STARTERS: BPV leaders, July 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 July 2016, segregated by league:

July 2016 Baselines*

Lg  ERA   WHIP | Ctl  Dom  HR/9  GB% | H%   S%   hr/f | FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball% | BPV
==  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  === | ===  ===  ==== | ====  ====  ====  ===== | ===
AL  4.28  1.32 | 3.0  7.6   1.3  44% | 30%  72%   13% | 91.8  9.4%   60%    36% |  78
NL  4.23  1.31 | 2.9  7.8   1.2  45% | 31%  71%   13% | 92.5  9.7%   60%    36% |  86
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ML  4.26  1.32 | 2.9  7.7   1.2  45% | 30%  71%   13% | 92.2  9.6%   60%    36% |  82
*starting pitchers only

***

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

Here were the most skilled starting pitchers in July:

100+ BPV, July 2016*

Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%   FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  =====  ====  =====  ===
Leake, M        NL  0.0   9.3   1.2  61%  40/58%   24%  89.4  12.6%   62%    30%  206
Fernandez, J    NL  2.0  13.4   1.5  39%  39/70%   24%  95.4  14.0%   64%    33%  202
Kazmir, S       NL  1.0  10.7   1.3  38%  34/73%   15%  92.2  10.5%   66%    36%  183
Ray, R          NL  3.1  13.5   0.9  46%  41/74%   14%  94.0  11.2%   53%    36%  182
Maeda, K        NL  1.3  10.2   1.3  45%  32/60%   13%  90.3  11.5%   70%    31%  171
Happ, J         AL  2.6  12.1   0.6  40%  28/89%    8%  91.5  12.9%   58%    36%  165
Bumgarner, M    NL  1.8  11.0   0.8  35%  27/86%    8%  90.4  13.3%   62%    32%  164
Manaea, S       AL  1.0   9.1   1.0  46%  35/79%   13%  92.4  12.5%   65%    32%  160
Stroman, M      AL  1.1   7.9   1.3  66%  29/71%   26%  92.8   9.5%   60%    34%  159
Boyd, M         AL  1.8  10.2   1.3  40%  28/88%   14%  90.8   8.5%   58%    36%  153
Archer, C       AL  2.3  10.7   1.1  43%  29/72%   13%  94.4  13.7%   54%    37%  153
McCullers, L    AL  4.5  13.1   0.6  59%  36/87%   13%  94.3  13.0%   53%    37%  151
Norris, B       NL  2.3  10.4   1.3  41%  32/68%   13%  94.0  10.7%   64%    35%  144
Scherzer, M     NL  2.1  10.3   0.5  35%  26/89%    5%  94.6  14.8%   60%    32%  142
deGrom, Jacob   NL  1.7   9.1   1.1  45%  27/85%   14%  93.8   9.8%   57%    35%  141
Cueto, J        NL  2.0   9.3   1.1  46%  33/77%   11%  92.1   9.2%   68%    34%  138
McCarthy, B     NL  3.1  11.3   0.7  39%  21/75%    8%  93.2   9.9%   66%    34%  137
Salazar, D      AL  2.5   9.4   1.6  55%  39/65%   20%  94.4   8.8%   54%    35%  136
Verlander, J    AL  2.5  10.1   0.2  43%  26/81%    3%  94.1  13.1%   66%    33%  135
DeSclafani, A   NL  1.4   8.8   1.2  35%  33/72%   11%  92.9  10.5%   58%    37%  133
Tomlin, J       AL  1.7   8.9   2.0  41%  31/81%   22%  87.5   8.6%   70%    31%  133
Sanchez, A      AL  3.5  12.0   0.9  35%  49/53%   11%  91.2  10.7%   66%    35%  133
Price, D        AL  1.5   7.9   0.3  52%  37/78%    5%  93.8  10.5%   65%    32%  131
Wainwright, A   NL  1.5   7.8   0.3  52%  32/84%    4%  89.3   8.3%   54%    38%  129
Kennedy, I      AL  2.8  10.5   1.9  37%  32/69%   20%  92.2  10.2%   59%    38%  129
Syndergaard, N  NL  3.1  10.7   0.6  40%  38/85%    9%  97.7  13.6%   63%    35%  128
Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%   FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  =====  ====  =====  ===
Duffy, D        AL  1.6   8.2   0.5  45%  31/71%    6%  94.6   8.4%   60%    33%  128
Gausman, K      AL  2.6   9.8   2.3  43%  35/76%   23%  95.0  11.8%   58%    34%  126
Nola, A         NL  3.2   9.9   0.5  54%  38/54%    6%  89.7  10.7%   55%    36%  125
Cashner, A      NL  2.2   9.2   2.2  38%  27/76%   22%  94.3  10.2%   57%    36%  121
Pineda, M       AL  3.6  10.5   1.5  50%  30/67%   20%  94.6  15.1%   69%    36%  120
Gibson, K       AL  2.0   8.0   1.1  52%  33/75%   18%  91.5   9.8%   60%    37%  120
Wacha, M        NL  2.0   7.8   1.6  52%  36/78%   20%  93.0   8.7%   58%    35%  118
Pomeranz, D     AL  2.5   8.9   1.3  47%  29/69%   14%  91.0   9.3%   49%    39%  117
Kluber, C       AL  2.8   9.7   0.8  37%  31/83%    9%  91.9  12.7%   62%    35%  115
Peavy, J        NL  2.4   9.4   2.1  29%  28/60%   15%  88.9   9.8%   63%    36%  110
Anderson, T     NL  1.5   6.5   0.9  53%  32/71%   11%  90.4   8.9%   59%    33%  109
Odorizzi, J     AL  1.2   7.3   0.9  31%  32/71%    7%  91.7   9.8%   61%    34%  108
McHugh, C       AL  3.6  10.3   0.7  40%  43/68%    8%  90.1  10.5%   68%    33%  107
Fulmer, M       AL  1.6   6.4   0.8  57%  25/76%   13%  95.1  11.8%   62%    31%  107
Nova, I         AL  2.9   8.7   1.9  49%  27/79%   23%  92.7  11.0%   57%    38%  106
Foltynewicz, M  NL  2.4   8.2   1.8  43%  32/69%   17%  95.8  11.1%   62%    33%  106
Hammel, J       NL  2.7   9.0   2.7  38%  25/67%   24%  92.2  11.1%   55%    36%  105
Hendricks, K    NL  2.3   7.3   0.4  57%  29/92%    5%  89.8  11.3%   66%    35%  105
Shoemaker, M    AL  1.7   7.5   0.6  39%  33/65%    5%  91.2  11.9%   75%    33%  105
Porcello, R     AL  0.8   5.7   0.3  45%  29/74%    3%  91.6   7.8%   70%    29%  104
Eickhoff, J     NL  1.8   7.3   0.8  42%  30/61%    7%  90.8   9.4%   58%    35%  103
Arrieta, J      NL  2.6   8.0   1.2  51%  30/62%   15%  93.9   9.8%   59%    34%  103
Strasburg, S    NL  3.1   9.6   0.8  36%  17/79%    8%  94.8  10.3%   63%    35%  103
Ventura, Y      AL  2.1   7.0   1.8  55%  24/65%   27%  95.8  11.1%   58%    38%  102
Perdomo, L      AL  1.2   5.2   0.6  61%  34/71%    9%  93.5   7.5%   65%    32%  100
*min 20 IP

