his next outing not the Phillies. I would imagine he would be a sit against the Yankees? Also I know I asked you before but, would you prefer Mahle of Touki ROS?

    • Avatar Johnny C says:

      My apologies Nick I didn’t refresh the page, so I didn’t see someone had brought this to your attention already. But anyway would you prefer Touki or Mahle ROS. I know Mahle has a much better schedule.

  • Avatar Perfect Game says:

    Do you trust Gallen or Maeda ROS for QS and ratios? Gallen is still learning and has a tougher schedule.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I saw a fair amount of that Touki start and I was underwhelmed. I thought everything was sloppy. That arm slot is a death sentence vs lefties. I don’t see how he isn’t a bullpen arm.

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