The deadline to make changes tends to produce a lot of movement in the pitcher market and this year, there may be more demand than usual. After the short 2020 season, virtually every contender needs extra arms.
With that in mind, let’s review the pros and cons of six starting pitchers who could be traded this month.
José Berríos, RHP, Twins
Pro: Puerto Rican Berríos is not an ace, but he has a long history as an above-average, durable, and strikeout pitcher. Since the start of the 2017 season, the right-hander is 12th in the majors in starts (117), 10th in innings pitched (696) and 16th in strikeouts (700), in addition to sporting an ERA + of 115. This season he has an ERA + of 123 with 106 strikeouts in 101.2 innings. He is just 27 years old and will be under salary control until 2022.
Against: Berríos is in his sixth season and by now, it is clear that he is not an elite pitcher. Plus, some key metrics – including missed swing rates and pot hits – are worse than average this year.
Pro: Gibson, who has just been called up to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, is having his best season at age 33, leading the American League in EFE (1.98) for 95.2 innings. Like Berríos, the right also has a contract for next year. Its 4.1% pot rate is fourth best among rated pitchers.
AgainstWe’re talking about a pitcher who started this season with a 4.57 ERA in 1,154.1 innings, so it’s normal to wonder how long he’ll be able to maintain his current level, especially if he is traded to a team without such good defense. like the Rangers.
Pro: In the final season of his five-year, $ 65 million contract, Duffy has increased his speed and is posting the best missed swing rate (30.2%) and strikeout rate (26.3%) of his career. His four-seam fastball and curveball are two elite pitches and his slider is moving nearly two inches more horizontally than last year.
AgainstAfter spending more than a month on the disabled list with a strained left forearm flexor, Duffy has thrown just 10.1 innings in four games since his return, with nine strikeouts, six walks and three homers allowed. His long history of injuries could scare off some takers.
Pro: Colorado’s right-hander is being hit less hard this year and his trade, hitting a .347 hitting average and a .678 slugging between 2015 and 2020, has become a legitimate weapon in 2021, to the point that he’s only hit .120 in 25 at-bats that have ended with the trade. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, so he would likely cost less than Berríos and Gibson on the exchange market.
Against: Gray is not a strikeout and it does not seem that he will recover the speed of yesteryear. Between 2015 and 2019, 41% of Gray’s four-seam straights traveled 96 miles per hour or more. In the last two years, it is 6.3%. His medical history is not the best either and this year he already lost time last month due to a strained flexor of the right forearm.
Pro: Owner of one of the best breaking pitches in the game, Gray has thrown exceptionally in three seasons since joining the Reds, with an ERA + of 153 and a strikeout rate close to 30%. Gray potentially has two more years of contractual control, as his $ 38 million deal will end in 2022 and he has a $ 12 million team option by 2023.
Against: The Reds are still in the fray and have a core of players under contract for several years, so it is unlikely they will dismantle the team. And in that same vein, it is difficult for them to decide to leave Gray, unless they are presented with a package of prospects that cannot be rejected.
Michael Pineda, RHP, Twins
Pro: Another looming free agent, Pineda has an EFE + of 114 in 42 starts over the past three seasons, including an EFE + of 113 this year. He’s one of the best at getting hitters to swing pitches out of the zone, particularly with his slider.
Against: When Pineda returns after overcoming a swelling in his right elbow this month, it will be interesting to see where the speed of his four-seam fastball is, which this year was at 90.9 mph, the lowest of his career (it was 92.1 mph in 2020). . Rivals are falling on that pitching, slugging .544, the 12th highest in MLB (minimum 100 plate appearances ending on four-seam fastballs).