Analyzing Every Potential Starting Pitcher Innings Limit For 2017
With two months of baseball already in the books, it’s getting close to the time when managers begin looking ahead to their fantasy playoffs in August and September. With so many young pitchers dominating the SP scene, it’s important to know who will still be around to provide value when you need it most.
Through the help of Pitcher List’s statistics wizard Patrick Barnhart, we’ve compiled a list of young starters and projected when they would be shutdown this season. How it works is simple: We took the total innings across the minors + majors + playoffs from last season, added a 20% boost to project a 2017 limit, then calculated how many innings they have left to throw this season. By calculating their expected Innings Per Start (based on their historical data), we can determine a rough date for when they would hit their innings limit. In the chart below you’ll see that list, followed by an overview of each pitcher involved, providing any insight and info from the organization about a possible innings limit.
There are a few things to note before we get started:
– Fantasy playoffs will have a different start day based on your league, but most begin either August 28th or September 4th and could end before the season finishes. Keep this in mind and adapt to your league settings.
– These stats and insights are through 7/13/17. If you’re checking out this article after that date, keep that in mind.
– Players highlighted in yellow have a projected innings limit that could be hit before season’s end.
– Pitchers’s limits will be designated as No Limit, Unlikely, Questionable, Probably, and Definitely.
– Cells highlighting in green have been altered based on outside information where the data wasn’t enough to give a proper assessment.
– The “shutdown date” is projected based on a five-man rotation and not skipping a single start. Teams will have different ways of limiting innings ranging from simply not pitching anymore to moving to the bullpen, a skipped start or two in July/August, or switching to a six-man rotation. Keep this in mind through the year.
Let’s get to it:
Aaron Nola | 2016 IP – 111 | 2017 IP – 90.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
Nola’s 2016 was cut short by arm trouble, though he was expected to pitch 200+ innings after throwing over 180 the year prior. It’s possible the Phillies want to take care of their organization ace and hold him back a little this season, but considering they let him fly in 2015 and that he’s already missed some time in 2017 adds up to an unlikely cap in September.
Alex Wood | 2016 IP – 62.1 | 2017 IP – 80.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
Yes, he’s only 26-years-old, but Wood did throw 189.2 innings in 2015 and given the circumstances of the Dodgers this season, they’ll be needing Wood through September and beyond. Roberts is already doing his part to not overwork Wood, removing him early from games when he can keep going, but with just 80.2 innings under his belt already – remember, he missed time with injury during the spring – it would be hard to think the Dodgers won’t let him throw through September. There is a chance they shut him down for a week before a playoff run, but I wouldn’t make any fantasy moves based on it.
Amir Garrett | 2016 IP – 144.2 | 2017 IP – 78.1 | Limit? – Probably
There aren’t too many fantasy teams counting on Garrett, but those that are should be aware that the Reds sent him down to the minors initially to limit his workload for the year. Around 180 is the magic number, making a possible shutdown were Garrett to return to the majors this season.
Brad Peacock | 2016 IP – 148.2 | 2017 IP – 61.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
The lingering opinion is that Peacock will not stay in the Astros’ rotation through the season, but even if he does, a likely cap of 180 innings would be difficult to hit given his time in the bullpen to begin the season.
Brent Honeywell | 2016 IP – 115.1 | 2017 IP – 92.1 | Limit? – Probably
We don’t know if Honeywell would even make a fantasy impact this season, but if he were to get the call for the Rays, there will most likely be some sort of cap on his innings as he only threw 115.1 in 2016. He’s already past the 90 mark thus far and a theoretical 160 inning limit would be hit in the middle of September. Don’t expect him to ride through the playoffs this year
Carlos Rodon | 2016 IP – 168.2 | 2017 IP – 32.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
There are two clear factors that would make it very unlikely Rodon is limited this year: the fact he didn’t pitch until June 28th this season and that he tossed nearly 170 frames in 2016. An innings cap would be a major shock.
Dinelson Lamet | 2016 IP – 150.0 | 2017 IP – 80.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
There is certainly some sort of cap placed on Lamet around 180 innings this season, but the main question is if he’ll be able to reach it. Given his low IPS of just 5.0, Lamet has accrued only 80 innings thus far, making it a tough challenge to get enough time on the hill to even reach the mark.
Drew Pomeranz | 2016 IP – 174.1 | 2017 IP – 90.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
After throwing 174.1 innings last season, it would be shocking for the Red Sox to hold Pomeranz back this year…and that’s suggesting he has the ability to breeze past the 200 IP threshold.
Dylan Bundy | 2016 IP – 109.2 | 2017 IP – 108.0 | Limit? – Probably
On one hand, we have Buck Showalter publicly stating how he hates innings limits, which was said in the context of Bundy’s 2017. On the other we have only 109.2 frames last season as Bundy danced between the Pen and rotation, and you have to think at some point the Orioles don’t want to risk overthrowing one of their better team-controlled arms.
