Collette Calls: Still Chasing Wins

Collette Calls: Still Chasing Wins

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

It was not even three months ago that I wrote an article on how to chase wins in 2022 looking at issues affecting both starting pitchers as well as relief pitchers. I am returning to this topic because six weeks into the season, things are even crazier than I expected in March. 

As I write this on Wednesday, May 11, we have:

  • Three different relievers – Clay Holmes, Adam Cimber and Reynaldo Lopez – each have four wins and are tied with a glob of pitchers for the league lead.
  • 11 different starting pitchers (min 25 IP) have ERAs below 3.00 and none of them have more than one win.
  • Michael Kopech has a 0.93 ERA over six starts, has not allowed a homer, and has zero wins.
  • One of the defending Cy Young Award winners, Corbin Burnes, has one win in six starts despite a 1.86 ERA.
  • Nestor Cortes has pitched amazing baseball with a 1.41 ERA over six starts, but has just one win to show for his efforts.
  • Steven Matz has won half of his six starts despite an ERA north of 7.00, giving him more wins the the three previous bulleted pitchers.

The issues with overall offense in April was certainly a factor, although there have been signs of life this week as we have seen some big line scores this week mixed in with some shutouts and even a no-hitter by Reid Detmers on Tuesday evening.

Let's begin with one of the metrics

It was not even three months ago that I wrote an article on how to chase wins in 2022 looking at issues affecting both starting pitchers as well as relief pitchers. I am returning to this topic because six weeks into the season, things are even crazier than I expected in March. 

As I write this on Wednesday, May 11, we have:

  • Three different relievers – Clay Holmes, Adam Cimber and Reynaldo Lopez – each have four wins and are tied with a glob of pitchers for the league lead.
  • 11 different starting pitchers (min 25 IP) have ERAs below 3.00 and none of them have more than one win.
  • Michael Kopech has a 0.93 ERA over six starts, has not allowed a homer, and has zero wins.
  • One of the defending Cy Young Award winners, Corbin Burnes, has one win in six starts despite a 1.86 ERA.
  • Nestor Cortes has pitched amazing baseball with a 1.41 ERA over six starts, but has just one win to show for his efforts.
  • Steven Matz has won half of his six starts despite an ERA north of 7.00, giving him more wins the the three previous bulleted pitchers.

The issues with overall offense in April was certainly a factor, although there have been signs of life this week as we have seen some big line scores this week mixed in with some shutouts and even a no-hitter by Reid Detmers on Tuesday evening.

Let's begin with one of the metrics I referenced in the previous article – RS/IP – which is the runs a team scores when the starting pitcher is in the game. The table below shows that total by team for this season, with the league average filled in red:

It is tough to win when your team is not scoring runs. The plot below shows the correlation between run support and wins:

So, stream starters from teams producing runs and wins. Right? If only it were that easy. The Cubs have provided the second-most run support for their starters, yet their starters have just five wins this season. Cleveland has done similar damage offensively for their starting pitchers yet their rotation has as many wins as the Baltimore Orioles. Then we have the Pittsburgh Pirates who have just one win from a starter this season while the next quality start by a Cincinnati starting pitcher will be their first one this season. 

Things get rather interesting when we break down starters and the run support they get relative to the team's overall number. I mentioned the lack of support Nestor Cortes had in the earlier bullet point, and you can add Jordan Montgomery onto that list. Montgomery remains winless over six starts despite pitching well. The Yankees score 3.5 runs a game while their starter is in, but are averaging 4.6 runs a game, as their offense tends to show up late much like Tuesday night when Aaron Judge walked off Jordan Romano

Here are the top 20 pitchers who enjoy a particularly healthy dose of run support when on the mound compared to the team's average contribution when a starter is on the mound:

