Is it Legit? 4/30/24: Seth Lugo, Ranger Suárez, Salvador Perez, Alec Bohm

Are Seth Lugo, Ranger Suárez, Salvador Perez, and Alec Bohm for real?

While it’s still early, we can start to gain more confidence in the data. Now is the time to jump on hot starts to gain an edge over your league-mates.  However, if you’re going to jump ship this early on your draft picks, you’ve got to be confident in who you’re picking up. Here are four players off to hot starts. Let’s see if it makes sense to be aggressive in picking them up or trading for them.


Seth Lugo, SP, Kansas City Royals


Despite looking like a plumber in his headshot, Seth Lugo is off to a strong start. As of this writing, he is 5th in IP with 38, has a 1.66 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 15.2% K%, and 6.0% BB%. He also has 4 Wins and 5 Quality Starts. The low BB% certainly helps, but with such a low ERA and K% one would expect him to have an exceedingly low BABIP, but that’s not really true. It’s .267. Statcast has him with a .269 xBA and Pitcher List gives him a .280 xBABIP. He’s even given up 5 more hits than Pitcher List’s Hit Luck stat expects.

His Swinging Strike% is just 9.2% (19th percentile). His overall PLV is 5.06 (31st percentile) and Stuff+ gives him a 99. His HR/FB% is just 4.9% and his LOB% is 89.6%. Both of these stats suggest he is getting fortunate. Lugo has done a fair job controlling contact with an ICR% of 34.7% (68th percentile) so that partially explains those “luck” numbers.

Verdict: Not Legit. This was a tough one for me to make sense of. Given his very low ERA and K%, one would expect him to be getting exceptionally lucky on batted balls or be doing a great job controlling contact, but neither of those is true. In an attempt to find a better explanation for his start, I’m tempted to keep throwing numbers in here, but there isn’t much that stands out. He does have a 19.0% Called Strike% (82nd percentile). Getting called strikes helps him limit walks and reduce hard contact, to an extent. However, under the hood, he isn’t doing anything different than he has in the past. This tells me he can be expected to return to being a decent streamer or back-of-the-rotation guy, but nothing more.


Ranger Suárez, SP, Philadelphia Phillies


Ranger Suárez has had fantastic outcomes this year. 5 Wins, 2nd in IP with 41, 1.32 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 27.8% K%, and 3.5% BB%. He’s also 3rd in WAR for pitchers. 41 IP is roughly 20-25% of an SP’s season so this isn’t nothing. All of the ERA estimators support a high level of success, ranging between 2.25 and 2.60. Rather than tell you how great his advanced stats are I’ll show you.

In case it’s too small to see, there are a lot of 90th+ percentile numbers there. 98th percentile ICR, 83rd percentile Barrel%, 95th percentile GB%, and 92nd percentile Fly Ball Exit Velocity. Based on that last number one could say he’s actually been a bit unlucky with a 15.0% HR/FB%. A strong K%, excellent BB%, high GB%, and low exit velocity on fly balls is a fantastic combination.

His pitch mix is virtually identical to 2023. He relies primarily on a sinker, curveball, four-seamer, changeup, and cutter, in that order. He’s thrown the sinker 32% and the results are similar to last year. It continues to generate a good amount of groundballs, and PLV grades it as 74th percentile. Stuff+ gives it an 87.

He’s thrown the curveball 20%. The O-Swing% on it has increased to 48.1% (94th percentile), the Swinging Strike% is up to 20.7% (94th percentile), GB% is up to 62.5% (73rd percentile), and ICR is down to 25.0% (88th percentile). Its PLV is 69th percentile and Stuff+ gives it an 84.

Suárez has used his four-seamer 19%. It doesn’t generate a lot of swings and misses, but it has a 92 percentile GB% and ICR is 96th percentile. PLV rates it as 42nd percentile and Stuff+ a putrid 70.

He only throws the changeup 17% but it has taken a noticeable step forward. Its O-Swing%, Swinging Strike%, GB%, and ICR are greatly improved. It has allowed just a 6.7% ICR (99th percentile). PLV rates it 74th percentile and Stuff+ gives it an 82.

He throws the cutter just 11%. It has a poor Swinging Strike% and CSW%, but 87th percentile ICR. PLV considers it 98th percentile and Stuff+ a 103. Stuff-wise it’s his best offering.