German Marquez | 2016 IP – 187.1 | 2017 IP – 86.1 | Limit? – Unlikely
Considering the amount of frames Marquez tossed in 2016, it would be a bit odd for the Rockies to have a hard cap on Marquez that would be under the amount he threw the previous season.
Homer Bailey | 2016 IP – 51 | 2017 IP – 34.0 | Limit? – Questionable
Bailey just returned from Tommy John and the Reds may play it safe in September if Bailey is nearing the 140-150 mark. We placed it at 180 innings as that is the typical number we see for pitchers returning from TJS, but it’s possible the Reds want to take extra care of Bailey down the stretch.
Jacob Faria | 2016 IP – 151.0 | 2017 IP – 97.0 | Limit? – Questionable
Faria is doing an excellent job in the Ray’s rotation and it’s possible Faria continues his hot start through the end of the year to hit his cap. The Rays are in the playoff hunt and may let Faria ride in September if he’s not exceeding the theoretical 180 cap too far, but they slack in the race, Faria could miss a start or two down the stretch.
Jameson Taillon | 2016 IP – 165.2 | 2017 IP – 76.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
Since Taillon missed a hefty amount of time having testicular cancer and pitched over 165 innings last season, it would be hard to imagine him pushing the bar too far in 2017.
JC Ramirez | 2016 IP – 84.2 | 2017 IP – 103.0 | Limit? – No Limit
Mike Scioscia came out and said the Angels have no plans outside of an ocassional off-day to limit JC. There you go.
Jeff Hoffman | 2016 IP – 150.0 | 2017 IP – 100.1 | Limit? – Questionable
Hoffman had a number last year and it’s likely he has another one this year. He’s on pace to hit just about 180, which you’d imagine would be what the Rockies have in mind. However, the team is in the wild card chase and may want to set up a situation where Hoffman is pitching for them in the playoffs. It’s possible he’ll get a start skipped here and there before September to keep him on the squad.
Joe Musgrove | 2016 IP – 147.1 | 2017 IP – 80.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
We don’t expect Musgrove to stay in the rotation for the Astros through the second half, which would prevent him from hitting his cap. Still, even if he were to get the innings, he’d need near 100 to make it happen, which just doesn’t fit with his current IPS rate.
Jon Gray | 2016 IP – 176.2 | 2017 IP – 37.1 | Limit? – Unlikely
Gray doesn’t really belong here, but I’m sure some are wondering as he’s a young arm. Considering that Gray threw over 175 frames in 2016 and that he already missed time with injury in 2017, there’s no chance he gets shut down early this season.
Jordan Montgomery | 2016 IP – 139.1 | 2017 IP – 96.1 | Limit? – Questionable
JorMont will be cutting it close this year as the Yankees have relied heavily on Montgomery as their fifth starter since day one. He has the ability to go deeper into games, making his current IPS of 5.2 possibly not indicative of what he will do in the second half. The Yankees have another innings problem with their young stud Luis Severino, making it plausible another starter enters the fray to make it a six-man rotation and ease the workload for Montgomery, allowing him to pitch through September and possibly the post-season.
Jose Berrios | 2016 IP – 169.2 | 2017 IP – 111.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
Berrios’ near 170 innings total from 2016 should be enough to prevent him from getting a cap this year, even if he’s on pace to hit 200 this season.
Junior Guerra | 2016 IP – 148.1 | 2017 IP – 60.1 | Limit? – Unlikely
The Brewers did end Guerra’s 2016 season a little early, but he’s past 30 years old now with an injury holding him back in the first half. It would be shocking if his season ended early.
Kenta Maeda | 2016 IP – 186.1 | 2017 IP – 78.0 | Limit? – No Limit
The odd part here is that Maeda’s contract pays him more for every 10 innings he throws for the Dodgers – $250,000 per 10 to be exact – which may be part of the reason his IPS is so low this season. Nevertheless, a specific cap seems so farfetched when he threw 186.1 frames last year.
Lance Lynn | 2016 IP – 6.2 | 2017 IP – 102.1 | Limit? – Unlikely
Lynn went under the knife for TJS in 2015 and only had one minor league start in 2016, making him incredibly fresh for 2017. This isn’t your typical return to the majors from the injury as he’s had an exuberant amount of time to recover, with Lynn himself saying he didn’t want a limit for the season ahead. I’m willing to bet the Cardinals let him go to the end.
Lance McCullers | 2016 IP – 89.0 | 2017 IP – 91.1 | Limit? – Questionable
McCullers is an interesting case as he’s had a heavy workload in the past, but he threw under 90 frames in 2016 and his injury history may have the Astros skipping his starts down the stretch. Add in the fact that Houston is running away with the AL West might contribute to McCullers taking a breather in September.
Luis Castillo | 2016 IP – 131.2 | 2017 IP – 103.1 | Limit? – Probably
One of my favorite arms to watch this second half is Castillo, but there’s a decent chance that the Reds will be cautious with their electric young arm in September. He’s on pace to hit around 185 frames, which means a few skipped starts or a mid September shutdown is more likely than not.
