Making the Pitch: Ten Pitchers That Can Fix Your Pitching Woes

Collin McHugh
Collin McHugh
Troy Taormina USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He is expected back in time for his next start against the New York Mets. Kansas City Royals flamethrower, Yordano Ventura, was diagnosed with valgus stress overload, but the team is confident that Ventura won’t miss much time with the injury. Meanwhile, though not needing surgery, there is still no timetable when Cliff Lee can begin throwing again. Basically, there are fantasy baseball owners in need of pitching help. The following pitchers have an ownership rate below 65 percent in CBS Sports fantasy baseball leagues.

Coming Out of Nowhere

Collin McHugh–46 percent

Currently owning a 3-3 record, McHugh has posted impressive strikeout totals and has done a wonderful job keeping his walk rate low. All of his other roto numbers have also helped those owners that decided to roll the dice on the relatively unknown McHugh. A big concern, however, is that McHugh is doing all of this with a BABIP of .261. His Line Drive Rate (LD%) of 21.2 percent is pretty high and is worth remembering if his BABIP begins to rise. Other than that, he’s inducing a high amount of swings and his control and command have been superb. Because of his anonymity, it remains to be seen how the league adjusts to him as more tape and scouting reports become available, but the way McHugh is pitching, he definitely deserves a higher ownership rate.

Josh Tomlin–21 percent

With only four pitching starts under his belt this season, Tomlin has definitely made a name for himself in the month of May, most notably allowing no more than one walk in each of his four starts. Something else we haven’t seen from Tomlin before is a high strikeout rate, which currently is similar to Lance Lynn‘s. His low BABIP and advanced ERA numbers shows a player that is due for some bad starts in the future. Plus a fly ball pitcher like Tomlin who is also struggling with home runs is a cause for concern. But he also induces a good amount of pop ups and keeps line drives somewhat in check. But the potential to keep his walks low and strikeouts high makes Tomlin an intriguing, possibly long-term, replacement in your pitching staff.

Pitching to Contact

Tanner Roark–63 percent

With so many injuries hitting the Washington Nationals, Roark has worked his way up to be listed as the Nats’ number three starter. Roark’s effectiveness comes from limiting his walks. That makes up for his lack of strikeout potential. His low ERA and WHIP have been aided by a low BABIP of .258, but his Field Independent Pitching (FIP–basically takes into account a pitcher’s ability to strikeout hitters, limit walks and home runs) and Skills-Interactive ERA (SIERA–like FIP, but also accounts for balls in play), shows a pitcher that can easily have an ERA over 4.00. A low LD% and an adequate GB% has helped Roark survive this long and might be a smart game plan for the rest of his season, but pitchers like Roark can be very unpredictable and are at their best when utilized under favorable matchups.

Henderson Alvarez:–55 percent

Helping the surprising Miami Marlins continue their Cinderella story, Alvarez is similar to Roark in pitching style. Alvarez, however, is sporting a BABIP of .314, yet he’s posting a lower FIP and SIERA than Roark. Alvarez won’t amaze anybody with his stuff, but he is a textbook ground ball pitcher with two complete games to his name this season. His GB% is ranked eighth among all qualified starting pitchers, not too far from his career average.

Rest of the Field

Jorge De La Rosa–62 percent

Good: Decent strikeout pitcher…Surprisingly good WHIP…career high Ground Ball Rate (GB%) has helped make him somewhat effective…

Bad: Walk rate is alarmingly high…low BABIP suggests rude wake up call in the upcoming weeks…home runs are a concern…

Be sure to read our more detailed profile of De La Rosa.

Travis Wood–54 percent

Good: Good source of strikeouts…forces a lot of pop ups…fly ball pitcher should have lower BABIP…

Bad: Relatively high batting average against and walks has resulted in a high WHIP…Career LD% is pretty high, but has a career low mark so far this season…Surprisingly does not induce a lot of swings…high contact rate…

Bartolo Colon–46 percent

Good: Minuscule walk rate…adequate strikeouts…Advanced stats shows pitcher that’s better than current ERA of 4.73

Bad: Fly ball pitcher with high BABIP…home run ball is somewhat concerning…Does not induce a lot of swings… Third highest Contact Rate against among all qualified pitchers…

Wade Miley–45 percent

Good: Decent strikeout totals…SIERA of 3.78 offers some hope of improved results…Low LD%…High GB%…

Bad: Walk rate could be lower…High FIP…Problems with the long ball…Does not induce a lot of swings from hitters…

Jake Odorizzi–41 percent

Good: Great strikeout numbers… Decent FIP and SIERA shows a pitcher that can be better…Low Contact Rate…

Bad: Needs to control his walks…High BABIP has also been responsible for high WHIP…High LD%…

Nick Tepesch–34 percent (Only three pitching starts and 18 innings pitched)

Good: Great source for strikeouts…Marvelous job at keeping walks in check…good job forcing pop ups…

Bad: LD% is too high…some concern with home runs…very low BABIP… high contact rate…

All stats are courtesy of and are good through May 30, 2014.

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Felipe Melecio
Felipe Melecio was the managing editor for the blog Pathological Hate. He believes that math is your friend and numbers can be fun, especially when it comes to baseball. Keep tabs on all his knee-jerk reactions on Twitter: !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');