A Quick Intro
After the new year begins I sit down at my computer and open up a few tabs on Chrome: Pitcher List, Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball, and Texas Leaguers. I create a Google Doc called “2023 Starting Pitchers,” pick a random pitcher, and get to work detailing as much as I can about them. I take notes on their wOBA’s and swinging strike rates. I try to see if the movement of their pitches changed and see how they had more/less success than previous years. When I feel like I’ve gathered a good amount of data, I write a small TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read). While I’ve always kept those notes private, I’ve decided this year I would share all 100 TL;DRs with my Top 100 Fantasy Starting Pitcher rankings. Hope you enjoy.
1. Gerrit Cole (NYY) – While the four-seamer ran into a lot of bizarre issues for Cole at the end of the year, I think all signs point to the fact that the ERA is on its way back down a bit. Especially when you consider that the fly-ball and ground-ball rate maintained while the HR/FB (less sticky) jumped up and he had his lowest SIERA since 2019. I think he can still continue to hover at a low 30 K% with a SwSt near 14%. Add the innings plus the swing and miss ability along with a WHIP that is all but certainly a lock to be below 1.05 and you have a top 5 starting pitcher.
2. Corbin Burnes (MIL) – Reaching 200 IP with 200+ K’s is obviously going to put him in every top 5 list but I wonder if there are warning signs that we’re ignoring a bit too much: the odd collapse in the second half, the decrease in performance of the cutter, the rise in hard contact across all pertinent pitch types. The HR issue I think can sort itself out but it is a bit telling when he gave up more HR on all prominent pitch types. Overall, I don’t foresee a major fall from grace but I wonder if we see Burnes’s 1st plus 3 ERA since 2019.
3. Brandon Woodruff (MIL) – Woodruff has so many different ways to get you out between the four-seamer, change-up and slider. I think that a full year of him – now that he has his Raynaud’s Disease under control – could be one in which he competes for the Cy Young. He was absolutely elite when he came back from the IL, he has several plus pitches that can get whiffs and called strikes and I really believe he’s the full package.
4. Sandy Alcántara (MIA) – The list of guys who are going to – in all likelihood – get you 200+ IP is a short one. The list of guys who are going to give you 200+ IP with a near 3 ERA and slightly over 200 strikeouts may legitimately just be Sandy Alcántara. In a roto league, I think you can make an argument that he should be the first pitcher off the board, but in a weekly league he’s more of a top five guy. He has two very good heaters with an elite change-up and a slider that could take a step forward in whiffs. The only reason he isn’t a bit higher is I think the new shift rules could have a more negative impact on him than anyone above him. I do love how incredibly high the floor is for him though (as long as you don’t start him against the Dodgers that is).
5. Shane McClanahan (TBR) – Honestly, I’m in love with Shane McClanahan. The fact that this dude went from having an elite slider to having an elite change-up is absolutely remarkable and if we were guaranteed 200 innings of no health concerns from him, I think he could be the best pitcher in all of baseball. The biggest concerns for me all stem around the injury risk. The shoulder injury was as scary last year – as was the dip in performance when it happened – and I always get scared when Rays with his velocity haven’t had Tommy John. (NOTE: @MagicOriole pointed out on Twitter that McClanahan did indeed have TJS during college; the injury risk does still remain).
6. Justin Verlander (NYM) – Verlander came back from TJS looking as dominant as ever. While there’s no chance he’ll be able to sustain the fastball numbers he put up in 2022, regression doesn’t look like a mid 3 ERA pitcher for him, it looks like a normal Justin Verlander season which is still a mid to high 2 ERA and a high K%. It seems the drop in K’s/whiffs was largely due to him not having his usual success outside of the zone with the heater. He made some strides with that late season and I think now that he’s fully removed from TJS recovery he can gain an additional tick or so in SwSt.
7. Jacob deGrom (TEX) – There’s nothing I could say about deGrom that hasn’t been said by countless other analysts: he’s the best pitcher in baseball and you have no idea how many innings he’s going to throw. He could win you or lose you your league. The question is finding out where that tier drop is; where you’re comfortable taking him because the guys after him all have warts. I will say he does handcuff you in a way that you may need to draft another SP1 early and pray that you’ll get 180+ out of him. If that strategy isn’t your cup of tea, you may want to play it “safer” with another starting pitcher.
