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Fantasy baseball, to me, is insanely fun to play in part because everyone has different viewpoints. Everyone sees the same numbers yet everyone interprets them differently. That’s the beauty of it all. 

That’s why I’ve always enjoyed articles like this one. I tell you how I view the data and it’s up to you to agree or disagree. If you agree then it helps further cement your opinion, if you disagree then perhaps it causes you to go back and reassess said player. 

Below are some pitchers I am targeting for different reasons – whether it be consistency, upside, skill-set, or having good value based on ADP. Whether you agree or disagree with the players listed I just hope at least one of these entries challenges your own opinion.  

Tylor Megill

Before I dive into what we saw from Tylor Megill we have to discuss the Mets depth chart. Currently, their rotation consists of Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, and Tylor Megill.

The Mets sound like they are still looking for another pitcher which could push Megill out of the rotation. In addition, they still have Trevor Williams, Jordan Yamamoto, and David Peterson. Do I see any of the three pitchers mentioned taking Megill’s spot? No. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t want to give Peterson a shot again though. 

The “positive” for Megill here is even if the Mets add another starting pitcher, their rotation is more fragile than glass. No one knows what is going on with Jacob deGrom. Taijuan Walker crawled to the end of the season last year, and we know how injury-prone Carlos Carrasco is. 

Steamer currently has Megill projected for 115.0 innings pitched. I don’t buy it. We should see closer to 140 innings (assuming he performs) due to injury opportunities and lack of current depth.

Megill finished 2021 pitching 89.2 innings over 18 starts with a 4.52 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. The main crutch with him last season was his horrendous home run rate. He had a 1.91 HR/9 while the league average was 1.26. We don’t have previous seasons to look at for Megill so all we can do is take a look at his minor league numbers. The worst HR/9 he ever had in the minors was a 1.26 rate (only season at AAA) and the next highest was 0.64. 

It’s tough to tell if his high home run rate was just a weird thing that isn’t sustainable or if it is a true issue for Megill. If in fact, it were to come down to league average xFIP calls for a 3.92 ERA, an encouraging number. It also should be noted as well that his HR/9 was 2.97 against lefties, and 1.07 against right-handed bats – will this problem persist?

Megill has some other encouraging signs, one of them being his changeup. With decent velocity on his four-seam, his changeup becomes a very tough pitch to hit. There is a nine MPH gap between the two and when he goes high to low the pitch is virtually unhittable. 

Another encouraging sign is his slider. With slider we want location and Megill has that down pat. He typically throws it just outside the zone and he never missed middle-middle. Too many times have I seen him set up a hitter with his four-seam high in the zone to then suddenly throw his slider low and inside on a right-handed hitter for the strikeout. 

Command on his four-seam and changeup was a constant issue for Megill and that’s what really lead to the home run problem. When he missed his location on those two pitches he missed middle-middle. It’s something that is fixable and if fixed I can’t imagine what his changeup will look like with good location. 

Some of you who read my work might be thinking this sounds a lot like Tarik Skubal and his issues yet you are telling us not to draft him. The difference is in ADP. Skubal is going at pick 175 while Megill is going at pick 292. Give me Megill who has a ton of upside over 100 picks later where you can take chances. 

Jordan Montgomery

In 2021 Montgomery had 30 starts and pitched nearly 160 innings producing a 3.83 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. 

In his first eight starts, Montgomery had a 4.75 ERA but a start against the White Sox on May 21st seemed to change the tides for Montgomery. He pitched seven innings, allowed zero earned runs with 11 strikeouts. 

From then on Montgomery pitched 22 starts with a 3.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. From July 22nd on he had 12 starts where he pitched to a 3.24 ERA. In those 12 starts, he allowed one or fewer runs in nine of those starts. Nine. So what does the future hold for Mr. Montgomery?

What’s important to note here is Jordan Montgomery’s year-to-year improvement on inducing whiffs. In 2020 Montgomery’s SwStr% was at 12.9% and in 2021 it rose to 13.7%.

A big reason he was able to do this was by making a serious pitch mix change. He started throwing both his changeup and curveball more compared to his sinker. His sinker went from his most used pitch to his third most used pitch. But that doesn’t even tell the whole story.

