Starting Pitcher Metrics – Updated Rankings and Analysis

A return to my typical update style, including new rankings and analysis for 7 individual starters.

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

Welcome back to my series on pitching metrics.  This week, I’m going back to my regular style of updates.  This includes updated rankings, analysis of several individual pitchers, and a new table: PD scores for just the past 30 days.  Last week, we discovered that the majority of strikeout outliers work themselves out in two moths of data, and so it can be helpful to look at smaller sample sizes.

Without further ado, here are the updated rankings:

 

TABLE A – QUALIFIED STARTERS

RankNameERAPitcher ScorePrevious ScoreScore ChangePD ScorePredicted K%Actual K%K% DifferenceBB%xSLGSLG-xSLG
1Max Scherzer1.95105.9%101.4%4.5%111.7%35.6%39.4%-3.8%5.6%0.333-0.025
2Jacob deGrom1.49105.5%104.3%1.2%103.0%31.4%33.9%-2.5%7.3%0.280-0.017
3Justin Verlander1.2498.9%99.2%-0.3%91.2%26.8%31.9%-5.1%5.2%0.289-0.041
4Noah Syndergaard3.0698.8%98.8%0.0%99.1%30.6%28.3%2.3%4.8%0.3430.021
5Chris Sale3.0098.8%100.3%-1.5%102.3%32.1%34.0%-2.0%6.5%0.365-0.015
6Patrick Corbin2.8796.4%98.1%-1.7%98.7%29.8%32.7%-3.0%6.9%0.372-0.048
7Gerrit Cole2.2095.4%96.3%-0.9%94.1%29.8%38.2%-8.4%6.6%0.356-0.045
8Aaron Nola2.1893.3%93.4%-0.1%85.3%24.1%24.9%-0.9%6.1%0.325-0.055
9Blake Snell2.3693.1%91.0%2.1%91.1%27.9%29.5%-1.7%7.7%0.366-0.042
10Charlie Morton2.8491.5%94.9%-3.4%86.8%26.8%31.2%-4.5%7.8%0.3590.019
11Trevor Bauer2.7791.4%89.8%1.6%90.5%27.3%29.6%-2.4%8.5%0.384-0.054
12Sean Newcomb2.4991.0%92.0%-1.0%77.3%22.3%24.2%-2.0%11.7%0.302-0.019
13James Paxton2.9590.6%91.1%-0.6%90.2%26.5%30.9%-4.5%7.7%0.394-0.058
14Lance McCullers Jr.3.8990.1%92.0%-1.9%88.7%26.6%25.5%1.1%9.6%0.390-0.038
15Masahiro Tanaka4.7990.0%90.3%-0.3%98.5%28.9%23.4%5.5%6.5%0.456-0.005
16Luis Severino2.2089.7%87.8%1.9%88.1%25.7%30.5%-4.9%6.3%0.391-0.109
17Vince Velasquez3.8289.6%88.2%1.4%82.8%25.4%29.2%-3.9%8.1%0.3570.063
18Jon Gray5.6889.6%88.8%0.8%88.4%27.4%26.2%1.2%6.6%0.3950.058
19Jose Berrios3.8689.2%89.1%0.1%86.7%23.8%25.1%-1.3%4.8%0.388-0.026
20Kyle Gibson3.5488.6%89.6%-1.0%87.8%26.4%25.5%0.9%10.5%0.404-0.061
21Carlos Carrasco4.5088.3%89.1%-0.8%92.8%26.8%23.4%3.4%6.1%0.442-0.031
22Luis Castillo5.6487.3%88.4%-1.1%96.3%30.2%22.0%8.2%8.9%0.478-0.003
23Alex Wood4.4886.9%87.8%-0.9%87.2%24.0%22.6%1.4%4.9%0.423-0.030
24Dylan Bundy4.4686.8%86.8%0.0%100.1%29.9%28.3%1.6%6.8%0.510-0.016
25Gio Gonzalez2.2786.7%86.0%0.7%77.8%22.2%24.2%-2.0%9.4%0.362-0.025
26Corey Kluber1.9686.7%85.6%1.1%82.6%22.7%27.5%-4.9%2.9%0.395-0.067
27Caleb Smith4.0386.2%87.6%-1.4%84.3%24.4%29.6%-5.2%11.2%0.413-0.055
28Mike Clevinger3.3686.1%86.5%-0.4%83.0%23.6%20.5%3.1%8.3%0.405-0.023
29Jameson Taillon3.9785.8%84.8%1.0%78.2%20.1%22.1%-2.0%6.6%0.377-0.013
30Tyler Skaggs3.2785.5%85.1%0.4%82.9%23.9%25.1%-1.3%7.9%0.413-0.031
31Tyler Anderson5.0785.4%86.5%-1.1%83.2%24.7%20.4%4.3%9.6%0.4160.073
32Rick Porcello3.5984.9%85.4%-0.5%75.2%19.4%22.3%-3.0%5.0%0.369-0.007
33Matt Boyd3.2384.8%86.3%-1.5%75.7%21.8%18.6%3.2%8.5%0.374-0.057
34J.A. Happ4.0884.6%86.4%-1.8%81.4%24.1%30.0%-5.9%6.9%0.415-0.038
35Zack Greinke3.4484.5%86.2%-1.7%89.7%25.4%26.6%-1.3%3.8%0.471-0.047
36Tyson Ross3.3184.2%85.2%-1.0%79.0%21.8%24.0%-2.2%8.8%0.404-0.054
