As most of you know, I’ve been advocating for Collin McHugh as a Starting Pitcher that not only deserved a spot in our rotation, but is actually a solid #2 on almost any team in baseball (and potentially an Ace if you go by the top 30 definition). Last night was our first glimpse of him back in the starter role, and I think most of you would agree with me that he looked outright dominant. He had a no hitter going for 4-innings, when Bilbos decided to challenge the baseball gods and call out the jinx, and they immediately scored 2 runs against him (kidding).
F I L T H.#TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/Z06D8qerL4— Houston Astros (@astros) March 30, 2019
In truth, McHugh, due to his back injury, wasn’t as stretched out as he should have been, all things told, but 81 pitches through 5 innings is not bad on efficiency, especially when you consider he had 9 Strike-outs!
The peripherals from last night’s game of course look otherworldly, because of course it is an extremely small sample size. But his performance last night of 9k’s (16.2 K/9), 1 BB (9:1 K/BB), WHIP of .800 all resulted in a 0.04 FIP ... yes you read that correctly.
There were some excellent underlying indications, here was the data on his pitches:
Slider - 40.7% of Pitches, 78.3 MPH, 2,787 RPM, 44.4% WHIFF %, .037 xWOBA
Curve - 24.7% of Pitches, 74.0 MPH, 2,744 RPM, 30.0% WHIFF %, .231 xWOBA
4-Seam-19.8% of Pitches, 90.3 MPH, 2,192 RPM, 42.9% WHIFF %, .572 xWOBA
Cutter - 12.3% of Pitches, 86 MPH, 2,499 RPM, 28.6% WHIFF %, .345 xWOBA
Brooks Baseball does recaps of pitchers arsenal, which since 2019 is all of one game, here was the recap from yesterday:
”His slider comes in below hitting speed, sweeps across the zone, has exceptional depth, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ sliders and is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sliders. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 19 of them in 2019) has sweeping glove-side movement, has below average velo, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ curves and has a sharp downward bite. His fourseam fastball (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 18 of them in 2019) generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has slight armside run and has slightly below average velo. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 11 of them in 2019) is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ cutters, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sink. “
Here are a look at all 9 of McHugh’s strikeouts from last night.
If you’re still wondering if McHugh deserved a spot in the rotation, he has a question for you:
It’s obviously a small sample size, and truly doesn’t mean anything, but it was extremely encouraging. It looks that McHugh’s slider is just as devastating in the rotation, making both his curveball and fastball play up.
Let me know your thoughts on last night. Did it reassure you of McHugh being our #3?