Sizing up MLB starters' late-season efforts

By Steve Makinen  () 

For several weeks in “Point Spread Weekly,” I have been breaking down the unique 2020 MLB schedule and the opportunities it presents for bettors due to factors such as a shorter season, the lack of fans, the opponents each team is facing and the late months in which the games are being played. Because of the nature of the season, this should be a great year for any MLB bettor who uses stats and trends as a foundation for handicapping. A lot of the typical variables are removed from the equation.

Let’s turn to the starting pitchers and their recent late-season performances. With almost all of this year’s games in August and September — late in a traditional season — how pitchers perform at this time on the calendar could make or break their teams’ seasons. So which pitchers perform best in late-season games? Which are worst? Who are the top statistical pitchers? Do some perform better at home or on the road late in the year?

I have looked at the last three seasons of August and September games. This provides the best mix of quantity and quality of data. Who really cares how well a pitcher did in, say, 2015? We’re looking more for the hot pitchers of recent seasons, with enough game samples to draw solid conclusions. Incidentally, 206 pitchers have started at least 10 games in the latter parts of the last three seasons. They are led by Dallas Keuchel, now of the White Sox, with 34 starts. Let’s look at the leaderboards in some key late-season statistical categories. I’ve included the pitcher’s current organization.

Most August/September Starts (2017-19)

— Dallas Keuchel (Chicago White Sox): 34

— Patrick Corbin (Washington): 33

— Cole Hamels (Atlanta): 33

— Aaron Nola (Philadelphia): 33

— Jose Quintana (Chicago Cubs): 33

— Justin Verlander (Houston): 33

Most Innings Pitched

— Justin Verlander (Houston): 212 2/3

— Jacob deGrom (New York Mets): 208 1/3

— Aaron Nola (Philadelphia): 206

— Dallas Keuchel (Chicago White Sox): 200 1/3

— Zack Greinke (Houston): 199 2/3

Best Team Winning Percentage in Starts

— Drew Pomeranz (San Diego): 11-2 (85%)

— Parker Bridwell (Minnesota organization): 9-2 (82%)

— Corey Kluber (Texas): 18-5 (78%)

— Adam Wainwright (St. Louis): 14-4 (78%)

— Mike Clevinger (Cleveland): 23-7 (77%)

— Miles Mikolas (St. Louis): 16-5 (76%)

Worst Team Winning Percentage in Starts

— Pablo Lopez (Miami): 1-11 (8%)

— Gabriel Ynoa (NPB, Tokyo): 1-9 (10%)

— Dereck Rodriguez (San Francisco): 2-14 (13%)

— Dylan Covey (Boston): 2-12 (14%)

— Spencer Turnbull (Detroit): 2-12 (14%)

Most Betting Units Won

— Jordan Lyles (Texas): + 11.3 units (11-4, 73%)

— Mike Fiers (Oakland): + 11.25 units (20-8, 71%)

— Stephen Strasburg (Washington): + 11.2 units (20-7, 74%)

— Blake Snell (Tampa Bay): + 11.1 units (18-6, 75%)

— Miles Mikolas (St. Louis): + 11 units (16-5, 76%)

Most Betting Units Lost

— Marco Gonzales (Seattle): -13.08 units (8-18, 31%)

— Alex Wood (Los Angeles Dodgers): -12.55 units (8-13, 38%)

— Lance Lynn (Texas): -12.3 units (12-19, 39%)

— Dereck Rodriguez (San Francisco): -12.1 units (2-14, 13%)

— Jose Berrios (Minnesota): -11.65 units (14-17, 45%)

Best ROI in Starts

— Jordan Lyles (Texas): 75% (11-4, + 11.3 units)

— Drew Pomeranz (San Diego): 70% (11-2, + 9.05 units)

— Parker Bridwell (Minnesota organization): 68% (9-2, + 7.45 units)

— Wilmer Font (Toronto): 60% (9-4, + 7.8 units)

— Adam Wainwright (St. Louis): 59% (14-4, + 10.7 units)

Worst ROI in Starts

— Pablo Lopez (Miami): -78% (1-11, -9.4 units)

— Gabriel Ynoa (NBP, Tokyo): -78% (1-9, -7.8 units)

— Dereck Rodriguez (San Francisco): -76% (2-14, -12.1 units)

— Dylan Covey (Boston): -74% (2-12, -10.4 units)

— Alex Wood (Los Angeles Dodgers): -60% (8-13, -12.55 units)

Best Individual Winning Percentage in Starts

— Robbie Ray (Arizona): 92% (12-1, + 10.5 units)

— Corey Kluber (Texas): 89% (17-2, + 5.6 units)

— Mike Clevinger (Cleveland): 87% (20-3, + 9.25 units)

— Blake Snell (Tampa Bay): 87% (13-2, + 11.1 units)

— Stephen Strasburg (Washington): 81% (13-3, + 11.2 units)

Worst Individual Winning Percentage in Starts

— Dylan Covey (Boston): 0% (0-10, -10.4 units)

— Spencer Turnbull (Detroit): 0% (0-10, -8.25 units)

— Felix Hernandez (Atlanta organization): 10% (1-9, -7.15 units)

