Joe Ross vs SF (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 108 pitches.
The year was 2015. Joe Ross was throwing a slider that returned a 26% SwStr rate with a 94 mph sinker and I was hooked. His reliability went south in 2017, leading to TJS and now that I’ve turned more in favor of four-seamer-focused repertoires, Ross seemed like a relic of the past. He won’t be the man I once loved, I would tell myself as I touched my pillow each night. Quit living in the past.
But today was different. Today, Ross gave us 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks against the Giants with a 42% CSW sinker that’s hitting 94 mph again + a slider that earned five whiffs (not zero!) across 38 thrown. There’s hope again. Sure, I want to see more from the slide piece and a heavy reliance on called strikes with a sinker isn’t the ticket to sustainability. But that’s zero ER allowed in three of his last four starts and he’ll likely face the Mets twice across his next three starts. There’s suddenly value to be had and I wouldn’t overlook Joe for the pickup. Didn’t think I’d say that after his 10 ER atrocity against the Cardinals, but hey, people change, Sally. People change.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Zach Davies vs STL (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.
I’m thrilled for Davies, but sad to see just 21% CSW on changeups. That’s always been his ticket to success and instead seeing a hyper reliance on called-strike sinkers (hey, I just talked about that with Ross!) doesn’t instill confidence. Still, he gets the Marlins next and that should be fine.
Aaron Nola vs NYY (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 103 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. FINALLY. He didn’t have his changeup, but the curve + fastball were cooking and fortunately that’s all he needed. It does give me hope — Nola didn’t need all three pitches, just at least two — and now he gets an easier schedule of @SFG, @NYM, MIA. Welp, hope you bought in when you could.
Carlos Martínez @ CHC (L) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 97 pitches.
Hot dang! I’m glad to see Martínez finally embrace the slider and changeup proper, tossing 39 between the two for 31% CSW. He also sat 94.6 mph — over a tick harder than usual — and while I wouldn’t touch him for Atlanta, I’d keep an eye on CarMart for the Pirates after. That could work, especially if the skills are still there next time.
Walker Buehler vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.
Spin rates aren’t as far down for Buehler as it is for others (around 50 rpm) but his heater is sub-96 mph while he’s still struggling to earn whiffs with secondaries. Whatever, that’s zero ER and aces gonna ace. Be happy, y’all.
Kyle Funkhouser vs CWS (ND) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 33 pitches.
Funkhouser and Alexander pitched back-to-back and each tossed 33 pitches. I think that’s kinda cool.
Tony Santillan vs COL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 97 pitches.
It was Tony’s MLB debut and came with a decent amount of hype from the PL+ Discord so I watched a good amount of this one. I’m…a little underwhelmed. I like his heater and there were some nice moments with the breaker (Savant calls it a curveball, it’s more of a slider to me), but his command was all over the place. It could be first start jitters and when his four-seamer hit its spot, it was difficult to handle. I’m not sold the command is there, though, and the breaker didn’t seem like an elite offering as it came with location issues as well. With San Diego + Atlanta next, it’s an easy pass as we wait for another rookie.
Joey Lucchesi vs SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 72 pitches.
Whoa, Lucchesi actually tossed five frames and was helpful across the board. What year is it?! I’m not buying in here in the slightest, but hey, that’s cool.
Logan Gilbert @ CLE (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 92 pitches.
Gilbert didn’t have his curveball, but the changeup had some moments, while his slider was good enough for 33% CSW. Streaming Record: 42-30. The heater is still everything for Gilbert, going 10/63 whiffs and carrying him through the game. I still want to see a bit more from his secondaries to feel truly confident (9/27 whiffs is pretty amazing, but just 1 called strike seems a bit lacking) and his next start against the Rays should warrant a hold. Here’s to more development ahead.
Michael Wacha vs BAL (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 28 pitches.
He opened for Fleming who went four frames without a hit, one walk, and three Ks as Josh earned the Win. That’s pretty dang solid and exactly what you wanted. Atta boy Josh.
Carlos Rodón @ DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 103 pitches.
It’s pretty cool to see Rodón earn a Gallows Pole as Ray earned the King Cole. After their last start and respective ascensions on The List, I can’t help but link them together as rivals now. Anyway, Rodón will continue to rise tomorrow as his ability is undeniable, raising his average velocity again, now at 97.5 mph, three ticks higher than it was on April 25th and we were freaking out then. It’s absolutely insane.
Framber Valdez @ MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 97 pitches.
Another seven-inning start against a solid offense? Sure, why not Framber. Have a ball. Just two strikeouts is a bit disappointing, but he’s getting results + his changeup is still acting like a proper third option, even being used more than the fantastic curveball here. I know y’all want me to vault Framber up The List and it’s taking a lot out of me not to, but I may let myself do it anyway. Come watch as I make the decision! — I’m live from 12-4 EST on Monday.
Adrian Houser vs PIT (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 82 pitches.
I had high hopes for this start and while it wasn’t the greatest, it didn’t let me down as these ratios work. I was hoping for more out of his curveball, though, and 0/11 whiffs with its low usage just ain’t the push I needed to see. He tossed more sliders and they went…0/15 whiffs. Yep, I’m out on Houser again.
Drew Smyly @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 91 pitches.
