The season has begun and we are back with Throwing Heat! For those who didn’t read these articles last season, this weekly article focuses on shooters who are doing well. When we are more into the season it will depend on the previous three starts of the bowler but for now it will only be their last starts.
The beauty of this article is how it highlights all types of shooters from the best in the league to those that are barely listed. If someone was on a hotline it would be in this article. I’ll also tell you if the hotline is legit or appears to be an interface. Hope you enjoy it!
*Stats as of 6/7*
Mackenzie Gore, SDP
Last three starts: 19 incline, 0.47 ERA, and 11.84K/9
Mackenzie Gore’s long-awaited debut was after injuries and a murky 2021 season as we didn’t hear much about Gore at all. Fortunately, he made his debut this season and did not disappoint him even one bit.
In eight starts and nine appearances, Gore made 48 rounds which come with 1.50 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Everything looks great. strikes? Yes, he has a 30% strike rate. Does it limit the running of the house? Yes, his HR/9 is only 0.19. OK, but was he lucky? Not really, it holds 0.22 BABIP, 2.22 FIP, 3.11 xFIP and 3.20 SIERA.
Mackenzie Gore looks like the star pitcher that many people thought he could become. It’s the future ace in waiting. Something to note is that he only made about 50 runs last year and about 100 the year before, so he’s likely to be restricted down the road.
Jameson Tellon, New York
Starts of the last three: 23 oblique runs, 0.78 EPR, 6.65K/9
This triple start period from Jameson Taillon was absolutely fantastic. The 0.78 ERA comes with a 1.79 FIP and a 20.5 K-BB% as the walking rate was only 1.3%. What I think is even more impressive about this stretch is the fact that in these three starts, he’s done eight innings, eight innings, and seven innings. Getting too deep into games is a rarity these days, especially like this.
How does he do this? For those who don’t know much about Taillon it is when he’s at it because his Fastball does a job. He ramped up his use of fastball for these three starts, and since he was doing so well, he started pairing it up with his changeover more. This lethal combination resulted in no home hits and a 1.7 percent barrel in these three starts.
Moving away from just these three starts, Jameson Taeyeon had a successful season as well. In a total of 10 starts, he holds 2.30 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with base metrics to match. While we’ve discussed Fastball’s makeup and changeover in his last three starts, I think the success he’s had really comes from his cutter.
Taillon reshaped his cutter adding more vertical movement to it. Last season, average move to elite move was now as you can see in the chart below.
Although this did not result in a higher SwStr%, it did result in a lower connection rate overall and a lower connection rate in the region. That’s big because unlike last season, Taillon now has four pitches in his arsenal.
Taillon should be able to keep up what he’s been doing and he’ll still be a pleasant surprise this season as well.
Zach Wheeler, PHI
Last three starts: 18.2 oblique run, 2.41 ERA, and 12.54k/9.
Nice to see Zach Wheeler ace again. After a late start to the season due to a shoulder problem and blast at the Miami Wheeler it was nothing but a nail. While we were at it, it would have been a top pick for a draft day right before the season with people fading out for it.
Since May 1st, Zach Wheeler has had six starts placing 1.86 ERAs, 1.06 whips, and a 32% strike rate. You can expect more of the same going forward.
Devin Smeltzer, Maine
Last three starts: 17.2 oblique run, 2.04 ERA, 5.60k/9.
Let’s talk about Smeltzer as a whole because he has only made five entries so far this season. He currently owns 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 6.7 K-BB%.
The K-BB ratio is not great due to the low strike rate (12.5%). The good news about it is that it has 7.6 SwStr% and 25.9% CSW which means that the strike rate should go up. Smeltzer has a job strike rate of 17.2%, so I’m going to be there.
1.93 ERA comes with .217 BABIP (low), 86.2 LOB% (high), 3.40 xERA, 3.78 FIP, and 4.64 xFIP. There’s obviously some luck here, but we obviously know that the Smeltzer isn’t a sub-pitcher of two ERAs, so could it be a 3D pitcher? The scales say yes.
I know 4.64 xFIP is concerning, but Smeltzer has never had a home run per nine, it has always been above average so I won’t look at xFIP too often. The 4.90 SIERA certainly isn’t great, although SIERA prefers heavy shooters.
Smeltzer can have proper proportions, and a poor connection type for the jug. It’s similar to what it was in 2019 as it had a 3.86 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. I would expect him to go ahead which makes him a solid broadcasting option in certain situations.