In our continuing series on the Sabermetric analysis that shapes our Player projections in our 2017 Player Projections Software. Today we'll take a look at some of the indicators that are defining our 2017 pitcher projections. Below is a small set of the over 200 Pitcher Notes in our Projections software:
Quintana, Jose Jose threw another 23 quality starts in 2016, fairing better in the Wins department, but still shorted 3. He was hit a little harder last season (33% hard Hit rate), yet registered a lower BABIP against (.291) than he has in the past and posted an elevated Strand Rate. All of these mentioned items will make it more difficult to repeat his 3.20 ERA/1.16 WHIP from a season ago. Buyer beware.
Sale, Chris Big move to Boston will help HR/FB rates, which have averaged higher in Chicago. He was fortunate last season with a 272 BABIP against, and what's concerning us a bit it the loss of speed on his fastball from 94.5 to 92.8 last season. That said he did step it up in his last game averaging 95.5, which does help alleviate some of that concern. Top 5 pitcher year in and year out.
Samardzija, Jeff As expected Samardzija bounced back in 2016, as his Strand Rate climbed back up to a .72 norm. His struggle appears to be limited to LHH, and this limits his upside in leagues where you might not have the benefit of subbing him out against lefty oriented lineups.
Cueto, Johnny Indicators show that his Wins were 3 more than expected last season. Additionally his .76 Strand Rate really helped out his ERA, and the drop in his HR/FB rate to 8.4% really helped his cause in 2016. Lost almost a MPH on his fastball, but maintains a solid 9 MPH split with his change.
DeSclafani, Anthony Pitched well in the 2nd half with a 1.18 WHIP and 3.72 ERA. SwStr % of 9.5 is above average, and his BB/9 rate of only 2.2 keeps his ERA in heathy zone. Of course the preseason elbow tenderness shutdown is something we're going to have to keep an eye on. The good news is he is scheduled to throw shortly.
Leake, Mike As expected his 2015 season was an anomaly because of a lucky BABIP, and 2016 was unfortunate because of a unlucky 313 BABIP. As a contact pitcher he's very dependent on a par BABIP, expect that to improve this season.
Bauer, Trevor Can be dominant at times, yet can implode at other times. Improved on his 3.3 BB/9. Increased the GBs last season and tilted the scales away from flyballs which should help him going forward.
Carrasco, Carlos An elevated 16% HR/FB rate hurt his overall numbers in 2016. Although his fastball lost .7 MPH, his +10 split with his curve ball maintains a ++ rating. His strand rate of .78 indicates to us that he was able to turn it up last year when he needed to, keeping his ERA in a lower range than suggested by his other indicators. Boasts a super solid 12% Swinging K rate and 1.03 K/I.
Kluber, Corey Kluber had a nice bounce back season in 2016, but it appears he was better than deserved. His BABIP against was 30 point lower than his norm (lucky on balls in play), and his Win total should have been closer to 15 rather than 18. His Walk Rate increased but didn't hurt him, so some slight regression expected.
Salazar, Danny Solid 11% swinging strike rate. Things fell apart in the 2nd half when a strained forearm flexor sidelined his season. Look for a bounce back season here.
Tomlin, Josh Gives up an ungodly amount of hard hit contact. Last season it was 34%, which led to a 18% HR/FB rate. Was lucky on balls in play with a .274 BABIP against.
Anderson, Tyler Doesn't have an explosive fastball (91.5 MPH), but has the magical 10 split between his fastball and changeup. In his rookie season, he registered a very impressive 10.7 SwStr rate, and control was paramount with his 2.2 BB/9. Plays in a horrible ballpark, but with a 51% GB rate he's worth a flyer.
De La Rosa, Jorge Has lost 1.5 MPH on his fastball, and has been getting hit very hard the last 2 years: 33% hard Hit rate in 2015, and 35% in 2016. Unless he comes up with something else he's not worth a roster spot.
Price, David Fastball lost 1.3 MPH last season, which is obviously concerning. Also concerning is the net result was a Hard Hit rate that rose from 28% to 35%. The rise is typical in situations where a pitcher loses speed on the fastball, and doesn't compensate in other ways. This is obviously concerning as the fastball rarely returns once we start seeing a drop in velocity. Although a rebound is possible if he can improve on his secondary pitches. His fastball is no longer a + pitch at 93 MPH.
Sanchez, Anibal Sanchez continued his slide in 2016. His fastball has lost 1 MPH, and he got hit very hard in 2016 with a 32% Hard Hit rate against and a 15.5 HR/FB rate. His 313 BABIP against may rebound a bit in his favor, but the hard contact is concerning.
