The Starting Pitcher Barometer returns! After an unscheduled week off due to real-life nuisances, there is much turmoil within my starting pitcher rankings. We’ve got two weeks of starters to jettison, including superstars Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow from two weeks ago. There are also a ton of spin rate decliners thanks to MLB’s mid-season sticky substance ban. There is much ado about it, but far too much to get into within this rankings article. For more on the injury potential for pitchers, check out this great piece from Nic Civale. There is also this one from Chris Clegg, citing specific starters whose spin rates have dropped dramatically.
The most egregious drop following the substance ban is Trevor Bauer. Gerrit Cole and Corbin Burnes get a bit of a drop as well, although it’s not like you’re ever benching them anyway. Here are a few more non-stick tidbits. The Teflon of this article, if you will.
- I’ve been very hesitant to buy in on Nick Pivetta. In none of my leagues did I enjoy his recent 6.2 no-hit innings against the Rays. He has given you 94 K’s and an even 4.00 ERA through 81 innings. That’s pretty sweet. His velocity is up two ticks, which portends well moving forward. I still worry about his 4.22 BB/9, however, and his CSW is a below-average 27.4%. He’s a fine streamer, but I’m not going crazy.
- I have long been a fan of Tony Santillan. He is a very thicc boi, but don’t call him Fat Tony. He’s got swing-and-miss stuff, namely his slider, which has earned a 50% whiff rate through 13.2 IP. He struggles with control, however. As a fly-ball heavy pitcher, Great American Small Park isn’t the greatest park to call home, either. The free passes can be a real problem when combined with a bunch of home runs. He’ll be a pass for me in his next start, which comes at home against the Padres.
- Fresh off an 8 ER debacle against the lowly Marlins, Zach Davies rebounded with six no-hit innings against the Dodgers. Such are the vagaries of the fantasy baseball pendulum. He has a 49:41 K:BB ratio through 79.1 IP and I still don’t trust him.
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The Starting Pitcher Barometer
Jose Urquidy, HOU (+21) – Urquidy gets a big bump up in my starting pitcher rankings to SP47 after logging three straight seven-inning starts. The key has been his 94th percentile walk rate, sitting at 4.4%. His ceiling isn’t immense, as he has just a 7.82 K/9 and a sub-par 28.7% CSW. He should continue to be a good source of Wins and Quality Starts.
Patrick Sandoval, LAA (+31) – I just mentioned Sandoval recently when he debuted, and how great his changeup was. Well, his changeup is still incredible (58.4% whiff rate!!). However, his arsenal is still evolving.
Sandoval has started incorporating his curveball and slider more. He even used the slider more than his changeup in his latest start. He deployed the slider 25% of the time, earning a 46% CSW with it. This is a young lefty whose repertoire is still evolving and is extremely intriguing. He rises from a pure curiosity dart throw to a solid streaming option.
Mike Minor, KC (-22) – I came into the season expecting Minor to be a cheap, durable bounce-back candidate. That has not gone according to plan at all. Minor had a major hiccup in his last start in which he allowed nine earnies in just five innings. It came against the Rangers, a matchup he should have been able to take advantage of. His ERA has ballooned to 5.12 through 91.1 innings, although his 4.04 FIP considers him to be a bit unlucky so far. His K-BB% remains a solid 17.4% as well, pointing towards a deep league buy-low opportunity. Minor’s changeup (.316 wOBA, .283 BAA) just isn’t where it needs to be, though. I’d be hesitant to expect too much from him the rest of the way.
Brady Singer, KC (-23) – Another Royal is singin’ the blues this week. Singer has flashed upside at times this year, but in two of his past three starts, he hasn’t escaped the fourth inning. As with Minor, his ERA (4.70) is far worse than his FIP (3.96). However, unlike Minor, Singer is only a two-pitch starter. He also currently lacks the type of control Minor has shown, and has gone 6+ innings in just five of his 16 starts. He’ll need a decent third pitch to earn my trust.
Zach Thompson, MIA (SP60) – Another in the seemingly endless reservoir of pitchers name Zach/Zack/Zac, Thompson is already looking like a guy who will stick around. Yes, I struggle to remember how to spell their first names sometimes. Okay, a lot. Anyway, Zachy T had his breakout performance in his latest effort against the Nationals, striking out 11 batters over six innings. He now has a 2.00 ERA with a 25:6 K:BB ratio through 18 innings. He is finally getting fully stretched out after beginning the season in a multi-inning relief role in the minors.
His curve has earned a preposterous 57.1% whiff rate on 61 pitches. He has been able to locate it low in the zone for both whiffs and ground balls. While his fastball lacks premium velocity, it has an 89th percentile spin rate. Both his cutter and four-seam have been fly-ball offerings, which is fine for his home starts, in particular. He doesn’t have a huge spin rate on his curve, so it will be interesting to see if hitters catch up to it or start laying off it. For now, he’s very stream-worthy.
Kyle Muller, ATL (SP75) – While another Kyle (Wright) continues to struggle in the same organization, Kyle Muller has come up and shown promise. Muller has been a prospect of some pedigree, going 44th overall to the Braves back in 2016. He most recently shut out a potent Reds lineup through five innings, allowing just one hit with two walks and nine K’s. Both his slider and curveball earned over a 40% CSW, which is patently absurd.
There are only two things keeping him from debuting higher in my starting pitcher rankings. First, his role. He isn’t guaranteed a starting gig moving forward, but you have to think the Braves are impressed with what he has shown so far. Secondly, his control. He had an awful 5.46 BB/9 at Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up, and it was just as bad in 2019 (5.48 BB/9). Be cautious, but I’d optimistically roll him out for his next scheduled start against the Marlins.
Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings
|27||Hyun Jin Ryu||25|
|78||Kwang Hyun Kim||79|
Fell Off The List
Shane Bieber (Injury), Tyler Glasnow (Injury), Aaron Civale (Injury), Austin Gomber (Injury), Dinelson Lamet (Injury), Matthew Boyd (Injury), Michael Pineda (Injury), Keegan Akin (Performance), Jackson Kowar (Minors), Garrett Richards (Performance), Tucker Davidson (Injury), Tyler Anderson (Performance).
For more help on the pitching front, check out Mike Carter’s Two-Start Pitchers for the week.
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