Well here we are, it’s the final Top 100 before the All-Star Break. It’s been quite the ordeal trying to keep tabs on every starting pitcher in baseball, but I look forward to writing this every week and I hope you enjoy reading it as well. It’s a bit of a wonky weeky with some players temporarily optioned to Triple-A over the break like Freddy Peralta and Shane Bieber. They’ll be back though, so I left them on the list. Unfortunately, Garrett Richards won’t be back, as he’ll go under the knife for Tommy John surgery. On the bright side we got Thor back, along with a couple of other less impactful arms like Trevor Cahill, Masahiro Tanaka, and Brent Suter. We lost Junior Guerra to the DL with a mysterious forearm injury, which is more worrisome than wearing white pants the day after hot chili night. No word yet on how Senior Guerra is taking the news. Enjoy the All-Star Break, everyone!
- Dallas Keuchel, HOU (+13) – Not all that long ago I wrote about Keuchel in a negative light. Boy has he showed me. He’s been awesome over his last six starts, save one blow-up against the Jays. Over that span he’s tossed 37.1 innings with a 2.17 ERA thanks to a vintage Keuchel style 20.8% hard contact rate allowed. That is elite, and it’s how he finds his success when he’s rolling. He still has just a 6.5 K/9 over this stretch, so it’s still a bit of a highwire act since he doesn’t miss any bats. There’s a chance he eventually creeps back into the top 30, but there are just so many starters that pile up strikeouts these days that Keuchel has to post elite ERA’s to make up for it.
- Andrew Heaney, LAA (+24) – I’ve spoken glowingly of Heaney in this space before, but every time I want to push him up the list he gives us a clunker. As I’m writing this he’s looking pretty good against a tough Dodgers team, so I’m hoping I don’t jinx him. He’s been terrific over his last two starts, with back-to-back 7-inning, 10-K performances. He misses enough bats (12% swinging strike rate) to maintain around a K per 9, and his control is (and always has been) very good. You don’t have to be as smart as Mr. Feeny…to add Andrew Heaney.
- Tyler Anderson, COL (+18) – It’s hard for any Rockies pitcher this side of Jon Gray to emerge from the murky depths of the Top 100, or even exist on the list at all for that matter. Anderson continues to impress however, and he deserves to see the light. I moved him up into the back end of the mixed league streamer territory thanks to just one earned run with a 24:7 K:BB ratio over his last three starts. Two of those starts were even in Coors. I’m not sure how much higher I’ll go with him any time soon though, since even as I’m considering a stream for his next start at home against Seattle, I’m wary.
- J.A. Happ, TOR (-6) – By the numbers I should have written up Luis Castillo here, who I’ve lost all faith in (finally) and dropped 23 spots. However, there isn’t much left to say on him, and I haven’t really talked about Happ so here we are. Happ only dropped six spots, but he’s been pretty bad over his last five starts. His numbers aren’t as bad as they could be since all five of the runs he allowed against Boston in his last start were unearned. Still, he’s got a 6.84 ERA/1.59 WHIP over 26.1 innings in those five starts. I’m not overly concerned though; his K:BB has been fine at 27:10, and he’s only allowed a 31% hard contact rate. He’s been bit by the long ball, with a 19.4% HR/FB rate, which can happen when you’ve got the Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros over that span. It might be a good time to buy low.
- Michael Fulmer, DET (-12) – The only thing you’re full of, Michael, is ****!! Alright, I’m gonna try to keep this civil and not go into a rage as a pretty big Michael Fulmer fan. I can’t help but think there is a lot more in Fulmer’s arm than what he’s shown, but after his recent beating from the Astros I’m wondering if we ever see it this season. His ERA now sits at 4.50, and he doesn’t make up for the crazy high 39% hard contact allowed by missing any bats. His changeup just hasn’t been there for him this season, and I can’t help but think that if/when he can get it back, he’ll get back to being a solid #3 starter. Whether that’s next week or next year, your guess is as good as mine.
- Cole Hamels, TEX (-12) – Right around the time I was excited for a two-start week of his, he turned into mushy stinky doodoo and hasn’t yet recovered. He’s got a cool 9.53 ERA/1.88 WHIP over his last four starts, and unlike with Happ, Hamels’s matchups have been gravy. He’s pitched against the White Sox, Padres, Tigers, and Orioles, each of which can usually be considered a tame opponent. Even if you normalize the 23.1% HR/FB rate, he’s still allowed 36% hard contact and 25% line drives over that span. The K:BB is still there at 17:4, and he isn’t completely useless yet like this span indicates, but if you can’t even trust him in cupcake matchups, he’s hard to use in standard mixers.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
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