Statcast pitching analysis: Luke Weaver closer speculation, Hunter Brown turnaround takeaways and more

Let’s get a lay of the land of the current pitching market by using Statcast data courtesy of Baseball Savant.

One of my invented stats — as far as I know — is WIZSOOZs, which are whiffs-in-zone and swings-out-of-zone — one number. The top guy this year in that stat is a reliever who is toiling behind a struggling closer for a top team — Luke Weaver of the Yankees. When it comes to relievers, Clay Holmes is proof that the job means more than the skills. Sure, he’s getting the job done and his ERA is okay, but the WHIP is pretty terrible and he’s giving Yankees fans a terminal case of agita. I know Weaver has been a journeyman and isn’t dominant with Ks, but closing is a “now” game and there’s some chance that Weaver gets thrust into the job because he’s been so good in real and expected stats.

Jake Irvin is 58% rostered, so he could be available in your league. In 12-team mixed league, he’s definitely worth a back-end rotation spot. His Ks are okay the past month, though not good for the year. He’s average for the year in WIZSOOZs. I hate hedging, but I have to say I would pick Irvin up off waivers but not trade for him. If you have him, he’s not a big enough name to get much back, but maybe you can sell the stats.

Shota Imanaga has crashed back hard after basically being rookie Fernando Valenzuela to start his MLB career. I wish I had something positive to report, that he’s been unlucky. But no, he’s been crushed. The past month, his expected average allowed is .301 and expected slugging .545. We don’t need to detail his actual stats given that this is a family publication. For the year, his WIZSOOZs are great — 55% vs. average of 44%.

Camilo Doval has been bad all year in actual stats. Looking under the hood for the past month only, he’s been one of the worst pitchers in baseball — .581 expected slugging allowed. He’s turning every hitter into an inner-circle Hall of Famer. Doval probably has a firm grip on the closer job but, at some point, results matter. Ryan Walker has been great all year, not just the past month. He’s 17% rostered. Maybe Doval is hurt, creating two paths for Walker to close. You have to roster Walker if you have Doval. He’s even good enough to be active in mixed leagues as a set-up man.

Can I mention Reid Detmers again? Yes! He should be a serviceable mixed-league starter. His expected average and slugging allowed this year are .226/.371 — solid. He’s in the minors, but a team in need of pitching like the Orioles should get him. I know in Triple-A his ERA is 6.00. But he’s 11.3 Ks and 2.6 walks per nine for Salt Lake. Just put him on a watch list and if he gets traded to a smart club that’s good and has good coaching, he could shock people. Detmers is just 24.

Let’s close with three of the more surprising pitchers overall for the past month relative to expectations going into the month. They demand a deeper dive.

Dylan Cease has destroyed his managers with a 6.31 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in the past 30 days. He went into the period looking like a Cy Young favorite. His expected stats are bad, but not as bad as his actual stats: .251/.475 expected average and slugging. That ISO power is really bad. You have to look to get Cease off your mixed-league teams, preferably via trade.. He’s good for Ks, but he’s typically bad for ERA and WHIP. He’s had one great season that looks like a sure outlier.

Pablo Lopez was unreal on Sunday, becoming the second pitcher with multiple games of 14 Ks and 0 walks since the start of the 2023 season, according to @SlangsOnSports (Tyler Glasnow the other). He’s frustrated me in a big league where I roster him. But if you’ve been looking under the hood, he’s been solid, if not spectacular. You can’t trade for him after that start, probably. But if you roster Lopez, I don’t think you sell off that spectacular outing, either. He should be what you paid for. His WIZSOOZs are very good. His expected ERA is great. The expected ISO is average — that’s the one worry.

On the league-winning side is Hunter Brown. Good god what a turnaround. Brown is one of the best pitchers in baseball the past month anyway you slice it. Past 30 days for real: 1.22 ERA, 0.89 WHIP. Expected average and slugging the past month: .175/.283 — just absurdly good, as is the 31.7% K rate. That K rate is light years from what it was for the season going into the period (23.3%). I wouldn’t trade you Brown right now even if you were threatening me with grim death.

(Top photo of Hunter Brown: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top