Throwing Heat Week 5

The season has begun and we are back with Throwing Heat! For those who didn’t read these articles last season, this is a weekly article that 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.

The beauty of this article is how 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 facade. I hope you enjoy it!

*Stats as of 5/17*

Tarik Skubal, DET

Last three starts: 19.0 innings pitched, 0.95 ERA, and 11.84 K/9

As of late, Tarik Skubal has been flat-out dominant. In his last three starts, he has only let up two earned runs while obtaining 25 strikeouts with a 14.2 SwStr%. But let’s not stop there.

Overall on the season he has started seven games and produced a 2.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has induced plenty of weak contact and all of his ERA metrics show that this is completely legitimate.

My main gripe with Skubal coming into the season was his four-seam fastball and how it let up a ton of hard contact. So far this season his four-seam has improved in terms of wRC+ against, ISO, and wOBA.

We are seeing the ceiling of Tarik Skubal and I hope we see him continue this success.

Zac Gallen, ARI

Last three starts: 19.1 innings pitched, 1.40 ERA, and 9.78 K/9

Zac Gallen is back! Now hopefully he can just stay healthy! In six starts this season Zac Gallen hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs and currently sports a 1.05 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. His 1.05 ERA comes with a stellar 1.86 xERA, 2.23 FIP, and 2.89 SIERA.

Much like last season, he is going fastball heavy which is a bit surprising but it’s certainly working. He is pairing his fastball with three breaking balls in his changeup, slider, and curveball. All three pitches are capable of inducing whiffs but the changeup is really his top pitch. So far this season it has an 18.7 SwStr% and 45.3 O-Swing%, both impressive numbers.

Zac Gallen has basically always been good when healthy. If he can stay on the mound he should put up Ace-like numbers.

Drew Rasmussen, TBR

Last three starts: 15.2 innings pitched, 1.72 ERA, and 5.17 K/9.

Sure Drew Rasmussen isn’t going to be a strikeout machine but he certainly has the capability to be a ratios stud. On the season he has a 2.67 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and a 14.3 K-BB%.

In the off-season, he revamped his repertoire a little and added a cutter. The cutter has really cemented his pitch mix and he now has three pitches as opposed to two from last season. Not only has it deepened his arsenal but it also is a very good pitch. He has thrown it 186 times and so far it had a 19 wRC+ against it as well as a 54.8 GB%.

Rasmussen is turning into a rotation anchor for fantasy baseball and if you drafted him it looks like you will benefit greatly from it.

Erick Fedde, WSH

Last three starts: 16.0 innings pitched, 2.25 ERA, and 7.31 K/9

These three starts from Fedde are kind of wild. He faced the Angels, a top offense, the Astros, another top offense, and the Rockies in Colorado. Somehow he came out of this three-start span with a 2.25 ERA. Crazy times.

Do I think this is for real? No. Those three starts came with a 4.16 FIP, 5.15 SIERA, and a .267 BABIP. So basically he got lucky. I do think he is more like his season-long numbers which are a 4.24 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Basically, he is a streamer and nothing more.

Humberto Castellanos, ARI

Last three starts: 16.1 innings pitched, 2.76 ERA, and 7.16 K/9.

Is this the Brent Strom effect we are seeing? Arizona’s starters have a combined 2.59 ERA which is good for second in the league. If I told you that in March you would have thought I was a crazy person. Crazy how good of a coach he is.

Back to Castellanos, on the season he has eight appearances and six starts he holds a 4.15 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and a 10.2 K-BB%. His ERA indicators say that this is legit and mainly because of the weak contact he is inducing. His 3.66 xERA comes from a low barrel rate against (5.3%) and low hard-hit rate against (36.8%).

While this is a bit intriguing there is a severe lack of whiffs here. He also doesn’t have a dominant pitch he just relies on the sinker and slider for weak fly balls which can be a dangerous game. Much like Fedde, I only see Castellanos as a future streamer based on matchups.

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