37Stephen Strasburg3.2084.2%82.8%1.4%85.3%24.7%29.3%-4.6%6.0%0.446-0.068
38Nick Pivetta3.4884.0%83.6%0.4%81.8%23.3%27.6%-4.4%6.7%0.425-0.079
39Kevin Gausman4.6383.7%84.1%-0.4%89.9%26.6%22.2%4.4%5.6%0.483-0.006
40Mike Foltynewicz2.2283.4%81.4%2.0%71.4%20.8%28.2%-7.4%10.6%0.364-0.040
41German Marquez4.3883.1%80.6%2.5%72.4%20.8%21.8%-1.0%9.5%0.3740.056
42Chris Archer4.2483.0%83.4%-0.4%86.4%26.4%23.7%2.7%8.1%0.469-0.050
43Tanner Roark3.3882.5%82.9%-0.4%76.5%20.9%21.2%-0.3%8.3%0.410-0.062
44Cole Hamels3.6382.4%82.0%0.4%87.5%25.6%23.7%1.9%8.7%0.484-0.044
45Clayton Richard4.6781.7%81.4%0.3%77.0%21.4%19.4%2.0%7.9%0.424-0.008
46Jakob Junis3.6281.5%79.3%2.2%79.5%21.4%22.8%-1.4%5.8%0.443-0.034
47Miles Mikolas2.4981.3%81.1%0.2%76.4%18.5%18.5%0.0%2.8%0.425-0.073
48Dallas Keuchel4.1381.3%82.8%-1.5%73.9%19.1%18.6%0.4%6.5%0.4090.014
49Michael Fulmer4.7380.8%81.6%-0.8%81.5%22.1%19.4%2.7%9.5%0.466-0.048
50Kyle Freeland3.4880.8%82.0%-1.2%73.0%19.3%20.7%-1.4%7.4%0.410-0.013
51Jake Arrieta2.6680.5%80.1%0.4%64.7%14.7%17.2%-2.5%7.4%0.358-0.030
52Luke Weaver4.4179.7%82.1%-2.4%73.3%20.3%21.5%-1.2%7.6%0.426-0.052
53Michael Wacha2.4179.3%76.9%2.4%74.5%22.1%21.3%0.8%9.4%0.439-0.162
54Jhoulys Chacin3.3979.1%78.1%1.0%70.7%19.4%17.2%2.2%10.0%0.417-0.067
55Jose Urena4.6078.6%77.7%0.9%74.5%19.2%19.6%-0.4%5.8%0.448-0.039
56Jake Odorizzi4.1478.6%79.5%-0.9%82.0%23.7%22.6%1.1%9.6%0.498-0.002
57James Shields4.4078.5%77.3%1.2%75.7%21.4%16.3%5.1%9.3%0.458-0.108
58Chad Bettis4.0278.4%78.4%0.0%74.1%20.2%16.0%4.2%7.5%0.448-0.034
59Kyle Hendricks3.5978.4%76.8%1.6%76.8%20.6%19.3%1.3%5.7%0.467-0.047
60Jon Lester2.4478.1%76.4%1.7%76.3%21.8%21.2%0.6%8.7%0.467-0.106
61David Price4.0878.0%77.8%0.2%71.3%19.1%23.3%-4.3%9.5%0.435-0.052
62Zack Godley5.1278.0%79.5%-1.5%79.8%23.8%21.0%2.8%11.2%0.492-0.051
63Julio Teheran4.3177.7%84.3%-6.6%77.2%21.8%18.9%2.9%11.1%0.478-0.022
64Jose Quintana4.3077.7%76.8%0.9%68.2%18.2%22.4%-4.2%11.4%0.4190.007
65Marco Gonzales3.3877.6%76.7%0.9%71.6%17.2%21.4%-4.2%6.2%0.443-0.047
66Aaron Sanchez4.4877.4%75.9%1.5%77.1%22.3%17.8%4.5%12.8%0.482-0.081
67Reynaldo Lopez3.4276.7%75.6%1.1%68.9%19.4%16.3%3.1%10.5%0.436-0.075
68Tyler Mahle4.3875.6%75.7%-0.1%74.1%20.9%22.3%-1.4%8.8%0.486-0.008
69Sean Manaea3.5974.1%76.6%-2.5%76.4%20.3%17.6%2.7%5.5%0.521-0.142
70Daniel Mengden2.9174.0%73.4%0.6%71.4%17.7%16.2%1.5%2.7%0.489-0.129
71Trevor Williams3.8473.5%72.6%0.9%64.9%15.9%16.9%-1.1%7.9%0.453-0.066
72Brandon McCarthy4.8373.1%72.8%0.3%62.3%14.1%18.8%-4.8%6.9%0.4400.024
73Marco Estrada5.2972.7%71.2%1.5%74.2%19.8%17.3%2.5%6.1%0.5260.017
74Felix Hernandez5.3372.6%70.5%2.1%67.0%16.7%19.1%-2.5%8.9%0.479-0.053
75Derek Holland4.9171.1%[Unranked][Unranked]66.7%18.0%20.0%-2.0%9.4%0.497-0.042
76Ivan Nova4.9671.0%71.0%0.0%73.7%19.2%17.6%1.6%3.8%0.545-0.059
77Jason Hammel5.1770.8%72.6%-1.8%74.4%19.0%14.7%4.3%6.4%0.552-0.101
78Chris Stratton4.5070.1%69.1%1.0%66.2%17.9%20.2%-2.3%10.3%0.507-0.074
79Chad Kuhl3.8669.6%69.6%0.0%69.1%20.3%22.0%-1.7%8.7%0.532-0.080
80Danny Duffy5.8168.9%69.3%-0.4%71.9%19.3%17.1%2.2%10.8%0.560-0.049
81Lucas Giolito7.0868.5%68.5%0.0%61.8%17.5%11.0%6.5%13.8%0.499-0.044
82Mike Leake4.7168.2%67.3%0.9%70.5%16.1%15.4%0.7%5.3%0.560-0.092
83Andrew Cashner5.0267.6%65.8%1.8%66.0%16.8%19.3%-2.5%10.6%0.539-0.015
84Homer Bailey6.6862.1%62.1%0.0%64.2%15.8%13.0%2.8%8.2%0.600-0.036

