Category Archives: Appointment Television

Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (September 2013 Update)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

In May, I rolled out our list of Appointment Television starting pitchers, or pitchers who were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in JuneJuly, and August I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, which also includes a little more detail on the origin of the project. Recall that the order is tiered into stable and non stable (italics), but each ranking is meaningless.

Here is the gist from the original:

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Cliff Lee
  7. Max Scherzer
  8. Anibal Sanchez
  9. Stephen Strasburg
  10. Chris Sale
  11. Doug Fister
  12. Jose Fernandez
  13. David Price
  14. Francisco Liriano
  15. Shelby Miller
  16. Mat Latos
  17. Derek Holland
  18. Jordan Zimmerman
  19. Homer Bailey
  20. Partrick Corbin
  21. Hiroki Kuroda
  22. Zack Greinke
  23. Clay Buchholz  (On the DL, no return set)
  24. Matt Harvey (Out for the season)

Let’s talk about the changes. Harvey falls off because he’s not pitching anymore this season. Greinke joins the italicized players thanks to a very strong stretch of pitching and his Ruthian season at the plate. Both Jarrod Parker and Cole Hamels have my attention, but I’m not ready to call them must watch starters just yet.

There is very little else worth moving on the list as only Liriano made the jump from fringe to stable with everyone else in italics maintaining their place on the list. I find the lack of movement kind of interesting, as I added and subtracted more guys in previous months. Perhaps this is a function of performance evening out, or perhaps it’s just a random blip on the radar. As always, this is an entirely subjective list based on my own sense of what makes someone compelling to wach.

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (August 2013 Update)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

In May, I rolled out our list of Appointment Television starting pitchers, or pitchers who were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in June and July, I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, which also includes a little more detail on the origin of the project. Recall that the order is tiered into stable and non stable (italics), but each ranking is meaningless.

Here is the gist from the original:

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Matt Harvey
  7. Cliff Lee
  8. Max Scherzer
  9. Anibal Sanchez
  10. Stephen Strasburg
  11. Chris Sale
  12. Doug Fister
  13. Jose Fernandez
  14. David Price
  15. Shelby Miller
  16. Mat Latos
  17. Derek Holland
  18. Jordan Zimmerman
  19. Francisco Liriano
  20. Homer Bailey
  21. Partrick Corbin
  22. Hiroki Kuroda
  23. Clay Buchholz  (On the DL, no return set)

Let’s talk about the changes. First of all, Jose Fernandez made the jump from the borderline region into the stable region because he continues to impress during his rookie season. Jordan Zimmernmann falls into the fringe ranks because while he is still pitching well, he hasn’t been turning in dominating, turn the game on and notice performances.

Everyone else on the list is in the same spot and the remaining changes are those who have joined the party. Francisco Liriano is impressing in Pittsburgh over his 95 IP this season. If he remains healthy, he should hold his spot on the list. Price is an obvious addition to the list. He’s been dominant since coming off the DL and was one of the top pitchers in the game last season. He’s now healthy and even more efficient than before.

Bailey, Corbin, and Kuroda are all having very nice seasons and have earned their way onto the list. They don’t make me turn my head quite as much as some others, but they have now pitched their way to the point where I will always be aware when they are on the mound.

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (July 2013 Update)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

In May, I rolled out our list of Appointment Television starting pitchers, or pitchers who were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in June, I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, which also includes a little more detail on the origin of the project. Recall that the order is tiered into stable and non stable (italics), but each ranking is meaningless.

Here is the gist from the original:

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Matt Harvey
  7. Cliff Lee
  8. Max Scherzer
  9. Jordan Zimmermann
  10. Anibal Sanchez (coming of the DL July 6th)
  11. Stephen Strasburg
  12. Chris Sale
  13. Doug Fister
  14. Jose Fernandez
  15. Shelby Miller
  16. Mat Latos
  17. Derek Holland
  18. Clay Buchholz  (On the DL, no return set)

Let’s get the minor changes out of the way first. Stephen Strasburg is back on the list because he’s off the DL and I’ve decided to let Anibal Sanchez slide because he is schedule to come off the DL when his turn comes up in the rotation this weekend. Clay Buchholz gets the DL treatment, so he’s off the list for the time being because you can’t watch a guy who doesn’t pitch.

