Analyzing The Free Agent Starters

I've compiled a FanGraphs custom leaderboard of the 42 current starting pitchers who will be eligible for free agency after the season, leaving out a few with club options such as James Shields and Jon Lester.  Crunching a few basic numbers:

  • You won't find a better innings-eating free agent starter this year than Bronson Arroyo.  He leads with 100 2/3 innings after 15 starts, even though others have made 16 starts.  Arroyo still looks strong if we look at the past calendar year, though Hiroki Kuroda comes out on top with 225 1/3 innings.
  • Jason Hammel, Josh Johnson, and Matt Garza are the hardest throwers of the group, all averaging 92.7 miles per hour on their fastballs.  A.J. Burnett isn't far behind at 92.3, and he leads in strikeout rate and percentage.
  • With a 1.1 BB/9, Bartolo Colon gets the nod for best control.  Ervin Santana and Dan Haren have also been stingy with the free pass.
  • If you don't mind small samples, Chien-Ming Wang and Jake Westbrook are the most extreme groundballers.  If you do mind, then it's Tim Hudson.  Meanwhile, Phil Hughes gets the fewest groundballs, though others such as Freddy Garcia and Haren have had more extreme issues with home runs.  Westbrook hasn't allowed any home runs in his 51 innings, while Jorge De La Rosa has allowed only five in 93 innings.
  • Jason Marquis is getting by with an unsustainably low batting average on balls in play (.237), with Garza and Santana also below .250.
  • Among those with ten starts, Santana is the ERA leader at 2.64, followed by Kuroda and Colon.  SIERA likes Santana as well (3.49), but likes Burnett even more (3.23) and gives a nod to Roberto Hernandez (3.51).  Colon leads the past calendar year with a 2.68 ERA, with Kuroda checking in at 3.00 and Paul Maholm at 3.10.  Colon is also rocking a 1.41 ERA over his last 51 innings, and Joe Saunders is coming on strong in his last five outings.

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