STARTERS: BPV leaders, August 2016

Let's continue our regular look back at the skills posted by starting pitchers during the previous month.

Here were the aggregate stats and skills posted by starting pitchers in August 2016, segregated by league:

August 2016 Baselines*

Lg  ERA   WHIP | Ctl  Dom  HR/9  GB% | H%   S%   hr/f | FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball% | BPV
==  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  === | ===  ===  ==== | ====  ====  ====  ===== | ===
AL  4.39  1.30 | 2.5  7.7   1.4  42% | 30%  71%   14% | 92.0  9.9%   62%    35% |  89
NL  4.56  1.36 | 3.2  7.7   1.3  45% | 31%  70%   14% | 92.4  9.3%   60%    37% |  75
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ML  4.47  1.33 | 2.9  7.7   1.4  44% | 30%  71%   14% | 92.2  9.6%   61%    36% |  82
*starting pitchers only

***

Let's dig deeper into these aggregate stats to find the SP who posted the best skills in August.

Here were the most skilled starting pitchers in August:

100+ BPV, August 2016*

Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%   FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  =====  ====  =====  ===
Stroman, M      AL  1.4  11.1   0.9  62%  36/76%   17%  92.8  10.6%   67%    32%  201
Carrasco, C     AL  1.2  11.4   1.5  43%  39/63%   18%  93.8  13.0%   64%    33%  192
Tanaka, M       AL  0.2   8.8   1.2  47%  29/73%   13%  92.0  10.0%   73%    30%  176
Archer, C       AL  2.1  10.9   0.7  56%  30/71%   12%  94.5  12.4%   57%    36%  174
Scherzer, M     NL  1.7  11.1   0.9  31%  24/66%    7%  94.2  16.3%   65%    33%  162
Ray, R          NL  2.7  11.4   0.9  51%  33/81%   13%  95.0  12.4%   53%    32%  161
Triggs, A       AL  0.4   8.3   0.4  43%  25/57%    6%  92.3  11.3%   55%    36%  159
Andriese, M     AL  1.6   9.9   2.8  40%  39/57%   22%  91.5  10.8%   67%    33%  155
Porcello, R     AL  0.8   8.3   1.2  43%  24/77%   13%  91.6   8.9%   64%    32%  148
Lester, J       NL  2.0  10.0   0.6  41%  27/85%    9%  92.2   9.1%   66%    36%  145
Velasquez, V    NL  3.1  12.3   2.7  28%  40/59%   29%  94.1  10.5%   51%    38%  144
Phelps, D       NL  3.7  11.8   0.7  53%  28/83%   13%  93.2  10.3%   56%    37%  144
McHugh, C       AL  2.0   9.7   2.5  40%  37/77%   29%  90.4  11.1%   73%    34%  140
Sale, C         AL  1.9  10.0   0.4  32%  31/71%    4%   n/a  12.3%   63%    32%  139
Lackey, J       NL  0.8   7.9   0.8  38%  23/86%   13%  91.6  12.5%   69%    34%  136
Keuchel, D      AL  1.6   7.8   0.9  60%  26/72%   16%  88.6   8.4%   64%    36%  136
Verlander, J    AL  1.3   9.5   1.8  21%  19/87%   13%  93.9  11.1%   70%    29%  135
Syndergaard, N  NL  2.6   9.7   0.9  52%  30/78%   13%  98.1  14.3%   62%    32%  135
Darvish, Y      AL  2.3  10.2   1.4  33%  30/82%   13%  93.2  11.4%   58%    35%  133
Sabathia, C     AL  3.4  10.7   1.7  54%  32/65%   24%  90.1  11.2%   63%    35%  133
Nova, Ivan      NL  0.3   6.3   0.9  48%  29/75%   11%  93.1   8.9%   69%    30%  132
Garcia, Jaime   NL  2.0   8.2   2.3  60%  26/66%   33%  90.5  10.5%   65%    32%  131