TABLE B – NON-QUALIFIED STARTERS (minimum 10 IP)

NameIPERAPitcher ScorePD ScorePredicted K%Actual K%K% DifferencexSLGSLG-xSLG
Mike Montgomery11.20.899.7%94.4%24.8%22.0%2.8%0.300-0.125
Shohei Ohtani49.13.197.3%99.1%34.0%30.5%3.5%0.363-0.044
Ross Stripling38.01.996.0%83.5%22.9%32.2%-9.3%0.2770.065
Kenta Maeda51.13.795.0%94.9%28.7%30.3%-1.7%0.3660.037
Domingo German27.06.390.8%92.3%28.3%22.4%5.9%0.405-0.015
Johnny Cueto32.00.889.8%76.2%22.3%22.2%0.0%0.311-0.105
Eduardo Rodriguez66.03.789.8%84.7%24.4%27.6%-3.3%0.368-0.009
Trevor Cahill48.22.889.2%92.2%28.5%25.0%3.5%0.425-0.072
John Gant15.06.089.2%90.3%26.8%29.2%-2.4%0.413-0.057
Carlos Martinez54.01.888.9%72.8%19.5%22.8%-3.3%0.300-0.055
Robbie Ray27.24.988.7%92.1%30.1%36.3%-6.3%0.432-0.013
Walker Buehler46.02.788.4%72.5%19.7%27.2%-7.6%0.305-0.021
Andrew Heaney60.23.188.2%86.1%24.9%23.6%1.3%0.398-0.057
Garrett Richards61.03.388.0%83.8%26.1%26.9%-0.8%0.385-0.050
Joe Musgrove19.01.987.7%77.9%20.8%21.8%-1.0%0.3500.025
Jordan Montgomery27.13.687.5%79.9%21.5%19.8%1.7%0.366-0.010
Hyun-Jin Ryu29.22.187.1%79.3%24.8%31.3%-6.5%0.367-0.059
Nathan Eovaldi11.03.386.9%73.3%17.1%20.0%-3.0%0.330-0.093
Jaime Barria36.12.586.1%90.1%24.8%20.4%4.4%0.452-0.111
Jack Flaherty39.13.285.9%79.6%23.6%26.1%-2.5%0.385-0.038
CC Sabathia57.23.685.6%78.7%20.9%18.0%2.9%0.3840.035
Frankie Montas14.00.684.5%60.4%14.9%17.0%-2.2%0.276-0.026
Clayton Kershaw49.02.884.0%82.2%23.1%26.5%-3.5%0.428-0.036
Nick Kingham29.04.083.8%83.0%24.5%25.4%-0.9%0.436-0.043
Austin Bibens-Dirkx11.06.683.5%93.1%25.6%20.8%4.8%0.508-0.018
Fernando Romero36.14.083.4%82.6%25.0%21.5%3.5%0.439-0.059
Blaine Hardy28.13.883.2%71.7%18.2%15.4%2.8%0.3680.001
Jason Vargas30.17.782.8%84.7%23.5%18.8%4.7%0.4610.070
Yu Darvish40.05.082.7%78.2%24.1%27.2%-3.2%0.4180.007
Dylan Covey22.12.882.7%67.3%17.7%21.2%-3.5%0.346-0.065
Anibal Sanchez22.02.581.7%76.2%18.2%21.4%-3.3%0.418-0.005
Michael Soroka14.23.781.6%87.8%25.4%21.7%3.7%0.498-0.054
Wade LeBlanc35.12.381.5%77.1%18.0%18.2%-0.2%0.427-0.102
Nick Tropeano49.24.481.4%85.0%26.0%20.5%5.5%0.481-0.019
Jordan Lyles34.05.381.2%76.2%19.7%21.8%-2.1%0.4250.064
Zack Wheeler63.04.680.9%76.7%20.6%22.4%-1.8%0.432-0.028
Sam Gaviglio24.12.680.2%84.3%21.8%20.8%0.9%0.492-0.007
Jeremy Hellickson43.12.380.0%77.3%20.5%20.7%-0.3%0.448-0.087
Joey Lucchesi47.13.280.0%78.4%23.6%24.9%-1.4%0.456-0.033
Hector Velazquez10.22.580.0%91.4%23.4%22.7%0.6%0.543-0.091
Ryan Yarbrough14.24.979.0%60.9%15.1%20.3%-5.3%0.3520.041
Lance Lynn56.05.578.7%73.5%20.2%21.3%-1.2%0.441-0.012
Junior Guerra60.12.878.6%73.5%20.8%22.7%-2.0%0.442-0.093
Sonny Gray63.24.878.5%72.6%21.3%20.4%0.9%0.437-0.008
Yonny Chirinos22.24.478.3%75.9%20.1%21.0%-0.9%0.462-0.043
David Hess23.13.578.0%75.7%18.4%12.6%5.8%0.4650.007
Wei-Yin Chen35.15.977.6%67.5%17.1%16.3%0.8%0.4160.122
Brent Suter56.24.877.4%77.2%20.1%19.7%0.4%0.483-0.014
Clay Buchholz24.01.977.2%77.5%20.6%22.8%-2.2%0.487-0.195
Jordan Zimmermann31.14.976.3%78.0%20.6%23.7%-3.2%0.503-0.047