Pitcher

Team

IP

GS

Wins

ND

Team Wins

RS/IP

Team Support

Support+

Paul Blackburn

OAK

31

6

4

2

5

7.0

3.1

226

Elieser Hernandez

MIA

29.2

6

2

2

3

7.3

3.5

209

Bryse Wilson

PIT

21.2

4

0

3

3

7.6

3.7

205

Daniel Lynch

KC

24.2

5

2

1

2

5.6

2.9

193

Ian Anderson

ATL

24.2

5

3

1

3

7.9

4.4

180

Tarik Skubal

DET

33.2

6

2

2

3

3.4

1.9

179

Gerrit Cole

NYY

30.1

6

2

4

5

6.2

3.5

177

Antonio Senzatela

COL

27.2

6

2

2

4

7.7

4.6

167

Matt Brash

SEA

20

5

1

1

2

6.8

4.1

166

Logan Gilbert

SEA

33

6

4

2

5

6.8

4.1

166

Ranger Suarez

PHI

29.1

6

3

2

5

6.9

4.2

164

Josh Winder

MIN

22.1

2

2

0

2

6.0

3.8

158

Adrian Houser

MIL

26.1

5

3

0

3

6.9

4.4

157

Dylan Bundy

MIN

25

5

3

0

3

5.9

3.8

155

Garrett Whitlock

BOS

24.2

4

0

3

1

4.8

3.1

155

Hunter Greene

CIN

26

6

1

0

1

3.7

2.4

154

Drew Rasmussen

TB

28

6

3

2

5

6.8

4.5

151

Josiah Gray

WAS

31.1

6

4

0

4

6.3

4.3

147

Eric Lauer

MIL

29.2

5

3

2

5

6.4

4.4

145

Oakland is 26th in starting pitching run support, yet Blackburn is tops on this list helping him win four of his six starts. Simply put, that is not going to last. Conversely, Gerrit Cole has received more support than Cortes or Montgomery on the roster, yet has just one more win than that duo. Dylan Bundy got off to an early hot start, but even all that run support could not keep up with his terrible pitching his last two times out. 

Conversely, here are the bottom 20 pitchers who could press charges for lack of support from their teammates:

Name

Tm

IP

GS

Wins

ND

Team Wins

RS/IP

Team Support

Support+

Julio Urias

LAD

30

6

2

2

3

1.1

4.9

22

Michael Pineda

DET

21

4

1

1

2

0.5

1.9

26

Chris Flexen

SEA

34

6

1

0

1

1.3

4.1

32

Trevor Rogers

MIA

27

6

1

1

1

1.4

3.5

40

Aaron Ashby

MIL

23.1

3

0

2

2

1.9

4.4

43

Corbin Burnes

MIL

38.2

6

1

3

2

1.9

4.4

43

Patrick Sandoval

LAA

26.2

5

1

3

4

2.1

4.5

47

Framber Valdez

HOU

32.1

6

1

3

2

1.9

3.9

49

Patrick Corbin

WAS

32.2

7

0

2

0

2.1

4.3

49

Zack Wheeler

PHI

26.1

5

1

1

1

2.1

4.2

50

Brad Keller

KC

36.2

6

1

2

3

1.5

2.9

52

Nick Martinez

SD

26.2

5

2

1

3

2.4

4.4

55

Daulton Jefferies

OAK

29.1

6

1

0

1

1.7

3.1

55

Jose Quintana

PIT

30

6

1

4

4

2.1

3.7

57

Sean Manaea

SD

36

6

2

1

2

2.5

4.4

57

Kyle Wright

ATL

35.2

6

3

1

4

2.5

4.4

57

Zach Plesac

CLE

32.2

6

1

2

2

2.7

4.7

57

Sandy Alcantara

MIA

35.2

6

2

2

2

2.1

3.5

60

Nick Pivetta

BOS

26.2

6

0

2

0

1.9

3.1

61

Urias is not the pitcher I expected to see at the top of this list given how well the Dodgers are doing, but there he is. Note that two different Milwaukee pitchers are on this list while two others are on the previous one, reminding us that not all run support is created equally. Wright winning half his starts despite the lack of support speaks to how well he has pitched this season on the whole. Meanwhile, guys like Corbin and Plesac still wouldn't have many wins with more support given how many runs they're allowing.  If you are frustrated by some of these pitchers and their lack of wins early on, have some faith they start receiving similar levels of support as others on the staff.

