Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 7/18/12

The Indians have had serious starting pitching issues throughout the entire year. Ubaldo Jimenez has been worth negative WAR over 18 starts, Josh Tomlin has been both bad and unfortunate, and Derek Lowe‘s ERA over his past nine starts is 7.16 after posting a 2.15 ERA in his first nine. Justin Masterson has been the most effective starter throughout the season, and even he has a 4.14 ERA. Despite the rotation issues, the Indians they still sit just four games out of first place in the A.L. Central and are just a half game back of the second wildcard.

Without the help of Zach McAllister, the Indians may not be in the thick of the race. He has started just eight games this year between two different major league stints, but he has been the team’s best starter in terms of rate stats when they have allowed him to start. In 2009, Marc Hulet ranked McAllister as the third best prospects in the Yankees’ system. At that time, he was a ground ball pitcher who posted roughly 50% ground ball rates, but he is now striking batters out at a much higher rate and also allowing a good deal of fly balls. In Cleveland, which has played as a sever pitcher’s ball park, the high fly ball rate is a solid quality.

McAllister picked up about a half mile per hour on his fastball and has seen the velocity on his slider and curveball increase as well, which could be part of the reason for the uptick in strikeouts. His power curveball has been especially impressive, and it actually ranks in the top 25 in overall velocity for starters with at least 40 innings thrown, even though his fastball sit just under 92 miles per hour.

The attached video of his six strikeout game in Baltimore displays his impressive repertoire. The fastball, while not overpowering, has been a big driver of whiffs all year as he has a whiff rate above 10.6% according to Brooks Baseball — and a 115 whiff/swing PitchIQ score (100 is average). The curveball has been just as big of a strikeout pitch, with a 113 whiff/swing PitchIQ score and 16.1% whiff rate.

The key with his curveball has been impressive command. He lands it for a strike 66% of the time according to Texas Leaguers, a rate even higher than his fastball. Not only is he able to throw it for a strike, but the below chart details how he is able to stay down in the zone with the pitch to avoid hangers. He has allowed no home runs with the pitch, mainly due to his quality location.

At this point, McAllister looks like the best starter on the Indians’ staff. The strikeouts will likely decline, but his 20.2% rate in triple-A compared to his current 22.2% mark points to the rate being at least somewhat sustainable. If he is able to command his curveball and slider (more like a combination between a cutter and slider) as well as he has, his walk rate should remain low enough to allow his strikeout-to-walk ratio to remain above average.

McAllister’s evolution from a ground ball pitcher into his current form is fascinating, and following his performance for the remainder of the year will be one of the more overlooked but very interesting story lines as the Indians make a push for the postseason.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker