STARTERS: Young targets, May 2017

Young starting pitchers often are risky investments. But when they carry a sturdy skill foundation, they can turn into very attractive targets, especially for those in keeper leagues.

Here are the starting pitchers age 28 or under who have posted the best skills so far in 2017:

75+ BPV, Age 28 or Under*

Name        Age  Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball%  BPV
=========== ===  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  =====  ===
Synderga,N   24  NL  0.7  10.5   0.0  58%  39/67%    0%  98.7   14%   57%    33%  208
Sale,C       28  AL  1.7  12.5   0.6  39%  28/74%    8%  95.0   16%   66%    32%  194
Wood,A       26  NL  2.9  11.5   0.2  67%  35/81%    6%   n/a   12%   64%    34%  174
Pineda,M     28  AL  1.5  10.2   1.8  51%  29/80%   23%  93.7   14%   69%    32%  172
Bumgarner,M  27  NL  1.3   9.3   0.7  46%  32/74%    7%  92.1   11%   65%    32%  156
Severino,L   23  AL  2.3  10.0   1.2  51%  28/76%   17%  97.2   11%   61%    36%  147
McCullers,L  23  AL  2.6   9.9   0.8  61%  28/81%   17%  94.4   12%   57%    37%  146
Paxton,J     28  AL  2.6  10.8   0.0  40%  30/84%    0%  95.9   14%   66%    36%  140
Berrios,J    23  AL  1.7   9.1   1.3  36%  12/89%   12%  93.8   11%   66%    34%  134
Salazar,D    27  AL  4.4  13.2   2.1  36%  37/70%   24%  95.0   16%   57%    37%  133
Porcello,R   28  AL  1.7   9.0   1.5  39%  37/75%   13%  91.9   11%   68%    32%  132
Perdomo,L    24  NL  2.7   8.7   0.7  69%  38/60%   17%  94.6   10%   66%    35%  132
Bauer,T      26  AL  3.2  10.6   2.0  43%  34/60%   22%  93.7    9%   55%    39%  124
Gray,S       27  AL  2.4   8.5   1.2  59%  27/75%   18%  93.3   11%   63%    36%  124
Archer,C     28  AL  3.3  10.7   0.8  41%  32/71%   10%  95.2   13%   60%    37%  122
Ross,J       24  NL  1.5   7.6   2.3  43%  29/65%   23%  91.9    9%   62%    34%  117
Strasburg,S  28  NL  2.5   8.8   0.6  48%  29/71%    7%  95.6   11%   62%    32%  115
Cole,G       26  NL  1.9   7.6   1.3  49%  28/77%   14%  96.1   10%   68%    33%  112
Martinez,C   25  NL  3.4   9.7   1.1  52%  27/76%   15%  96.2   11%   59%    34%  112
Pomeranz,D   28  AL  3.8  10.7   1.7  39%  35/71%   17%  91.3    9%   60%    38%  106
Anderson,T   27  NL  3.0   9.2   2.1  42%  32/63%   26%  92.0   12%   66%    35%  105
Fulmer,M     24  AL  2.1   7.5   0.6  48%  28/79%    8%  95.2   10%   64%    36%  105
Skaggs,T     25  AL  2.8   8.9   0.9  40%  32/71%   10%  91.5   10%   65%    33%  103
Ramirez,J    28  AL  2.0   7.5   1.3  44%  27/72%   16%  96.4   10%   62%    35%  103
Wacha,M      26  NL  2.5   8.2   0.8  43%  29/80%   11%  94.4   10%   60%    36%  101
Stroman,M    26  AL  2.7   7.3   0.9  61%  33/79%   15%  93.8    9%   58%    36%   97
Rodriguez,E  24  AL  3.4   9.9   0.9  31%  27/76%    9%  93.4   12%   59%    36%   97
Odorizzi,J   27  AL  2.1   7.7   1.7  34%  21/79%   17%  91.8   12%   59%    36%   95
Miranda,A    28  AL  3.0   8.8   1.7  40%  29/73%   14%  92.2   10%   65%    37%   95
Corbin,P     27  NL  2.5   7.4   1.6  49%  33/75%   17%  92.3   10%   61%    36%   92
Triggs,A     28  AL  2.6   7.3   0.5  51%  28/77%    6%  88.3   11%   56%    39%   90
Nelson,J     28  NL  2.9   8.0   1.1  45%  33/73%   12%  94.2    9%   60%    33%   88
Nola,A       24  NL  3.1   7.8   0.4  54%  34/74%    6%  92.5   12%   59%    35%   88
Manaea,S     25  AL  4.5   9.7   0.8  55%  26/55%   11%  92.0   14%   55%    40%   87
Walker,T     24  NL  3.1   8.0   0.7  50%  31/75%    8%  93.5   10%   53%    38%   87
Andriese,M   27  AL  3.4   8.4   1.6  47%  29/79%   19%  92.2   10%   62%    35%   85
Ray,R        25  NL  4.9  11.0   1.2  41%  29/75%   15%  93.7   13%   60%    41%   84
Tanaka,M     28  AL  2.8   7.3   2.4  50%  34/66%   25%  91.2   13%   63%    33%   83
Eickhoff,J   26  NL  3.1   8.2   1.1  39%  34/69%    9%  90.8    8%   54%    38%   79
Quintana,J   28  AL  3.5   8.8   1.0  38%  30/64%   10%  91.8    8%   69%    37%   79
Taillon,J    25  NL  3.3   7.6   1.0  53%  30/79%   17%  95.2    9%   59%    37%   79
Hendricks,K  27  NL  3.1   7.4   1.2  50%  26/78%   15%  86.0    8%   61%    38%   77
Velasquez,V  25  NL  4.1   9.3   1.9  44%  30/62%   21%  94.3   10%   64%    34%   77
Godley,Z     27  NL  3.5   7.0   0.7  65%  23/80%   14%  91.2   14%   65%    37%   75
*min 20 IP

