Tylor Megill @ WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 47 pitches.
Before the opening day officially graced our televisions, I was asked what I was most looking forward to. Sure, I was thrilled to watch more Shohei Ohtani or to finally get some legit data on Shane Bieber (spoiler alert: Yikes), but I had my answer ready. I can’t wait to watch Tylor Megill against the Nationals. And my oh my, did he not disappoint. Megill’s first frame had me ecstatic, chucking 99.1 mph past Juan Soto, crowning him officially as Tylord Megill (thanks lsakris!) and soaring to a line of 5.0 IP, 3 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 68 pitches with the lovely W we all crave. Yes, he was pulled after five when the Mets took forever to get through the sixth, preventing him from cruising to a Quality Start. Such is life.
Megill was electric. His heater sat 98 mph in the first frame to settle in at 96.1 for the night — 1.5 ticks comfortably above 2021’s levels. His changeup was 4.5 ticks harder, while the slider returned a marvelous 50% CSW and looked sharper than I’ve ever seen it. Guys, Megill is legit. Go pick him up. Now.
Come on Nick, he was clearly amped for his first two innings, then settled down, and now he has to face the Phillies and Giants?! Sure sure sure. He dipped in the third, but brought it back up in the fourth and fifth, and I trust this new man’s stuff for the long-haul. Yeah, there’s a touch of hesitation against the mighty Phillies offense, but I’m more hooked than a bad act at the Apollo. This isn’t just a good game, this felt like a statement of excellence. Get excited. Streaming Record: 1-0.
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Adam Wainwright vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.
It’s just so lovely, isn’t it? This start does little for us to truly understand what’s ahead for Waino — Blame it on the Pirates — but the defense made the plays, the sinker earned the called strikes, and the curveball pounded the zone. This is everything we wanted from Wainwright and I’m just happy to see it again. Suit man whispers in my ear. Wait, you’re saying he gets the Royals AND Marlins next? Jeeeeez, this guy is still calling in favors after all these years?
Yu Darvish @ ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.
Dad, is Darvish a Toby now? No son, he’s just facing the Diamondbacks. I didn’t love Darvish’s command in this one and I worry he may struggle a bit next time out against the Giants…but then again, the story last season was Darvish’s command fluctuating from bliss to disaster start-to-start. I guess you’re in for the ride at this point, good luck.
Framber Valdez @ LAA (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 84 pitches.
Well hot dang look at you. I found myself steering away from Framber plenty this pre-season in fear that his fastball would continue to get hit hard and his curveball wasn’t enough. Well, he was only hit hard twice this entire game, with a sinker that stole strikes effectively (up a tick!) and his dastardly yacker doing damage at 37% CSW. H*ck, even his changeup went 56% CSW for good measure. What. A. Guy. Now keep in mind, Framber returned from a finger injury last season to a hot streak like this before the depths of the summer brought him into the abyss. Keep starting him, but don’t expect sustained greatness…unless that new fastball actually is the catalyst for a better sinker. Now that would be cool.
Tyler Mahle @ ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 84 pitches.
There was a moment in this game when Mahle seemingly lost his footing, but he recovered and otherwise sailed through five frames. After all, he’s on the road, right? His four-seamer was phenomenal and I was even impressed by his splitter and cutter in this, earning 9/29 CSW between them — good for a 31% clip with 79% strikes along the way. It’s exactly what Mahle needs to complement his heater. The slider was awfully inconsistent, though, and it’s still an area to improve upon. He heads back home nex–wait! WAIT! It’s the Guardians! Surely, he can handle Great American Ballpark against Cleveland…right? It’s time we get over this.
Kyle Hendricks vs MIL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 83 pitches.
I can’t believe this. Not only did Hendricks look like classic Hendricks (albeit, like Miracle Whip, it wasn’t a cool whip. Like really, not cool at all), but he earned a Golden Goal along the way. Absolutely bonkers. His changeup was as ridiculous as I’ve seen it in years with 13/33 whiffs and a 45% CSW, and his curveball lofted into the zone for a 57% CSW. Things are good but with the Pirates next, they could be better.
Shane Bieber @ KC (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 72 pitches.
We finally got proper velocity readings on Bieber and it was…not great. He’s a full two ticks down from last year at 90.6 mph (92.8 in 2021), but hey, it was a cold and windy day in Kansas City. His slider was still…wait a second. Oh my. OH MY. Um, sit down for a second. We suspected Bieber was going to be affected by the sticky-stuff crackdown last June, but he was injured before it took effect. Today was the first good look we had and it was BAD. Like -400 rpm on his curveball bad. Sure, this could be just him still ramping up and everything, but I can’t get it out of my head. This is DRAMATIC. All that said, he still went 38% CSW on his slider n whatnot, but then again, his fastball command wasn’t pristine either and I’m so tempted drop him in the ranks on Monday. Maybe I’ll let one more start happen before I do anything rash.
Shohei Ohtani vs HOU (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 80 pitches.
