Daily Notes: Most Improved Pitchers So Far, Per ZiPS

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Most Improved Pitchers So Far, Per ZiPS
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Most Improved Pitchers So Far, Per ZiPS
In May, the author examined those hitters and pitchers whose projections had most improved, up till that point, according to the Steamer and ZiPS systems. This week, in the Notes, we’re revisiting that effort.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we looked at the most improved hitters according to Steamer and ZiPS, respectively. Yesterday, we considered here the most improved pitchers according to Steamer — where “most improved” is defined as “greatest decrease in projected ERA.” Below are the most improved pitchers according to ZiPS.

Note: pitchers who (a) are projected to make starts in fewer than 50% of their remaining appearances or (b) are absent currently from a major-league roster have been omitted from consideration. Other note: only pitchers who were assigned both a preseason and rest-of-season projection have been considered.

5. Derek Holland, LHP, Texas
ZiPS (Pre): 170.2 IP, 7.43 K/9, 2.90 BB/9, 1.42 HR/9, 4.53 ERA
ZiPS (RoS): 47.0 IP, 7.80 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, 4.02 ERA
Notes: Holland’s strikeout and walk rates this season are better, but not significantly better, than in past seasons. His ground-ball rate has actually decreased. What’s mostly improved for Holland is the rate at which fly balls have become home runs: the left-hander has recorded a 7.3% HR/FB this season, after a 15.2% mark last one.

4. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Colorado
ZiPS (Pre): 129.1 IP, 5.50 K/9, 4.66 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, 5.57 ERA
ZiPS (RoS): 30.0 IP, 5.79 K/9, 4.12 BB/9, 0.94 HR/9, 5.05 ERA
Notes: Like Holland, Chatwood is allowing fewer home runs this season than previously. Unlike Holland, however, Chatwood hadn’t experienced much in the way of success at the major-league level before 2013. One cause for concern, presently: he 23-year-old is currently on the disabled list with an elbow problem.

3. Jorge de la Rosa, LHP, Colorado
ZiPS (Pre): 70.2 IP, 7.13 K/9, 4.33 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9, 4.96 ERA
ZiPS (RoS): 28.0 IP, 6.61 K/9, 3.66 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 4.38 ERA
Notes: As was the case for three of the five pitchers who appeared on the Steamer version of this list, 2013 represented for de la Rosa his first full one (i.e. season) since returning from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander is striking out fewer batters than ZiPS anticipated, but walking fewer, as well. And (again) allowing fewer homers.

2. Matt Harvey, RHP, New York NL
ZiPS (Pre): 163.1 IP, 8.76 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9, 3.80 ERA
ZiPS (RoS): 48.0 IP, 9.36 K/9, 2.98 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, 3.15 ERA
Notes: Kazmir (below) and Harvey finished among the top three on the Steamer version of this list, as well. The systems have altered their projections for Harvey somewhat similarly, although Steamer is even more optimistic about Harvey’s strikeout rate, while ZiPS has been more aggressive about adjusting (for the better) Harvey’s home-run prevention.

1. Scott Kazmir, LHP, Cleveland
ZiPS (Pre): 55.2 IP, 5.98 K/9, 5.01 BB/9, 1.45 HR/9, 5.98 ERA
ZiPS (RoS): 22.0 IP, 7.36 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 1.31 HR/9, 5.14 ERA
Notes: One assumes that projecting the performance of a pitcher who’s been absent from the sport for two years has its difficulties. One also assumes that pitchers who have been absent for two years don’t return throwing 5 mph faster.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Arizona at Pittsburgh | 19:05 ET
Brandon McCarthy (78.0 IP, 103 xFIP-, 1.1 WAR) faces Gerrit Cole (66.0 IP, 94 xFIP-, 0.7 WAR). The latter continues to do everything with great velocity — like throw his fastball and prepare to deliver the next pitch.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Arizona Radio, Maybe?

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.4.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Danny Duffy* KC 7 7 7 7 6 DET Justin Verlander 13:08
Jake Westbrook STL 0 3 1 5 1 CHN Jake Arrieta 16:05
Brandon McCarthy AZ 5 3 7 7 10 PIT Gerrit Cole 19:05
Juan Nicasio COL 4 7 5 9 3 BAL Wei-Yin Chen 19:05
Zack Greinke LAN 5 3 6 0 9 PHI Cliff Lee 19:05
James Shields KC 5 7 6 7 6 DET Jose Alvarez* 19:08
Andy Pettitte NYA 5 2 5 9 4 BOS Felix Doubront 19:10
Chad Gaudin SF 4 5 5 1 6 MIA Nathan Eovaldi 19:10
R.A. Dickey TOR 9 5 7 10 4 TB Jeremy Hellickson 19:10
Taylor Jordan WAS 7 2 8 8 10 ATL Alex Wood 19:30
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 7 4 7 3 8 TEX Derek Holland 20:05
Jose Quintana CHA 5 1 3 3 2 MIN Kevin Correia 20:10
Mike Leake CIN 4 3 5 4 6 MIL Tom Gorzelanny 20:10
Justin Masterson CLE 8 7 7 6 5 OAK A.J. Griffin 22:05
Brad Peacock HOU 0 4 3 8 4 LAA Jerome Williams 22:05
Jon Niese NYN 4 6 4 6 3 SD Ian Kennedy* 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Chatwood has no structural damage, they are reporting it as an impingement, and is expected to throw a side session Saturday. Something crazy to note about Chatwood he was converted to pitcher from SS his senior year of High School, two years later he was in MLB.