Let's take a closer look at 25 noteworthy skill performances in July, while putting our usual focus on buying opportunities for guys who could be available in deep leagues.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Danny Duffy (LHP, KC) carried his resurgence into July (3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). And those marks received full backing from his underlying skills: 8.2 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 45% GB%, 128 BPV. Just keep in mind that his mediocre 8.4% SwK% suggests his strikeouts should have been lower. On the flip side, his 33% ball% gives good backing to his pinpoint control. No reason to sell high here yet.

Kevin Gausman (RHP, BAL) had a rough July, at least on the surface (4.88 ERA, 1.45 WHIP). His underlying skills were much more optimistic: 9.8 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 43% GB%, 126 BPV. His bad surface stats were the product of a 35% H% and 23% hr/f. Interestingly, two of Gausman's command sub-indicators took a nice step forward in July (11.8% SwK%, 34% ball%), giving hope that he might be able to sustain this skill flash.

Kyle Gibson (RHP, MIN) started to resemble in July the pitcher who carried nice breakout potential coming out of spring training before he got hurt: 8.0 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 52% GB%, 120 BPV. He also missed bats at a solid rate (9.8% SwK%). If he can stay healthy, Gibson's combination of strikeouts and groundballs makes him worth a look again in deep leagues.

J.A. Happ (LHP, TOR) posted the best skills in July of any SP in the AL with at least 20 IP: 12.1 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 40% GB%, 165 BPV. Before you dismiss them, note that his 12.9% SwK% gives full support to his double-digit Dom. He generates a very high rate of swings-and-misses on his four-seam fastball. If Happ can continue to use that pitch to keep hitters off balance, he could produce another stretch like we saw from him late in 2015 (193 BPV in September 2015).

