STARTERS: Second half surgers, 2019

Let's recap the starting pitchers whose skills surged the most after the All-Star Break in 2019. This exercise can help you identify emerging SP who could be undervalued in 2020 drafts.

  • BPV Surgers, 2019 1H-2H*
    
    Name                League  BPV Pre-ASB  BPV Post-ASB  Diff
    ==================  ======  ===========  ============  ====
    Darvish, Yu             NL       88           234      +147
    Smyly, Drew             NL       13           112       +98
    Samardzija, Jeff        NL      -25            68       +93
    Sanchez, Aaron          AL       15           102       +88
    Beede, Tyler            NL       38           117       +79
    Archer, Chris           NL       70           147       +77
    Keller, Brad            AL       20            95       +75
    Verlander, Justin       AL      157           225       +68
    Giolito, Lucas          AL      118           180       +62
    Zimmermann, Jordan      AL       50           110       +60
    Heaney, Andrew          AL      103           161       +57
    Flaherty, Jack          NL      113           167       +55
    Bailey, Homer           AL       67           121       +54
    Castillo, Luis          NL      102           153       +50
    Wacha, Michael          NL       30            80       +50
    Ynoa, Gabriel           AL       17            66       +49
    Alcantara, Sandy        NL       23            71       +48
    Senzatela, Antonio      NL        5            52       +47
    Duffy, Danny            AL       53            96       +44
    Bassitt, Chris          AL       75           119       +43
    Quintana, Jose          NL       82           124       +42
    Syndergaard, Noah       NL      110           153       +42
    Cole, Gerrit            AL      193           235       +42
    Maeda, Kenta            NL       97           137       +40
    Musgrove, Joe           NL      100           137       +37
    Lopez, Reynaldo         AL       59            96       +37
    Rodriguez, Dereck       NL       30            65       +34
    Foltynewicz, Mike       NL       67           100       +33
    Ray, Robbie             NL      104           135       +31
    Sabathia, C.C.          AL       80           110       +31
    Anderson, Brett         AL       35            65       +30
    *min 30 IP each half

Let's take a closer look at some second half surgers worth owning in 2020.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) was one of the game's top breakout targets in 2019. And the growth he showed that season compounded as the year went along. He posted a 118 BPV before the All-Star Break, along with a 14.6% SwK% and 35% ball%. His skills soared to elite levels post-ASB: 12.7 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 34% GB%, 180 BPV. As did his primary command sub-indicators: 15.6% SwK%, 33% ball%.

Brad Keller (RHP, KC) made some hidden gains late in 2019 that might fly under the radar in many leagues. He wasn't roster-worthy pre-ASB, during which he posted bad stats (4.47 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) and skills (20 BPV). He was much better in the second half, both on the surface (3.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) and beneath it (95 BPV). The biggest key from him was pounding the strike zone at a higher clip (40% ball% in 1H, 33% ball% in 2H). There's some end-rotation value here if you can get him at that price.

Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA) will be available on an injury discount in many leagues given his chronic durability issues. If you can stomach that risk, he's worthy of your speculation though. Behind his mediocre stats in the second half of 2019 (4.70 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) were some elite skills: 11.6 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 33% GB%, 161 BPV. His command sub-indicators were strong too, particularly his ability to miss bats: 14.0% SwK%, 62% FpK%, 34% ball%.

Drew Smyly (LHP, FA) was horrible early in 2019 (7.90 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 13 BPV). After going from TEX to the NL and adding one mph to his fastball, Smyly's skills looked rejuvenated: 9.8 Dom, 3.0 Ctl, 39% GB%, 112 BPV. That said, given his flyball tilt, he really needs to land in a park that doesn't facilitate HR as much as his last two did.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Chris Archer (RHP, PIT) can be a dominant SP in stretches. After a horrible first half in 2019 (5.49 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 70 BPV), his skills resembled those of an upper-tier arm in the second half: 12.1 Dom, 3.1 Ctl, 34% GB%, 147 BPV. They were supported by much-improved rates of first-pitch strikes and overall strikes: 66% FpK%, 35% ball%. There remains a sub-4 ERA in his arm, especially if he can rediscover the groundball tilt he displayed earlier in his career.

Tyler Beede (RHP, SF) enters 2020 as one of the game's premium end-game targets. The former first-round pick looked like a budding SP late in 2019, even if his stats didn't show it (4.73 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in 2H). His skills foundation was very good: 8.7 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 42% GB%, 117 BPV. His consistently high rate of first-pitch strikes and his improving ability to get whiffs (11.5% SwK% in 2H, 10.5% SwK% in 1H) give him nice profit potential in 2020.

Luis Castillo (RHP, CIN) watched his stats go from elite (2.29 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 1H) to so-so in the second half of 2019 (4.78 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 2H). However, he's another SP whose skills blossomed post-ASB: 10.8 Dom, 2.8 Ctl, 54% GB%, 153 BPV. All of his command sub-indicators improved too: 17.2% SwK%, 61% FpK%, 36% ball%.

Yu Darvish (RHP, CHC) is another pitcher with rotation-anchor upside that looked the part in the second half of 2019: 13.0 Dom, 0.8 Ctl, 43% GB%, 234 BPV. Those elite skills were backed by excellent command building blocks too: 15.0% SwK%, 67% FpK%, 30% ball%. There's SP1 value here that you can probably get at SP2 prices.

Joe Musgrove (RHP, PIT) posted a near-5 ERA in the second half of 2019, but his skills actually improved late in the season: 9.4 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 45% GB%, 137 BPV. He missed bats at a high rate (12.8% SwK%) and threw strikes early (68% FpK%) and often (32% ball%). Don't be surprised if his first sub-4 ERA finally comes in 2020.


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