Scherzer, Max Has posted a sub 1 WHIP 3 of the last 4 seasons. Fastball has not lost any velocity, and has maintained his 77% Strand Rate 3 straight seasons. Struggled a bit verses LHH (442 SLG), and HR/FB rate was a littler higher than norm. The only thing that we can't project as highly was his Wins total. 20 is difficult to repeat. Obviously we are looking at an elite stud pitcher.
Verlander, Justin Verlander has a very nice comeback season. A season in which his fastball increased by .7 MPH. This rarely happens. That said there was a lot of things that went right for Justin. This includes a lucky 251 BABIP against, Higher than norm .76 Strand Rate. His Swinging K rate is still elite (12%), but I don't see him repeating last season and certainly would not recommend paying for it.
Foltynewicz, Mike Has electric stuff, but uncontrolled. Excellent fastball 95+ with -10 drop on change, and is starting to show zone command. Besieged in minors with 4.5 BB/9 rate, he lowered this rate to 2.6 last season and elevated his SwStr% to a solid 10% in 2016. If he can maintain the control rates, he could be a surprise.
Keuchel, Dallas His numbers regressed considerably from his 2015 campaign, as expected. His 2015 BABIP was a lucky .269, and that regressed to .305 in 2016. There's room for improvement there. He'll also benefit from a regression in his 16% HR/FB rate. Not an overpowering pitcher, but better than his 2016 results.
McHugh, Collin Win total was overstated by 2 based on quality starts, was ordinary in the 2nd half yet won 80 games with 1.34 WHIP and 4.14 ERA. He's a good pitcher, averaging close to 1 K per inning, and 10.7 Swinging K rate. He was unlucky on his .335 BABIP, so 2017 should be a better season for him.
Duffy, Danny Duffy got lit up with a 37% Hard Hit rate against, but still managed to escape with a lucky .287 BABIP and 76% strand Rate. What he did do well was increase his K rate from 6.7 to 9.4. What was most remarkable was the 1 MPH increase in his fastball velocity, springing his Swinging K rate to increase from 8.4% to 12.9%. Thus lowering his pitches per inning to drop from 17.3 to 15.1. These gains appear to be real, and if he can keep the + fastball, then the results are repeatable.
Shields, James Fastball has lost a full 2 MLP in recent seasons, and he's clearly not the same pitcher he once was. That said he didn't deserve 19 loses last season. With 18 Quality Starts he should have walked away with at least 11-12 wins. Still Opponents slugged 525 against him last season, and his BABIP appears to be in the norm range. The 17% HR/FB rate for the second straight season has a lot to do with it, and it may be deserved based on his 34% hard hit rate against.
Volquez, Edinson Very favorable ( MPH split between fastball and Changeup, and it's the changeup that he throws 25% of the time that is considered his + pitch along with his curveball. 2016 production was hampered by an unlucky 317 BABIP, and increase in his HR/FB rate to 12.8%. Fastball lost a bit (.5 MPH), which amount to a shift away from FB in 2017.
Richards, Garrett Aside from the explosive 95 MPH average fastball, Richards has a nasty slider, If he stays healthy he could provide a nice return on investment, as he's shown the ability to maintain a low WHIP and high K count in the past.
Santiago, Hector Limited opponents to a .257 BABIP despite allowing a 37% hard Hit %, which indicates to us that there will be some regression. Part of those hard hits resulted in 33 HRs, so that will be offset somewhat ,but these traits have been repeating themselves, which indicates that he may own them. As a heavy FB pitcher he may benefit in his new ballpark.
Shoemaker, Matt Unlucky 310 BABIP led to a less than deserved WHIP and ERA. Struggles on the road, and a good candidate to only start at home (378 Homes SLG / 455 Away SLG).
Skaggs, Tyler Unlucky BABIP against last season (326) hurt his WHIP, Awesome at home (295), but struggled on the road (454 SLG). Coming off of TJS, could have a nice comeback season with his 9 K/9.
Greinke, Zack As expected the move to Arizona killed his overall numbers in 2016. And everything completely collapsed in the 2nd half when he posted a 1.52 WHIP and 6.00 ERA. Although the fastball lost .5 MPH, his plus pitches are still his slider and curve. Still maintained a +10 Swinging strike rate. Expect a rebound but he'll need to increase his GB rate at home or the .462 SLG at home is going to make him an avoid when pitching there.