Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians
If having Clevinger on this list sounds familiar, it’s because he was here last year, too. He’s here again because he hit another level after coming back from the injured list. Despite tossing significantly fewer innings this year (126 in ’19, 200 in ’18), his 4.5 fWAR still outpaced last season’s 4.2.
His first half of play was limited to just 24.1 innings, which resulted in a 4.44 ERA. It also made his final 101.2 innings even more impressive, which resulted in a 2.30 ERA. Although his strikeout rate normalized between these two periods (41.7% to 32.0%), he also got his walk rate under control (10.4% to 6.7%).
The value of Clevinger’s fastball has gone up quite a bit when comparing his performance to 2018. On a per-100-pitch basis, his fastball produced a value of 0.03 last season. That number went all the way up to 1.78 in 2019. The results can also be seen on how opposing hitters produced much less against the right-hander’s four-seamer when looking at wRC+ (131 to 75), OPS (.804 to .615), and strikeout rate (21.7% to 35.7%).