Weaver, L       NL  3.0  11.1   1.7  32%  34/79%   22%  91.8   8.9%   52%    37%  130
Fiers, M        AL  2.1   9.3   1.6  42%  32/76%   18%  89.6  10.1%   63%    36%  129
Pineda, M       AL  1.6   7.9   0.6  51%  36/60%    9%  94.8  12.1%   76%    31%  129
Duffey, Tyler   AL  2.1   9.1   2.1  44%  32/52%   24%  90.6  10.2%   66%    34%  129
Happ, J.A.      AL  2.1   9.1   1.5  42%  29/76%   17%  91.9  11.1%   61%    36%  129
DeSclafani, A   NL  1.9   8.7   0.8  45%  28/74%    9%  93.2  10.1%   63%    34%  128
Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%   FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  =====  ====  =====  ===
Gonzalez, G     NL  1.9   8.5   1.1  48%  26/68%   15%  91.7  10.3%   56%    38%  127
Paxton, J       AL  1.0   7.2   0.7  46%  29/76%    7%  96.6  11.1%   64%    33%  126
Martinez, C     NL  3.1   9.6   0.6  59%  29/71%   11%  95.2   8.8%   60%    34%  125
Griffin, A      AL  1.6   9.1   2.8  25%  34/74%   20%  87.1  10.0%   57%    34%  125
Straily, D      NL  1.1   8.2   2.5  30%  30/80%   18%  89.0  11.2%   61%    32%  124
Fernandez, J    NL  3.4  10.9   0.3  42%  38/80%    5%  95.7  14.7%   57%    37%  124
Gausman, K      AL  3.0  10.1   1.0  41%  34/86%   11%  94.5   9.8%   57%    39%  121
Kluber, C       AL  2.9   9.7   1.6  45%  27/90%   19%  92.1  13.3%   62%    35%  121
Davies, Z       NL  1.9   8.5   1.6  39%  37/67%   15%   n/a   9.2%   59%    34%  120
Pomeranz, D     AL  3.0   9.6   1.2  47%  29/84%   13%  91.2  12.3%   60%    34%  117
Maeda, K        NL  2.7   9.5   2.0  40%  27/76%   23%  90.0  12.0%   58%    39%  116
deGrom, J       NL  2.1   8.3   1.5  44%  37/76%   17%  94.3  11.8%   72%    31%  115
Finnegan, B     NL  3.1   9.9   1.2  43%  23/81%   14%  91.8  12.3%   65%    36%  115
Musgrove, J     AL  1.6   7.5   1.6  43%  34/67%   16%  91.8   8.4%   59%    35%  114
Miley, W        AL  2.5   8.7   1.9  47%  39/60%   23%  90.2   8.2%   60%    37%  114
Santana, E      AL  2.7   9.3   0.7  40%  26/72%    8%  92.9  13.4%   58%    39%  114
Hendricks, K    NL  1.5   7.7   0.9  38%  21/93%   11%  89.6  11.0%   68%    35%  114
Taillon, J      NL  2.0   7.6   0.9  52%  27/73%   13%  94.2   8.7%   67%    35%  111
Cueto, J        NL  2.0   7.8   1.5  46%  31/70%   16%  91.7   8.3%   68%    33%  111
Anderson, T     NL  3.1   9.2   1.5  49%  25/76%   20%  90.9  13.2%   62%    33%  109
Fulmer, M       AL  1.1   6.5   1.1  42%  26/72%   13%  94.9   8.1%   60%    37%  107
Hamels, C       AL  3.2   8.9   0.5  55%  32/75%    6%  91.1  11.8%   60%    34%  106
Rodon, C        AL  2.1   7.6   0.3  46%  28/87%    4%  93.9  10.4%   48%    39%  106
Green, C        AL  3.1   9.7   1.8  34%  34/84%   16%  95.0  11.4%   68%    37%  104
Duffy, D        AL  1.9   8.2   1.1  29%  25/81%    9%  94.1  12.6%   63%    33%  103
Tomlin, J       AL  2.0   7.1   3.4  52%  41/43%   32%  88.1   7.9%   68%    35%  102
Gray, Jon       NL  4.3  11.2   0.6  40%  40/59%    8%  95.1  11.5%   57%    36%  102
Koehler, T      NL  2.5   8.0   1.3  46%  32/79%   13%  91.9  10.5%   63%    36%  100
*min 20 IP

