Weaving Through The Chaos

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

This feels like the year where we can’t have nice things. Luke Weaver was cruising through three frames with just a Trent Grisham HR blemish (off a really good high-and-tight 3-1 heater, for the record), then it fell apart in a hurry in the fourth, ending with a 3.1 IP, 7 Hits, 6 ER, 2 BBs, 6 Ks line. It’s just not what you want to see. Weaver pounded the zone often, featured some solid cutters inside to left-handers, and kept his changeup down for the most part, but his heaters found a bit too much of the zone, his cutters weren’t quite as perfect, and the opportunity for this floor showed itself. I don’t think Weaver is this guy, moreso than the other disappointing starts we saw this weekend. Stick with him, you’ll be happy you did.

Quick Note: CSW and Whiffs will be back in tomorrow’s article, we had a problem gathering them this morning and have fixed the issue for the future.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Jon Lester @ CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yep, Lester was pulled with a no-hitter as teams are taking few chances this early in the year. Seriously though, a veteran pitcher removed with just 76 pitches in the books while holding a no-hitter. This year, man. Anyway, was Lester actually this good? Kinda? I think he left more pitches over the plate than the line would make you think and that’s a certifiable HAISTFMFWT?!, which isn’t ideal – you need more than two whiffs to do that buddy. Now he gets the Pirates and Royals and I’m kinda in? I mean, that’s the best you could hope for and he just dealt with the Reds. Knowing our luck that’s when he’ll collapse, but you can certainly do worse.

Chris Bassitt vs. LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 Hits, 0 ER, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I was on the fence on Miley vs. Bassitt for the daily stream and obviously this would have been the better choice, but just four frames and 66 pitches? Blegh. I need more! Good to see 22/66 CSW (33%), but it was also sub 92 mph on his heater after boosting his velocity to 94 mph last year. Ugh. I want to buy more into this and I’m okay with the Mariners next, but Houston after? That’s a no from me, dawg.

Steven Brault vs. MIL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 Hits, 0 ER, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. We knew this would be the case as Brault was “piggy-backed” by Chad Kuhlwho was the more interesting arm here, by far. 55 pitches with 36% CSW and featuring over 40% sliders that returned a 26% SwStr rate. That’s what you want. A little dip in the velocity, though, with 94 mph instead of the 95/6 we’re used to. Still, good to see and makes me think I’ll be targeting him in my last rounds by the time 2021 swings around and we hopefully have some normalcy once again. Sigh. That would be nice.

Adrian Houser @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 Hits, 1 ER, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I wonder if Houser would have stuck around into the sixth if it weren’t for an unfortunate rain delay as he sat at 68 pitches yesterday. He looked solid, but nothing exceptional, with 31% CSW and 7 whiffs, earning just three of those on secondary pitches. His sinker was still effective and he avoided the heart of the plate often so I guess I’m okay with sticking with Houser against the Cardinals. Three walks against the Pirates isn’t ideal, though.

Michael Wacha @ BOS (W) – 5.0 IP, 5 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Someone brought it up in the Discord yesterday – did you realize Wacha is only 29-years-old? 27% CSW here as his changeups did some work, but I’m not seeing a whole lot new from Wacha to make me think he’s someone to trust regularly. I’m not going to ignore this performance against a good Red Sox lineup, but he’s just a streamer. Don’t go crazy.

Tyler Glasnow vs. ATL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 Hits, 1 ER, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna mostly ace. Co-winner of today’s Gallows Pole with 15 whiffs in 72 pitches and he looked absolutely stellar. Thing is, he needed 72 pitches to get through four frames, so no dub for you. Womp wimp. I feel better about Glasnow after watching this, FWIW, as he looked plenty like his first half self. Great news there.

Trent Thornton @ WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 8 Hits, 1 ER, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Trent got the start here and is still missing that extra spark to make us excited. Maybe one day, Discount Hotel, one day.

Josh Osich vs. NYM (L) – 2.0 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. I wish this was an “Oh!” sitch. But it’s Josh and those situations just don’t happen.

Joey Lucchesi vs. ARI (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. Lucchesi wasn’t particularly sharp and was pulled at only 61 pitches. Good news here is that he gets the Giants next and should be startable there, but make sure that’s short-lived as Coors follows. Yikes.

Mike Montgomery @ DET (ND) – 2.0 IP, 5 Hits, 3 ER, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. You didn’t expect much of anything from Monty and he did exactly that. Atta boy Monty, I guess.

Josh James vs. SEA (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 Hits, 3 ER, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. The biggest question about James was if he had his command fixed for 2020. Looks at five walks. Soooo it wasn’t great, but honestly, I expected worse from that line. He did a great job with sliders down and changeups low…most of the time. There were a good handful of flat-out wasted pitches where he flew too far open, but I think there is some progress here. I’m not completely out, but if it’s a tight roster situation, this likely won’t get fully corrected by his next start, so alright. I guess I’m out then.

