STARTERS: BPV leaders, June 2016

Let's continue our monthly 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 June 2016, segregated by league:

June 2016 Baselines*

Lg  ERA   WHIP | Ctl  Dom  HR/9  GB% | H%   S%   hr/f | FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball% | BPV
==  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  === | ===  ===  ==== | ====  ====  ====  ===== | ===
AL  4.78  1.41 | 2.9  7.4   1.4  44% | 31%  70%   14% | 92.0  9.3%   60%    36% |  75
NL  4.36  1.31 | 2.8  8.1   1.2  46% | 31%  70%   14% | 92.2  9.6%   62%    36% |  92
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ML  4.57  1.36 | 2.9  7.7   1.3  45% | 31%  70%   14% | 92.1  9.5%   61%    36% |  83
*starting pitchers only

It was a bad month to hold AL starting pitchers. Also note that hr/f rates jumped to 14% in both leagues in June, which likely was the main contributor to the ERA spike in both leagues.

***

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

Here were the most skilled starting pitchers in June:

100+ BPV, June 2016*

Name          Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%   FpK%  Ball%  BPV
============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  =====  ====  =====  ===
Fernandez, J  NL  1.7  14.0   0.3  44%  28/78%    6%  95.0  14.8%   65%    32%  229
Scherzer, M   NL  1.5  12.6   1.1  33%  24/84%   11%  94.5  16.0%   61%    32%  198
deGrom, J     NL  1.4  10.9   0.8  51%  33/81%   14%  93.2   9.4%   62%    36%  188
Pineda, M     AL  2.0  12.3   1.0  42%  30/77%   14%  94.5  15.8%   71%    33%  187
Kershaw, C    NL  1.1  10.5   0.5  46%  32/77%    8%  93.3  17.8%   75%    31%  185
Smyly, D      AL  1.5  11.4   2.7  34%  38/58%   24%  89.9  11.8%   64%    33%  176
Shoemaker, M  AL  1.1   9.6   0.9  41%  33/85%   10%  92.0  15.2%   64%    33%  164
Syndergaa, N  NL  1.8  10.1   0.6  50%  38/70%    9%  98.4  15.9%   67%    30%  162
Lester, J     NL  1.4   8.9   1.0  55%  22/93%   15%  92.2  11.4%   64%    34%  155
Anderson, T   NL  1.9   9.1   0.4  60%  38/80%    8%  90.6  11.1%   66%    33%  151
Ray, R        NL  2.4  10.5   1.1  48%  37/67%   13%  94.0   9.6%   54%    35%  151
Morgan, A     NL  1.3   9.6   2.3  34%  42/68%   18%  91.5  11.1%   60%    35%  151
Duffy, D      AL  2.3  11.3   2.0  30%  27/83%   19%  95.5  14.4%   61%    34%  150
Price, D      AL  1.6   9.3   1.8  45%  33/76%   22%  92.9  12.0%   67%    33%  147
Kluber, C     AL  1.7   9.0   0.2  51%  21/68%    4%  92.4  12.5%   67%    33%  145
Gray, J       NL  2.3   9.9   1.7  52%  24/72%   24%  94.6  12.9%   62%    35%  145
Carrasco, C   AL  2.2   9.4   1.3  56%  29/85%   23%  94.0  12.9%   60%    34%  143
Teheran, J    NL  1.0   8.8   1.4  30%  14/87%   12%  91.5  11.5%   65%    32%  142
Davies, Z     NL  1.9   9.4   1.2  45%  26/77%   14%   n/a   8.8%   64%    36%  140
Paxton, J     AL  2.9  10.6   0.8  48%  44/76%    9%  97.1  12.3%   60%    35%  140
Bumgarner, M  NL  1.5   9.1   1.3  36%  23/83%   13%  90.5  11.7%   67%    34%  139
Urias, J      NL  3.3  11.3   1.2  44%  34/77%   14%  92.7  10.8%   68%    36%  137
Keuchel, D    AL  1.9   8.4   1.4  60%  34/73%   22%  88.6   9.2%   66%    35%  137
Bettis, C     NL  1.8   8.3   1.1  57%  46/65%   21%  92.3   9.9%   73%    35%  135
Norris, B     NL  2.5   8.9   0.0  59%  28/76%    0%  93.9  10.9%   69%    33%  131
Gonzalez, G   NL  3.6  11.4   0.7  48%  43/52%   12%  90.8  11.8%   56%    39%  134
