After spotlighting the best hitters and starting pitchers from July, we’re doing the same for those guys on the opposite end of the spectrum. Once again, we’re going to rank hitter performances by wRC+, while Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) will be used for the starting pitchers.
It’s safe to say that these 10 players are happy the calendar has flipped to August.
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.
Clayton Richard is still generating a lot of ground balls (56.9% rate) and has seen his BABIP allowed go way down (.351 in ’17 to .283 in ’18), but the dude still can’t find some level of consistently. Part of that can be blamed on the 40.8% hard-hit rate he’s allowed this year, but his slider has been great. After allowing a 110 wRC+ on that pitch in 2017, it’s down to 63 this year while seeing his usage spike 10 percentage points.
Although Reynaldo Lopez was outperforming his peripherals for quite a while, they’re finally starting to catch up with him. The sample sizes are different, but the right-hander’s curveball went from being his best pitch (87 wRC+ allowed in ’17) to his worst (199 wRC+ so far in 2018).
Sean Newcomb‘s near no-hitter a few days ago couldn’t save him from landing on this list. One good start does not a month make. He’s actually been tougher on right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters this season, too. His numbers are better in soft-hit rate (22.4%), hard-hit rate (31.7%), and wOBA allowed (.273) when the southpaw doesn’t have the platoon advantage.
Brad Keller has posted a 3.43 ERA and 0.9 fWAR through his first 76 innings as a big-league hurler, which is great news. His 4.79 SIERA tells us regression is gonna hit him hard, though. That can partially be seen in his 14.1% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate.
Gio Gonzalez was among many Washington Nationals players to hear his name in trade rumors. Like virtually all of them, though, they made it through the deadline and don’t have to pack their bags hastily to join another organization. Gio’s curveball (23 wRC+) and changeup (71 wRC) were two of his best pitches in 2017, but they’re currently his two worst in 2018 (114 and 123, respectively).