In our continuing series on the Sabermetric Indicators that shape our player projections in our 2018 Draft Advisory Program. Today we'll take a look at some of the indicators that are defining our 2018 Pitcher projections:
Davies, Zach Zach is a soft tosser (89 MPH fastball) that rifled through the minors because of his -10 Changeup. A pitch that he threw 14% of the time. Keeping the hitters off stride is paramount, but heavy usage of hittable pitches can be detrimental in a hitters ballpark. Evaluating and owning him will be akin to rostering a knuckleball pitcher. Tough to own in a typical roto leagues as his K rate is on the low end (5.8 K/9). That said the 17 Wins from a season ago will be very difficult to repeat as he only deserved 10 in a typical scenario. Tread cautiously here.
deGrom, Jacob Fastball regained lost velocity last season and sits at an impressive 95.2. SwStr rate rose to a career high of 13.3, as did his elite 10.7 K/9. K/BB ratio sits at an impressive 4.1:1. Has become an elite starter, who is starting to shift from heavy fastball use to breaking pitches, which may extend his career and level of production.
DeSclafani, Anthony Missed all of 2017 with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, so the risk here is that he'll re-injure it. Looking back at his 2016 season, he pitched well in the 2nd half with a 1.18 WHIP and 3.72 ERA. His BB/9 rate of only 2.2 keeps his ERA in heathy zone.
Duffy, Danny Duffy had a nice season 3.81 ERA|1.26 WHIP but was injured for part of the season. We like his 11.4 SwStr% and his 3.2|1 K|BB. His 71% Strand rate will likely fall into the 73-74 area, but his HR/FB rate will increase from the present 7.6. What does concern us was the drop in his fastball (-2 MPH)...maybe it was the loose bodies removed from his elbow...maybe not. We are exercising some caution with our projection.
Estrada, Marco There was an uptick in Estrada's BABIP against last season as he regressed up towards the league mean .295. This mean is not the BABIP for a flyball pitcher (which Estrada is), so thus we can expected the 1.38 WHIP|4.98 to regress toward his typical production. That said, being a flyball pitcher is not the preferred situation in today's age of uppercuts. The 11% SwStr rate is still solid as is the 8.5 K/9, expect a better Estrada in 2018, but don't expect the 3.48 ERA|1.12 WHIP we saw from him in 2016.
Faria, Jacob His 1.18 WHIP|3.43 ERA of 2017 is an overvaluation. A closer look shows that his .265 BABIP against was indeed fortuitous based on his 31% hard Hit rate against, and the 79% Strand rate is likely not repeatable despite his 8.7 9/k rate. There is optimism here however as he does show potential, but will be susceptible to the long ball based on his heavier FB tendencies.
Fiers, Mike Heavy flyball pitcher, that suffered with a higher than norm 20% HR/FB rate last season. Overall numbers will improve, and values comes in the form of his 8.6 K/9 rates...he's a borderline #5 in most fantasy formats.
Finnegan, Brandon Coming off of a shoulder injury that cost him most of 2017, no surgery was performed, so there's the risk here of a repeat. Finnegan has above average swing and miss stuff, but his command is erratic at times.
Fister, Doug Typically a contact pitcher, but last season we saw a big uptick with his K/9 rate kicking up from 5.7 to 8.3. His fastball did uptick 2.8 MPH over 2016, it's questionable as to how much of that is sustainable at 34.
Foltynewicz, Mike Has electric stuff, but uncontrolled. Excellent fastball 95+ with -9 drop on change, but command reverted last year (3.5 BB/9). SwStr% is midline at 9.4. Uses fastball 61% of the time, unfortunately it's straight and not a + pitch. Unlucky .324 BABIP should revert back to mid range which will help his WHIP and ERA. If he can maintain the control rates, he could be a surprise, but will need to continue to work and rely more on his plus pitches which are his curve and slider. As a further note, he has been excellent this spring.
Fulmer, Carson A throwback fastball/curve combo. His fastball cruises the mid-90s and his curve eventually will be an excellent and deep pitch. Command is an issue but right now that's the second concern behind a lack of control. He's 22 (and a half) and his mechanics should be better than they are, although to be fair, the White Sox organization has only had him for parts of three summers and 110 IP, so I should give them more time to work, I guess. I'll be watching his mechanics and I want to see how far along his change is, assuming it is even far enough along to throw here. He needs that pitch to stay out of the pen, but he does have a closer's skill set if he ends up there. Recently White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper talked about the possibility of starting Carson's MLB career in the pen, and maybe it's me but he seemed to be talking about that as a longer term option than you might expect. Level B Prospect - Lou Blasi
Fulmer, Michael For the 2nd straight season Fulmer posted a WHIP that surprised us, he's been able to maintain a lower than expected BABIP .273, despite being more of a contact pitcher in 2017. What we like about Fulmer is his ability to stay deep into games. Being a contact pitcher with excellent control (2.2 BB/9) has allowed him to average 6 2/3 IP per start, which is excellent. Could post a 12-13 Win season with average support in 2018. His 9.5% SwStr rate is slightly below average, so expect his over K numbers to increase from the depressed 6.2 K/9 rate we saw last season.
