With another month in the books, looking at pitching leaders is vitally important. Only a week remains until the unofficial second half of the season and any edge for head to head owners can mean winning a category and potentially taking down a key win. That remains to me the great thing about head-to-head leagues â€“ owners are always in it. A 10-0 win can immediately thrust someone that was thought to be out of it right back into a race.
Pitching is rarely a primary focus in this format because of the luck involved with any given week. Matchups can make a tier-two pitcher irrelevant because of bad luck against an opponent. Wins are hard to come by and harder to predict. All that said, there remains a fair amount of consistency in the top pitchers. The top-50 for June contains the best of the best, but it may be in a different place than many might expect.
Take a look at what you need to know and who added the most value in June according to the HVaC scale. Need a primer on the HVaC? Click here.
All stats through games on Monday, July 2nd.
- First piece to note: there are only two closers inside the top-50. Why does this continue to be the case? Over a four week stretch, the most saves seen by any single player was eight. That equates to two saves a week. In all likelihood, that is probably four innings per week at best. While Craig Kimbrel is the best in the game right now, his impact is minimal as he does not pitch enough to even equate to one superb start. A bad game by your number four starter erases all but the save figure.
- Mat Latos may be frustrating, but he has three wins and a 0.93 WHIP over the last 30 days. Those numbers put him at number 13 overall on this list, ahead of Felix Hernandez (fewer wins AND strikeouts, worse WHIP), Clayton Kershaw (fewer wins, worse WHIP), and Yu Darvish (killin head-to-head owners with his WHIP and ERA).
- Two players that many were ready to write off have squeaked into the top-30 this month. Ubaldo Jimenez seems to have regained some form and his control has resulted in a 2.93 ERA and 36 strikeouts. The figure puts him at number 26 overall. A.J. Burnett seems primed to drop from this portion of the list as he is being carried their by virtue of five wins over the last month. Strikeout numbers have not been great for him and his 1.23 WHIP is concerning.
- Second closer in the top-50? How about Tom Wilhemsen. His seven saves and 0.00 ERA are more than worthy of being on the board here. While he is still holding down the job, there is always a concern as to if or when the Mariners will go back to Brandon League. Short-term, good to own, but make sure to be checking out the CIA for updates on where he stands with the job itself.
- Head-to-head leagues are one of the few remaining that need to put more value on wins than not because of the way categories compile. I would 100% argue that streaming starters is far more important here than in standard rotisserie leagues because of this weekly approach. It is also a really tough statistic that even the HVaC cannot account for as well as we might like. Why? Matt Harrison checks in at number 16 on this list because he had five wins this month. He struck out just 24 batters. Would I trade less than a win a week to get twice as many strikeouts? You bet. Yovani Gallardo would give me that without sacrificing much in other categories. Mentally, that is what we should think. But it shows Harrison would have yielded greater value. Drop the win total, and he falls well outside the top-20.
- Some thoughts on those outside the top-50. Like what I am seeing from Mike Leake, but the lack of wins is holding him down. His WHIP and ERA have been solid while the strikeouts are coming. C.J. Wilson has fallen off because his strikeouts were down for the last 30 days. When you only put up 20, that is a problem.
- Some intrigue inside the top-50 beyond just Harrison as well. Clayton Richard has four wins to go with solid WHIP and ERA figures. Another pitcher that is not striking anyone out and drastically benefited from pitching at home. Watch for fall off here. Trevor Cahill seems to be pitching well, but his 1.26 WHIP seems to suggest problems ahead that will impact the nice ERA we have seen.
Here is how the top-50 have looked the last month: