STARTERS: BPV leaders, September 2018

Let's wrap up our monthly look back at the starting pitchers who posted the best skills during the previous month in 2018.

First, here were the aggregate stats and skills posted by starting pitchers in September 2018, segregated by league:

September 2018 Baselines*

Lg   ERA   WHIP | Ctl  Dom  HR/9  GB% | H%/S%  hr/f | FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball% | BPV
===  ====  ==== | ===  ===  ====  === | ======  ===   ====  ====  ====  ====  =====
AL   4.32  1.29 | 3.1  8.5   1.3  41% | 30/71%  14% | 92.9  10.7%  61%    37% |  88
NL   3.88  1.24 | 3.0  8.8   1.1  44% | 30/72%  13% | 92.8  11.3%  62%    35% |  99
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MLB  4.09  1.26 | 3.1  8.7   1.2  42% | 30/72%  13% | 92.8  11.0%  62%    36% |  94
*starting pitchers only

***

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

The benefit of targeting highly-skilled pitchers is clear. Starters with a 100+ BPV during the month of September posted a 3.58 ERA and 1.13 WHIP on average. The stats posted by sub-100 BPV starting pitchers? A 4.27 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.

Here were the most skilled starting pitchers in September:

100+ BPV, September 2018*

Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  =====  ===
Marquez, G      NL  1.6  13.4   0.9  47%  37/84%   18%  96.0  19.2%  70%    31%  221
Verlander, J    AL  1.4  13.6   0.3  29%  26/85%    3%  95.0  18.3%  77%    28%  215
Paxton, J       AL  2.1  13.7   2.1  41%  31/71%   24%  94.6  17.5%  70%    31%  208
deGrom, J       NL  1.3  11.6   0.5  53%  19/72%    8%  96.9  15.1%  63%    32%  205
Scherzer, M     NL  1.6  13.5   0.8  27%  38/61%    8%  94.3  17.7%  61%    30%  205
Kluber, C       AL  2.2  13.3   1.0  44%  38/73%   15%  90.9  18.2%  67%    32%  202
Snell, B        AL  2.8  13.4   0.5  51%  29/90%   11%  96.7  19.2%  63%    38%  194
Carrasco, C     AL  2.2  12.3   1.1  52%  33/78%   18%  93.6  19.7%  64%    35%  192
Hill, R         NL  1.5  11.1   1.5  45%  23/58%   17%  89.2  13.5%  68%    30%  182
Heaney, A       AL  1.9  11.6   2.6  36%  34/79%   31%   n/a  14.1%  74%    32%  170
Nola, A         NL  2.7  11.6   2.2  52%  24/79%   32%  93.1  14.4%  63%    33%  166
Tanaka, M       AL  1.2   9.6   0.6  48%  34/77%   10%  92.0  15.3%  75%    29%  165
Corbin, P       NL  2.3  11.2   0.9  48%  36/77%   16%  92.0  18.3%  70%    35%  165
Lucchesi, J     NL  2.2  11.3   2.6  39%  35/62%   28%  89.2  13.7%  56%    35%  161
Wainwright, A   NL  1.6  10.1   1.2  44%  34/61%   13%  89.5  12.1%  58%    35%  159
Cole, G         AL  3.0  12.7   0.9  33%  35/78%    8%  96.5  17.1%  63%    32%  159
Ryu, Hyun-Jin   NL  0.9   9.0   0.9  38%  33/93%   10%  90.3  12.8%  64%    31%  154
Shoemaker, M    AL  2.1  10.3   1.1  44%  34/61%   12%  92.1  13.0%  68%    35%  149
Mikolas, M      NL  0.5   7.8   0.5  44%  29/79%    6%  93.8  13.2%  73%    28%  148
Archer, C       NL  2.7  10.8   1.2  44%  28/82%   15%  94.6  13.2%  68%    35%  144
Harvey, M       NL  1.9   9.5   1.9  44%  31/68%   18%  94.5  14.3%  68%    30%  142
Quintana, J     NL  1.9   9.5   1.4  44%  32/79%   16%  92.1  10.1%  69%    37%  141
Castillo, L     NL  2.2   9.3   1.1  55%  21/100%  21%  96.9  12.8%  59%    35%  141
Buehler, W      NL  2.8  10.4   0.5  50%  20/82%    7%  96.5  14.9%  65%    34%  140
Taillon, J      NL  1.7   9.3   0.8  40%  30/87%   10%  94.9  10.9%  64%    33%  139
Strasburg, S    NL  3.4  11.7   1.0  41%  33/84%   11%  93.2  12.8%  59%    37%  138
Reed, C         NL  3.0   9.5   0.8  67%  38/70%   18%  92.5  10.7%  59%    37%  134
DeSclafani, A   NL  2.9  10.6   1.9  43%  38/59%   22%  94.3  11.6%  66%    35%  133
Junis, J        AL  0.9   7.5   1.5  44%  31/77%   16%  91.3   8.9%  62%    35%  132
Vargas, J       NL  2.1   9.4   1.6  40%  22/75%   16%  85.2  11.6%  66%    34%  132
Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball%  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  =====  ===
Severino, L     AL  2.2   9.3   0.0  44%  36/64%    0%  97.3  12.6%  62%    39%  130
Leake, M        AL  0.4   6.1   0.9  52%  35/58%   11%  89.1   6.3%  75%    28%  128
Erlin, R        NL  1.1   7.6   1.1  43%  37/57%   13%  90.5  10.7%  64%    34%  127
Williams, T     NL  2.2   8.8   0.0  49%  33/78%    0%  91.2   9.9%  62%    34%  126
Boyd, M         AL  2.3  10.8   3.9  14%  27/80%   23%  92.3  11.9%  57%    35%  124
Clevinger, M    AL  3.3  10.6   1.2  45%  17/86%   15%  94.4  13.4%  61%    38%  124
Bundy, D        AL  3.2  10.7   2.0  38%  37/68%   19%  91.6  12.7%  59%    35%  123
Arrieta, J      NL  3.2  10.3   1.8  43%  37/62%   20%  91.6  11.4%  68%    33%  120
Lester, J       NL  2.4   9.1   0.3  43%  35/89%    4%  91.0   9.0%  57%    38%  120
Matz, S         NL  3.9  10.9   1.4  46%  21/86%   17%  94.1  11.2%  56%    35%  114
Lopez, J        AL  0.4   5.8   1.8  44%  30/60%   15%  93.0   7.4%  54%    33%  114
Lopez, R        AL  2.5   9.6   0.6  29%  23/92%    5%  95.7  10.7%  66%    35%  113
Hendricks, K    NL  1.3   6.7   0.5  50%  26/83%    5%  87.7  10.1%  73%    28%  112
Wheeler, Z      NL  2.1   8.2   0.8  42%  16/62%    8%  95.9   6.2%  59%    34%  112
Bumgarner, M    NL  1.6   7.1   1.6  47%  31/63%   16%   n/a   8.5%  70%    34%  111
Sanchez, A      NL  2.9   9.3   0.6  44%  28/82%    8%  90.7  14.3%  68%    33%  111
Lauer, E        NL  3.1  10.2   0.9  33%  29/95%   11%  91.5   9.8%  59%    36%  110
Davies, Z       NL  1.6   7.0   0.4  47%  31/64%    5%  89.3   8.3%  69%    36%  109
Gonzales, M     AL  1.7   7.3   0.4  46%  22/81%    5%   n/a  11.1%  59%    34%  109
Glasnow, T      AL  3.2   9.4   2.2  49%  31/69%   32%  96.2  11.8%  67%    36%  108
Pena, F         AL  0.9   6.1   1.2  43%  27/71%   13%  91.6   9.0%  59%    35%  108
Fillmyer, H     AL  2.0   7.8   1.2  42%  32/69%   13%  92.6  11.5%  68%    36%  107
Chen, W         NL  2.3   8.7   0.7  34%  31/63%    6%  90.9   8.6%  60%    36%  105
Liriano, F      AL  3.7   9.5   0.0  57%  34/74%    0%  92.1  10.0%  56%    39%  105
Sabathia, C     AL  2.5   8.3   1.3  44%  39/68%   13%  89.7  11.1%  67%    33%  104
Richards, T     NL  3.2   9.7   1.4  38%  33/67%   14%  90.3  12.5%  64%    34%  103
Norris, D       AL  3.1  10.2   1.6  24%  34/63%   14%  90.7   9.0%  58%    37%  103
Berrios, J      AL  4.7  11.6   1.3  42%  25/66%   15%  94.1  12.2%  60%    38%  101
Montgomery, M   NL  2.7   8.4   1.3  43%  34/68%   17%  91.1  10.3%  55%    36%  101
Kershaw, C      NL  2.2   7.5   1.5  46%  28/74%   15%  90.2   9.1%  70%    34%  100
*min 20 IP

Let's take a closer look at a bunch of noteworthy skill performances in September.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Carlos Carrasco (RHP, CLE) has posted a sub-3.50 ERA in each of the past three seasons. His 2018 season was his most skilled yet (165 BPV). Furthermore, he missed more bats than any SP during the month of September (19.7% SwK%), and when batters did make contact against him, most of the time they pounded the ball into the ground (52% GB%). There's a sub-3.00 ERA lurking here.

Tyler Glasnow (RHP, TAM) is one of the better post-hype targets in the game moving into 2019. He posted a strong 110 BPV out of the bullpen in the 1H of 2018. He repeated those skills (109 BPV) in the second half, where he made 11 starts. In fact, he put up a 137 BPV over six starts in August and a 108 BPV during five starts in September. The key was getting ahead of hitters (63% FpK% in Aug, 67% FpK% in Sept). He also made some sneaky gains against lefties in 2018 (2.0 Cmd vL) after showing little command against them the prior two seasons (1.1, 1.2 Cmd vL). With his ability to miss bats and induce groundballs and his improving control, Glasnow should be considered a premium speculative target in 2019 drafts.

Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA) didn't have a great September 2018 on the surface (4.50 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but underneath those marks were some legitimate reasons for hope. His skills were some of the best in the majors: 11.6 Dom, 1.9 Ctl, 36% GB%, 170 BPV. They had the backing of a 14.1% SwK%, 74% FpK%, and 32% ball%. In addition, check out his surging monthly skills over the last five months of 2018: 66, 92, 129, 126, 170 BPV. If Heaney's health cooperates again, there's a 3.50 ERA coming.

Reynaldo Lopez (RHP, CHW) had a better September 2018 than you might realize. He posted a nifty 1.09 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 33 IP that month. While a 23% H%, 93% S%, and 5% hr/f certainly helped, his skills came alive (113 BPV). It was by far his most skilled month of the season. At age 24, he's got time to consolidate his progress. Lopez will be a high risk/reward target in 2019 drafts.

James Paxton (LHP, NYY) might be downgraded in some leagues heading into 2019 drafts given his hitter-friendly new home park. However, his finish to the 2018 season suggests there's no reason for concern. Underneath his 4+ ERA in September were legit top-5 skills: 13.7 Dom, 2.1 Ctl, 41% GB%, 208 BPV. He peppered the strike zone (70% FpK%, 31% ball%) and missed tons of bats (17.5% SwK%). If he can rediscover the groundball tilt he displayed prior to 2018 and bump up his innings for the fourth straight season, Paxton will carry legitimate Cy Young potential heading into 2019.

Justin Verlander (RHP, HOU) was firmly an ace during the month of September, both on the surface (1.09 ERA, 0.64 WHIP) and beneath it: 13.6 Dom, 1.4 Ctl, 29% GB%, 215 BPV. His skills were the best among AL SP, and they were backed by an elite collection of command sub-indicators too: 18.3% SwK%, 77% FpK%, 28% ball%.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Luis Castillo (RHP, CIN) looked like a future rotation anchor late in 2017. But he imploded in the first half of 2018 (5.85 ERA, 1.41 WHIP). His skills were subpar too (89 BPV). That said, Castillo turned things around completely once the calendar turned to July. He had a 2.63 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in the second half, along with near-elite skills (136 BPV). And check out his monthly BPV over the last four months: 93, 128, 139, 141 BPV. He even added an extreme groundball tilt (55/22/23 G/L/F) during the month of September. Castillo will carry some good profit potential in 2019 drafts.

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) is another CIN hurler with some good profit potential. He overcame some elbow problems to make 16 starts in the 2H of 2018. While the results weren't impressive (5.09 ERA), his skills improved during each month in the second half: 96, 122, 133 BPV. His FB velocity surged in each of those months too. If you can stomach his spotty durability, DeSclafani makes for a sneaky buy-low target.

Matt Harvey (RHP, CIN) will be considered a true wildcard in many 2019 drafts. Those looking at his stats likely will stay away. They showed only modest improvement from the first half (5.28 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) to the second half (4.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). His skills showed significant improvement though (68 BPV in 1H, 129 BPV in 2H). In fact, his skills soared over the last four months of the season: 56, 118, 124, 143 BPV. If you can get him at a discount, a healthy Harvey could surprise in 2019.

Joey Lucchesi (LHP, SD) is another SP whose surging skills in 2018 point to some breakout potential this season. His monthly skills climbed to elite levels by the end of the season: 45, 113, 151, 161 BPV. He posted a 3.0+ Cmd against both lefties and righties too. There's some hidden breakout potential here if Lucchesi can find more consistency in 2019.

German Marquez (RHP, COL) quietly was the game's most skilled pitcher in September 2018: 13.4 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 47% GB%, 221 BPV. Those surging skills weren't flukes either. His command sub-indicators firmly were elite: 19.2% SwK%, 70% FpK%, 31% ball%. Marquez's aggregate skills in the second half were some of the best in the game (190 BPV). Breakout targets in 2019 don't get much better than Marquez.

Miles Mikolas (RHP, STL) likely will be overvalued in many leagues, since his sub-3 ERA in 2018 wasn't fully backed by his skills (3.73 xERA). Still, he saved his best month of the season in 2018 for the last one. He was fantastic in September: 7.8 Dom, 0.5 Ctl, 44% GB%, 148 BPV. And he missed more bats that month than during any prior month (13.2% SwK%).

Cody Reed (LHP, CIN) will carry some solid end-game speculation potential in 2019. He was really good under the hood over five starts in September: 9.5 Dom, 3.0 Ctl, 67% GB%, 134 BPV. His combination of strikeouts and groundballs gives him the tools to stick as a SP. He's another post-hype arm worthy of your attention, especially in deep leagues.


Click here to subscribe

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