Doug Fister moves from the borderline italics section to the permanent list because he’s really good and Chris Sale gets a first even jump for not listed to regular type with his fantastic month of June. Jon Lester has really stumbled since his strong April so he’s off the list until he gets himself back on track, and Matt Moore, whom I really wanted to be great this year, is walking too many batters to be considered must watch. The strikeouts and run prevention is good, but if he doesn’t get his control in line he’ll regress a good deal.

Finally, the list gets three new names in the italics section. Mat Latos and Derek Holland have pitched too well to ignore even if I haven’t personally enjoyed their starts as much as their teams have. Both guys are on notice as I haven’t really fallen in love with their outings, but they’ve earned mention. Finally, Jose Fernandez has been lights out this season and after last night’s gem, he’s earned your attention. The Marlins have two players worth watching! I’m crossing my fingers for Jacob Turner.

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (June 2013 Update)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Last month, I rolled out our list of Appointment Television starting pitchers, or pitchers who were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, which also includes a little more detail on the origin of the project. Recall that the order is tiered into stable and non stable (italics), but each ranking is meaningless.

Here is the gist from the original:

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Matt Harvey
  7. Cliff Lee
  8. Clay Buchholz
  9. Max Scherzer
  10. Jordan Zimmermann
  11. Anibal Sanchez
  12. Jon Lester
  13. Matt Moore
  14. Shelby Miller
  15. Doug Fister
  16. Stephen Strasburg (placed on DL 6/5)

Since the original list came out in early May, we’ve made a few changes. First, Stephen Strasburg is off the list because he’s on the DL, which is an arbitrary rule built into the system. He’ll return to the list once he’s activated. After that, you’ll notice all of May’s borderline candidates have made the leap into the stable portion of the list with the exception of Matt Moore. I love Moore’s stuff, but despite the good record, strikeouts, and ERA, a guy who walks 4.78 batters per 9 just isn’t a sure bet for this list. He remains in italics.

The other borderline guys from May, Buchholz, Scherzer, Zimmermann, Sanchez, and Lester have all clearly demonstrated their staying power. Buchholz, Scherzer, and Sanchez are contending with Felix for the AL Cy Young right now and Zimmermann and Lester are both showing that they are top 15 starters again, even if they aren’t quite dominating like they did in April.

Two pitchers join the list, as well, in the form of Doug Fister and Shelby Miller. Now I’ve personally always been a giant Fister fan thanks to his great control and supreme efficiency, but he’s shown over the last two years that he is a legitimate leading man. As I write this he’s 9th in MLB in pitcher WAR (2.5) and has one of the league’s lowest walk rates (1.4 per 9) and is coming off a string of 3 straight gems/near gems.

Miller was another guy I was watching when I made the initial list, but he needed to do a little more to make the cut because he had so little big league experience. That’s no longer a problem for the 15th best pitcher by WAR this year (1.9) who has yet to allow more than 3 runs in a start this season. His ERA and FIP are sparkling and even when his HR/FB regresses, he’ll still be a very good starter thanks to excellent strikeout and walk numbers.

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

The following post is something I’ve been toying with in one form or another for a long time and finally got around to crystallizing this afternoon. I’ve often made reference to pitchers being “Appointment Television” in various Morning Edition and other posts and I thought I’d take that a little further and outline exactly who I’m talking about.

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Stephen Strasburg
  7. Matt Harvey
  8. Cliff Lee
  9. Matt Moore
  10. Clay Buchholz
  11. Max Scherzer
  12. Jordan Zimmermann
  13. Anibal Sanchez
  14. Jon Lester

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

 

 

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