A Big Name Is Not Enough: Three Pitchers To Avoid For The Second Half

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve reached the midway point of the baseball season, and the time has come to truly evaluate your team and make the necessary adjustments.  Parting with your underperformers is sometimes easier said than done, especially when the player appears to at least have name value.  With that in mind, there are three pitchers we’re avoiding for the second half:

 

Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers
First Half Statistics – 4.36 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.97 K/9, 3.29 BB/9

It’s been a disappointing season for Hamels, despite bouncing back in the strikeout department (his SwStr% has rebounded from 9.7% to 12.3%, right along the lines of his career mark, and his O-Swing% from 30.7% to 34.1%).  However that’s where the positives stop.

His control has been pedestrian, and has been for three straight seasons (BB/9):

  • 2016 – 3.45
  • 2017 – 3.22
  • 2018 – 3.29

He’s been hit exceptionally hard, with a 43.7% Hard% (second highest among qualified starters), and home runs have been a significant issue (1.73 HR/9).  While the latter has been worse at home (2.33 HR/9), it’s not like a 1.14 HR/9 on the road is a stellar mark.  When coupled with the control and Hard%, assuming that a trade would help to salvage his season would be misguided.

 

Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs
First Half Statistics – 3.96 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 8.02 K/9, 4.15 BB/9

His control has taken a significant step backwards, something that comes as a surprise (2.55 BB/9 for his career).  While the numbers haven’t gotten back to his career mark, he at least has been better in June (3.67) and July (3.75).  It’s not something to hang our hat on, but at least it can be seen as a positive.

The bigger issue has been an increase in home runs allowed, with a 1.29 HR/9.  Never a big groundball pitcher, with a 44.3% career groundball rate, is it really a surprise?  Things have been even worse at Wrigley Field:

  • Home – 1.75
  • Road – 1.02

It’s not like his home with the White Sox was pitcher friendly, so the split is a little bit of a surprise.  Of course we’ve long been waiting for things to turn.

Quintana has also been hit relatively hard (38.5% Hard%), and even with the poor numbers luck has operated in his favor (77.1% strand rate, .276 BABIP).  That’s not a good combination, especially with the control and home run issues.  Expecting him to suddenly turn things around would be a mistake.

 

Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves
First Half Statistics – 4.00 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.35 K/9, 4.34 BB/9

We can look at the WHIP and strikeout rate and try to put a positive spin on things for Teheran.  However the fact is that he has a 4.00 ERA, despite benefitting from luck that could turn at any moment (79.6% strand rate, .221 BABIP).

The BABIP is the biggest concern, with a 39.3% Hard%, and he also continues to be pummeled by home runs (1.53 HR/9, after a 1.48 last season).  Getting hit hard and not inducing many groundballs (39.3%) will do that to you, especially in a hitter friendly ballpark.

His velocity is down significantly on his fourseam fastball, and you have to wonder if that’s what’s causing the issue (mph):

  • 2015 – 92.33
  • 2016 – 91.95
  • 2017 – 91.99
  • 2018 – 90.66

With his changeup at 83.03 mph, the discrepancy isn’t there.  It’s helped lead to a .531 SLG against the changeup (.449 on his fourseam fastball), and that’s obviously a concern.  These struggles have been going on for a year and a half, so why would anyone thing something will suddenly change now?

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Baseman
Outfielder
Pitcher

8 comments

  1. TBoneBaseball says:

    Hi professor. Great work as always.
    One owner offered me Harper and Cespedes for Nola, Jose Martinez, and Matt Carpenter.

    He also offered me Harper for Devers and Acuna.

    Also there’s another owner offered me Soto for Jose Martinez,
    And another offer Hand for Carlos Gonzalez.

    What would you do with these offers?

    Thanks

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      What type of keeper rules are there and are you going for it? That would obviously play a big role in the decisions

      • TBoneBaseball says:

        Thanks prof.

        25 round man rosters and 10 team league.
        Only 2 keepers per team: 1 batter and 1 pitcher each. And we’re only allowed to keep players for 1 year.

        I got JMart in 25th. Non-drafted players such as Soto would cost a 10th rounder.
        All the other players were drafted around their adp so may not be worth the value.

  2. IeatWaffles says:

    Hey Roto,

    In the process of making a trade of Harper and Lester for Kershaw straight up. My batting should stay float without Harper. Think I made the right call on hoping Kershaw has a better, healthy 2nd half?

  3. DB says:

    Hi. Thanks for your time and all the great info you provide here. I’d love to see a write up on Eduardo Escobar and Brandon Crawford going forward. Feels like the latter’s basically fallen off a cliff and the former has been slowing down significantly over the last month or so. I figure Crawford’s going to keep playing every day, but Escobar’s looking at a drop off in playing time if his production is actually doing what it feels like it’s doing.

    Thanks again.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      No problem, let me add them to the list and thanks for your support! We couldn’t do what we do without the readers/commenters and it truly is appreciated.

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