The start to the second half has largely been a mess for head-to-head pitching. While some of the elite names continue to be at the top of the list, there are a fair amount of names that are not just new to the leader board, but have seemingly just come out of nowhere. It definitely happens though as we get to this point in the season. Players that get hot are key pieces to the playoff puzzle! After all, many trading deadlines are coming up or have passed. When that is no longer an option, finding pitchers that can be additive to a staff over the wire is incredibly important.
All numbers below are for the last 30 days and through games on August 1st. Check out what you need to know and see how it can help your squad push through August.
- It is easy to understand why David Price and Felix Hernandez are sitting at the top of the list. Both are looking at ERAâ€™s well below 2.00 with sub-1.00 WHIP marks. They may not have as many wins as some on the list, but the production in three other categories (including strikeouts) more than offsets that potential shortfall.
- Good to see Jered Weaver back and ready to go in the elite pitching ranks, but his strikeout numbers have drastically fallen off. Weaver has five wins over the last 30 days, which is huge, but just 24 strikeouts. Since this is largely the only category over which a pitcher has ultimate control, Weaver could fall off from this list over the next few weeks. Not that he is a guy to dump, but one that may fall outside the top-15.
- Who is the first surprise on the list? What about seeing Doug Fister in the top-five followed by Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen inside the top-20? Fister was a strong pitcher last season and his four wins this month more than push him to his current spot. Add in 33 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP and you can see a guy that has made a substantial move. Chen is different. He has a 3.68 ERA over the last 30 days and just two wins, but his 32 strikeouts and 1.13 WHIP are among the best in baseball.
- Look, I think the R.A. Dickey thing was an awesome story through the first half of the season. That said, this is the risk we run in trusting a guy that has at least some significant reliance on a knuckleball. Forgetting his one-inning outing against the Dodgers, Dickey has given up four or more earned runs in three of his last five. His WHIP over July was 1.51 and his ERA well over 5.00. Dickey could get back on track, but his value has taken a major hit for head-to-head owners.
- Arizona was unable to make a move for a major player at the deadline, but their pitching has been strong of late. Both Wade Miley and Ian Kennedy are inside the top-20 over the last 30 days. Kennedy is still pulling owners back thanks to an ERA over 4.00, but his three wins and 1.17 WHIP to go with 32 strikeouts add plenty of points to his HVaC total. Miley has been near the top of the ranks the last few times out. He continues to provide balance across all categories.
- Paul Maholm is tops on this list to regress. His value is propped up simply because of the win totals and an absurdly low ERA for the lefty. Maholm has won his last five decisions overall and has not allowed more than one earned run in his last six starts. Great run, but his inability to generate strikeouts means owners will need to hope that a pitcher with a career 4.31 ERA can keep this pace upâ€¦
- Expect to see Jason Vargas (26, rank due to five wins), Tommy Milone (29, propped up by strikeouts), Hiroki Kuroda (21), and Ross Detwiler (40) to fall back in the next version of these snapshots. There are just too many low numbers that have not been sustained over a season or career to see continued added value from these four in this manner.
- Given what we have seen of late, Clay Buchholz (48), Jarrod Parker (56), C.J. Wilson (62), Matt Cain (63), and Trevor Cahill (51) to rebound. Buchholz has seen low strikeout numbers of late but is pitching well. Cahillâ€™s issues have been home/road splits. Just a bad stretch of starts as a result. Cain and Wilson will be just fine.
Here is the rest of the Top-50 for the month of July.