Stuff: 15/30; Command: 12/20; Hittability: 1/15; Workhorse: 17/25; Health: 10/10
With mediocre stuff and a longstanding inability to miss bats, Guthrie is pretty well established as baseball’s foremost batting practice pitcher. Living with him means living with hard-hit balls, a good percentage of which find their way over the fence. At least he can eat innings.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 12/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 14/25; Health: 10/10
Saunders is a “Hey, at least he’ll eat innings” kind of guy, but 2013 has been the first season in a while in which he’s struggled to get through six on a consistent basis. The Mariners actually haven’t been able to rely on him for six innings and 100 pitches. It’s a good thing he’s still better than most at it, however, as you’re left with the following if you strip away Saunders’ ability to eat innings: average stuff and an extreme inability to miss bats.
Stuff: 16/30; Command: 10/20; Hittability: 9/15; Workhorse: 10/25; Health: 10/10
Wood's stuff in and of itself is hardly eye-popping, but that funky delivery of his has proven to be effective in terms of making his stuff hard to pick up. He's pretty good at missing bats, and he also keeps the ball on the ground well. The catch is that he walks a few more batters than the average starter and is hardly proven himself as a workhorse in the few starts he's made in 2013. He hasn't even averaged 90 pitches per start.
Stuff: 13/30; Command: 13/20; Hittability: 3/15; Workhorse: 18/25; Health: 8/10
With the exception of his changeup, which is a quality pitch, there’s nothing impressive about what Vargas throws. He’s also tended to be a home run magnet in his career, notably giving up a whopping 35 long balls in 2012. In general, he's one of the most hittable starters you're going to find anywhere. But his command allows him to be efficient, and he’s averaged better than six innings and 100 pitches per start like clockwork since 2010.
Stuff: 17/30; Command: 11/20; Hittability: 7/15; Workhorse: 13/25; Health: 7/10
Ogando’s arm is a live one, as he can run his fastball between 93-94 with a good slider, and the 2013 season has seen him go to his changeup more often. He also has better command than he’s shown this year, as he’s been blocked from getting in a rhythm by injuries. But those are the real problem here. Ogando hit the DL for the third time in 2013 in late August, all with arm/shoulder injuries. They’re of the variety that should clear up, but you never know.
Stuff: 17/30; Command: 10/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 10/10
Peralta has a live arm and a good fastball-slider combination, and he gets credit for keeping his hard stuff around the bottom of the zone. However, his walk habit isn't particularly strong and he isn’t missing as many bats as he should be, and his lack of efficiency has rendered him incapable of getting through six innings consistently. He’ll have plenty to build on when this season is in the books.
Stuff: 16/30; Command: 8/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 16/25; Health: 9/10
Gallardo’s stuff is fading fast, as he’s gone from sitting 93-94 with his hard stuff to barely getting by at 91-92, and his breaking stuff has lost some effectiveness too. The good news is that his command and ability to miss bats have been a lot better since he returned from the disabled list in mid-August, and he's still a good bet to get through six or so on 100 or so pitches.
Stuff: 11/30; Command: 15/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 15/25; Health: 10/10
Stults is basically Mark Buehrle with a little extra velocity, as his stuff just isn’t a feast for the eyes. But he does have good command of it, and he’s used his efficiency to give the Padres six innings of work on a consistent basis in 2013. The biggest nitpick I have is that he deserves to have more home runs next to his name given the mediocrity of his stuff and the rate at which he gives up fly balls.
Stuff: 18/30; Command: 11/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 8/10
His health seems to be in a constant state of duress, but de la Rosa is admittedly having a much better season in 2013 than this ranking indicates. The reasons he isn't higher are as follows: he has good-but-not-great stuff, his command is just OK, he doesn’t overpower hitters, and he can't be counted on for six innings or 100 pitches when he takes the ball. However, he has certainly contributed to a larger effort that has made the Rockies one of the best teams in baseball at racking up ground balls.
Stuff: 19/30; Command: 7/20; Hittability: 7/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 10/10
Locke doesn’t have overpowering velocity, but his four-seam fastball has some serious tailing action on it, and he also has a quality changeup and curveball. These are the good things. The bad things: Locke doesn’t throw strikes, he doesn’t miss bats, and he’s not even averaging six innings per start. It was inevitable that he would start struggling after an All-Star first half, and he indeed struggled badly enough to get himself optioned to the minors for what Pirates GM Neal Huntington called a "short break."
Stuff: 18/30; Command: 13/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 18/25; Health: 1/10
Does anyone even still remember Harrison at this point? This has been a lost season for him due to a series of back injuries that he hasn’t been able to overcome, eventually culminating in him being shut down for good in mid-August. Now he needs surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. When healthy in 2012, however, Harrison earned himself a nice new contract by being a good command artist who could keep the ball on the ground and rack up innings. An average start for him was 6.7 innings.
Stuff: 16/30; Command: 14/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 10/10
Hernandez’s sinker was a filthy pitch back in 2007 when he was excellent (and still known as Fausto Carmona). It’s lost some zip, but is still a quality pitch that Hernandez commands well, and it keeps the ball on the ground more often than not. The downside: Hernandez allows far too many home runs and he hasn't been a quality workhorse in several years.
