Throwing Heat Week 14 by Michael Simione August 8, 2022 The season has begun and we are back with Throwing Heat! For those who didn’t read these articles last season, this weekly article focuses on pitchers who are pitching well. When we are further into the season it will be based on a pitcher’s previous three starts but for now, it will just be their most recent starts. This article’s beauty is that it highlights all types of pitchers from the best in the league to pitchers who are barely rostered. If someone is on a hot streak they will be in this article. I will also tell you if the hot streak is legit or if it appears to be a façade. I hope you enjoy it! *Stats as of 8/8* Merrill Kelly, ARI Last three starts: 0.82 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 26.0 K% Merrill Kelly has actually strung together seven excellent starts. In his last 48.1 innings, he has produced a 1.49 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 21.3 K%. ERA indicators show this could continue with a 3.77 SIERA, 2.97 FIP, and 3.70 xFIP. When something like this happens, a really good stretch of pitching, I try to see if a pitcher is doing something different. This will help let us know if we could perhaps rely on these numbers moving forward. There isn’t an uptick in velocity here but there is a slight change in his pitch mix. Kelly has started to throw his changeup less and his cutter more. I’m not sure I am a fan of this as they both have identical numbers in terms of contact but the changeup has a lot more whiff ability. Now he isn’t completely dumping his changeup so that’s good and maybe the four-seam plays better off of the cutter? Either way, I am not sure there is enough here for me to buy into Kelly being a sub-four ERA pitcher moving forward. I think he is a formidable streamer. Max Scherzer, NYM Last three starts: 0.87 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 26.8 K% It’s always nice to see Max Scherzer back on the mound. For the season he has now pitched in 15 games where he has accumulated 95.2 innings, a 1.98 ERA, and a 0.90 WHIP. Since coming back from injury he has made seven starts where he has been even better. In 46 innings he has a 1.37 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and a 34.1 K%. He and Jacob deGrom as a one-two step in the playoffs are flat-out scary. Mitch Keller, PIT Last three starts: 2.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 15.1 K% I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like Mitch Keller has quietly been very good and no one seems to be talking about it. In his last 12 starts, Mitch Keller has a 3.15 ERA, 19.7 K%, 3.57 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, and 1.37 WHIP. The WHIP isn’t great but performing at this level for 12 straight starts means something is there. Keller’s turnaround doesn’t only come from his increased velocity that he worked on in the off-season but the sudden appearance of a sinker which he started using in the month of May. His terrible four-seam has taken a back seat and he now mainly relies on his curveball, slider, and sinker. This is clearly working for Mitch Keller and while the strikeouts will come and go he is a pretty decent option moving forward. Ranger Suarez, PHI Last three starts: 1.65 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 25.4 K% Speaking of new pitches, Ranger Suarez added a cutter to his arsenal in May and when he started to really use it in July his numbers made a turn for the better. Since 7/16 (his first start in July) Suarez had four starts where he produced a 1.27 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Can’t ask for more than that. I know four starts don’t sound like a lot but it certainly creates a trend. The cutter is a real game changer for Suarez because he relies on inducing weak contact and this pitch is amazing at doing so. This season it has a 16.7% hard-hit rate against it and just a .274 wOBA against it as well. Both elite numbers. Ranger Suarez should be in for a solid final two months of the season and if you have him rostered you can start him confidently moving forward.