Ryan Weathers, Matt Waldron and more Statcast standout starters for the past month; plus, must-add middlemen

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Let’s look at how starting pitchers are faring for the past month. And then, by popular request, I’ll note the best non-closing relievers in Statcast/Baseball Savant metrics for the year — relievers so dominant they should be rostered even if they aren’t closing.

For the starters, I required about 400 pitches in the period. The available split stats are a little wonky. I focused on strikeout percentage, xwOBA (a proxy for xERA, which is not available in this split search) and runs vs. expected runs (saved or surplus).

We have different needs at this juncture of the season, so let’s focus on the top five in these categories before I make some recommendations tied to roster rates (listed in parentheses for each player).

Strikeouts% (starters):

xwOBA (xERA proxy):

wOBA (actual ERA proxy):

Pitcher Run Value:

Now let’s apply some filters and look at the most available pitchers with filters for K% and xwOBA (which, of course, are somewhat correlated). We have three recommendations who are mostly non-rostered in Yahoo at the moment. These are starting pitchers with a K% at least 26% and an xwOBA below .300 for the past month (through Tuesday).

Spencer Arrighetti (13% rostered, 27.1% Ks, .288 xwOBA): In the past month, his actual ERA and WHIP are 3.19, 1.35. His roster rate has basically doubled this week. He’s been great in two of his past three starts. I still think the Astros are a good team. I’d pick him up in all formats despite the ghastly full season averages (5.33 ERA, 1.62 WHIP).

Ryan Weathers (21%, 29.5%, .247): I don’t understand what we’re waiting for with Weathers. His actual stats the past month are right in line with these filters: 2.15 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 33 Ks in 29.1 IP. I get that the Marlins are bad, but if the pitcher is good the team isn’t bad that day, generally — though Weathers indeed has just one win in the last month. Honestly, wins are the last thing I look at and I advise you to prioritize the same.

Matt Waldron (46%, 28.7%, .226): The Padres knuckleballer has just been fantastic for real the past month: actual 1.50 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP, and three wins. He’s on a pitch count for some reason, so he’s never going over 100 pitches. Every knuckleballer says he’s better when he’s tired. Yes, I know Waldron is only 38% knuckleball, but if his fastball goes from 91 to 88, or even 85, who cares? But whatever… I’m screaming into the void about how pitchers are babied today, apparently even knuckleballers.

I have to note that Hunter Brown is just over the cutoff (55% rostered) and should be picked up immediately if available — actual 3.10 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 28% Ks the past month. He is pitching like the scouts long expected.

Now let’s look at some non-closers pitching great for the full season and deserving of a roster spot given their K% in all formats.

Jeremiah Estrada (33% rostered): Famously struck out 13 straight batters and has been as dominant in reality as his underlying performance expects him to be. He’s a fastball, splitter pitcher, and both pitches are borderline unhittable vs. average. I don’t see this changing. He also has great control. But Robert Suarez, at age 33, is having a very good season and throws even harder than Estrada.

Matt Strahm (30%): He’s a lefty with a 39% K rate. The Phillies have a lefty closer and a righty set-up man in Jeff Hoffman who is also having a great season and would be next in line. So Strahm is just a pickup for the raw pitching, not the saves upside. Strahm has a great ERA, expected ERA and FIP ERA. His K% is 12 points higher than his career rate.

Dedniel Núñez (less than 1%): He’s a high RPM pitcher who dominates up in the zone and has a 30% whiff rate on his fastball in the small sample. His slider whiff rate is over 40%. Given Edwin Díaz’s injury woes, he could end up closing for the Mets if Díaz is sidelined again (he’s due back when the Mets return to play). So he’s more on the list given we have such little data on him for the potential closer value if Díaz’s shoulder acts up again. His K% is 37.3%.

Griffin Jax (46%): He’s clearly next in line to close  and utterly dominant (35.3% Ks, 7.3% walks) in real and expected stats. He also throws hard and just looks like a closer. Jhoan Durán has been bad in real and expected ways, but he hasn’t blown a save for the Twins. You have to roster Jax if he’s available, and you have to suck it up and pick him up or trade for him if you roster Durán. The writing is on the wall.

(Top photo of Ryan Weathers: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

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