Steven Matz52.23.476.0%62.3%18.3%21.7%-3.4%0.402-0.001
Jaime Garcia47.16.176.0%72.2%20.2%20.5%-0.4%0.4680.061
Matt Moore52.07.675.7%76.6%20.7%15.7%5.0%0.5010.040
Trevor Richards23.24.975.7%70.9%19.7%22.4%-2.7%0.463-0.019
Francisco Liriano57.23.975.7%80.7%24.3%19.2%5.1%0.529-0.156
Zach Eflin33.23.775.5%69.8%20.3%21.5%-1.3%0.459-0.032
Tyler Chatwood53.24.075.3%62.4%17.6%19.2%-1.6%0.412-0.080
Chase Anderson65.04.674.8%68.5%18.2%15.9%2.3%0.459-0.018
Luis Perdomo14.08.474.4%68.5%21.2%22.1%-0.9%0.4650.058
Andrew Triggs41.15.273.0%75.9%21.4%23.6%-2.3%0.533-0.120
Adam Wainwright18.04.072.9%55.9%14.0%17.1%-3.1%0.4000.035
Mike Fiers60.14.372.6%71.7%18.3%16.1%2.2%0.510-0.004
Zach Davies43.05.272.3%69.1%18.7%16.3%2.4%0.497-0.003
Drew Pomeranz37.06.872.1%65.2%16.7%20.8%-4.2%0.4730.070
Mike Minor59.15.871.7%77.9%21.4%20.1%1.3%0.563-0.020
Marcus Stroman37.17.771.2%72.9%21.2%18.2%3.0%0.537-0.082
Ty Blach60.24.970.9%60.7%14.7%11.1%3.6%0.460-0.047
Matt Harvey45.15.270.4%63.7%16.2%18.2%-2.0%0.4860.006
Jake Faria47.25.570.4%68.1%19.0%18.2%0.7%0.516-0.093
Dillon Peters24.25.870.0%62.0%16.3%14.4%1.9%0.480-0.011
Jeff Samardzija35.26.669.9%68.8%17.7%15.7%2.0%0.527-0.084
Andrew Suarez43.24.769.9%66.2%15.8%23.5%-7.8%0.510-0.040
Elieser Hernandez18.04.569.2%70.2%21.0%12.5%8.5%0.5460.042
Eric Skoglund49.26.769.1%70.3%17.3%18.0%-0.7%0.548-0.018
Adam Plutko18.13.968.9%70.6%16.9%16.7%0.2%0.552-0.014
Brandon Woodruff11.28.568.7%68.9%21.2%17.5%3.7%0.543-0.064
Matt Wisler17.13.668.7%73.6%20.7%18.6%2.1%0.575-0.160
Brandon Finnegan20.27.468.0%63.0%16.0%13.6%2.4%0.5130.040
Dan Straily36.03.567.6%72.5%20.2%17.3%2.9%0.582-0.177
Ben Lively23.26.967.2%62.8%17.9%19.1%-1.3%0.5220.023
Kendall Graveman34.17.667.0%67.6%17.1%17.1%0.0%0.557-0.015
Doug Fister61.04.167.0%56.8%12.1%14.2%-2.2%0.486-0.035
Ian Kennedy65.25.867.0%70.5%17.1%20.5%-3.4%0.577-0.051
Alex Cobb52.16.266.2%58.5%13.6%13.5%0.1%0.5070.063
Eric Lauer34.16.865.9%55.2%13.6%19.1%-5.5%0.4890.076
Sal Romano65.06.265.9%57.6%13.5%16.2%-2.7%0.506-0.010
Daniel Gossett24.15.264.9%66.2%15.5%11.8%3.7%0.576-0.081
Brett Anderson15.17.664.9%67.1%18.0%11.1%6.9%0.5820.009
Joe Biagini18.27.764.9%65.9%16.7%14.4%2.3%0.574-0.080
Steven Brault26.05.563.8%69.2%20.0%13.4%6.6%0.611-0.213
Taijuan Walker13.03.562.7%57.6%15.1%16.1%-1.1%0.548-0.156
Bartolo Colon66.14.362.4%58.8%11.7%14.3%-2.6%0.560-0.068
Jarlin Garcia33.03.661.0%65.1%18.0%16.7%1.3%0.620-0.222
Matt Koch53.03.959.9%62.6%14.6%12.9%1.7%0.619-0.149
Hector Santiago32.16.159.8%62.0%16.5%15.9%0.6%0.616-0.037
Bryan Mitchell32.06.559.3%47.1%11.8%10.4%1.4%0.523-0.027
Rich Hill24.26.258.1%59.4%16.3%21.7%-5.5%0.621-0.055
Ryan Carpenter12.06.857.4%58.5%14.9%10.7%4.2%0.624-0.047
Miguel Gonzalez12.112.456.8%66.3%15.5%7.6%7.9%0.6840.099
Josh Tomlin30.08.155.9%73.8%19.1%12.9%6.2%0.746-0.019
Carson Fulmer31.08.155.3%56.5%14.6%16.6%-2.1%0.640-0.136
Martin Perez22.19.755.1%51.8%11.6%10.9%0.6%0.6100.060
Chris Tillman26.210.551.6%49.4%11.9%9.5%2.4%0.6410.011

TABLE C – RECENT PD METRICS (Last 30 Days – Qualified Starters)

RankNamePD ScoreO-Swing%Contact%SwStr%F-Strike%
1Max Scherzer118.0%41.9%66.6%18.8%74.6%
2Jacob deGrom106.4%39.3%69.1%16.1%65.0%
3Kevin Gausman103.5%38.6%69.7%15.7%59.5%
4Masahiro Tanaka96.7%34.9%71.3%14.1%65.2%
5Chris Sale96.3%30.7%68.4%14.4%62.0%
6Luis Castillo95.7%33.7%70.1%14.4%54.1%
7Dylan Bundy95.0%34.7%72.9%13.8%69.0%
8Trevor Bauer94.1%31.8%70.1%13.8%60.7%
9Aaron Nola93.7%32.2%70.8%13.4%65.6%
10Jose Berrios93.6%38.6%74.2%12.6%64.4%
11Vince Velasquez92.3%29.6%69.6%13.9%56.4%
12Jon Gray92.1%28.5%69.2%13.2%66.4%
13Carlos Carrasco90.7%35.0%74.3%12.5%65.9%
14Ross Stripling90.5%33.1%74.8%12.4%78.3%
15Blake Snell90.2%35.4%73.6%12.4%58.1%
16Patrick Corbin88.7%33.8%73.5%11.6%65.5%
17Kyle Hendricks88.1%38.7%76.7%10.9%66.2%
18Luis Severino87.8%31.1%74.8%12.4%71.3%
19Kyle Gibson87.7%32.2%72.8%11.9%59.8%
20James Paxton86.7%37.4%78.2%11.5%66.0%
21Tyler Skaggs86.6%33.1%73.6%11.6%57.1%
22Zack Greinke86.2%34.5%75.9%11.1%67.5%
23Jameson Taillon86.1%37.4%78.3%11.2%66.4%
24Andrew Heaney85.5%30.8%75.0%11.7%68.6%
25Charlie Morton84.8%30.3%74.0%11.7%60.9%
26Nick Pivetta84.7%31.3%74.8%11.9%57.8%
27Michael Fulmer84.6%37.5%78.1%10.8%60.7%
28Brent Suter84.1%31.5%76.3%11.5%67.0%
29Jakob Junis83.6%31.4%74.9%11.0%62.0%
30Fernando Romero82.9%30.1%74.5%11.7%53.3%
31Clayton Richard82.8%33.5%77.4%10.9%63.5%
32Mike Clevinger82.4%33.0%77.3%10.7%65.4%
33James Shields82.3%33.7%77.7%10.7%64.0%
34Stephen Strasburg82.3%30.1%75.8%11.1%64.8%
35Corey Kluber82.1%35.4%78.2%10.7%57.5%
36Justin Verlander82.0%32.9%77.8%10.9%64.3%
37Jhoulys Chacin81.7%29.1%74.6%10.9%61.1%
38CC Sabathia81.6%33.7%77.4%10.7%58.1%
39Aaron Sanchez81.1%31.8%76.5%10.6%60.0%
40Walker Buehler79.9%32.6%79.3%10.7%64.5%
41Junior Guerra79.8%29.0%76.2%11.1%57.8%
42Gerrit Cole79.7%26.9%75.5%11.5%58.3%
43Michael Wacha79.4%30.8%76.8%10.7%54.8%
44Luke Weaver79.1%33.6%79.0%9.9%62.7%
45Chad Bettis78.7%28.8%77.8%10.0%74.8%
46J.A. Happ78.6%29.4%76.5%10.4%58.8%
47Wade LeBlanc78.5%39.8%82.0%8.5%63.9%
48Zack Wheeler77.9%32.0%79.2%10.0%63.2%
49Jon Lester77.6%25.1%75.1%11.0%57.7%
50Lance McCullers Jr.77.5%29.1%77.2%10.4%57.9%
51Eduardo Rodriguez77.3%32.1%79.8%9.8%64.7%
52Dallas Keuchel77.3%34.3%79.6%9.2%60.1%
53Tyson Ross77.2%34.2%79.3%9.4%56.1%
54Chris Archer76.3%27.2%76.0%10.4%52.4%
55Gio Gonzalez76.2%30.5%77.3%9.9%50.0%
56Jordan Lyles76.2%31.0%80.2%9.3%72.1%
57Miles Mikolas75.7%30.6%81.2%9.5%74.6%
58German Marquez74.9%24.2%76.2%10.5%58.5%
59Zack Godley74.8%27.7%77.2%9.5%59.1%
60David Price74.5%27.4%78.4%9.8%62.1%
61Rick Porcello74.3%30.1%79.8%9.3%62.3%
62Marco Estrada73.5%32.6%82.5%8.9%67.0%
63Tanner Roark72.4%27.8%79.6%9.2%62.2%
64Mike Leake72.2%38.9%86.3%7.2%71.8%
65Sean Newcomb71.6%30.9%80.0%8.9%48.5%
66Zach Eflin71.4%24.1%78.5%9.9%58.9%
67Dan Straily71.2%28.4%80.6%9.1%59.0%
68Trevor Williams71.1%34.3%83.3%7.9%61.2%
69Chad Kuhl71.0%24.6%78.5%9.4%60.3%
70Andrew Cashner70.7%33.0%82.5%8.0%58.6%
71Danny Duffy70.5%29.0%81.5%8.8%61.4%
72Tyler Anderson70.5%26.7%81.0%9.2%64.2%
73Jose Urena70.2%32.5%82.6%8.2%56.4%
74Reynaldo Lopez69.4%25.2%81.5%9.4%65.7%
75Daniel Mengden69.1%32.0%84.5%7.8%68.4%
