Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
March/April Stats: 2-3 record with a 16.7% strikeout rate, 12.8% walk rate, 4.07 ERA, 5.47 SIERA, and 0.4 fWAR in 42 innings
The Royals have something to smile about with Hunter Dozier, but Keller is just one part of a double dosage of bad news on this list. He’s another hurler that outperformed his peripherals last season, but the 23-year-old’s walk rate has increased by more than four percentage points compared to 2018.
For a pitcher like Keller, who isn’t a huge swing-and-miss dude and “only” runs his fastball up to 93.1 mph on average, getting ahead in counts is a crucial part of his overall success. He threw first-pitch strikes at a 59.0% clip last season, but that number is down to 52.8% so far in 2019.
That helps explain why opposing hitters are chasing fewer balls out of the strike zone (29.1% in ’18, 27.5% in ’19) and attacking more in the strike zone (66.2% in ’18, 71.2% in ’19). He’s been able to outperform his peripherals thus far, so we’ll see how long he can make that last.