Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Indians
This season has been an interesting one for Triston McKenzie. He’s surprisingly been one of the Tribe’s better options to start games, at least statistically, but he’s also fallen short of expectations. That goes to show how bad the starting pitching has been this season, but also how highly he was viewed entering the season.
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In eight games last season with six starts, McKenzie pitched rather well. He kept his ERA at a respectable 3.24, striking out 42 over 33.1 innings with a WHIP below 1.00. Even his walks were down with nine over that span.
Unfortunately, those numbers took a massive dip in 2021. His ERA jumped up to 5.47 and his WHIP is up to almost 1.400. His walks also skyrocketed, walking 40 in 49.1 innings, going from 2.4 walks per nine innings to 7.3. Now, he did register more strikeouts with 68, but there is a clear concern with the walks.
His samples from this season have been up and down as well. His last start before the All-Star break saw him toss seven scoreless innings with just one hit and one walk while striking out nine. That is a huge improvement, but we’ve seen this movie before from him.
He’s had two other scoreless outings, each going five innings, and then gave up five runs in his next start both times. That could mean that his next start will be more telling than this one. The difference, though, is that his one walk is a season-low for him while the seven innings were a season-high.
That’s promising, but the overall stats from the first half were below what McKenzie was expected to do. Hopefully, he can start turning it around and his last start was a sign of things to come, but as of now he still lands on this list.