76Mike Fiers69.1%28.0%82.1%8.0%70.6%
77Jose Quintana69.0%28.0%81.3%8.0%65.6%
78Derek Holland68.9%26.4%80.7%9.0%56.8%
79Jason Hammel68.5%27.7%81.6%8.3%61.9%
80Mike Foltynewicz67.5%24.7%79.5%8.1%60.5%
81Marco Gonzales67.5%33.6%84.8%6.9%63.8%
82Jake Arrieta66.3%32.6%85.6%7.0%64.7%
83Felix Hernandez66.2%29.5%84.1%7.2%67.9%
84Kyle Freeland66.0%28.6%83.6%7.2%67.9%
85Sean Manaea65.9%30.4%84.2%7.5%58.9%
86Julio Teheran63.9%25.6%82.7%7.1%65.5%
87Matt Koch63.0%29.4%86.1%6.9%64.5%
88Alex Cobb62.9%27.6%84.3%7.2%58.3%
89Bartolo Colon59.3%32.7%88.5%5.2%61.5%
90Lucas Giolito56.4%22.5%84.4%6.4%53.7%
91Doug Fister55.7%31.5%89.8%4.4%63.2%

 

PLAYER ANALYSIS

Max Scherzer (SP, Washington Nationals)

The last two weeks, Jacob deGrom held the top spot in my rankings, but he’s now been usurped again by Mad Max.  No offense to Kershaw or anyone else, but Scherzer is seriously making the case for himself as the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s doing it the most reliable way – by straight up missing bats.  His Contact% and Swinging Strike rate are both tops among qualified starters, and it’s not even particularly close.  He’s simply been unhittable this year, even moreso than previous years.  His Swinging Strike rate of 18% is the best of his career, by far.  So yes, that 40% K rate is actually very believable.

Looking at his individual pitch data, I wasn’t really expecting to find much to talk about, but to my surprise, Scherzer has a bad pitch! Here is the breakdown of his arsenal this year:

Pitch Type
UsageSw-Str%Contact%wRC+ Allowed
Fourseam (FA)49.8%15.8%68.4%29
Slider (SL)15.4%28.3%50.4%27
Changeup (CH)15.1%18.7%63.2%47
Cutter (FC)12.0%18.2%72.0%133
Curveball (CU)6.9%7.4%80.0%262

One of them clearly stands out as being far less effective.  And it’s not just a small sample outlier either – his curveball has a negative pitch value over his whole career.  It’s not the biggest deal, considering he’s only throwing it seven percent of the time.  But I do wonder, given how outstanding his other options are, why he feels the need to keep throwing that occasional curve.  Not that it really matters when you’re on track to win the Cy Young…

 

Patrick Corbin (SP, Arizona D-Backs)

I apologize if you are tired of reading about Corbin, but given his continuously high rankings I feel compelled to keep discussing him.  Most of you should be aware of the story about his velocity taking a worrisome downward spike towards the end of April.  But with seven starts under his belt now with that reduced velocity, it seems pretty clear that he’s still very effective.  His metrics from the period with reduced velocity still suggest a strikeout rate in the 25-30 percent range, which is quite good for a strong contact manager.  In fact, over the past 30 days his PD score is still top 20 in MLB of qualified starters, with a B+ grade.  His overall score does show small drops the past few weeks – but this is more a statement about just how good he was earlier, rather than him being bad now.  Basically, he’s not the super-dominant pitcher who started the season, but he is still pretty good.