But Nick, isn’t that a King Cole?! Nope, you need a full five frames to do that and Ohtani just came up short. Still, despite me contesting his expect low workload this season, Ohtani game us one h*ck of a game with nine strikeouts in just under five frames. His slider was phenomenal and he was gunning 98 mph consistently, though we’re used to that from Ohtani. He pumped it hard out of the gate last year, only to slow it down more in-season. Look, this was a start of adrenaline for Ohtani and I don’t anticipate him being this good consistently + let’s not lose sight of his dampened expected volume this year given the 130 innings last year that seem like his peak. What a wonderful start this was, though, and we’ll always have it.
Zack Greinke vs CLE (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
We’ll absolutely take this from Greinke as he settles into his role as a proper Toby for the season. And why not, throw in a HAISTBMBWT?! in there too for good measure. It’s not the toughest schedule ahead for Zack (STL, MIN, @SEA) but I can’t say that I’d be comfortable starting him for any of them. I don’t think you can depend on his 89 mph heater earning a 52% CSW unless he’s facing José Ramírez and Friends, you know?
Madison Bumgarner vs SD (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 68 pitches.
Yikes. I had a bit of intrigue here as Bumgarner sat above 90 mph in the spring and hey! He was 91.6 mph in this one! Sadly, it didn’t do a whole lot with 0/22 whiffs on the four-seamer and 1/10 CSW across his hook. This ain’t it. Now it’s the Astros next and you can easily say no to Mason sauntering onto your squads.
Patrick Corbin vs NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 76 pitches.
I haven’t been able to give up on Corbin. He’s throwing harder!” I said last year in September. “His skills are still intact!” I said that too at some point. I watched this, anxiously requesting for Corbin to get on with it so we could watch more Megill, and Corbin was…fine. Ish. The big issue is his slider just doesn’t induce whiffs like it used to, returning just 2/24 whiffs and 21% CSW overall. This ain’t it. I had hopes that Corbin was an outside shot, but I’d much rather chase other April options and hope Corbin shows us something later in the spring to encourage a pickup. No need to chase it now.
Corbin Burnes @ CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.
Aces gonna…wait. Burnes, why are you acting like Corbin? Poetically, Burnes walked his first batter of the season after setting the record for 58 strikeouts before his first walk in 2021. That’s baseball, Suzyn. It was a cold and rugged day in Chicago and I wonder if it led to his command being a touch off with slightly lower velocity. In short, y’all better not do anything silly. He’s dope and still makes us feel dope. Sidenote: We saw Aaron Ashby in relief (he may be the sixth starter and has five days to rest now) and he was served a classic Ashby Loss where he absolutely didn’t deserve it. Sigh. We just can’t have nice things.
Max Fried vs CIN (ND) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.
There Fried stood, bases empty in the sixth, one out away from a Quality Start. Two singles later, he was pulled, and two more runs went to his name. Sigh. Fried’s an interesting case: he’s throwing harder — up 1.3 ticks from last year officially on the heater and up 2 ticks on the slider — but he doesn’t seem to have the precision on the heater down quite yet, nor does the increased velocity seem to help with earning any whiffs on sliders. At least his curveball was great, though, and I’d imagine Fried begins to wield his newfound heat with dexterity soon enough. One more thing: Fried allowed 14 ER across his first three outings last year before dominating the rest of the way. Don’t worry about it.
JT Brubaker @ STL (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 68 pitches.
Oh Coffee Cakes, your slider wasn’t elite and your sinker, despite earning 6/24 whiffs, gets hit far too hard. Maybe the Cubs are easier time next week for those in need of a deep stream. For the rest of us, we’ll settle for cinnamon buns instead.
Game of the Day
Sandy Alcantara vs. Logan Webb – So many fantastic games (Reid Detmers!) but I promised Twitch I’d watch this outing with them at 4:30 pm ET, so that’s what we’re gonna do.
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 ET Monday through Friday.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
I’ve been looking forward to this all offseason! Thanks for doing these Nick, they’re the essential reading for pitcher fans.
Thanks Nick! Would you drop Brash or Lodolo for Megill (QS)?
If you can fit his (free) Twitch stream into your schedule, he is great at answering questions like yours then. Nick has referred to the morning Twitch stream as his “office hours.”
Thanks, Nick! Glad to be back to these!
Would you drop Houck for Megill?
Ain’t nuthin like finding our first good free agent pickup after the first day of the season. Found the 11 percent ESPN owned Megill waiting for me in both my leagues. Thanks Nick!
Is adding 4.5 ticks to a changeup a good or bad thing, I wonder… ideally don’t you want same arm action and as much difference as possible between the heater and the change? If that’s the case… it seems like adding 4.5 to the change and 1.5 to the fastball is actually a net loss to his ability… but then, what do I know…
But thanks so much for doing these, I love reading them (nearly) every day… I feel like it makes me a way better baseball fan, not just a better fantasy baseball player.
John Means pitched for Baltimore. We forgot Johnboy.
I’m writing today’s SP Roundup now :)
Oh yeah, I’m an idiot was yesterday. thanks thanks
Is there a reason Kyle Hendricks didn’t crack the top 100 pitchers on The List? is he worth a pickup over the likes of Alex Cobb, Megill, Detmers, Zach Eflin?