Luis Perdomo | 2016 IP – 146.2 | 2017 IP – 83.1 | Limit? – Questionable
The Padres have nothing to play for in 2017, meaning Perdomo could be the victim of a premature end to his season even if he doesn’t throw as many as 170 innings. If I were a betting man, I’d believe he sees his way through to the end, but it’s possible San Diego wants to be overly protective of one of their better assets.
Luis Severino | 2016 IP – 151.1 | 2017 IP – 106.2 | Limit? – Probably
The Yankees are keeping mum about their plans for Severino, but it seems pretty clear that some sort of cap will be order. It could be a six-man rotation that would help spread the innings across the months, it could be skipped starts in August, or it could be a straight shutdown in September. Monitor this one closely, as it would be a surprise if the Yankees let him go every five days for the rest of the year.
Michael Fulmer | 2016 IP – 174.1 | 2017 IP – 115.2 | Limit? – Questionable
The Tigers haven’t made up their mind, and Ausmus has said they will “see where he’s at”. What this probably means is a near 200 inning outlook for Fulmer, but a possible week early shutdown if the Tigers are out of contention come September.
Mike Clevinger | 2016 IP – 151.2 | 2017 IP – 94.0 | Limit? – Questionable
Without his 5.1 playoff innings last year, we’d have Clevinger shut down one week before the end of the season – that’s how close this one is. Given that I imagine Clevinger earning himself a #5 spot in the Indians rotation, it’s possible the Indians give him a week of rest before the playoffs hit to allow him to take a bigger part in another World Series chase.
Nick Pivetta | 2016 IP – 148.2 | 2017 IP – 91.0 | Limit? – Questionable
With the rate Pivetta is starting currently, he’s on pace to hit right around our 180 innings limit by the end of the year. The Phillies let Aaron Nola ride through the 2015 season and it’s possible they do the same with Pivetta as he hit 150 frames last season.
Reynaldo Lopez | 2016 IP – 153.1 | 2017 IP – 93.0 | Limit? – Questionable
Lopez was one of the main pieces of the Adam Eaton deal over the off-season and we’ve been wondering when he would get his shot in the White Sox rotation. Now that Jose Quintana is gone, it’s possible Lopez sneaks in for some starts by the end of the year. If he gets his time on the Chicago staff, you’d imagine the White Sox would be careful with one of their premier assets, scrutinizing how many innings his throws until the end. Our projection has him very close to his theoretical 183 inning cap, but we don’t know how things will end up deep in September.
Robbie Ray | 2016 IP – 174.1 | 2017 IP – 106.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
The Diamondbacks are deep in the playoff hunt and Ray’s success is a major part of it. Considering he tossed 174 innings last year, the Diamonds should be fine with Ray pushing himself to 200 this season as they’ll need his arm down the stretch, making a innings limit unlikely
Robert Gsellman | 2016 IP – 156.2 | 2017 IP – 76.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
With Gsellman out with an injury, I think it’s safe to say that when he does return, it won’t be with an innings limit.
Sean Manaea | 2016 IP – 166.1 | 2017 IP – 97.1 | Limit? – Unlikely
We would expect the Athletics to be careful with their premier talent in Manaea, but considering he’s on pace for just about 190 innings, he seems well within the theoretical innings cap that Oakland would pace after a 166 frame season. I wouldn’t worry about this one.
Sean Newcomb | 2016 IP – 140.0 | 2017 IP – 89.1 | Limit? – Questionable
How far will the Braves let Newcomb go? Doing the standard 20% increase puts Newcomb right around 170 frames…which he’s currently projected to hit with one or two starts left in the tank. Like others here, the Braves will have nothing to play for in September and it’s unclear if they would rather protect Newcomb for the future rebuild or attempt to build up his stamina earlier in his career.
Steven Matz | 2016 IP – 132.1 | 2017 IP – 54.2 | Limit? – Unlikely
Matz already missed a chunk of time to start the year and the Mets would have no intention keeping Matz from throwing under 160 frames this season. The bigger problem is his health, not a potential shutdown.
Tyson Ross | 2016 IP – 6.0 | 2017 IP – 44.0 | Limit? – Unlikely
The Rangers have Ross on a one-year deal and he missed a ton of time to start the year as he was recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It would be a shock if Ross was handed an innings cap.
Zack Godley | 2016 IP – 156.2 | 2017 IP – 97.2 | Limit? – Questionable
Godley spent a good part of 2016 in the bullpen, holding back his innings total but not reducing the stamina on his arm. The Diamondbacks will need Godley down the stretch and it’s possible they let him ride even if he exceeds the 20% boost we normally see as an innings cap. My guess would be a skipped start or two before September instead of a flat out shutdown.
Zack Wheeler | 2016 IP – 1.0 | 2017 IP – 76.0 | Limit? – Definitely
The Mets said in the preseason that Wheeler would be capped around 125 frames for the season, but then in May Terry Collins stated that they don’t have a number in mind. We do know there will be some cap – It took us until our last arm to have a outright limit in place – and my guess would be around 140 frames ultimately, leading to an early September shutdown, but we put 125 as that was the given number.