July’s Five Worst Starting Pitchers
It seems like pitchers are always evaluated by the same traditional metrics, such as win-loss record, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts per nine innings and walks allowed per nine innings. This is exactly why we’re going against the grain and evaluating pitcher performance by SIERA.
SIERA attempts to measure the underlying skill of a hurler, but unlike FIP and xFIP, it doesn’t ignore balls put in play, and also attempts to give a more accurate picture as to why certain pitchers are better than others. A good SIERA is just like a good ERA — the lower the better.
Here are the five hurlers who struggled the most in July.
The overall results haven’t been too bad for Dario Agrazal in his first taste of big-league action, but the peripherals aren’t too pretty. And for someone who doesn’t throw very hard (91.1 mph average velocity on his fastball), it’ll be important to control the zone as much as possible. He’s been limiting the damage thus far with an 87.6% strand rate and .230 BABIP, but it’s been accompanied by 1.95 homers allowed per nine innings.
Sandy Alcantara has been making rather consistent appearances here this season. For a little while, he outperformed his peripherals, but things have begun catching up with him. It’s been great to see his season-long walk rate decrease from 2018 (15.8% to 11.2%), but it’s been accompanied with a decrease in strikeout rate (20.6% to 16.5%). It’s not helpful that opposing hitters have increased their line-drive rate and lowered their infield-fly rate against him, either.
Through the first three years of his big-league career, Daniel Mengden watched his homers allowed per nine innings rate continually increase. That’s changed this year, as his 0.97 mark is on track to be a career-best mark. Unfortunately, his current 4.85 ERA is on track to be the worst it’s been since he was a rookie in 2016 (6.50). What also hasn’t been helpful is a steady increase in line-drive rate (19.2% to 21.7% to 23.2%) and hard-hit rate allowed (25.2% to 40.3% to 42.7%).
The Milwaukee Brewers needed rotation help at the deadline because of injuries to Jhoulys Chacin and Brandon Woodruff. However, it was also necessary because they also hadn’t gotten a ton of production out of their healthy hurlers. Davies’ 3.56 season-long ERA doesn’t look bad, but that’s only because he started 2019 very strong. His monthly ERA has been as follows: 1.38, 3.10, 5.40, 4.67.
Glenn Sparkman‘s July included a complete-game shutout with eight strikeouts, one walk, and five hits allowed against the Chicago White Sox. His game score (via FanGraphs) was a season-high 92. The only problem is that his other four starts last month didn’t produce a game score better than 41. One of the things Sparkman is dealing with is a rise in homers — he’s allowed 2.04 per nine innings and nearly has surrendered as many dingers (19) this year as he has total appearances (20, including 12 starts).