Rodon, C      AL  2.7  10.3   1.5  38%  37/76%   14%  93.8  10.8%   53%    35%  128
Archer, C     AL  3.3  10.7   1.2  45%  35/66%   14%  94.3  12.9%   65%    36%  125
Roark, T      NL  1.8   8.0   0.6  49%  35/73%    8%  92.3   8.8%   67%    34%  124
Sale, C       AL  1.8   8.7   1.8  38%  31/77%   21%   n/a  10.9%   66%    35%  123
Sanchez, A    AL  2.5   8.6   1.1  57%  33/85%   19%  94.4   7.6%   59%    38%  122
Leake, M      NL  0.9   6.4   1.2  54%  36/68%   13%  89.8   4.9%   59%    34%  122
Bauer, T      AL  2.4   8.7   0.4  52%  26/80%    6%  93.0   9.4%   60%    36%  121
Matz, S       NL  2.4   8.8   1.4  48%  41/68%   14%   n/a  11.3%   59%    35%  121
Ventura, Y    AL  1.9   7.8   0.9  53%  34/66%   13%  96.7   9.6%   56%    36%  120
Ross, J       NL  2.5   9.5   1.2  37%  35/64%   17%  92.4  12.8%   56%    33%  120   
Maeda, K      NL  2.8   9.6   0.8  44%  31/82%   10%  90.2  10.9%   63%    35%  119
Verlander, J  AL  1.7   8.4   2.2  35%  29/71%   17%  93.7  10.1%   58%    33%  118
Wainwrigh, A  NL  2.6   9.1   0.0  46%  33/64%    0%  90.5  10.8%   61%    36%  118
Pomeranz, D   NL  3.0   9.9   1.2  42%  29/77%   13%  91.2  11.5%   54%    37%  117
Lackey, J     NL  3.0   9.9   1.0  36%  30/74%   11%  92.1  10.0%   70%    36%  112
Gray, S       AL  1.5   6.5   0.9  57%  31/76%   12%  93.7   7.2%   66%    39%  111
Greinke, Z    NL  1.6   7.2   0.7  46%  25/88%    7%  91.5  11.9%   68%    32%  110
Walker, T     AL  2.0   8.1   1.6  38%  28/81%   14%  93.8  10.1%   66%    37%  110
Porcello, R   AL  1.7   7.4   1.2  45%  31/72%   12%  91.4   7.0%   61%    33%  110
Taillon, J    NL  1.6   6.8   1.3  52%  31/74%   21%  94.3   6.7%   58%    34%  108
Duffey, T     AL  1.7   7.2   2.7  46%  31/55%   31%  90.5   8.8%   61%    34%  107
Manaea, S     AL  2.7   9.0   1.2  41%  30/80%   15%  92.1  15.3%   67%    34%  107
Odorizzi, J   AL  3.6  10.4   2.0  37%  35/71%   17%  91.6   8.7%   50%    36%  106
Arrieta, J    NL  4.8  11.6   0.3  49%  34/73%    5%  94.5  11.6%   57%    40%  105
Hendricks, K  NL  3.3   9.5   1.5  43%  27/89%   17%  89.6   9.5%   66%    34%  104
Fister, D     AL  1.6   6.8   1.4  46%  25/86%   12%  87.1   7.1%   63%    35%  102
Perdomo, L    NL  3.4   8.4   2.1  62%  37/58%   36%  94.1  12.9%   62%    38%  101
Mengden, D    AL  3.2   9.1   1.1  44%  29/81%   14%  91.7  10.3%   62%    36%  100
*min 20 IP

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of noteworthy skill performances in June, while putting our usual focus on buying opportunities in deep leagues.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Trevor Bauer (RHP, CLE) flashed signs of his former top-prospect upside in June (2.01 ERA, 0.94 WHIP). His base skills featured strong command and quite a few groundballs: 8.7 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 52% GB%, 121 BPV. Just note that he was helped a lot by a 26% H%, 80% S%, and 6% hr/f. His command sub-indicators were more average than impactful: 9.4% SwK%, 60% FpK%, 36% ball%. Hold, but expect regression until he can improve some of his underlying peripherals.

Danny Duffy (LHP, KC) produced some very good surface stats in June, and they came with strong underlying backing: 11.3 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 30% GB%, 150 BPV. His elite command was supported by an excellent 14.4% SwK% and solid 34% ball%. With a 4.5+ Cmd against both LH and RH bats and three punchout pitches, Duffy has the tools to continue this run if he can stay healthy.

Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) is a strong SP prospect who tapped into that upside in June. He posted the highest swinging strike rate of any AL SP that month (15.3% SwK%). And he paired it with an elite 67% FpK% and solid 34% ball%. All are numbers that supported the excellent command he posted in June: 9.0 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 41% GB%, 107 BPV. With two offspeed strikeout pitches in his arsenal (20% SwK% on slider, 19% SwK% on changeup), Manaea has the goods to develop into an impact SP. Improving his command against RH bats is the missing piece (2.0 Cmd vs. RH, 5.0 Cmd vs. LH).

Lance McCullers (RHP, HOU) had a good 3.20 ERA in June, but alongside it was a rough 1.66 WHIP. The culprit was a 40% H%. Digging deeper, he showed one of the best combination of strikeouts and groundballs in the game: 10.0 Dom, 4.6 Ctl, 57% GB%, 89 BPV. His strikeouts were supported by a 12.8% SwK%. Throwing a higher volume of strikes (37% ball%) would help him bring down his walks. In the meantime, he's a great bench stash.

Daniel Mengden (RHP, OAK) was very good during his first four MLB starts in June (2.81 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). While those marks were helped by an 81% S%, his skills were pretty good too: 9.1 Dom, 3.2 Ctl, 44% GB%, 100 BPV. He's getting a 14%+ SwK on both his slider and curveball, so he has two solid offspeed pitches at his disposal. But he needs an overhaul against lefties: 7.3 Dom, 5.1 Ctl, 38% GB%. He is filthy against RH bats: 10.8 Dom, 1.4 Ctl, 50% GB%. To avoid his blowup risk, it would be best to sit him against lineups with strong lefty bats.

James Paxton (LHP, SEA) posted a 4+ ERA and 1.67 WHIP in June, but his underlying skills that month suggest he could be in store for a big second half: 10.6 Dom, 2.9 Ctl, 48% GB%, 140 BPV. His average four-seam fastball velocity surged all the way to 97 mph too. And his 12.3% SwK% tells us he knows how to miss bats. Reference the 16%+ SwK% he owns on three of his four primary pitches: 22% SwK% on changeup, 18% SwK% on cutter, 16% SwK% on knuckle-curve. Paxton also has been dominating against RH bats: 11.1 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 48% GB%. There's a ton of stretch-run upside here if Paxton can stay healthy.

Michael Pineda (RHP, NYY) was written off by many owners after a horrible start to the season, but those who held him in June were rewarded with a 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and these elite skills: 12.3 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 42% GB%, 187 BPV. His command sub-indicators were just as good: 15.8% SwK%, 71% FpK%, 33% ball%. Turns out that June was the first month that Pineda wasn't torpedoed by incredibly fluky hit, strand, and hr/f rates: 30% H%, 77% S%, 14% hr/f. The window to buy low on Pineda is closing quickly.

Matt Shoemaker (RHP, LAA) keeps rolling along. He was one of the best SP in MLB during June (2.14 ERA, 1.07 WHIP), and his peripherals provided full support of those marks: 9.6 Dom, 1.1 Ctl, 41% GB%, 164 BPV. His 15.2% SwK% and 33% ball% were some of the best in the game too. Keep riding Shoemaker while his offspeed stuff has hitters guessing.

Drew Smyly (LHP, TAM) put up a rough 6.85 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in June, leading some owners to question whether to keep him as part of their rotations. Those who decide to sell him now likely will regret their decision, as his skills in June were the second-best in the AL: 11.4 Dom, 1.5 Ctl, 34% GB%, 176 BPV. His command sub-indicators were strong too: 11.8% SwK%, 64% FpK%, 33% ball%. A 38% H%, 58% S%, and 24% hr/f all combined to inflate his surface stats.

Yordano Ventura (RHP, KC) finally showed signs in June of being able to turn his season around: 7.8 Dom, 1.9 Ctl, 53% GB%, 120 BPV. Problem is, that pinpoint control didn't have underlying support (56% FpK%, 36% ball%), and he didn't miss bats at a very high rate (9.6% SwK%). You still shouldn't rely on him for much.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Anderson (LHP, COL) is an unheralded lefty with some sneaky value. He was excellent in four starts with COL in June, featuring an enticing combination of strikeouts and groundballs: 9.1 Dom, 1.9 Ctl, 60% GB%, 151 BPV. And his 11.1% SwK%, 66% FpK%, and 33% ball% confirm that he knows how to use his arsenal. He is getting a 20%+ SwK% on both his changeup and two-seamer, which has helped him make up for his 90-mph fastball. Finally healthy after struggling with elbow problems, Anderson makes for an intriguing end-rotation stash in deep leagues.