In the final month of the season, he started to favor his four-seam over his sinker putting the sinker completely on the backburner. While his four-seam isn’t anything to drool over this was the first time the sinker was not one of his top three pitches. 

This is everything we wanted from Montgomery, his curveball and changeup are light years ahead of his sinker in terms of quality – and both pitches not only induce weak contact but they create an insane amount of whiffs. 

He also made somewhat of a fundamental change by going towards the plate more. If you look at his extension it has greatly increased the last three seasons. Now extension doesn’t inherently mean too much, but it is clearly helping him create more strikeouts.

With all of that said, Montgomery has been on the up for two seasons now making steady improvements. He has true whiff capabilities and works for an organization that relies on analytics. I truly believe Montgomery could put it all together this season making him a very valuable draft pick.

Chris Bassitt

Give me Chris Bassitt. In his last three seasons, he has pitched 364.1 innings with a 3.26 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 23.5 K%. “Mike but what about the fact that he has overperformed his metrics for the last three years?!” Good. Kyle Hendricks did it for six seasons Bassitt can too!

Chris Bassitt is a pitcher where I have a lot of trouble finding any holes. He throws six pitches using five of them over 10% of the time. The sinker, his most used pitch, is insanely good with a shocking a 34.0 CSW% in 2021. It induced 27.2% called strikes, which is wild. 

His four-seam had an above-average whiff rate, his changeup had a low contact rate, and his slider induced a lot of weak contact. His cutter doesn’t have great underlying metrics but it is a pertinent pitch for him in terms of sequencing. 

Chris Bassitt isn’t going to be a league winner and that’s okay. He is an anchor. A pitcher who you can rely on for consistent ratios to help settle those random blowups we experience every season with our pitchers. 

Luke Weaver

Do you remember the Luke Weaver from 2019 who pitched 64.1 innings with a 2.94 ERA? I do. Sure that was a long time ago and sure last season he pitched 65.2 innings with a 4.25 ERA but the upside is there.

I don’t think Luke Weaver will ever be a high strikeout pitcher but I think he can be an above-average one. I have always been a fan of the cutter and four-seam combination, perhaps it can bring Weaver success.

The big reason why I like Weaver though is their new pitching coach. The Arizona Diamondbacks brought in the pitching coach from the Houston Astros. You know the one who fixed Charlie Morton. I believe that with Weaver’s above-average two-pitch combo he can unlock another level. Additionally, he is virtually going for free in drafts right now.

Kyle Muller

Kyle Muller seems to be overlooked. Let’s talk roster depth first. The Atlanta Braves current rotation is Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson, Huascar Ynoa, and Tucker Davidson. Yes, Tucker Davidson. 

Others are around like Touki Touissant and Kyle Wright but to me, it seems like the Touki/Wright experiment is over. Which leaves Kyle Muller. 

Muller saw just eight starts at the major league level last year where he posted a 4.17 ERA. In that small sample, his 4.17 ERA came with a 3.66 FIP indicating his results should have been better. 

What most intrigues me is Muller’s strikeout ability. His 23.9% strikeout rate came with a 13.1 SwStr% meaning that number should rise. In fact, we could expect it rise to somewhere between 26 to 29%. A number well above league average.  

Muller’s main hindrance is command, and if you watched him pitch he misses his spots especially with the four-seam fastball. I think despite the poor location his four-seam still performed well which shows how good he could be if he is able to keep it up in the zone. 

Beyond the four-seam Muller really seems to shine. His slider had a 19.4 SwStr% and his curveball had an 18.6 SwStr%. Both above league average and more evidence pointing to a higher strikeout rate on the way. On top of inducing above-average whiffs, they both created a ton of weak contact as well. Both had a sub 65 wRC+ against as well as a sub .125 ISO against. 

If the fastball command shows up he could be a pitcher with three plus pitches. He could have a high strikeout rate. And he plays for a good team where he can accumulate a bunch of wins. I think Muller squeaks his way into the Braves rotation and impresses in 2022.

 

Michael Simione

Michael Simione

Michael Simione is the owner of SPStreamer.com. He started the blog based on a Twitter account he created back in 2018. He specializes in pitching as well as streaming pitchers. He most importantly is a die-hard Mets fan.

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