Baseball

Three Great Pitching Seasons Going Unnoticed

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This season, we’ve seen some of the best pitching seasons of the 21st century, with Jacob deGrom and Corbin Burnes putting up incredible numbers. They’ve been the center of discussion among baseball fans all year, but there are some other pitchers who are having great seasons without as much recognition. Although advanced stats should be used to evaluate players, this list won’t include any pitchers with a high ERA and low peripherals, as it’s obvious why they go unnoticed to the casual fan.

Logan Webb

Logan Webb is just 24 years old, but he’s already in his 3rd MLB season. He had thrown 94.0 innings prior to the start of this year, putting up a 5.36 ERA, 4.15 FIP, and 4.64 SIERA in 2019-20. He was striking out just 19.8% of the batters he’d faced while walking 9.0%. This year, he’s made major changes to his pitch repertoire and has solidified his spot as a member of the Giants’ rotation.

Among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, Webb ranks 8th in the league in SIERA, 11th in ERA, and 4th in the league in xFIP. Webb is 2nd in the league in GB%, with 61.2% of his batted balls allowed being on the ground. This is a result of increased sinker usage, as it became his primary pitch in 2021.

Webb has become the Giants’ best pitcher, with a 2.65 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 2.91 xFIP, 26.2% K%, and 3.26 SIERA on the year. There’s a bright future with Webb and the Giants, who were able to develop him into a top pitcher, in a non-traditional way. Webb leads Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta in SIERA, and Robbie Ray and Zack Wheeler in ERA, but his name isn’t in the Cy Young discussion, only due to his relative lack of innings.

Patrick Sandoval

The Angels are notorious for their terrible pitching year in and year out, but they have some major bright spots so far in 2021. One is Shohei Ohtani, obviously, and another is Patrick Sandoval. The highlight of Sandoval’s season came when he threw 8.2 no-hit innings with 13 strikeouts.

The lefty has also been in the big leagues since 2019, and also struggled in 2019 and 2020, before putting up a huge season in 2021. He’s also 24 years old, and he’s been a very reliable starter for Los Angeles, despite struggling out of the bullpen.

On the season, he has thrown 87.0 innings of 3.62 ERA baseball, with a 4.02 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 4.02 SIERA, and 25.9% K%. Sandoval had a 5.33 ERA and 5.23 FIP through 76.0 innings in 2019-2020, despite an incredibly inflated 27.1% HR/FB%. As a starter, he has a 3.39 ERA, 3.63 FIP, and 3.70 xFIP, and he’s under team control through 2027.

Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia, another 24-year-old, has had his name thrown around in Rookie of the Year discussions, but he’s still not getting enough credit for the season he’s having in 2021. He’s thrown 128.1 innings and has a 3.23 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 3.67 xERA, 3.68 xFIP, 3.59 SIERA, and 2.8 fWAR. He’s the deserving AL Rookie of the Year, with Adolis Garcia regressing a bit offensively.

Going into the postseason, he’s a part of an underrated Astros’ rotation that includes Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers Jr., and Zack Greinke. He’d likely be their 4 starter in the playoffs, but he’s leading the four in fWAR, FIP, and SIERA. Garcia’s cutter is one of baseball’s best pitches, with a -10 RV and -2.1 RV/100. He also has four more pitches with negative run values, and he throws all four consistently for strikes. He’s a five-pitch pitcher with great command, who should be around for years to come.

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