Finally, we have 11 different relievers with three or more wins which would put them on pace for 10-12 wins on the season.:

It is worth reminding you that just five relievers had double-digit wins last year: Alex Reyes, Brent Suter, Chad Green, Paul Sewald and Josh Fleming. We have not had more than four relievers with 10-plus wins in any other season since 1997 when six relievers pulled it off: Bobby Ayala, Roberto Hernandez, T.J. Mathews, Danny Patterson, Arthur Rhodes, and Tom Candiotti. Reliever wins are bandaids for patching up a starting staff with trouble, but not a full-time solution given how impossible they are to project.

In summary, we are off to an odd start with the unusual size of pitching staffs. The reduction of roster spots appears to have already made an impact on offenses as they're heating up this week, but you can still look to act upon pitchers who have been rather lucky or unfortunate with run support. The complete table of pitchers (min 20 IP) is below.

Name

Tm

IP

GS

Wgs

ND

Wtm

RS/IP

Team Support

Support+

Julio Urias

LAD

30

6

2

2

3

1.1

4.9

22

Michael Pineda

DET

21

4

1

1

2

0.5

1.9

26

Chris Flexen

SEA

34

6

1

0

1

1.3

4.1

32

Trevor Rogers

MIA

27

6

1

1

1

1.4

3.5

40

Aaron Ashby

MIL

23.1

3

0

2

2

1.9

4.4

43

Corbin Burnes

MIL

38.2

6

1

3

2

1.9

4.4

43

Patrick Sandoval

LAA

26.2

5

1

3

4

2.1

4.5

47

Framber Valdez

HOU

32.1

6

1

3

2

1.9

3.9

49

Patrick Corbin

WAS

32.2

7

0

2

0

2.1

4.3

49

Zack Wheeler

PHI

26.1

5

1

1

1

2.1

4.2

50

Brad Keller

KC

36.2

6

1

2

3

1.5

2.9

52

Nick Martinez

SD

26.2

5

2

1

3

2.4

4.4

55

Daulton Jefferies

OAK

29.1

6

1

0

1

1.7

3.1

55

Jose Quintana

PIT

30

6

1

4

4

2.1

3.7

57

Sean Manaea

SD

36

6

2

1

2

2.5

4.4

57

Kyle Wright

ATL

35.2

6

3

1

4

2.5

4.4

57

Zach Plesac

CLE

32.2

6

1

2

2

2.7

4.7

57

Sandy Alcantara

MIA

35.2

6

2

2

2

2.1

3.5

60

Nick Pivetta

BOS

26.2

6

0

2

0

1.9

3.1

61

Drew Smyly

CHC

23.2

5

1

1

2

3.3

5.3

62

Vladimir Gutierrez

CIN

21.1

5

0

0

0

1.5

2.4

63

Noah Syndergaard

LAA

29.1

5

3

1

3

2.9

4.5

64

Rich Hill

BOS

22

5

0

4

2

2.0

3.1

65

Austin Gomber

COL

33

6

2

1

3

3.0

4.6

65

Jordan Montgomery

NYY

31

6

0

5

2

2.3

3.5

66

Chris Paddack

MIN

22.1

5

1

2

3

2.5

3.8

66

Carlos Rodon

SF

35

6

4

1

4

3.9

5.9

66

Max Fried

ATL

37

6

4

0

4

3.0

4.4

68

Martin Perez

TEX

34.1

6

1

3

3

2.6

3.8

68

Joan Adon

WAS

28.1

6

1

0

1

3.0

4.3

70

Tylor Megill

NYM

33.1

6

4

1

5

2.9

4.1

71

Nestor Cortes

NYY

32

6

1

4

4

2.5

3.5

71

Marcus Stroman

CHC

26.1

5

1

1

1

3.8

5.3

72

Ross Stripling

TOR

23

5

0

4

2

2.6

3.6

72

Eduardo Rodriguez

DET

32

6

0

4

1

1.4

1.9

74

German Marquez

COL

32

6

0

3

2

3.4

4.6

74

Yusei Kikuchi

TOR

26

6

1

4

1

2.7

3.6

75

Zack Greinke

KC

33.2

6

0

4

2

2.2

2.9

76

Aaron Nola

PHI

40

7

1

2

1

3.2

4.2

76

Jesus Luzardo

MIA

29

6

2

1

2

2.7

3.5

77

Dallas Keuchel

CHW

21

5

2

0

2

2.8

3.6

78

Jordan Lyles

BAL

33.1

6

2

2

3

2.7

3.4

79

Shane McClanahan

TB

32.1

6

2

2

3

3.6

4.5

80

Frankie Montas

OAK

43

7

2

2

2

2.5

3.1

81

Corey Kluber

TB

29.2

6

1

3

3

3.7

4.5

82

Madison Bumgarner

ARI

30.1

7

2

4

4

2.9

3.5

83

Jameson Taillon

NYY

25.1

5

2

2

4

2.9

3.5

83

Alek Manoah

TOR

36

6

4

2

4

3.0

3.6

83

Tyler Mahle

CIN

30.2

7

1

2

2

2.0

2.4

83

Dane Dunning

TEX

32

6

1

4

3

3.2

3.8

84

Tyler Wells

BAL

24

6

1

3

1

2.9

3.4

85

Robbie Ray

SEA

42.2

7

3

1

4

3.6

4.1

88

Freddy Peralta

MIL

28.2

6

2

3

4

3.9

4.4

89

Cole Irvin

OAK

27.2

5

2

2

3

2.8

3.1

90

Miles Mikolas

STL

35.1

6

2

3

4

3.8

4.2

90

Chad Kuhl

COL

29.2

5

3

2

4

4.2

4.6

91

Zach Davies

ARI

29.2

6

1

4

2

3.3

3.5

94

Joe Ryan

MIN

31.2

6

3

1

4

3.6

3.8

95

Shane Bieber

CLE

32.2

6

1

3

3

4.5

4.7

96

Zac Gallen

ARI

28.1

5

2

3

4

3.4

3.5

97

JT Brubaker

PIT

25.1

6

0

4

3

3.6

3.7

97

Carlos Carrasco

NYM

36.2

6

3

2

3

4.1

4.1

100

Dylan Cease

CHW

34

6

3

2

5

3.6

3.6

100

Yu Darvish

SD

33.1

6

3

2

4

4.4

4.4

100

Kyle Gibson

PHI

33.2

6

3

2

4

4.2

4.2

100

Logan Webb

SF

35.1

6

4

1

5

5.9

5.9

100

MacKenzie Gore

SD

26

5

2

2

2

4.5

4.4

102

Jose Urquidy

HOU

25.2

5

2

2

3

4.0

3.9

103

Vince Velasquez

CHW

22.2

5

2

1

3

3.7

3.6

103

Cal Quantrill

CLE

34.1

6

1

3

2

4.9

4.7

104

Marco Gonzales

SEA

25.1

6

1

1

1

4.3

4.1

105

Mitch Keller

PIT

28

6

0

2

1

3.9

3.7

105

Kevin Gausman

TOR

38

6

3

2

5

3.8

3.6

106

Luis Severino

NYY

28.2

6

2

4

6

3.7

3.5

106

Nathan Eovaldi

BOS

33.2

6

1

4

2

3.3

3.1

106

Carlos Hernandez

KC

22.2

5

0

3

1

3.1

2.9

107

Adam Wainwright

STL

34

6

3

0

3

4.5

4.2

107

Justin Steele

CHC

22

6

1

1

2

5.7

5.3

108

Luis Garcia

HOU

28.2

5

2

2

4

4.2

3.9

108

Walker Buehler

LAD

36.2

6

4

1

5

5.3

4.9

108

Dakota Hudson

STL

30.1

6

2

2

3

4.6

4.2

110

Tyler Anderson

LAD

22.2

3

2

1

2

5.4

4.9

110

Michael Lorenzen

LAA

28.1

5

3

0

3

5.0

4.5

111

Pablo Lopez

MIA

36

6

4

1

5

3.9

3.5

111

Chris Bassitt

NYM

36.2

6

4

0

4

4.6

4.1

112

Michael Wacha

BOS

26

5

3

2

4

3.5

3.1

113

Kyle Freeland

COL

32

6

1

2

3

5.2

4.6

113

Alex Wood

SF

30

6

3

1

3

6.7

5.9

114

Merrill Kelly

ARI

37

6

3

2

4

4.0

3.5

114

Spenser Watkins

BAL

22.1

5

0

5

3

3.9

3.4

115

Bruce Zimmermann

BAL

30.1

6

2

3

4

3.9

3.4

115

Cristian Javier

HOU

21.2

2

2

0

2

4.5

3.9

115

Justin Verlander

HOU

40.2

6

4

1

4

4.5

3.9

115

Brandon Woodruff

MIL

28.2

6

3

1

4

5.1

4.4

116

Erick Fedde

WAS

30

6

2

2

3

5.0

4.3

116

Steven Matz

STL

25.2

6

3

1

4

4.9

4.2

117

Zach Eflin

PHI

24

5

1

2

2

5.0

4.2

119

Lucas Giolito

CHW

26.2

5

2

2

2

4.3

3.6

119

Charlie Morton

ATL

28.2

6

2

1

2

5.3

4.4

120

Jose Berrios

TOR

28.2

6

2

3

5

4.4

3.6

122

Tony Gonsolin

LAD

27

6

3

3

4

6.0

4.9

122

Jake Odorizzi

HOU

26.2

6

3

1

4

4.8

3.9

123

Max Scherzer

NYM

37

6

4

1

5

5.1

4.1

124

Michael Kopech

CHW

29

6

0

6

3

4.5

3.6

125

Tanner Houck

BOS

23.2

4

1

1

2

3.9

3.1

126

Reid Detmers

LAA

31

6

2

3

4

5.9

4.5

131

Shohei Ohtani

LAA

26.1

5

3

0

3

5.9

4.5

131

Triston McKenzie

CLE

29.1

5

2

2

4

6.3

4.7

134

Zach Thompson

PIT

20.1

5

0

2

1

5.0

3.7

135

Clayton Kershaw

LAD

30

5

4

1

4

6.8

4.9

139

Kyle Hendricks

CHC

39

7

2

2

4

7.4

5.3

140

Humberto Castellanos

ARI

25

5

2

2

3

4.9

3.5

140

Joe Musgrove

SD

39

6

4

2

6

6.2

4.4

141

Taylor Hearn

TEX

20.2

5

1

2

2

5.4

3.8

142

Aaron Civale

CLE

20

5

1

2

3

6.8

4.7

145

Eric Lauer

MIL

29.2

5

3

2

5

6.4

4.4

145

Josiah Gray

WAS

31.1

6

4

0

4

6.3

4.3

147

Drew Rasmussen

TB

28

6

3

2

5

6.8

4.5

151

Hunter Greene

CIN

26

6

1

0

1

3.7

2.4

154

Garrett Whitlock

BOS

24.2

4

0

3

1

4.8

3.1

155

Dylan Bundy

MIN

25

5

3

0

3

5.9

3.8

155

Adrian Houser

MIL

26.1

5

3

0

3

6.9

4.4

157

Josh Winder

MIN

22.1

2

2

0

2

6.0

3.8

158

Ranger Suarez

PHI

29.1

6

3

2

5

6.9

4.2

164

Matt Brash

SEA

20

5

1

1

2

6.8

4.1

166

Logan Gilbert

SEA

33

6

4

2

5

6.8

4.1

166

Antonio Senzatela

COL

27.2

6

2

2

4

7.7

4.6

167

Gerrit Cole

NYY

30.1

6

2

4

5

6.2

3.5

177

Tarik Skubal

DET

33.2

6

2

2

3

3.4

1.9

179

Ian Anderson

ATL

24.2

5

3

1

3

7.9

4.4

180

Daniel Lynch

KC

24.2

5

2

1

2

5.6

2.9

193

Bryse Wilson

PIT

21.2

4

0

3

3

7.6

3.7

205

Elieser Hernandez

MIA

29.2

6

2

2

3

7.3

3.5

209

Paul Blackburn

OAK

31

6

4

2

5

7.0

3.1

226

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast on iTunes. A ten-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
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