Throwing Heat Week 11 by Michael Simione June 14, 2021 Baseball is happening! I decided for the entire season to run a weekly article on pitchers who have been “heating up.” I will dive into what it could mean for the pitcher and what you should do with them. This should be a captivating concept because it will be pitchers of all levels, anywhere from aces to pitchers you would have never drafted. That’s what it’s all about, catching players as they improve and acting on it before anyone else can realize. Welcome to “Throwing Heat!” Austin Gomber, COL Last three starts: 1.80 ERA, 27.1 K%, 0.93 WHIP It was a cold Monday night on April 26th. Fantasy owners were excited as they had just added Austin Gomber to their teams for a two-week start. You see Gomber had been cruising in his first four starts holding a 3.38 ERA. Leaving fantasy owners confident all nestled in their beds ready to watch another quality start for their team. Suddenly, chaos breaks out and Gomber doesn’t make it out of the second inning while letting up nine runs. Leaving owners with a 48.60 ERA and 6.60 WHIP for the night. It was then that the phrase “Got Gombered,” was born. Did you know that since Austin Gomber got lit up by the San Francisco Giants he has pitched eight starts with a 2.58 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 26.8 K%, and 0.90 WHIP? He has been flat-out amazing on the mound and for good reason. Alas, we have a pitch mix change to thank! Since the infamous blow-up Gomber has started throwing the fastball less and throwing his changeup and slider more. Let’s start with the changeup. It has solid movement to it and an eight-mile-per-hour separation in velocity compared to the fastball. A good change of pace and likely the reason for the above-average whiff rate and low ISO against it. The slider has decent movement as well but the key here is his command. He places it really well on the inside corner against right-handed hitters and this is likely why it also has an above-average whiff rate as well as a 2.5 pVAL. Austin Gomber is doing everything right and although he may have burned you once before you should probably make it a point to grab him off the wire if he is still out there. At least until Coors Field decides to strike and it all comes crumbling down. Lance Lynn, CHW Last three starts: 1.00 ERA, 32.8 K%, 0.72 WHIP I’m not sure if you all have seen Lance Lynn’s numbers this season but he has been unreal. His 1.23 ERA and 0.88 WHIP come with a 21.2 K-BB%. It’s just insane to me that he basically only throws three fastballs. Sure the cutter could be considered a breaking ball but it’s technically a fastball. It just makes me love Lynn even more. He just strolls up on the mound challenges you with fastball after fastball and he knows no one can handle it. I love you Lance Lynn. Never change. Vladimir Gutierrez, CIN Last three starts: 2.65 ERA, 18.3 K%, 1.12 WHIP What a great start for Vladimir Gutierrez this season! In three starts he holds a 2.65 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. All is good in Gutierrez land, right? Not right. To start with the good, he has been amazing at inducing weak contact. Although a small sample, his barrel rate against is just 2.0%. His hard-hit rate against just 26.5%. Both elite numbers. Explains why his xERA sits at 3.20. And now comes the bad part. Just to start off simple let’s look at his underlying ERA indicators. His FIP is 3.97, okay not bad. His SIERA is 5.10. Not good. But most importantly his xFIP is 5.15. Why is this most important you might ask? Well, he currently has an HR/FB rate of just 5.3%. Something typically unsustainable. That’s lower than Jacob deGrom. Of course with a low HR/FB rate comes a low HR/9. A low HR/9 he has indeed. It sits at 0.53. Now to reiterate his HR/FB% is 5.3% and his HR/9 is 0.53. In his time in the minors his average HR/FB% was around 13% and his HR/9 around 1.32. The home runs look to be coming and that’s why his xFIP is so important. xFIP normalizes a player’s home run rate which means when the home runs come his ERA will rise. If you want to really put the nail in the coffin here look at his walk rate. It sits at 11.3%. Can you imagine how many runs he will let up when he is walking a bunch of hitters and then letting up home runs?