Let's take a closer look at many noteworthy skill performances in August, while putting our usual focus on buying opportunities for guys who could be available in deep leagues.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Matt Andriese (RHP, TAM) posted an ugly 7.76 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in August. But those marks were the result of a trifecta of terrible luck: 39% H%, 57% S%, 22% hr/f. His base skills were actually some of the best in the game: 9.9 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 40% GB%, 155 BPV. His command sub-indicators supported his elite command too: 10.8% SwK%, 67% FpK%, 33% ball%. He's a sneaky target for owners needing to speculate on SP down the stretch.

Chris Archer (RHP, TAM) completely returned to his prior ace form in August, both on the surface (3.03 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) and beneath it: 10.9 Dom, 2.1 Ctl, 56% GB%, 174 BPV. His 12.4% SwK% confirms that his double-digit strikeout rate is legit, and his monthly BPV trend over the last four months puts him in line for a big September: 76, 126, 153, 174.

Carlos Carrasco (RHP, CLE) put up a rough 5+ ERA in August. But you can blame a 39% H%, 63% S%, and 18% hr/f for that. Carrasco's skills that month were the second-best in MLB: 11.4 Dom, 1.2 Ctl, 43% GB%, 192 BPV. His command sub-indicators were excellent too: 13.0% SwK%, 64% FpK%, 33% ball%. Carrasco stands a great shot at having another huge September.

Tyler Duffey (RHP, MIN) lost his rotation spot after posting an ugly 6.66 ERA in August. While most owners will continue to avoid him, he still carries some skill upside that isn't evident in his surface stats. Check out his near-elite skills in August: 9.1 Dom, 2.1 Ctl, 44% GB%, 129 BPV. A 32% H%, 52% S%, and 24% hr/f all conspired to torpedo his surface stats. Duffey could be a high-risk, high-reward flyer worth taking once he's recalled from the minors.

Collin McHugh (RHP, HOU) is another SP who didn't look good at all in August, at least on the surface (5.01 ERA, 1.48 WHIP). He also was victimized by some bad regressive indicators: 37% H%, 29% hr/f. His base skills were some of the best in the AL: 9.7 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 40% GB%, 140 BPV. And his command sub-indicators were just as good: 11.1% SwK%, 73% FpK%, 34% ball%. He's a good buy-low target if you can get him before your trade deadline.

Joe Musgrove (RHP, HOU) is another HOU SP who struggled on the surface in August (5.02 ERA) while putting up some intriguing skills: 7.5 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 43% GB%, 114 BPV. Just keep in mind that his so-so 59% FpK% and 35% ball% don't support the level of control he showed, and without impactful swing-and-miss stuff (8.4% SwK%), he'll be a risky play in September.

C.C. Sabathia (LHP, NYY) had a 5.35 ERA in August, but behind that mark were some impressive skills: 10.7 Dom, 3.4 Ctl, 54% GB%, 133 BPV. His skills over the last three months are surging: 26, 58, 133 BPV. And his four-seam fastball velocity is +3 mph from the beginning of the season. He could deliver a nice push to rotations in deep leagues down the stretch.

Marcus Stroman (RHP, TOR) posted the best skills of any SP in August, including a premium collection of strikeouts and groundballs: 11.1 Dom, 1.4 Ctl, 62% GB%, 201 BPV. A 36% H% and 17% hr/f were the only reasons his ERA stayed above 3.00 for the month.