Other than velocity, the other story with Corbin has been his slider usage.  Corbin’s slider is by far his best weapon, with a whiff rate near 30%, so it’s important that he throws it frequently.  But it’s possible to go too far in that direction, since even a very good pitch needs other pitches to make it effective.  In Corbin’s start on May 30th against the Reds, he threw the slider over 50% of the time, his highest rate this year.  He struck out 10 batters in that game, but also gave up two homers and six runs.  That hard contact could be an indication that hitters were sitting on the slider.  In his next start, it was back down to 32% and with it he returned to his successful ways.  It may be an oversimplification, but I found that interesting.

 

Jon Gray (SP, Colorado Rockies)

Scanning down the list by ERA, Gray easily stands out as a highly ranked pitcher with a very ugly ERA.  The last time I talked about him, in early May, he seemed ready to put his early-season struggles behind him, raising his PD score from the C level up to B.  Since then, he has appeared to continue struggling, by his ERA.  His current mark of 5.4 is certainly not what owners were hoping for.  But there are some good signs to be found in his numbers.  His PD score has actually increased since then, up to B+, in the top 20, fully supporting his excellent strikeout rate.  In other words, his fantastic FIP for May (2.8) is quite believable.  Interestingly, his full season metric line above looks remarkably similar to Luis Severino‘s, whose ERA is less than half of Gray’s.

As you may have guessed, Coors field is a big part of the problem.  Gray’s home ERA this year is 6.5.  But there seems to be a fair amount of bad luck affecting Gray as well.  Particularly at home, his BABIP of .404 is much higher than his career average at home of .340.  This seems unlikely to continue.  He’s also sporting a low LOB% of just 63%.  With positive values (though small) in both of my “luck indicator” columns (K% difference and SLG-xSLG), that makes him four for four in the bad luck department, so I believe this makes him a fairly solid “buy low” candidate.  Coors field is likely to scare off owners, and he can probably be had cheaply with that ERA.  There is one note of caution for head-to-head leagues – the Rockies are at home most of the final month of the season, including the full last week.  So he may not be very helpful come playoff time.

 

Blake Snell (SP, Tampa Bay Rays)

Snell is the classic breakout story of 2018, turning himself into a top 10 starter at age 25, so I think he presents a great opportunity to see if the metrics could have predicted this.  Spoiler alert:  kinda.  With the PD metrics, I typically like to check two things: whether they support the strikeout rate, and whether they are better or worse than previous years.  To find a breakout, ideally you’re looking for someone whose metrics have improved, but not the overall results, and is the right age where they are likely to be improving generally.  We’re looking for a confluence of two events:  1) a young pitcher likely to get better, and 2) positive corrections in the stats due to previously poor luck.  When both of these things line up, that’s how breakouts happen.

Between 2016 and 2017, Snell’s PD metrics were essentially unchanged.  So he wouldn’t have passed the “metrics improving” test.  But on the other side, the metrics did suggest some poor luck in 2017.  Despite putting up nearly identical metrics, his strikeout rate fell significantly in 2017, so he was under-performing there.  So there was certainly some signs of a breakout incoming, though maybe not as clear as we would have hoped.  However, given his age and prospect pedigree, it would have been logical to assume some improvements this year, and combined with poor luck in the previous year, this could have been enough for some savvy folks to see it coming.

 

Dylan Bundy (SP, Baltimore Orioles)

Bundy seems to have fully recovered now from his disastrous start a month ago.  Since then, he’s put up a 2.5 ERA to go along with his 29% strikeout rate. Hopefully you’ve been reading my columns where I had rated him a “BUY” more than once.  We are now seeing the fruits of that investment.  Yes, there will continue to be some blowup games, as he is not the greatest contact manager and plays in a tough park/division.  But a 30% strikeout true talent level is too good to pass up – his predicted K% is sixth best in all of MLB.  His recent success has been buoyed by some good luck in terms of low BABIP and high LOB rates – but for the overall season, both numbers are very much in line with his career.  So you could say this good luck recently was more of a correction to earlier bad luck, than anything else.

Like Snell, Bundy presents an interesting opportunity to see if the metrics could have predicted his breakout.  And in Bundy’s case, it should have been even more obvious than Snell.  Between 2016 and 2017, Bundy showed real improvements in his PD metrics, across the board of the three most important ones (Contact%, SwStr, and O-Swing%).  However despite these improvements, his strikeout rate barely budged at all, indicating some poor luck in 2017.  He’s also 25 years old, the same as Snell, and was previously a hot prospect as well.  He’s just been in the league longer, and not fantastic, so people forgot he was a formerly elite prospect.  But “bad luck in previous year + right age & prospect status” seems like a decent recipe for predicting breakouts.