Ian Kennedy (RHP, KC) had a near-5 ERA in July, but that mark was the result of a 20% hr/f. His skill foundation was rock solid: 10.5 Dom, 2.8 Ctl, 37% GB%, 129 BPV. Kennedy's risk comes from his periodic gopheritis, which is partly a function of his lack of a groundball pitch. His 38% ball% puts his control at risk, too. If you can stomach some of Kennedy's blowup risk, his skills are well worth employing.

Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) started to fulfill his upside in July (3.04 ERA, 1.16 WHIP). And those marks came with full underlying support: 9.1 Dom, 1.0 Ctl, 46% GB%, 160 BPV. His elite command was backed by similarly elite command sub-indicators: 12.5% SwK%, 65% FpK%, 32% ball%. Keep riding him.

Lance McCullers (RHP, HOU) arguably was the most electric SP in MLB during the month of July. He paired an elite strikeout rate (13.1 Dom) with a high groundball rate (59% GB%). Those pillars helped him to achieve a 151 BPV in spite of shaky control (4.5 Ctl). The next step for McCullers is to get strike one at a higher rate (53% FpK%) and throw a higher volume of strikes (37% ball%).

Ivan Nova (RHP, NYY) produced some decent value in July (3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP). His underlying skills were good, too, and featured both strikeouts and groundballs: 8.7 Dom, 2.9 Ctl, 49% GB%, 106 BPV. His 11.0% SwK% confirms that his strikeout rate was legit. A 1.9 HR/9 was the reason his ERA stayed around 4.00. If Nova gets traded to a pitcher-friendly park, he could provide some sneaky value over the final two months.

Drew Pomeranz (LHP, BOS) posted some underwhelming surface stats in July (4.13 ERA), but his overall base skills were good (117 BPV). Problem is, two of his command sub-indicators suggest his recent slide after his trade with BOS is likely to continue: 49% FpK%, 39% ball%. He is falling behind hitters early in counts and throwing a lot of balls. That control risk gives him a lot more blowup potential than he had in SD, especially now that he's in the AL East.

Anibal Sanchez (RHP, DET) only made four starts in July, but his skills looked rejuvenated in them: 12.0 Dom, 3.5 Ctl, 35% GB%, 133 BPV. His underlying 10.7% SwK% and 66% FpK% gives support for his resurgent strikeout rate and solid command. The combination of a crazy 49% H% and 53% S% were the reasons for his 8.41 ERA and 1.87 WHIP during his July starts. If his arm is sound, Sanchez is a high-upside speculation down the stretch.

Marcus Stroman (RHP, TOR) flashed his elite groundball profile in July (66% GB%), helping him produce some of the best skills in the AL that month: 7.9 Dom, 1.1 Ctl, 66% GB%, 159 BPV. His 3.71 ERA in July would have been lower if not for an inflated 26% hr/f.

Josh Tomlin (RHP, CLE) is one of the top strike-throwers in MLB (31% ball% in July), and his ability to get the count in his favor quickly (70% FpK% in July) helps him to generate elite command (5.2 Cmd in July) and a lot of soft contact. He'll probably always struggle with gopheritis given his lack of a groundball pitch and soft stuff, but with pinpoint control, most of those HR have been solo shots. No reason to jump ship here.

Justin Verlander (RHP, DET) resembled the Verlander of old in July: 10.1 Dom, 2.5 Ctl, 43% GB%, 135 BPV. His four-seam fastball was a strong 94.1 mph that month, he induced swings-and-misses at an elite clip (13.1% SwK%), and he threw plenty of strikes (33% ball%). A 26% H%, 81% S%, and 3% hr/f were the reasons for his sub-2 ERA that month, but those favorable indicators aside, he's still shaping up for a big second half.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Anderson (LHP, COL) quietly had a nice July, both on the surface (3.86 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) and beneath it: 6.5 Dom, 1.5 Ctl, 53% GB%, 109 BPV. His so-so 8.9% SwK% doesn't support a much higher strikeout rate than what he is showing, but his ability to pound the strike zone (33% ball%) should keep his walks from surging, making him a good end-rotation target in deep leagues.