Gausman, Kevin Very unlucky BABIP last season of .336 against with a fairly normal 32% Hard Hit rate. HR/FB rate was a lost a little elevated at 15%, but that's not far from his norm. Looked much better in the 2nd half when he posted 3.41 ERA|1.20 WHIP
Giolito, Lucas Prospect Grade A, top 3 in the league. Pretty consistent with a K/9 in the (= range in the minors. BB% has fluxuated between 2.5 and 4.3. Last year in his 21 MLB innings he registered 5.1, with only a 4.6 K/9. Obviously he's much better than that. He did get off to a hot start last season but a lot of that had to do with a very fortunate .189 BABIP against on a high 35% hard hit rate against. Be careful not to expect that .95 HWIP|2.38 ERA from him in 2018, with a 92% Strand%. ...because there are going to be many bumps in the road before he becomes an ace.
Glasnow, Tyler Prospect Grade A- : Tyer's walk rate, at 6.4/9 is still higher than you'd like, and I think that at 24 years old, he's still trying to wrangle his large frame. Tyler is more of a power pitcher so his size bothers me less, but in the majors power pitchers still need quality secondary stuff and command because MLB hitters can hit a bullet if they can sit on it and your location isn't ideal. Long-term I think Tyler can have the higher ceiling and I think there's still reason to expect mechanical gains which could make him an excellent starting pitcher. I'm reluctant to give him a #1 ceiling because I am not sure how far he can bring his command along, but I still see the ceiling of a #2 and the floor of an solid and effective MLB pitcher.- Lou Blasi.
Godley, Zack Godley is a late bloomer. Largely unknown until last season at 27 YO, Godley stifled opposing hitters with a 13.3 SwStr rate and 9.6 K/9. On top of that he's a heavy GB pitcher (55%). Good control 3.1 BB/9. A nasty cutter and solid curveball do most of the lifting for him. Did get hit harder in the 2nd half with a 34% Hard Hit rate against. posting a 4.01 ERA|1.30 WHIP.
Gonzalez, Gio Had a fabulous season (2.96 ERA|1.18 WHIP|15W|188K), now I want you to forget everything about last season as it's non repeatable. His .258 BAIP is +40 points below his norms, and the 82% Strand Rate is not sustainable with his 8.4 K/9 rate.
Gray, Jon Tore it up in the 2nd half going 8-4 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.25 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9 rate. I know it's difficult to trust a Coors field pitcher, but Gray is a special kid. He's got a solid 96 MPH fastball that is considered heavy, as evidenced by his 50% groundball rate. It's the slider that he throws 28% of the time that does most of the damage and is rated as a +2 pitch. At only 26, there is lots to like here once you get over the Coors field thing.
Gray, Sonny A lower than norm BABIP is part of his makeup, heavy ground ball pitcher (53%), who increased his SwStr rate up to 12% last season. Started to rely less on the fastball and found a lot of success with the slider. Win totals should increase w/ the Yankees.
Greinke, Zack Posted a nice bounce back season going 3.20|1.07|17 W...but it appears he was a little fortuitous with the ERA and WHIP as his .285 BABIp should have been higher considering he was hit at a 35% Hard Hit rate. Although we like the rise in his K/9 rate from a low of 7.6 to 9.6 last season, what we saw may be the top for him in a slowly declining cycle. Expect something closer to his 2nd half 3.66|1.17 WHIP as that appears to be more sustainable in 2018.
Gsellman, Robert Gsellman's curveball wasn't as good in 2017, moving from a +1 to a -2 on fangraphs. His strand% of 63% really hurt him as he wasn't getting the same swing and miss rates from a season ago (9.1 to 7.4) and his K/9 rate fell from 8.5 to 6.2. Looking back over his minor league career Gsellman has shown wild swings in production, which is what we saw from him last season. Difficult to project.
Hahn, Jesse Contact pitcher that was hurt in '17 by a higher than typical BABIP (326). Although he did benefit from a lower than expected 6.1% HR/FB rate. Not a fantasy asset heading into your draft.
Hamels, Cole Rebounded nicely last season, lowering his WHIP to 1.20...but be wary here as his K/9 rate dropped from 9 to only 6.4. The drop in WHIP can be largely explained by the lucky BABIP against. Even though he wa shit at a 36% clip, his BABIP against dropped to .251. All things equal expect a jump in WHIP this season.
Hammel, Jason Will have spells of solid production, and last year, as expected his luck streak in 2016 reversed as his BABIP went from .267 to .318...leading to a rise in his WHIP to 1.43 from 1.21. Look for him to recover, but father time is catching up (35 YO this season). The good news is that he hasn't lost anything on his fastball (92.1 avg)
Happ, J.A. Last season his XERA was a little higher than actual 4.16 vs 3.53, and his strand rate was a little fortunate at 77% based on his below average 9.5 SwStr rate. Overall his 2017 numbers were in line with the type of pitcher he is. Will be turning 35 this season, so there is some risk there.
Harvey, Matt When the season starts Harvey will be a full 21 months since surgery to correct symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Struggled last season posting a 6.27 ERA|1.69 WHIP. His fastball has lost 2 MPH off its high of 96 MPH and his SwStr rate dropped from 11.6 to only 7.5% last season. On top of that he was getting hit hard (33%) and allowed HRs at a 21% HR/FB clip. Can the Mets Dark Knight return to his preinjury? This spring the results have been mixed with a 1.36 WHIP and 5.52 ERA, but he has struck out 13 batters in 14 2/3, and his fastball has hit 96 this spring.