Griffin Canning @ OAK (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 Hits, 3 ER, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. So here’s the thing. He earned a share of the Gallows Pole with 15 whiffs and tossed a lot of good heaters. He also was a little sporadic with his slider and couldn’t escape a few jams. This could have been better and was one of the best pitching performances of the night. Stick with Canning, he’s got the stuff.

Anibal Sanchez vs. TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 Hits, 4 ER, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey, seven strikeouts! And someone that threw over 85 pitches last night! Unfortunately it came with poor ratios, but seeing 9/27 whiffs on splitters is something that makes me wonder if he can make this work. That cutter needs to return, though, as he threw only five of them yesterday. Bring it back, Sanchez, please.

Michael Fulmer vs. KCR (ND) – 2.2 IP, 5 Hits, 4 ER, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Fortunately, we were given word of Fulmer’s limited usage early this year so we could get off this train before it left the station, but it still makes me sad, nonetheless. His velocity was terrible at 93mph and topping out just under 95 mph – Fulmer averaged 95.8 mph in 2018. This could be like Ohtani where he needs more time to ramp up. Here’s to hoping we see it arrive at some point this year.

Wade Miley vs CHC (L) – 1.2 IP, 4 Hits, 5 ER, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Can I please never stream ever again. Streaming Record 0-4. This is terrible. Fun fact: Not a single pitcher lasted more than 5.0 IP yesterday. Did I say fun? I meant funny. I’m laughing as I cry. Miley has been a sneaky good Toby in the past and I’m not going to rule out that Miley will be valuable as the Reds hold the most favorable schedule ahead, but this is…a little deflating.

Mike Foltynewicz @ TBR (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 Hits, 6 ER, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Folty was throwing 90.5 mph in this one – he threw 96+ in 2019 and 95 in 2019 – and was DFA’d right after this start. Unreal. It’s been a journey with Folty over the years, dating back to the first year of The List back in 2015 when I stirred the pot with a mid-50s rank after he arrived to the bigs. I have a soft spot for him because of that and I hope he’s okay. Something is clearly wrong and I just wish him the best.

Kendall Graveman @ HOU (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 Hits, 6 ER, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Graveman was pumping some legit ched in this one, but that’s all he brings to the table. It’s unfortunate and back where we started. Well not entirely, now I need to change the lack of strikeouts term from Grave Mistakeso thanks for nothing Kendall. (I’m happy you have a harder fastball! Next step is getting more than 3 whiffs across 32 of your sliders, cutters, and changeups.)

 

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.

 

Josh Lindblom vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Just owned in 5% of Yahoo! leagues and it’s the matchup you want to see. Given how other Brewers starters have been allowed to go somewhat deep into games thus far, I trust Lindblom can make it work.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Danny Duffy vs. Detroit Tigers – It’s ace day and only options are Duffy, Milone, Dunn, Mikolas, and the mystery Giants and Astros starters. I’ll go with Duffy who could be decent against a poor Tigers lineup. Sure. (Jordan Montgomery is rostered in more than 20% leagues, and probably not starting here as Gerrit Cole has been pushed back twice now, FWIW.)

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Elieser Hernandez vs. Baltimore Orioles – I feel like I’m going to be 0-7 after this one. It’s that kind of year. But seriously, it’s this or Perez, Kohl Stewart, Tyler Anderson, or Ivan Nova. I think I’ll take a chance on Elieser.

 

Game of the Day

 

Justus Sheffield vs. Patrick Sandoval – Two fun southpaws with more upside than we give them credit. I’m so curious to see where they’re at.

 

(Photo by Will Powers/Icon Sportswire)

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.

  • For Thursday’s games, I’m going to stream Brady Singer. Fantasy pros has him listed at 19% owned and he is facing the Tigers, the team with the lowest team wOBA through yesterday’s games. The reason I would take Elieser is an expectation for more IP.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Whoa, I had assumed Singer was owned in more than 19% of leagues! He’d definitely be my streamer, without a doubt.

  • Avatar Sagacious Sally says:

    Hi –

    I’ve been a fan of your articles for a while. Keep up the good work. If you had a choice of Heaney or Canning, who would you take? Is it close?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Sally!

      Heaney has the way better schedule ahead, getting the Mariners twice, while Canning deals with the Astros and Rangers. I’d favor Heaney.

  • Avatar Rich says:

    Did you happen to see any of Zach Godley? Anything changed? Or will it fall apart soon

  • Avatar Ionescorhino says:

    With Wood down, need an SP. Chatwood vs PIT or Turnbull vs CIN? Would like to hold past this this start. Thanks!

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