STARTERS: Skills surgers and faders, 2018

With an eye towards second half targets, let's take a look at the SP whose aggregate skills have changed the most from 2017 to 2018:

  • BPV Surgers & Faders, 2018 vs. 2017*
    
    Name                League  BPV 2018  BPV 2017  Diff
    ==================  ======  ========  ========  ====
    Ross, Tyson             NL      70       -39    +109
    Guerra, Junior          NL      79        -5     +85
    Harvey, Matt            NL      94        16     +78
    Zimmermann, Jordan      AL     124        48     +75
    Holland, Derek          NL      75         7     +69
    Verlander, Justin       AL     167        99     +68
    Hellickson, Jeremy      NL     104        38     +66
    Urena, Jose             NL     101        35     +66
    Eflin, Zach             NL     124        65     +59
    Velasquez, Vincent      NL     115        59     +56
    Pivetta, Nick           NL     140        88     +52
    Corbin, Patrick         NL     154       104     +50
    Gaviglio, Sam           AL      95        46     +49
    Snell, Blake            AL     108        60     +48
    Skaggs, Tyler           AL     130        85     +45
    Hamels, Cole            AL      95        54     +41
    Foltynewicz, Mike       NL     112        71     +41
    Covey, Dylan            AL      46         7     +38
    Cole, Gerrit            AL     151       114     +37
    Freeland, Kyle          NL      74        41     +34
    Berrios, Jose           AL     124        91     +33
    Bauer, Trevor           AL     155       122     +33
    Gray, Jon               NL     156       125     +31
    Cahill, Trevor          AL     127        97     +30
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Samardzija, Jeff        NL     -25       142    -167
    Giolito, Lucas          AL     -25        80    -105
    Weaver, Luke            NL      84       169     -85
    Chatwood, Tyler         NL     -31        38     -69
    Quintana, Jose          NL      54       122     -68
    Martinez, Carlos        NL      57       117     -59
    Faria, Jacob            AL      24        82     -58
    Straily, Dan            NL      30        84     -53
    Anderson, Chase         NL      46        99     -53
    Bumgarner, Madison      NL      72       122     -50
    Lester, Jon             NL      55       105     -50
    Godley, Zack            NL      73       121     -49
    Duffy, Danny            AL      45        93     -48
    Wacha, Michael          NL      54       100     -46
    Archer, Chris           AL     104       148     -44
    Darvish, Yu             NL      86       125     -38
    Kluber, Corey           AL     152       190     -38
    Moore, Matt             AL      22        59     -37
    Castillo, Luis          NL      91       128     -37
    Hammel, Jason           AL      46        82     -36
    Rodon, Carlos           AL      56        91     -35
    Kershaw, Clayton        NL     137       171     -34
    Montgomery, Mike        NL      61        94     -34
    Arrieta, Jake           NL      69       101     -32
    *min 40 IP each season

Let's take a closer look at several SP in each league whose skills have grown from 2017 to 2018:
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Trevor Bauer (RHP, CLE) firmly has become an upper-rotation pitcher so far in 2018. His skills have gone from very good in 2017 (122 BPV) to great this season: 11.6 Dom, 2.8 Ctl, 44% GB%, 155 BPV. The growth in his command sub-indicators has been even more substantial. He posted a mediocre 9.1% SwK%, 57% FpK%, and 39% ball% in 2017. Check out those marks this season: 13.2% SwK%, 64% FpK%, 36% ball%.

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) is another pre-peak SP that has delivered significant profit to his owners through the first half of 2018. His solid 91 BPV from 2017 did not come with a strong foundation (9.5% SwK%, 59% FpK%, 37% ball%). His skills have taken a big step forward this season: 9.0 Dom, 2.1 Ctl, 40% GB%, 124 BPV. As have his sub-indicators (11.3% SwK%, 66% FpK%, 35% ball%).

Trevor Cahill (RHP, OAK) recently was activated from the disabled list, and those looking for some hidden upside could do worse than speculating here. Cahill's skills as a SP in 2018 have been very strong: 8.6 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 60% GB%, 127 BPV. He's missing more bats than ever (13.1% SwK%). Just keep in mind that the control growth he has shown this season has been fluky (59% FpK%, 38% ball%), so he still carries some blow-up risk in spite of his ability to miss bats and induce ground balls at high rates.

Tyler Skaggs (LHP, LAA) also has enjoyed a big step up in 2018. His stats have been excellent (2.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), and while an 82% S% certainly has helped, his skills have been some of the best in the AL: 9.6 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 48% GB%, 130 BPV. After struggling to generate whiffs in 2017 (8.1% SwK%), he is doing so at a good rate in 2018 (11.4% SwK%). Keep riding him.

Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, DET) has been healthier in 2018 than he has been in recent years. His stats (3.71 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and skills have followed suit: 8.7 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 32% GB%, 124 BPV. As a fly ball pitcher, Zimmermann will continue to be at risk for occasional blow-ups. But his pinpoint control is firmly cemented in his profile and comes backed by a 66% FpK% and 32% ball%. And he misses just enough bats (10.3% SwK%) to keep hitters guessing. Don't assume that he will regress in the second half to the version we've become used to over the last couple of seasons.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Mike Foltynewicz (RHP, ATL) has carried some of his fantasy staffs through mid-July (2.66 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in 101 IP). Can it last? His 27% H% and 81% S% suggest no. But his skills are the best we've ever seen from him: 10.6 Dom, 3.7 Ctl, 44% GB%, 112 BPV. His swinging strike rate has jumped from a 9.3% SwK% in 2017 to a 10.6% SwK%. If he can get out lefties at a higher clip, Foltynewicz could still develop into the rotation-anchor pitcher his stuff suggests he could be.

Matt Harvey (RHP, CIN) slowly seems to be carrying value again. He has a 4.22 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 2018. His skills have been pretty solid too: 7.0 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 45% GB%, 94 BPV. Before you make him a key part of your rotation though, note that his stuff isn't back (8.4% SwK%). He has transformed into more of a strike-thrower (34% ball%). It remains to be seen how long that approach will help him, so it's best to assume that he still doesn't carry the upside he used to own.

Jeremy Hellickson (RHP, WAS) is another pitcher with a history of ups-and-downs who appears to be a good investment again. Hellickson owns an elite 3.29 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 13 starts. The key has been pinpoint control (1.7 Ctl), which has the backing of a 69% FpK% and 34% ball%. He's another SP available in many leagues who could help your rotation in the second half.

Derek Holland (LHP, SF) carries some hidden upside in the second half. Injuries in the SF rotation could help him get steady starts again. And check out his BPV by month over the last three months: 36, 120, 175. In fact, his skills so far in July have been backed by an elite 16% SwK% and 76% FpK%. He's worthy of speculation in deep leagues.

Vincent Velasquez (RHP, PHI) is another inconsistent, high-upside pitcher who has shown more flashes of good than bad in 2018. His skills have been very good: 10.5 Dom, 3.3 Ctl, 38% GB%, 115 BPV. Those marks have shown across-the-board improvement from 2017: 8.5 Dom, 4.3 Ctl, 43% GB%, 59 BPV. His control and health remain worries, but he's a high-upside arm worthy of an investment in most leagues.


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