Throwing Heat Week 17 by Michael Simione August 2, 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!” Walker Buehler, LAD Last three starts: 1.27 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 31.6 K% I put Walker Buehler in my “Throwing Heat Week 14” article and I was surprised by the lack of confidence I saw in the comment section. Overall he seems to fly under the radar which is a bit surprising. If you combine 2020 and 2021 Buehler has pitched 172.1 innings with a 2.45 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. That’s really good. The best thing about Walker Buehler is his deep arsenal. He technically has six different pitches in his back pocket but he mainly uses five of them. Out of all five of those pitches, not a single one of them is getting hit hard this season. All of them have a wOBA against under .300 and a wRC+ against under 100. Most importantly, all of them have a positive pVAL which means he utilizes them extremely well. Walker Buehler is a stud people. Tylor Megill, NYM Last three starts: 0.52 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 19.4 K% My love for Tylor Megill knows no bounds. Since his call up he has been nothing short of fantastic and in the month of July (as of 7/29) he has the second-lowest ERA at 1.04. Before we dive into his arsenal I need to stress for you to make it a point to watch him pitch. This guy is gritty and reminds me of a Juan Soto except on the mound. When he waits for the ball to be thrown back to him he always gives the hitter a look as if he is saying “I’m coming after you.” Megill mainly throws three pitches in his four-seam, slider, and changeup. His four-seam and changeup have proven to be a lethal combination. In the month of July Megill’s four-seam is top 15 in wOBA and ISO against when comparing it to other four-seams in the league. In terms of contact you can argue it has been just as good as Lucas Giolitos’s four-seam. When you move onto his changeup you see a true swing and miss pitch. This season it currently holds an impressive 22.0% SwStr% and 41.5 O-Swing%. In other words, it produces a ton of whiffs and a ton of chases outside of the zone. Finally, you get to his slider and see just a perfect location from Megill. He paints the outside part of the zone on a consistent basis. This pitch induces a ridiculous amount of weak contact with a -9 wRC+, .000 ISO, .141 wOBA, and .121 SLG. Megill seems to have three seriously good pitches. He has solid command with a knack for keeping the ball on the ground. He very well should continue to see a ton of success moving forward. He just took down the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, what else can you ask for? Tanner Houck, BOS Last three starts: 0.77 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 40.9 K% A quick caveat to start! The numbers above do include a short appearance in the bullpen when he was first called up. If you are on Twitter you have already seen the slider comparisons people are making for Tanner Houck. He looks just like a right-handed Chris Sale up there and it is scary. Legit identical. It’s almost like this is a Parent Trap situation. Houck does resemble Sale in terms of arsenal by having a mid 90’s fastball and a side-arm type of slider. Of course, we aren’t saying he is going to be Chris Sale but the similarities are there. Houck’s fastball works, it won’t induce a ton of swinging strikes but it gets the job done and should be a formidable pitch moving forward. The slider is just straight-up filthy with beyond elite horizontal movement and a 19.1 SwStr%. Houck’s third pitch is a sinker that weirdly has a ton of vertical movement and moves like a curveball. I’m curious as to if that pitch classification changes but either way the sinker gives him a pitch that opposing hitters love to chase outside of the zone. Houck looks primed to become a star in the major leagues. Just always keep in mind with these young pitchers that the league will eventually adjust. It’s just a matter of, will the pitcher adjust back. Houck seems to have an arsenal that is deep enough for him to figure things out when times get tough but for now, Houck is a must-start no matter the opponent.