Throwing Heat Week 23 by Michael Simione September 13, 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!” Sandy Alcantara, MIA Last three starts: 2.42 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 37.2 K% In Sandy’s last start he faced off against the Mets and literally tossed them around like rag dolls. He pitched nine innings while allowing one run and striking out 14 hitters. Overall he had 27 whiffs and a 37.0 CSW%, that’s very very good. Sandy currently has 180 innings pitched and is on his way to potentially reaching 200 innings for the second time in three seasons, where the other season was a shortened one. He is supplementing himself as a workhorse type of pitcher, something that is rare these days. Moving forward, there is little doubt about his capabilities and it all starts with that fantastic power sinker of his. Expect a really good pitcher the rest of the way as well for the 2022 season. Adam Wainwright, STL Last three starts: 2.08 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 16.3 K% It is just fascinating what Adam Wainwright is doing. He is Nelson Cruz in pitcher form. At the young age of 40 Wainwright has pitched 184.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Between last season and this season he has 250 innings pitched with a 3.02 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. What should we do with him next season (if he plays)? I’m sure he will still come cheap and one might argue he is worth rostering. Nathan Eovaldi, BOS Last three starts: 2.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 32.4 K% It was never a question if Eovaldi had the skillset to become a good pitcher, it was always a matter of health and stamina. Until this year Eovaldi had only eclipsed 154 innings once and that was back in 2014 with the Miami Marlins. This season he has pitched in 28 starts with 163.2 innings pitched. Hopefully the injury concerns can finally be put behind the 31-year-old. Eovaldi’s 3.57 ERA comes with an impressive 2.87 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 3.43 xERA, and 3.62 SIERA. He has a high K-BB% of 20.8% due to his solid command and low 4.4% walk rate. He has featured the curveball a lot more this season and the pitch has lead to a 15.7 SwStr%, 34 wRC+ against, and a .204 wOBA against. In other words, it creates whiffs but most importantly it creates a lot of weak contact. For the rest of the season, I would start Eovaldi with confidence as well as start him against any offense. Rich Hill, NYM Last three starts: 1.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 29.4 K% Rich Hill was on the opposite side of Sandy Alcantara’s fantastic night but he pitched a great game as well. Against the Marlins he lasted six innings while allowing one earned run and producing eight strikeouts. Rich Hill hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since July and in his last six starts, he has a 2.94 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Rich Hill has always been just a two-pitch pitcher focusing on his four-seam and curveball. It has worked for him his entire career and has continued to work for him this season. You won’t get a lot of strikeouts but Hill is the type to get you solid ratios without any blow-ups. Triston McKenzie, CLE Last three starts: 1.42 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 31.3 K% Although Triston McKenzie has a season-long ERA over four he has certainly taken some strides as of late. In his last six starts he has a 1.80 ERA, 2.14 FIP, 0.53 WHIP, and 29.1 K%. Most notably and what’s most impressive is his 2.8% walk rate in that time frame. He never threw it much but he recently has ditched his changeup and focused on throwing his four-seam, slider, and curveball. Here is the key with McKenzie though, his fastball velocity. McKenzie is a tall and lanky pitcher and last season we saw his fastball velocity dip with each start he had, bringing on stamina concerns. To start the season he sat around 91.5 MPH with his fastball but in the past 10 starts he has average roughly 93 MPH on it. That’s huge for him because when he pitched well in 2020 his fastball was sitting around the 93 MPH range. Moving forward he looks like a great pitcher to have and if you took a shot on him kudos to you. It will be interesting to see where he lands in terms of ADP next season. Alec Mills, CHC Last three starts: 1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 15.8 K% Who had a bold prediction of Alec Mills being the top pitcher for the Chicago Cubs this season? This guy. While this, of course, didn’t come true and I would much rather have Kyle Hendricks he does have the lowest ERA as a starter (3.53) for the Cubs albeit only 81.2 innings. Alec Mills is an interesting pitcher, he has a deep arsenal and does really good job at keeping the ball in the park. His 0.93 HR/9 is insanely good as well as his 50.6 GB%. Since becoming a starter in June he has 15 starts with a 3.48 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 4.24 SIERA. Not too shabby but the one fallout here is the not-so-good WHIP of 1.33. Mills obviously isn’t Kyle Hendricks but he kind of is a Hendrick lite and might be worth a roster spot.