May American League Overachievers
With two months of the Major League Baseball season underway there is sufficient pitching data to draw some early conclusions and offer some predictive analysis for the duration of the season. The marketplace has adjusted to the current season numbers more than history and reputation at this point even though most starters have made only eight-to-ten starts. There will be opportunities to fade some of these American League Overachievers in the coming weeks at favorable prices.
Cal Quantrill – Cleveland Guardians: Cleveland has not received the caliber of starting pitching it expected so far through two months but Quantrill has done his part with a 3.42 ERA through eight starts. He has a 4.96 xFIP however for a huge gap between his ERA and most of his ERA estimators. His 5.3 K/9 is among the worst of any AL starter and he has had great luck with a low BABIP of .255 and a HR/9 of just 0.57. Quantrill beat some of his metrics last season in a nice 2021 campaign but he is doing so by a more severe margin this season and it is not likely to be sustained.
Justin Verlander – Houston Astros: The Astros again appear to be a serious AL contender and Verlander is 6-2 in nine starts even after pitching minimally the past two seasons. Verlander is not close to his previous numbers in his K/9 and CSW% figures however as he should not be valued like a perennial Cy Young contender of the past. Verlander has a .213 BABIP and an over 95 percent strand rate as even for a pitcher with his experience and past success, those are outrageous numbers that won’t hold up over time.
Logan Gilbert – Seattle Mariners: A 2018 1st round draft pick, Gilbert has always had great potential. He put together a strong rookie season in 2021, mostly skipping over AAA entirely. This season he looks like Seattle’s top starter on the surface. He had had some big breaks in the early season numbers compared to last season’s line however and it seems unlikely he’ll go through the 2022 season having halved his 2021 ERA of 4.68, currently with a 2.29 ERA through 10 starts. His K/9, BB/9, and CSW% are all worse this season compared with last season despite having more success in his conventional numbers so far.
Jameson Taillon – New York Yankees: From 2016 and 2021 Taillon was the epitome of a slightly above league-average starter, going 37-30 with a 3.82 ERA. His 8.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 are also right in line with that assessment as well. In the great two-month start for the Yankees, Taillon has a 5-1 record and a 2.49 ERA, even while his K/9 has fallen to just 6.9 while his CSW% is 25.8 percent, among the worst of any regular AL starter. Taillon has faced Baltimore in a third of his starts this season to help the cause and he has stranded over 83 percent of his base runners. Taillon didn’t suddenly develop into an elite starter as he remains a rather average option and should be considered a fade option given New York’s elevated pricing as the AL leader.