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) has flashed his former top-prospect upside in his first three starts with MIN in 2017 (22/4 K/BB in 21 IP). Sure, his tiny 1.66 ERA and 0.55 WHIP are headed up, as we can't bank on his 12% H% or 89% S% lasting long. But his skills have been excellent (134 BPV), he's missing bats (11% SwK%), and attacking hitters early (66% FpK%).

Sonny Gray (RHP, OAK) has turned his career around so far in 2017. He owns a 3.34 ERA and 1.08 WHIP after five starts. And those marks aren't flukes. Check out his skill base: 8.5 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 59% GB%, 124 BPV. He's also missing bats at a nice clip (11% SwK%). Gray has transformed himself into an attractive target again.

Jordan Montgomery (LHP, NYY) does not have the pedigree of a top prospect. And after eight starts, his 4.30 ERA is another reason to be pessimistic. Especially given his mediocre aggregate skills (70 BPV). But keep in mind that his command sub-indicators have been superb (13% SwK%, 65% FpK%, 33% ball%). He's someone who could go on a nice run soon.

James Paxton (LHP, SEA) has been out with a forearm strain. Before he hit the DL, he was showing multiple signs of fulfilling his pre-season breakout potential: 1.43 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 141 BPV. His 14% SwK% and 66% FpK% support his upper-tier skills too. He remains a good hold.

Michael Pineda (RHP, NYY) has posted good surface stats (3.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) and excellent skills (172 BPV) in the early part of 2017. While he's still getting the ball barrelled against him quite often (23% hr/f), his pinpoint control has limited that damage (1.5 Ctl), and it's a mark that has full support from his 69% FpK% and 32% ball%. No reason to sell high here.

Luis Severino (RHP, NYY) entered the 2017 season as a post-hype prospect who wasn't getting a lot of attention in many drafts. After nearly two months into 2017, few young pitchers have looked better than Severino. He has a strong 3.11 ERA and 1.05 WHIP after nine starts, and his skills are some of the best of any young SP in MLB: 10.0 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 51% GB%, 147 BPV. He also owns one of the highest fastball velocities in MLB (97.2 mph).
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Anderson (LHP, COL) has been touted as a premium buy-low target for most of the season. With a 6.00 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, you might question why that's the case. A glance at his skill foundation explains why: 9.2 Dom, 3.0 Ctl, 42% GB%, 105 BPV. His 12% SwK% and 66% FpK% give full backing to his strong command. The window to buy low on Anderson will close quickly.

Zack Godley (RHP, ARI) can be viewed as a mixed bag. His surface stats are great (2.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). His skills are not (75 BPV). But those skills carry more upside than you might realize due to his elite 14% SwK% and strong 65% FpK%. With an extreme groundball tilt (65% GB%) and ability to miss tons of bats, Godley makes for a really interesting stash.

Luis Perdomo (RHP, SD) owns an ugly 5.79 ERA and 1.50 WHIP after seven starts, including one recent clunker. Before you dump or avoid him, note that his base skills have been excellent (132 BPV). He's another young pitcher who has combined swing-and-miss stuff with an elite groundball tilt (69% GB%). A 38% H%, 60% S%, and 17% hr/f are the real reasons for his surface struggles. Stick with him.

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) has been avoided in many leagues due to his inconsistency. His main issue continues to be control. His 4.9 Ctl is the result of throwing a low volume of strikes (41% ball%). His stuff remains very good (13% SwK%). He'll remain a volatile investment with a very high ceiling until he can curb his wildness.

Alex Wood (LHP, LA) owns the third-best skills in MLB among SP age 28 or under: 11.5 Dom, 2.9 Ctl, 67% GB%, 174 BPV. His extremely high GB% and excellent command sub-indicators (12% SwK%, 64% FpK%, 34% ball%) are fueling his strong skill base. While Wood carries injury risk, his elite skills make him a very attractive target.


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