— Daniel Norris (Detroit): 10% (1-9, -1.58 units)

— Gabriel Ynoa (NBP, Tokyo): 13% (1-7, -7.8 units)

Best Earned-Run Average

— Mike Clevinger (Cleveland): 2.05

— Corey Kluber (Texas): 2.15

— Jack Flaherty (St. Louis): 2.22

— Zack Wheeler (Philadelphia): 2.23

— Wilmer Font (Toronto): 2.31

— Jacob deGrom (New York Mets): 2.33

— Dakota Hudson (St. Louis): 2.36

— Blake Snell (Tampa Bay): 2.37

— Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers): 2.37

— Justin Verlander (Houston): 2.37

Worst Earned-Run Average

— Peter Lambert (Colorado): 8.93

— Ty Blach (Baltimore organization): 7.79

— Ariel Jurado (Texas): 7.69

— Adam Conley (Miami): 7.22

— Dylan Covey (Boston): 7.08

Best Walks/Hits Per Inning Pitched

— Justin Verlander (Houston): 0.809

— Corey Kluber (Texas): 0.874

— Jack Flaherty (St. Louis): 0.911

— Jacob deGrom (New York Mets): 0.922

— Rich Hill (Minnesota): 0.963

— Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers): 0.978

— Yu Darvish (Chicago Cubs): 0.978

— Luis Castillo (Cincinnati): 1.011

— Blake Snell (Tampa Bay): 1.011

— Max Scherzer (Washington): 1.022

Worst Walks/Hits Per Inning Pitched

— Peter Lambert (Colorado): 2.031

— Ariel Jurado (Texas): 1.765

— Brian Johnson (Boston organization): 1.752

— Sean Newcomb (Atlanta): 1.673

— Derek Holland (Pittsburgh): 1.671

— Matt Harvey (Kansas City organization): 1.664

— Adam Conley (Miami): 1.663

— Yusei Kikuchi (Seattle): 1.658

Best Home Pitchers

— Max Fried (Atlanta): Team Record 7-0 (100%) + 7.05 units, ERA 2.54, WHIP 1.077, RPG Support 6.0

— Stephen Strasburg (Washington): Team Record 10-1 (91%) + 8.95 units, ERA 2.06, WHIP 0.957, RPG Support 6.7

— Mike Fiers (Oakland): Team Record 15-2 (88%) + 14.15 units, ERA 3.98, WHIP 1.137, RPG Support 5.9

— Corey Kluber (Texas): Team Record 9-2 (82%) + 3.65 units, ERA 1.39, WHIP 0.64, RPG Support 3.2

— Blake Snell (Tampa Bay): Team Record 9-2 (82%) + 5.9 units, ERA 2.28, WHIP 0.944, RPG Support 5.7

Worst Home Pitchers

— Jacob deGrom (New York Mets): Team Record 6-11 (35%) -13.2 units, ERA 2.56, WHIP 0.908, RPG Support 3.3

— Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox): Team Record 3-10 (23%) -8.95 units, ERA 4.34, WHIP 1.044, RPG Support 3.5

— Dylan Covey (Boston): Team Record 1-7 (13%) -6.6 units, ERA 6.86, WHIP 1.525, RPG Support 3.4

— Dinelson Lamet (San Diego): Team Record 1-9 (10%) -9.6 units, ERA 4.58, WHIP 1.309, RPG Support 3.1

— Spencer Turnbull (Detroit): Team Record 0-8 (0%) -8.3 units, ERA 6.75, WHIP 1.552, RPG Support 2.3

Best Road Pitchers

— Wade LeBlanc (Baltimore): Team Record 5-1 (83%) + 5.85 units, ERA 2.08, WHIP 1.01, RPG Support 3.8

— Luke Weaver (Arizona): Team Record 5-1 (83%) + 3.5 units, ERA 2.81, WHIP 1.063, RPG Support 6.0

— James Paxton (New York Yankees): Team Record 10-2 (83%) + 8.3 units, ERA 3.95, WHIP 1.226, RPG Support 7.8

— Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers): Team Record 11-3 (79%) + 4.3 units, ERA 3.39, WHIP 1.045, RPG Support 5.9

— Mike Clevinger (Cleveland): Team Record 10-3 (77%) + 5.05 units, ERA 2.2, WHIP 0.906, RPG Support 6.5

Worst Road Pitchers

— Matthew Boyd (Detroit): Team Record 4-12 (25%) -5.73 units, ERA 6.07, WHIP 1.43, RPG Support 3.8

— Joe Musgrove (Pittsburgh): Team Record 2-7 (22%) -5.05 units, ERA 4.38, WHIP 1.149, RPG Support 3.9

— Dan Straily (KBO, Lotte Giants): Team Record 1-8 (11%) -7.15 units, ERA 5.01, WHIP 1.271, RPG Support 3.6

— Gabriel Ynoa (NPB, Tokyo): Team Record 0-7 (0%) -7 units, ERA 6.12, WHIP 1.485, RPG Support 2.6

— Matt Harvey (Kansas City organization): Team Record 0-9 (0%) -9 units, ERA 8.78, WHIP 2.026, RPG Support 2.6

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