May National 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 National League Overachievers in the coming weeks at favorable prices.
Miles Mikolas – St. Louis Cardinals: Among qualified NL starters Miles Mikolas has the third worst CSW% at just 25.8 percent. Mikolas did not pitch in 2020 and made only nine starts last season and his revival as a solid starter for the Cardinals has been a nice story. He had had some great fortune in the early going however, allowing only five home runs in more than 60 innings, well below his career HR/9 rate. Mikolas isn’t a great strikeout threat with a K/9 below 7.0 and he has had good fortune with a .263 BABIP and an 80 percent strand rate through 10 starts in 2022.
Zac Gallen – Arizona Diamondbacks: After three seasons of inconsistency, many are seeing this as the breakthrough season for Gallen, a third-round draft pick in 2016. Gallen is 4-0 in decisions with a 2.32 ERA for a terrific start as Arizona’s de facto ace. He has his lowest K/9 of his career so far and has gone from a 1.41 HR/9 last season to a 0.54 HR/9 rate so far through nine starts. His BABIP of .237 is also way below his career average as a lot has gone right in the first two months for Gallen. Gallen had three scoreless outings in his first five starts which will water down his numbers all season. Over his past three starts he has allowed nine runs while walking seven and his numbers are likely to worsen as the season goes on.
Carlos Carrasco – New York Mets: The 35-year-old Carrasco has been through a lot in his career and has been a great story so far in 2022 after it appeared his career might be over with disastrous results for the Mets last season. He has reversed last season’s 1-5 record at 5-1 already through nine starts this season but he has HR/9 that is a fourth of his rate last season and less than half of his career average. Carrasco is on pace to have his worst K/9 since 2013 and his success has come almost exclusively at Citi Field this season as his road ERA is 5.06. Carrasco has faced only two games this season vs. winning teams as the schedule will stiffen in the weeks ahead.
Walker Buehler – Los Angeles Dodgers: Considered one of the best pitchers in baseball Buehler will command significant pricing pitching for the Dodgers. He had a charmed 2021 season going 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA, next to a 3.57 xFIP and this season he is getting results that look truer to his averages. Buehler has just a 7.5 K/9 this season through 10 starts and his CSW% is just 26.3 percent, by far the worst of his career. In in past four starts heading into June Buehler has allowed 28 hits and 14 runs for a 5.32 ERA while his K/9 keeps dropping. Buehler remains a good starter on a great team, but it will be difficult to justify his upcoming valuations.