The First Pitch
Paul Maholm and Clay Buchholz followed up solid season debuts with excellent second starts yesterday. They each went seven innings, allowed no runs and got a win. As a result, their ownership percentages are on the rise. But should you hop on the bandwagon and add them? Yes and no.
Yes to Maholm. He’s obviously going to give up some runs at some point, but not as many as you might expect. His ERA has quietly been 3.66 and 3.67 in the last two seasons respectively. And last year the ERA was backed up by a sub-4.00 SIERA and xFIP. That was the result of an increase in his strikeout rate and a decrease in his walk rate. The strikeout rate was still a touch below average at 17.8%, but it was at least respectable. His walk rate was above average, and his ground ball rate was near elite.
Why the improvements? Probably because Maholm began using his slider more. Like so many pitchers, Maholm is able to get more swings and misses with his slider than any other pitch. For ...