 

Trevor Bauer (SP, Cleveland Indians)

Speaking of breakouts, Bauer has been simply amazing this year.  At 27 years old and with four full MLB seasons under his belt, he’s a different story from Snell and Bundy.  But he is breaking out all the same, currently rated as 12th best in MLB by my rankings.  This is what his plate discipline metrics look like for his career:

YearIPERAContact%SwStr%O-Swing%F-Strike%
2014153.04.280.0%9.0%31.5%56.4%
2015176.04.678.3%9.6%28.8%59.1%
2016190.04.379.1%9.0%26.3%59.9%
2017176.14.277.8%9.2%27.4%56.9%
201878.02.872.1%12.7%29.9%62.2%

So for four straight years, there weren’t really any major changes at all in his profile.  But this year, seemingly out of nowhere, everything is just much better.  Along with those improvements, his strikeout rate is way up, as to be expected, and this explains the majority of his success.  But where did this come from?

To explain, I’d recommend reading Nick’s profile of Bauer for 2018 on his FanGraphs page.  Essentially, in mid-2017 he stared cutting back on his cutter, and started throwing more sliders instead.  It turns out his slider is much better pitch.  His slider usage increased gradually throughout the second half of 2017, up to about 15% where it sits for 2018.  In graph form, here is his slider usage vs. cutters, along with his ERA the past two years:

 

 

It’s interesting just how closely his ERA line follows his cutter usage.  I have to say it looks like Nick really hit the nail on the head here.  But because that change was gradual, and late in the season, it didn’t show up in his full season metrics.  He was also fairly bad in the first half of 2017, dragging down his overall numbers.  So this is a good lesson in how full season plate discipline metrics can fail to tell the complete story, and sometimes you need to dive deeper.

 

Ross Stripling (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

I’d be remiss not to mention Stripling, who is surprising a lot of people this year by transforming into the Ace of the Dodgers staff.  For the past couple of my updates, he has held the distinction of holding the largest discrepancy between his predicted K% and actual results, indicating some serious good luck on the strikeout side.  Last week the gap between those two numbers was over 12%.  But in two starts last week, he closed the gap significantly down to 9%.  And he did it in a very interesting way.

If you remember from last week, in general these gaps are getting closed more by the strikeout rates moving than the metrics moving, about 75% to 25%.  But it would appear that Stripling has been going against the grain.  In just those two starts, his metrics were so excellent that his predicted K% rose by five percent, up to a now respectable 23%.  His gap is still the largest in MLB, but you have to be encouraged by those last few starts.  I’m certainly less pessimistic on his outlook than I was a week ago.  But in the end, it would probably be a mistake to assume he will continue closing his gap in this manner.  Since he looks like just an average strikeout pitcher overall, and is relying much more on managing contact, which is less reliable, I would still absolutely consider selling.

Chaz Steinberg

Third generation Giants fan, begrudging Kershaw admirer, and lover of Taco Bell

  • Avatar John Connors says:

    Thoughts on Mike Montgomery his numbers his last 12 starts dating back to last year have been phenomenal.

    • I like what I see in Montgomery’s profile, though he’s a bit hard to figure out, with the constant movement back & forth between starting and the bullpen. The reason I like him is that he seems to have figured out that his changeup is his best pitch, and is now throwing it more. That’s always a good sign, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him.

  • Avatar ESB says:

    Hey Chaz, really good stuff here. Maybe you can help me out, Im struggling with trying to give my roster a boost and I’ve been holding out hope for Manaea and Castillo to turn it around. Thus far, they haven’t. I was toying with the idea of adding Eaton(who’ll likely be recalled this weekend) as a Soto owner, and someone that could use a little more OF production. My roster is below, would you bail on Manaea, Castillo(or another arm) to make that happen?

    5×5 HTH OBP and QS 10 team league
    C Gary Sanchez
    1B Rizzo
    2B/SS Javier Baez,
    3B Manny Machado
    SS Jean Segura
    OF Kemp
    OF Soto
    OF Haniger
    UTIL Travis Shaw 3B
    UTIL Ozzie Albies 2B
    UTIL 1B/2B/3B Carpenter
    Bench OF DeSheilds

    SP Luke Weaver
    SP Mike Clevinger
    RP Brad Boxberger
    SP Carlos Carrasco
    SP E-Rod
    RP Kenley Jansen
    RP Craig Kimbrel
    SP SP Flaherty
    Bench SP L.Castillo
    Bench SP Sean Manaea
    Bench SP Milokas
    Bench SP Carlos Martinez
    DL RP Britton
    DL SP Yu Darvish

  • Avatar Nate says:

    Are you hopeful about Tanaka? It’s been brutal for the most part this year…

    • Avatar Alex says:

      I’m also wondering this. I really enjoyed the three separate tables, and the 30-day table definitely made me wonder if it’s time to buy on Tanaka before his return to form becomes a little more evident.

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