Location-wise, he’s throwing his pitches up in the zone more, but the change isn’t substantial. In terms of movement and velocity, his pitches have decreased in both areas.

Verdict: Legit. His stuff does not back up his outcomes. However, his Location+ is tied for 5th amongst Qualified pitchers at 108. Last year he had a 101 and a 100 in 2022. His ability to command five pitches has allowed him to maintain such strong ICR numbers and a good K%. Whatever the reason, his combination of a  strong K%, excellent BB%, high GB%, and low exit velocity on fly balls is extremely rare and hard to ignore.


Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals


Coming into the season Perez was expected to be a very slow version of Joey Gallo. I was surprised to see that he’s been possibly fantasy’s best catcher. The most shocking part is his 11.9% K%. He hasn’t posted numbers that low since his early-mid twenties. The 7.3% BB% would be the highest of his career by about 3%. In addition, his .260 ISO would be close to his 2021 ISO when he hit 48 HR. He is on pace for about 35 HR this year.

The first place to look is his plate discipline.

Perez’s Swing% and O-Swing% are certainly lower than the last few years, but not significantly so. Here’s a look further back.


Here’s his Swinging Strike%. His Whiff% has also plummeted accordingly.


What stands out in all of these is his Contact% is the best it’s been in 10 years.

Verdict: Legit. What I suspect is happening is Perez made a conscious effort this year to not swing max effort as frequently. I tried to find bat speed metrics for him, but apparently, they are not available yet. His Max EV is a bit down. That could indicate he’s eased up on his swing, or it could mean nothing at this point in the season. He’s about to turn 34, which is a few years younger than I would’ve expected. I think he simply recognized that he doesn’t need to hit 450-foot home runs. Much like a pitcher who takes 1-2 mph off his fastball to increase command, even a 90% effort swing from Perez is more than enough. K% stabilizes at about 60 PAs and Perez has already doubled that so I’m confident he has revitalized his career.


Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies


Alec Bohm is 27 years old and was the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 draft. As a prospect, FanGraphs gave him a 55/70 Hit tool, 45/50 Game Power, and 60/60 Raw Power. He made his MLB debut in 2020 and in 180 PAs he posted a .338/.400./.481 slash line and 138 wRC+. Over the next three years, he had wRC+s of 76, 98, and 105. He is off to a phenomenal start in 2024 with a .368/.441/.615 slash and 191 wRC+.  Those slash line numbers are either the 98th or 99th percentile. His K% is 16.1% which is in line with what he’s done the last two seasons. His BB% is up about 6% to 11.9%. The K% and BB% are 80th and 81st percentile, respectively.

What stands out to me is his .250 ISO. That’s power-hitter territory. 2023 was his best power year when he hit 20 HR and had a .163 ISO. That aligns with his prospect grades. Unfortunately, his Barrel% this year is just 5.9%. That’s basically what it has been his whole career. His Max EV is 110.8, which is also about what it has been in his career.

Verdict: Not legit. His Pull% is up about 5% which is still just the 26th percentile. This should help him get to his power a bit more, but it doesn’t explain his high ISO. His Average Exit Velocity remains slightly above average, but his FB EV is 13th percentile and FB% 27th percentile. His FB EV is actually down compared to previous seasons. All of this tells me his power is not real. He should continue to be a very good source of average due to his strong hit tool, but by season’s end, I would expect his wRC+ to be more in the 110-115 range.


Featured image by Doug Carlin (@bdougals on Twitter)

Andrew Krutz

Andrew writes for Pitcher List and is a lifelong New York Yankees fan. During the warmer months he can be found playing vintage baseball in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York.

2 responses to “Is it Legit? 4/30/24: Seth Lugo, Ranger Suárez, Salvador Perez, Alec Bohm”

  1. Sam Westrick says:

    Andrew thinking he’s slick for throwing in Fargo, ND’s very own Newman Outdoor Field on here like a Fargo boy wouldn’t notice. Appreciate the quick shoutout to Fargo, ND. Keep up all the good work, I love this site.

    • Andrew Krutz says:

      The featured image is of Newman Outdoor Field? I had no idea. Our graphics team comes up with these. That’s cool though

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