Ayyyy look at Smyly actually take advantage of a good matchup. He finally started using that cutter again (23% usage!) and I think if he keeps throwing it, we’ll see a good effect on his numbers. Sure, it wasn’t great here, but it can be. It just needs to believe.
Patrick Sandoval @ ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.
He’s about 19 whiffs short but fine, I guess thirteen will do. His slider was a major offering last time and was gone in this one — 1/7 CSW…yay – though the slow ball was filthy at 10/26 whiffs. That’s all I need to see to keep on holding as he gets the Tigers next.
Chris Paddack @ NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 84 pitches.
We’ve been talking about Paddack’s curveball taking a leap and in this start…we saw three in total. But who cares when you have amazing changeup feel + fastballs constantly sitting at the top of the zone at 96 mph? That’s 1.2 ticks higher than his season average and enough for me to raise a significant eyebrow. This looked like 2019 Paddack. I can’t tell you that he’ll still look like 2019 Paddack in his next start, but at least he did it here and could repeat that success. I’m really hoping for this one.
Chris Bassitt vs KC (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.
It’s not the prettiest Bassitt outing, but it was good enough. Keep on starting him and don’t ask questions. Butttt- NO QUESTIONS.
Wil Crowe @ MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 82 pitches.
Eight strikeouts?! Seriously?! Crowe went 41% sliders and it was certainly a good choice as the sweeper earned 32% CSW, and he paired it mostly with a four-seamer at 95 mph — about a tick higher than his season average. Huh. There may be something here, though to buy into Crowe as a two-pitch guy, I want to see a little more whiffability on his slider than 6/34, you know? Intriguing, nonetheless.
Bruce Zimmermann @ TB (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.
I was hoping BZ could pull this off and while his slider wasn’t poor, the rest of his stuff was, leaving this start one out away from a VPQS. He’s just a deep streaming option, that’s all.
Michael Pineda vs HOU (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 64 pitches.
Blegh. The Astros are legit and Pineda, you can’t not have your slider on a day like this. You’re lucky this was just three ER as the slider was thrown just eight times. Seriously, Pineda can’t survive with just four-seamers and changeups. It should return against @TEX + CLE next.
Robbie Ray @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 88 pitches.
That’s a King Cole for Ray, which is odd to see with three walks on the docket. I’m sad he allowed a trio of ER, but the strikeouts are just so dang plentiful and it’s a risk/reward I’m willing to make every day. He’s doing the BSB as good as anyone these days.
Johnny Cueto @ WSH (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 100 pitches.
Blegh. He’s still getting whiffs on four-seamers, but we need more than that. He needs more than that. Where’s the changeup? The slider? The deuce?!
Pablo López vs ATL (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 84 pitches.
Bleeeggggh. Sad night here from López as he earned just one whiff on changeups, forcing him to use his cutter as the premier secondary option, and we know how that generally goes. It’s part of the deal we make with Pablo, don’t worry, he’ll bounce back.
Dane Dunning @ LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 82 pitches.
Dunning is a solid streaming option…when it’s not an above-average offense. He gets the Twins next and yeah, that’s still a bench.
Shane Bieber vs SEA (L) – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 107 pitches.
Jeeeeez Shane, you lost 100 rpm on your heater and nearly 300 rpm on your knuckle curve. That ain’t right. That ain’t right at all. With all the hoopla about Spider Tack going around, I’m going to try to monitor spin rates a bit better moving forward, and it clearly had an impact in this one. Now, spin rates aren’t everything, and it doesn’t necessarily cause Bieber to suddenly fail at locating his sliders down (just 11% CSW on sliders!), but it meant less break, which does impact location. So who knows, maybe we have to add Bieber to the list of dramatic aces falling from grace due to gloopgate, or maybe we can all question why Bieber axed his premier strike-getting secondary pitch in his cutter, forcing him to throw more breakers for strikes. At any rate, Bieber isn’t a Top-5 arm right now, and tomorrow I have to figure out who is. It ain’t easy these days.
Antonio Senzatela @ CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.
This wasn’t a great matchup for Senz-A and he promptly showcased why we don’t trust him. 17 whiffs is pretty fantastic, though, rooted in his slider and changeup going 11/33 whiffs. That’s pretty dang good. Good enough to start him in Coors against the Brewers? Nah…right?
Martín Pérez vs TOR (L) – 1.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 38 pitches.
Ouch. Don’t mess with Jays unless you’re legit. Is that what the kids are saying? Sure, that’s totally it.
Kris Bubic @ OAK (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 95 pitches.
Bubic doesn’t have his command yet. I imagine at some point he’ll get it, but it’s just not there yet. He’s young, give him time. On the wire? Oh absolutely on the wire.
Jon Duplantier vs LAA (L) – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 11% CSW, 44 pitches.
I really don’t see a scenario where I’m holding onto JD. Sorry bud.
Domingo Germán @ PHI (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 82 pitches.
It’s the first real misstep for Germán as the Phils whiffed just one on his curveball. That ain’t what we want from the yakker. German featured all non-four-seamers in the heart of the plate as he stayed heavily glove-side with the premier fastball and it led to destruction. He’s in line for Oakland next and I think he can recover for that one, so don’t drop him yet. He’ll take a hit tomorrow, though — the floor has been lowered.
Game of the Day
Lance Lynn vs Tyler Glasnow – The two aces of the day are facing each other. This is the one to watch.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
Photo by All-Pro Reels (https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeglo/) | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)