8. Shohei Ohtani (LAA) – Ohtani has some of the nastiest stuff in all of baseball and if he were a fully dedicated pitcher you could make the case that he’d compete for the Cy Young every year. While Ohtani doesn’t have the best fastball in the world he doesn’t need to thanks to his elite slider and splitter combination (the former he is very adept at throwing for strikes). What’s sort of scary is there’s theoretically a world in which Ohtani could get BETTER if he actually threw his sinker a bit more. While his IP will always be capped due to this hitting, there are plenty of injury risk pitchers who also won’t exceed 160 frames.
9. Zack Wheeler (PHI) – There are no questions of skill when it comes to Zack Wheeler. The ceiling is 200+ innings of a dominant four-seam/sinker combination with a slider that can get you a heck of a lot of whiffs and a low WHIP and ERA, truly ace stuff. The floor is still those peripherals but with about 150-170 IP (well actually the floor is something like tommy john surgery and then you’re completely hosed but let’s not even put that out there).
10. Max Scherzer (NYM) – It’s hard to root against Max Scherzer as he’s arguably my favorite pitcher in baseball but I think there are some alarming red flags. We saw a career low in innings form him due to some nagging oblique injury concerns and I don’t think guys going into their age 39 season usually get healthier. The four-seamer velocity has been trending in the wrong direction the past couple of years and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the results start to shift in the wrong direction. Add concerns with the unsustainably low HR/FB ratio and you’re looking at the potential for Max to put up a high 2 ERA / low 3 ERA which clearly isn’t bad but could come with fewer Ks and fewer IP.
11. Aaron Nola (PHI) – Aaron Nola posted some of his best career numbers last year with a 2.80 SIERA and the lowest WHIP of his career. He had a sub .300 wOBA across his four-seam, curveball and sinker and less than 10 pitchers had a sub .300 wOBA across three pitches (min 500 thrown). While ERA is incredibly volatile year-over-year, a low 3 ERA is not out of the question for Nola again as the 2021’s high 4 ERA seems more like an unfortunate blip than an indication of severe regression.
12. Luis Castillo (SEA) – Castillo seemed to make legitimate changes to his four-seam/slider combo and left the change-up by the wayside a little bit (search for Michael Ajeto’s fantastic piece on Baseball Prospectus for some more insight there). I’m going to assume that this trade off is one that is here to stay, especially now that Castillo can BE more of a fly-ball type pitcher inside of T-Mobile Park where it’s more difficult to hit balls out than Great American Ballpark.
13. Spencer Strider (ATL) – Strider relies on velocity and a two pitch mix and that just scares me in terms of sustainability. Guys have had success before with a two pitch mix – and Strider likely can continue to do so continuing just how strong those two pitches are – it’s just more of will this ever lead to 180 innings? Even if we get 150 out of him though I don’t know if there’s a huge step back that Strider is going to take considering how sticky velocity and SwSt can be year-over-year.
14. Cristian Javier (HOU) – Javier possesses a fantastic four-seamer/sweeper combination that returns both whiffs and a lot of fly-balls; the latter of which should keep his BABIP relatively low. Next year is the first year we could see him start from beginning to end and if that’s the case we could potentially be looking at 170+ innings of +30% K rates due to a four-seam that gets almost as many whiffs as his sweeper does.
15. Dylan Cease (CHW) – I think there’s a lot of talk about whether or not Cease will regress because of the low 2nd half BABIP and the relatively high walk rate of 10%. I’m more optimistic that he can repeat considering he’s stellar at inducing weak fly-balls and has shown he can maintain the GB/FB rate that he puts up year-over-year. Even if he were to not take a step back in BB% the slider and four-seam are such nasty pitches that I think he can continue to have sustained success.
16. Max Fried (ATL) – I think there’s a step forward in the overall amount of K’s we’re going to be able to see from Fried next year as he introduced a change-up in two strike counts a lot more and the result was absolutely fantastic. It translated to more whiffs overall but just not more Ks and I think there’s a chance he could up his K% to 25% (career high) next year with it. Otherwise, everything else just seems fairly stable from him and you’re in for another season of a solid WHIP, very good ERA and not a lot of walks.
17. Julio Urías (LAD) – While Urias 2nd half isn’t sustainable I think he possesses a unique skill set that allows him to get out of jams very frequently; a great ability to have. I think his ability to induce weak contact when runners are on makes his ability to overperform his peripherals a bit more sustainable. He made an interesting tweak to his four-seam last year where he added more gyro and introduced a bit more cut which isn’t typically a good thing but seems to have generally benefited his approach. In theory, there’s a path for him to get more K’s but I think with the change he made to the four-seamer, he might not eclipse 25% again.
