Throwing Heat Week 6

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

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 façade. I hope you enjoy it!

*Stats as of 5/24*

Tyler Anderson, LAD

Last three starts: 21.0 innings pitched, 3.86 ERA, and 8.57 K/9

The stats above won’t blow your socks off but I am bringing up Anderson for a reason. Tyler Anderson has had one blowup game against the Phillies where he surrendered seven runs in six innings. Besides that start, in his seven other starts, he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs.

For the entire season, Tyler Anderson has been throwing heat as he has a 3.30 ERA and 1.01 WHIP for the year. Anderson has pitched well by utilizing his changeup more and he clearly worked on the pitch adding more vertical movement to it. More vertical movement means more strikeouts and as of late, we are seeing more strikeouts from Anderson.

In Anderson’s last start he had 21 whiffs in eight innings pitched tallying eight strikeouts. I’m curious to see if this can continue and in my honest opinion I think it certainly will.

Sandy Alcantara, MIA

Last three starts: 24.0 innings pitched, 0.75 ERA, and 6.75 K/9

Okay, so we all know how good Alcantara can be. He gives you a ton of innings and is a true workhorse anchor for your fantasy team. The small, minute, itty bitty issue with Alcantara is the strikeouts.

In the second half of last season, Alcantara’s strikeout rate jumped from 21.4% in the first half to 27.4%. Leaving many analysts thinking, oh wow if this sticks he is going to be a top ten pitcher. So far this season he has reverted back to his first-half strikeout rate and currently holds a 20.8% K%.

Alcantara is surely still extremely valuable and a fantastic pitcher. The number of innings he can pitch will help him consistently reach 200 strikeouts. He just isn’t taking the jump people thought he would.

Justin Steele, CHC

Last three starts: 15 innings pitched, 1.80 ERA, and 13.20 K/9

Uh, so this is wild. Before his last two starts the most strikeouts Steele has had in a game were five. Suddenly these last two starts he had nine strikeouts and ten strikeouts. Both came against the same team, the Arizona Diamondbacks so I wonder if he just really matches up well against them?

The reason I am a bit skeptical here is because he hasn’t changed anything. The pitch mix is the same, the velocity is the same, and he just seems like the same pitcher. Also, his 37.3 K% comes with an 11.7% SwStr% which makes no sense. According to his SwStr%, his K% should be more so around 24%.

I do think Steele has some sneaky upside with his multiple pitches and good movement. But I more so think he is of the streamer type not so much the roster and hold type.

JT Brubaker, PIT

Last three starts: 17.1 innings pitched, 3.12 ERA, and 8.83 K/9

Let’s actually look at JT Brubaker’s last seven starts. After two rough starts to begin the season Brubaker has had seven starts with a 3.57 ERA, 3.59 FIP, and a 26.7 K%. He has been flying under the radar with his performance and it looks pretty legit.

Brubaker has essentially ditched his horrible four-seam and decided to go sinker and slider heavy. His four-seam last season had a 114 wRC+ against and .265 ISO against. This season it is just as bad but at least he is barely throwing it. As a result, his sinker has taken a step forward in terms of whiffs and creating weaker contact.

Brubaker is super interesting and a sneaky add for fantasy.

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8 months ago

I wouldn’t get too carried away with Brubaker as he has had a pretty favorable schedule over those 7 starts – @MIL, @CHC (only went 3 IP in this one for some reason), SDP, @CIN, CIN, @CHC, COL. That’s 6 average or worse offenses (yes, even the Pads) and the Brewers before they heated up (17th in wOBA for April). And even with that schedule, he has been pretty much the definition of mediocre. Until the start yesterday, he hadn’t gone 6 IP or allowed fewer than 2 R in any start. He’s pretty consistently going 5 IP and giving up 2-3 R with 4-6 K. He did spike K’s in 2 of those games with 9 and 10 but he had 4 in 3 of them and 3 in another.

He’s a streamer, nothing more. That said, if they stay on rotation he might still be worth streaming in over his next few starts – @SDP, ARI, @ATL (surprisingly struggling thus far). Not sure I want to gamble though on the Padres and Braves continuing to be mediocre offenses.

Last edited 8 months ago by Anon
8 months ago
Reply to  Anon

Brubaker flashed some skills last year. His first half K/BB% last year would have put him between Sandy Alcantara and Tyler Mahle and he’s been close to that in May so far. If he’s able to improve on those skills then he could be more than a streamer, and Michael is saying that he looks like he might be doing just that so far.