Stuff: 20/30; Command: 10/20; Hittability: 8/15; Workhorse: 10/25; Health: 8/10
Eovaldi is still a pup as a starter, and his arm and shoulder have already had it pretty rough. He had Tommy John as a high schooler and battled a bout with shoulder inflammation this year that sidelined him for about three months. But goodness knows he has a live arm with a nasty fastball-slider combination, and his command this season hasn’t been as mediocre as his walk rate indicates.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 14/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 14/25; Health: 7/10
Gee helps make up for having mediocre stuff by having a lot of it, as he has five pitches that he features regularly and varies up his fastball duty between a four-seamer and sinker. He also makes it harder than it should be to square his stuff up, which is all thanks to his easily above-average command. The scariest thing about him is his injury history, which includes some shoulder issues and elbow tendinitis that has lingered in 2013. Otherwise, he’d rate higher.
Stuff: 11/30; Command: 16/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 15/25; Health: 10/10
Milone’s stuff is about as “meh” as it gets, with the only pitch capable of raising your eyebrows being his changeup. Major league hitters were able to adjust to it in 2013, laying off the changeup and teeing off on Milone to a point where the A’s eventually had to send him to the minors. But with outstanding command and an ability to eat a decent amount of innings, Milone still has the goods to succeed.
Stuff: 16/30; Command: 14/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 13/25; Health: 9/10
It’s basically all sinkers when Alvarez is on the mound, but he has made more use of his four-seamer this year and has been rewarded in the form of the two things he desperately needed last year: more whiffs and more strikeouts. With some strikeouts to go along with all his ground balls, Alvarez has seen his effectiveness skyrocket. The big catches are: A) a lost health point for sitting out the first three months of the season with shoulder inflammation and B) he's not much of a workhorse.
Stuff: 20/30; Command: 11/20; Hittability: 8/15; Workhorse: 11/25; Health: 6/10
Talk about your all-time comebacks. Kazmir has turned the clock back on his stuff, and he’s displayed a much better idea of where it’s going than he did when he was last in the majors in 2011. His ability to eat innings is still very much limited, however, and the DL stint he needed earlier in the season served as a reminder that his health can't be counted on.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 8/20; Hittability: 9/15; Workhorse: 14/25; Health: 10/10
Doubront’s command is still a work in progress, and this season has seen him feature flatter stuff across the board, with significantly less life on his fastball and a shockingly mediocre curveball. It’s no surprise that he hasn’t missed as many bats, and that he still has more or less natural ceiling of six innings per start. Credit where it’s due, however: Doubront is still a decent source of strikeouts and ground balls, and he hasn't struggled with homers nearly as bad as he did in 2012.
Stuff: 14/30; Command: 13/20; Hittability: 4/15; Workhorse: 15/25; Health: 10/10
The only good pitch Griffin has at his disposal is a big, loopy curveball that occasionally jellies a few legs, but his game is more about hitting spots and changing speeds. He’s able to maintain about an average strikeout rate that makes life a little easier, but he’s also a home run magnet. That part, of course, doesn’t make life easier.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 14/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 9/10
Hughes goes heavy on his four-seamer, but it’s beyond clear by now that it’s not a pitch that can beat major league hitters on its own. Unfortunately, Hughes doesn’t have much in his arsenal besides his slider. Thus, plenty of hits happen when he pitches, a good chunk of them go far and serve to get Hughes out of the game early. In his defense, however, Yankee Stadium does him no favors. He'll be a candidate for a big-time turnaround once he gets himself to a bigger ballpark.
Stuff: 24/30; Command: 11/20; Hittability: 6/15; Workhorse: 11/25; Health: 4/10
Morrow was diagnosed with an “entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm” in July, an injury that has effectively ended his season and could possibly require surgery to correct. Morrow’s injury track record is now even more distressing than it already was, and it’s all a damn shame. His fastball-slider-splitter combination is deadly when he has it working, and he’s showed much-improved command of his stuff when he's been able to pitch the last two years. What's not so good: his declining strikeout habit.
Stuff: 16/30; Command: 7/20; Hittability: 12/15; Workhorse: 12/25; Health: 9/10
Cingrani’s fastball is terrific. Terrific enough, in fact, to be all he’s really needed to rack up swings and misses and punchouts. But right now he’s all arm and little else. He’ll have to work on using the rest of his repertoire, and he also needs to sharpen up his command. To boot, his health looks a little iffy. He had to hit the DL with a bad back in August and needed an early exit due to more back trouble in his most recent start.
Stuff: 17/30; Command: 14/20; Hittability: 7/15; Workhorse: 11/25; Health: 7/10
Beachy got a scare shortly after he returned from Tommy John surgery. It turned out to be just elbow inflammation, but it's been bad to sideline him since late August. Before that, Beachy had picked up where he left off with his control renaissance, throwing 50 percent of his pitches in the zone and hardly walking anybody. He’d also been getting his share of whiffs and strikeouts, and his stuff had shown shades of its old prowess. The small sample size caveat applies, but it's worth noting that this is a guy who was leading the league in ERA at the time he got hurt.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 9/20; Hittability: 7/15; Workhorse: 16/25; Health: 10/10
Cahill is one of the game’s preeminent sinkerballers, throwing his sinker over half the time and using it to consistently rack up ground ball rates around 60 percent. For a sinkerballer, that’s elite territory. He’s prone to inconsistency, however, and that's been the case this season. For all the ground balls he’s been getting, Cahill’s pitch-to-contact ways have also resulted in a lot of balls flying over the fence.
Stuff: 15/30; Command: 13/20; Hittability: 5/15; Workhorse: 15/25; Health: 9/10
The depth of Maholm’s repertoire is good enough to make up for the relative mediocrity of his pitches, and he has the control to make these mediocre pitches effective. But he can be hit hard when the smoke and mirrors aren’t working, and he’s the kind of innings eater who’s only good for six innings.