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SP Skills Surgers

Though I have no math to back this up, anecdotally (is that a word? the red underline of death is appearing underneath it as I type!) it seems as if pitchers suddenly improve mid-season much more frequently than hitters. In other words, the light bulb goes on and a pitcher’s skills will surge in a hurry. I decided to compare SIERA over the last 30 days with SIERA in April for all starting pitchers (this was originally meant to only include American Leaguers, since I’m the AL SP man, but my mind was apparently elsewhere and I forgot to filter, oops) to see who has enjoyed the biggest declines in the metric. This is a great way to identify RoS breakout candidates by looking beyond just the ERA leaders for the month.

Name Last 30 Days K/9 Last 30 Days BB/9 Last 30 Days ERA Last 30 Days SIERA April SIERA Last 30 – April SIERA
Matt Moore 11.2 3.3 3.64 2.85 5.20 -2.35
Madison Bumgarner 9.9 1.5 3.38 2.32 4.11 -1.79
Mike Leake 7.7 2.0 2.84 3.02 4.78 -1.76
R.A. Dickey 11.3 1.0 0.98 1.68 3.39 -1.71
Jeremy Guthrie 6.5 3.1 7.67 4.46 6.06 -1.60

Matt Moore #1! I have been hyping him up as a strong buy target for a while now and his skills are finally resembling what we expected from him in the first place. In May, I had to argue that his underlying metrics pointed to better skills. Well, that skills surge came. His ERA is still 4.59 so you still may have some time to get him at a discount from an owner unaware of how good he has been since the first month.

After striking out just 17 batters in 32 April innings, there was cause for concern for Madison Bumgarner. Then he decided to give his doubters the finger, while also walking no one. His strikeout rate is now back to a normal level and his SIERA now sits at exactly where it did last season.

Mike Leake is quite a surprise name to find on this list. If I hadn’t done this little exercise, I would have no idea how well he has pitched over the last 30 days. There is some nice NL-Only profit potential here as he has thrown a ton of first strikes and his SwStk% rate is finally close to the league average. With a ground ball tilt and a SIERA a full run below his ERA, he’s someone you might want to ask about as a throw-in in your deep league. Of course, SIERA assumes a league average HR/FB ratio, which might be foolish given Leake’s home park and the fact that his first two seasons saw rates between 13% and 14% as well. Still, he should see his ERA decline and has a good chance to generate some value with a good offense and defense backing him.

Man, who took over R.A. Dickey‘s body? These stats don’t even include last night’s brilliant performance. I have no idea where all those strikeouts have come from and that is what has primarily been behind his amazing start. So, he’s been no fluke. And in other words, his peripherals support that he has truly pitched like one of the elite. I have no clue how long this might last and since it is doubtful anyone else actually believes it will continue, then owners might as well hold on for the ride, wherever it takes you.

Hmmm, I doubt anyone outside of a Rockies starting pitchers only league owns Jeremy Guthrie, but this was never a good idea when he was first traded, so his season shouldn’t surprise the Rockies front office in the least!