Josh Tomlin (RHP, CLE) had the second-worst hit rate in MLB during August (41% H%), the lowest strand rate (43% S%), and the second-highest HR per flyball rate (32% hr/f). You can't have a worse combination of regressive indicators than that. Underneath those marks were a solid collection of skills: 7.1 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 52% GB%, 102 BPV. Sure, Tomlin can get hit hard when he doesn't hit his spots, and he also has a corresponding history of struggling with home runs. But if his arm is sound, there's good reason to believe he'll be an asset again in September.

Andrew Triggs (RHP, OAK) quietly was one of the most skilled SP in MLB during the month of August: 8.3 Dom, 0.8 Ctl, 43% GB%, 159 BPV. An 11.3% SwK% confirms that he can miss bats, even in the absence of a prospect pedigree. For the season, Triggs has delivered a 129 BPV that has been kept hidden due to a 33% H% and 65% S%. He's another pitcher who could be an asset down the stretch in very deep leagues.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Anderson (LHP, COL) was very good again in August (3.57 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in 35 IP). And his underlying skills were pretty rosy too: 9.2 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 49% GB%, 109 BPV. As were his command pillars: 13.2% SwK%, 62% FpK%, 33% ball%.  In fact, his swinging strike rate was the highest in the NL that month among pitchers not named Scherzer, Fernandez, or Syndergaard.

Brandon Finnegan (LHP, CIN) looked like a new pitcher in August after struggling for most of the season. Check out his skills that month: 9.9 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 43% GB%, 115 BPV. Those marks were backed by a strong collection of command support: 12.3% SwK%, 65% FpK%. At age 23, Finnegan remains more of a long-term target than someone who consistently will be an asset. But if you need an upside play down the stretch, this could be a place to look.

Jon Gray (RHP, COL) continues to be a work-in-progress. He had rough go of it in August (6.21 ERA, 1.59 WHIP). But the skills under those numbers were more good than bad: 11.2 Dom, 4.3 Ctl, 40% GB%, 102 BPV. A 40% H% and 59% S% both conspired against him. Gray makes for another high-risk, high-reward speculation in September.

Ivan Nova (RHP, PIT) added a lot of value in August (2.87 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). And those marks were paired with excellent skills: 6.3 Dom, 0.3 Ctl, 48% GB%, 132 BPV. While his 6.3 Dom and 8.9% SwK% both suggest he probably won't be a strikeout asset in September, his pinpoint control came with full underlying support (69% FpK%, 30% ball%). And getting out of Yankee Stadium has helped his hr/f regress to a more normal level (11% hr/f in August).

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) has turned the corner in the second half of the season. He was particularly effective in August, both on the surface (2.70 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) and beneath it: 11.4 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 51% GB%, 161 BPV. His high level of strikeouts came with the backing of a 95.0-mph fastball and 12.4% SwK%. And his improved control was supported by a strong 32% ball%. A scan of his three-year Cmd trend vs. RH batters confirms that he hasn't reached his ceiling yet: 1.3, 2.1, 3.0 Cmd. He'll enter 2017 as a breakout target.

Dan Straily (RHP, CIN) remains a risky play due to his struggles with gopheritis and troubles against lefties. That said, his skills in August were intriguing: 8.2 Dom, 1.1 Ctl, 30% GB%, 124 BPV. And they were backed by an 11.2% SwK% and 32% ball%. He can be a very effective pitcher when he keeps the ball in the park.

Vincent Velasquez (RHP, PHI) sabotaged a lot of rotations in August (7.52 ERA, 1.59 WHIP). But those marks were driven by a 40% H%, 59% S%, and 29% hr/f more than anything else. His underlying skills were excellent, save for a steep flyball tilt: 12.3 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 28% GB%, 144 BPV. He's a premium high-risk, high-reward play for September.

Luke Weaver (RHP, STL) was impressive over four starts in his MLB debut during the month of August: 11.1 Dom, 3.0 Ctl, 32% GB%, 130 BPV. Before you plan to ride him in September, note that his command sub-indicators give a pessimistic outlook on his ability to maintain those skills (8.9% SwK%, 52% FpK%, 37% ball%). If you're in a tight race and don't want to carry his risk, consider benching him in September.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.