Chad Bettis (RHP, COL) is another COL hurler with some hidden value. Behind his horrible 6.84 ERA and 1.96 WHIP in June were some excellent skills: 8.3 Dom, 1.8 Ctl, 57% GB%, 135 BPV. He also put up a top-tier 73% FpK% too. An unbelievable 46% H% and 21% hr/f combined to torpedo his surface stats. He's another guy whose likely ride of positive regression could provide some short-term value to you.

Zach Davies (RHP, MIL) generated a nifty 2.89 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in six starts over June, and his base skills were excellent too: 9.4 Dom, 1.9 Ctl, 45% GB%, 140 BPV. Before you keep riding him, note that he doesn't miss bats at a high rate (8.8% SwK% in June), and his 36% ball% suggests that his pinpoint control won't stick. He gets away with a sub-90 mph fastball by using one of the better changeups in the NL (21% SwK% on it). But it's his only true strikeout pitch, so he's someone who could struggle the more that NL lineups see him.

Jon Gray (RHP, COL) finished June with a 3.77 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. His ERA would have been lower if not for a 24% hr/f, as his base skills were some of the best in the NL: 9.9 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 52% GB%, 145 BPV. They were supported by a 12.9% SwK% too. In order to sustain the skill growth he has shown in 2016, Gray will need to add a second strikeout pitch behind his elite slider (25% SwK% on it). Given his elite prospect pedigree, don't dismiss his ability to do so.

Adam Morgan (LHP, PHI) got roughed up in June to the tune of a 6.43 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in five starts. Before you dismiss him completely, note that he was inflicted with a 42% H% and 18% hr/f that month. His base skills showed a lot of promise: 9.6 Dom, 1.3 Ctl, 34% GB%, 151 BPV. And they were supported by a good 11.1% SwK%. With a 20% SwK% on both his slider and changeup, Morgan possesses two strikeout pitches. He's another guy worth a closer look in very deep leagues.

Bud Norris (RHP, LA) quietly put up some shiny surface stats in June (2.15 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). Surprisingly, they were backed by some solid skill support: 8.9 Dom, 2.5 Ctl, 59% GB%, 131 BPV. Of interest is his huge spike in groundballs. He's getting a crazy 81% GB% on his two-seamer after having a near-40% GB% with it the last two seasons; transitioning that pitch to a cut fastball has done the trick. If he can continue that magic, Norris could resurrect his career and become a viable mid-rotation guy again. As it stands now, he's another arm worthy of an end-rotation stash in deep leagues.

Luis Perdomo (RHP, SD) posted a horrible 8.38 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over six appearances in June, including four starts. But those marks were the result of a 38% H%, 58% S%, and 43% hr/f more than anything else. His underlying skills as a SP were good: 8.4 Dom, 3.4 Ctl, 62% GB%, 101 BPV. In fact, he was the only SP in June who combined a 12.0%+ SwK% and 60%+ GB%. With mid-90s heat, a steep groundball tilt, and one of the better curveballs in the NL West (18% SwK% against it), Perdomo is worth keeping on your radar.

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) did not do much in June to garner your attention (4.72 ERA, 1.34 WHIP). But his base skills were extremely attractive: 10.5 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 48% GB%, 151 BPV. A 37% H% was the real reason his surface stats weren't any good. Before you go all-in, note that his 9.6% SwK% didn't support the level of strikeouts he achieved, and his low 54% FpK% suggests he's playing with fire a bit. But at age 24, Ray has shown significant growth this season that isn't obvious from his surface stats.

Joe Ross (RHP, WAS) had a 5+ ERA in June, but underneath that mark were some very good skills: 9.5 Dom, 2.5 Ctl, 37% GB%, 120 BPV. His 12.8% SwK% and 33% ball% both supported the level of command he showed. A 35% H%, 64% S%, and 17% hr/f all worked together to inflate his ERA. With skill growth each month of 2016, now's a good time to start using Ross in spite of the slippage in his surface stats.

Jameson Taillon (RHP, PIT) flashed some of his former top-prospect upside in June (3.86 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 108 BPV). Of interest is his groundball tilt (52% GB%), as maintaining a groundball rate at that level and pairing it with his top-tier raw stuff would help him make an immediate MLB impact. As it stands now, he's still trying to figure out how to get the ball past major league hitters (6.7% SwK%).

 


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