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: