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Early May Strikeout Rates for Starting Pitchers: the Top 100

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

According to some research done over at Baseball Prospectus, strikeout rate stabilizes for pitchers around 70 batters faced. Now the first week into May, most starting pitchers have crossed into that threshold. Here is a look at the top 100 starting pitchers in strikeout rate as of May 2 and their differentials from last season:

Pitcher

K%

Differential

Noah Syndergaard

34.4%

+8.7%

Jose Fernandez

33.6%

+3.8%

Clayton Kershaw

32.0%

-1.8%

Drew Smyly

32.0%

+4.0%

Vincent Velasquez

32.0%

+7.9%

David Price

30.6%

+5.3%

Drew Pomeranz

30.5%

+10%

Rich Hill

30.4%

-3.6%

Chris Archer

29.5%

+0.5%

Stephen Strasburg

29.2%

-0.4%

Aaron Nola

29.1%

+7.8%

Danny Salazar

29.1%

+3.3%

Madison Bumgarner

28.7%

+1.9%

Rick Porcello

28.1%

+8.9%

Nathan Eovaldi

28.0%

+10%

Matt Moore

27.1%

+10.5%

Jamie Garcia

26.9%

+7.9%

Jose Quintana

26.5%

+5%

Juan Nicasio

26.4%

+1.4%

Corey Kluber

26.1%

-1.6%

Jon Lester

25.8%

+0.8%

Jeremy Hellickson

25.7%

+6.7%

Adam Conley

25.5%

+4.5%

Jerad Eickhoff

25.2%

+1.1%

Max Scherzer

25.2%

-5.5%

Justin Verlander

25.0%

+3.9%

Jake Arrieta

24.8%

-2.7%

Gio Gonzalez

24.3%

+2.0%

Chris Tillman

24.2%

+8%

Michael Pineda

24.2%

+0.8%

Taijuan Walker

23.8%

+3.1%

Jason Hammel

23.7%

-0.5%

Raisel Iglesias

23.6%

-2.7%

Chris Sale

23.5%

-8.9%

Tanner Roark

23.4%

+8.4%

Chris Young

23.2%

+7.4%

Ian Kennedy

23.2%

-2.1%

Ubaldo Jimenez

23.0%

+4.5%

Francisco Liriano

23.0%

-3.5%

Garrett Richards

23.0%

+2.9%

Carlos Rodon

22.9%

Even

Johnny Cueto

22.6%

+2.3%

Masahiro Tanaka

22.6%

-0.2%

Kenta Maeda

22.6%

N/A

Steven Wright

22.5%

+7.7%

Aaron Sanchez

22.5%

+6.4%

Julio Teheran

22.2%

-0.8%

John Lackey

22.1%

+2.6%

Hector Santiago

21.7%

+0.8%

Bartolo Colon

21.7%

+5%

Jake Odorizzi

21.6%

+0.2%

Ricky Nolasco

21.5%

+1.3%

Sonny Gray

21.5%

+1.2%

Cole Hamels

21.3%

-2.1%

Carlos Martinez

20.7%

-3.7%

Felix Hernandez

20.7%

-2.3%

Michael Wacha

19.7%

-1.4%

Dallas Keuchel

19.6%

-4.1%

Edinson Volquez

19.5%

+1.3%

Jeff Samardzija

19.4%

+1.5%

Jimmy Nelson

19.4%

-0.3%

Zack Greinke

19.3%

-4.4%

Wei Yin Chen

19.2%

-0.1%

Brandon Finnegan

19.0%

-3.8%

Ross Stripling

18.8%

N/A

Hisashi Iwakuma

18.5%

-3.0%

Mike Fiers

18.3%

-5.4%

Yordano Ventura

18.3%

-4.2%

R.A. Dickey

18.2%

+3.9%

Matt Wisler

18.1%

+3.0%

Colin Rea

17.6%

-2.0%

Jon Niese

17.6%

+2.9%

Jordan Zimmermann

17.4%

-2.3%

Wade Miley

17.4%

-0.3%

Chris Bassitt

17.3%

-0.4%

Matt Cain

17.2%

+2.1%

A.J. Griffin

17.2%

-3.6%

Chad Bettis

17.6%

-1.9%

Jeff Locke

17.1%

-0.4%

Matt Harvey

16.9%

-8%

Alex Wood

16.7%

-0.7%

Phil Hughes

16.7%

+2.3%

Marcus Stroman

16.6%

-0.9%

Chase Anderson

16.4%

-1.1%

Tyler Chatwood

16.1%

-2.7%

James Shields

15.7%

-9.4%

Derek Holland

15.5%

-1.2%

Clay Buchholz

15.3%

-7.5%

Colby Lewis

15.3%

-1.2%

J.A. Happ

15.2%

-5.9%

Mike Leake

14.5%

-0.8%

Patrick Corbin

14.3%

-7.6%

Doug Fister

12.7%

-1.3%

Mat Latos

12.6%

-7.6%

Wily Peralta

12.4%

-0.2%

Martin Perez

11.4%

-2.8%

Adam Wainwright

11.1%

-6.9%

Mike Pelfrey

9.8%

-2.2%

Some thoughts:

I have beat the Matt Harvey will shove in 2016 drum on this website, and I have to say, I'm shocked at how poorly he's looked so far. My best explanation is that his blood clot issue that popped up at the end of spring training has affected him physically, because his stuff looked incredible when I was down in Florida in early March. His command has not been good in the regular season, and his slider is down about 1.5 mph from last season and looks nothing like it did in early spring. I still expect good things from him at some point, but it might take a while for him to get settled down. I don't think last year's workload is causing the problems this year because of how electric he looked in early March.

Noah Syndergaard has increased his K% dramatically on the back of a hard slider, which added about 3 mph in velocity from last season. He is also using it consistently, where he only used it occasionally last season. He's also gained some more velocity on his fastball.

Rick Porcello is not really generating more swinging strikes, but he's getting more of them with two strikes, and he's throwing more pitches inside the zone.

Rich Hill is mysterious and magical and is maintaining his high K% from last season. Hitters don't seem to pick up his fastball well and have a hard time separating it from his curve.

Vincent Velasquez has exploded onto the scene with mid 90s fastball and a sharp curve, and flashes a good change up, too. He appears to have some deception, because hitters have routinely taken awful swings at his fastball.

Nate Eovaldi has made the splitter a key part of his repertoire, which he added in the second half of last season, and that's helped him increase his strikeout rate.

Matt Moore has always had a lot of talent, and appears to be putting things together. He's generating more swings and misses, although his first pitch strike rate is well below average, which is something to keep an eye on for sustainability.

Chris Sale's strikeout rate has gone down along with his swinging strikes, but he's limiting line drives and generating good trajectories, and is still pitching at a high level.

David Price has sparkling DIPS metrics like FIP and xFIP, but the contact he's allowing is below average. He's giving up line drives at a near 30% rate, not generating many pop ups, and has a below average avg exit velocity against.