Andrew Cashner (RHP, MIA) posted a rough 4.18 ERA in July, but underneath that mark were some very interesting skills: 9.2 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 38% GB%, 121 BPV. He's a pitcher who excels when he pitches up in the zone, but when he does that, his groundball rate falls and he is prone to gopheritis (2.2 HR/9 in July). The key for Cashner down the stretch will be staying healthy and regaining the touch on his changeup (4.7% SwK% with it in '16 vs. 12.2% SwK% on it in '15).

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) showed over six starts in July why he was an elite end-game target in the spring: 8.8 Dom, 1.4 Ctl, 35% GB%, 133 BPV. His 58% FpK% and 37% ball% suggest his pinpoint control in July was a fluke, but his 10.5% SwK% is an indication that his strong strikeout rate can stick. Given the intriguing skills DeSclafani flashed late in '15, his strong July makes him a very good speculation again.

Jerad Eickhoff (RHP, PHI) was hit hard in July, at least on the surface (4.50 ERA). But a deeper look reveals a collection of skills that continue to be roster-worthy: 7.3 Dom, 1.8 Ctl, 42% GB%, 103 BPV. A 61% S% was the main reason for his ERA spike. Eickhoff remains a solid mid-rotation play.

Mike Foltynewicz (RHP, ATL) has shown sustained signs in 2016 of being able to translate his good raw stuff into skills. In spite of a 4.99 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in July, Foltynewicz posted an impressive collection of skills: 8.2 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 43% GB%, 106 BPV. Even more impressive was his 11.1% SwK% and 33% ball%, a reflection of both his stuff and improving volume of strikes. In addition to his mid-90s fastball that has been highly regarded by scouts, Foltynewicz is getting a 10%+ SwK% on four additional pitches. His bad stats in July was the result of an inflated 17% hr/f more than a lack of skills. The window to buy low on him could close quickly.

Scott Kazmir (LHP, LA) surprisingly posted the third-best skills in MLB during July: 10.7 Dom, 1.0 Ctl, 38% GB%, 183 BPV. His 3.58 ERA that month would have been better if not for a 34% H% and 15% hr/f. With a 3.79 xERA for the season that is much lower than his 4.41 ERA, Kazmir is a good stretch-run value play.

Mike Leake (RHP, STL) was the most-skilled SP in MLB during the month of July. His surge was the result of an amazing 31/0 K/BB in 31 IP, along with an extreme groundball rate (61% GB%). His excellent command was backed by a similarly strong 12.6% SwK% and top-tier 30% ball%. Leake's surface stats (4.68 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) weren't as shiny, mainly due to an inflated 42% H% and elevated 15% hr/f. With his monthly BPV trend (63, 89, 122, 206), now's the time to use Leake.

Kenta Maeda (RHP, LA) looked like a rotation anchor in July, even if it didn't seem to be the case on the surface (4.61 ERA). His skills were some of the best in MLB: 10.2 Dom, 1.3 Ctl, 45% GB%, 171 BPV. And his elite command came with the backing of an elite 11.5% SwK%, 70% FpK%, and 31% ball%. Keep riding him.

Brandon McCarthy (RHP, LA) returned from the disabled list in July and found his stride very quickly: 11.3 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 39% GB%, 137 BPV. He got strikes early (66% FpK%) and often (34% ball%). A 21% H% made his stats (2.39 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) better than they should have been, but a healthy McCarthy can still provide good mid-rotation value over the final two months.

Bud Norris (RHP, LA) is a former end-rotation play in deep leagues whose recent surge has made him a mid-rotation option in shallower formats. Norris was one of the most skilled SP in MLB during July: 10.4 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 41% GB%, 144 BPV. His command was supported by a 10.7% SwK%, 64% FpK%, and 35% ball%. Credit increased usage of his cutter for his skill gains. Until hitters adjust, Norris makes for a solid stretch-run target.

Luis Perdomo (RHP, SD) quietly posted a sub-4 ERA in July in spite of a very low strikeout rate (5.2 Dom). While his 7.5% SwK% suggests his strikeouts will be a work-in-progress, his extreme groundball profile (61% FpK%) and solid 65% FpK%/32% ball% combination tell us he can have more value than most owners will realize. He remains a good end-rotation speculation in deep leagues.

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) put up the fourth-best skills in MLB during the month of July: 13.5 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 45% GB%, 181 BPV. He had an elite 14.0% SwK% and got ahead of hitters at a high rate (65% FpK%). He gets a lot of swings-and-misses on his 94 mph fastball, he has a very good slider (19% SwK%), and he's getting twice as many swinging strikes on his changeup than he did in '15. Sustaining the control he showed in July will allow Ray to sustain his elite flashes.


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