Breakout pitchers based on 'stuff'

PITCHf/x tells us that Danny Salazar might have the best pure "stuff" in the league. USA TODAY Sports

When forecasting pitchers, the numbers we see in box scores don't tell the whole story. As Yogi Berra may well have once said, you can observe a lot just by watching.

In an attempt to capture some of the insights one gains from scouting pitchers without relying on our own subjective judgments, my colleagues and I at Steamer built a model to project a pitcher's performance based on the velocity, movement and diversity of their pitches, as captured by PITCHf/x. This model, which attempts to measure a pitcher's "stuff," uses PITCHf/x data from BrooksBaseball.

Based on their 2013 pitches and the resulting "stuff" ratings, we expect the following pitchers to be better than they appear based on traditional statistics alone.


1. Danny Salazar, RHP | Cleveland Indians

Salazar was terrific in the 52 major league innings he threw this past summer, but this is the kind of small sample size we'd typically view with great skepticism. What the numbers don't reveal is that Salazar has "stuff" that's as good as that of any starter in the game, with a 96 mph four-seam fastball and a tremendous splitter.