Throwing Heat Week Two

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!

Andrew Heaney, LAD

Last two starts: 10.1 innings pitched, 0.00 ERA, and a 13.94 K/9

To dive a little deeper into these first two starts Heaney has a 1.16 FIP, 32.5 K-BB%, and a 20.5 SwStr%. Small samples are fun! Heaney was touted by many this offseason for his underlying potential. Something many have thought for years now. So is it finally coming to fruition?

For starters, Heaney added a new pitch in a sweeping slider and so far this season it has been pretty dang good. It currently has a 30.7 SwStr% and a 52.1 O-Swing%. Coming out of his first start he said, “It was good today. Honestly, it was the first time I’ve really thrown it to hitters, so it was kind of like, ‘Just go out there and rip it.’ Definitely something I’ll keep working on and keep tweaking.” If Heaney’s slider continues to be this successful it’s hard to imagine him not having a great season.

Overall for me, it’s hard to say if we should be buying in. K-BB% is a great early indicator but it’s still just two starts and he has gone on some great stretches before. It’s also worth noting that Heaney hasn’t always been the healthiest of pitchers. The most innings he has ever pitched is 180.0 and that happened back in 2018.

Dylan Bundy, MIN

Last two starts: 10.1 innings pitched, 0.87 ERA, and a 6.97 K/9

Dylan Bundy is off to a nice start with the Minnesota Twins. In his last start against the Red Sox he cruised through 5.1 innings allowing just one run and striking out six hitters. Overall he has allowed just one run in 1001 innings and holds a 17.9 K-BB%.

The question everyone is now wondering is, is this legit? Bundy had his most successful season in 2020 where he pitched to a 3.29 ERA. In that season Bundy threw his slider (his best pitch) 25% of the time and currently, he has thrown it 20% of the time so far this season. Five points lower than his breakout season.

What Bundy did do is raise his four-seam usage to the highest it has been in three seasons, 38.4%. Bundy is throwing his four-seam just 89.0 MPH this season. This is a four-seam that he threw 90.8 MPH last season and it got crushed for a 135 wRC+.

I just don’t think we can trust a pitcher who has a terrible fastball that is thrown 38.4% of the time and sits under 90 MPH. I just don’t see it working.

Pablo Lopez, MIA

Last two starts: 10.1 innings pitched, 0.87 ERA, and a 6.97 K/9

I am probably the biggest Pablo Lopez fan there is and it has been a joy to watch him pitch again. He has rolled through two starts so far as he holds a 0.87 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. The strikeout rate is currently low but he did face two tough offenses in the Giants and Phillies so it should come around.

Lopez’s ADP was a bit low for someone of his caliber but it was due to continuous shoulder injuries. Hopefully, he doesn’t run into that issue and we get to see a full season from the talented right-hander.

Noah Syndergaard, LAA

Last two starts: 11.1 innings pitched, 1.59 ERA, and a 3.97 K/9

This has been a really strange two starts for Noah Syndergaard. Like really strange. In two starts he has pitched 11.1 innings with a 1.59 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 11.6 K%. Wait…what?

That’s right, so far this season Syndergaard has been a weak contact pitcher. He holds just a 7.0 K-BB% and a 68.6 GB%. This will likely end soon though. His SwStr% of 13.9% should bring his 11.6 K% way up. You technically are supposed to double a pitchers SwStr% then add one and that’s what their K% should be. With Syndergaard, that means roughly 29%.

What’s also notable about Syndergaard is his fastball velocity. Throughout his career, his fastball has averaged 98.0 MPH and right now it’s sitting at 95.4 MPH. This could be two things, is it because of the short ramp-up and it has really affected him, or could it be on purpose to try and keep him healthy? Likely the short ramp-up.

Either way, Syndergaard is off to a good start for the Angels and hopefully he stays healthy.

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9 months ago

Bundy is doing the same thing that he did last year before he blew up. On certain days he easily blows through the opponents twice only to struggle through the lineup the third time. The Game against the Red Sox Monday clearly highlights that he can’t handle it on a good day. He was hanked in the 6th after giving up two baserunners. The outing could have looked a lot worse had the Red Sox not conveniently hit into a double play to end the inning. So on a good day, this is what will happen. On a bad day, it happens earlier.

Just understand that needs ace middle relieves to save his out-of-shape tookus. Dude just doesn’t have the stamina to make it deeper than 60 pitches without losing sharpness.

9 months ago

Dylan Bundy’s biggest problem since he came into the league has been that he gives up way too many homers. His HR/9 as a starter is 1.64 which is almost historically bad. His best days are when he doesn’t give up homers which are rare when he throws that fastball 50% of the time.