18. Shane Bieber (CLE) – Bieber came into the season with his lowest fastball velocity ever and put up the best ERA of his career over 100 IP. In many ways, things are only looking up for him, too, because if he increases that velocity at all – which he could theoretically do – then we could see the K’s start to return to what we’ve seen in the past from him. If he succeeded with a four-seamer as poor as it was, but breaking pitches as good as they are, then I don’t know why he wouldn’t be able to repeat another low 3 ERA with a near 1 WHIP; even with the amount of hard contact that he gave up.
19. Yu Darvish (SDP) – It’s almost impossible to analyze Darvish because he has so many pitch types and the classifications are all over the place. I do know however, that Darvish elevated his four-seamer less last year and I’m not quite sure why. When he did elevate he had a lot of success mitigating contact and an ok amount of success at getting whiffs, though I think that could only improve. If he does decide to paint the top of the zone more with his heater and maybe focus on his sweeper a little bit more, I think there’s a world where his regression is less severe than anticipated.
20. Zac Gallen (ARI) – Gallen had an absolutely elite 2nd half that isn’t sustainable. I think he’s settled into what we should be used to seeing from him in terms of his whiffs and I’m a little worried about relying on a guy who is so dependent on getting ground balls from his curveball. I think we see steps back in the BABIP and the HR/FB which puts him in the lower 3 ERA range as opposed to anything below that. He certainly benefited from what was unarguably the best defense in baseball last year and it might be tough to repeat that again.
21. George Kirby (SEA) – Armed with an elite fastball and the ability for his breakers to take a step forward along with the fact that he’ll have the kid gloves removed and should be free to go as many innings as he likes, I think the sky’s the limit for Kirby. I think his ability to limit hard contact in the 2nd half of the season should theoretically maintain as should the strides that he made with his breaking pitches.
22. Kevin Gausman (TOR) – I think a lot of people will point to the BABIP from Gausman as reason to believe he’s going to far exceed his expectations but they may be ignoring the red flags that are appearing with his four-seamer. Gausman is used to having success over the heart of the plate and that fell by the wayside a bit in 2022. Barrel rate and hard hit rates were up meaning the elevated four-seam BABIP may not be all smoke and mirrors. While I don’t think Gausman is going to regress to the point of being a mid to high 3 ERA pitcher, him not fully bouncing back to a high 2 / low 3 ERA pitcher isn’t a guarantee.
23. Framber Valdez (HOU) – Valdez is a pitcher with the potential to give you elite returns in four of the five categories. You get 200+ IP potential with a sub 3 ERA and the possibility to get near 200 K’s. The WHIP is perpetually going to hurt you for sure but I love that Valdez found a weapon to help him out against lefties in the cutter; I think the addition of that pitch means he can continue to hover that WHIP around 1.15 – 1.20. I don’t think the shift changes are going to drastically hurt Valdez as it isn’t like there were many shifts behind him in the previous season and I think the fact that he virtually always goes 6 IP just makes him incredibly valuable.
24. Alek Manoah (TOR) – There’s something about Alek Manoah’s arsenal that just doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t have a singularly dominant pitch; the four-seam isn’t that great, the slider doesn’t pick up a lot of whiffs overall and the sinker has good qualities but there isn’t one single thing that blows you away. HOWEVER, he’s done extremely well for two consecutive years and areas in which we think we would see him regress – BABIP, four-seam performance – did not regress at all. So will this be the year that this happens or will he continue to outperform his peripherals? Likely something in the middle but those new walls may not be that much of a help.
25. Joe Musgrove (SDP) – There are a lot of things pointing to the fact that Joe Musgrove may be taking a step back in 2023; albeit not a majorly significant one. He made changes to his arsenal last year in that he started throwing the four-seamer more and elevating the pitch – despite it not necessarily being a pitch you should elevate (really flat, not spin efficient at all) – which seemed to positively impact the slider and cutter. While the cutter BABIP was very low, the four-seamer/slider BABIP wasn’t. We saw a not-too-insignificant drop in curve usage; perhaps it was getting hit harder. Overall, I don’t think a sub 3 ERA is in the cards again with the usage as it is now and I think a regression to the SIERA is more likely.
26. Carlos Rodón (NYY) – Rodón has made a living throwing with fantastic velocity and using it to elevate his four-seamers at the top of the zone (where he gets a very good amount of whiffs) and then dropping in a slider for weak contact when he needs to. Underneath that very good four-seam/slider combination however, I think there are a good amount of warts. The fact that he’s never thrown 180 IP, the fact that we’ve seen him get fatigued one year and then lose velocity in another, the fact that the stadium is a downgrade for pitchers, and the fact that I think his slider gets away with a bit all leads me to believe that – while he can still be a top pitcher – there’s a bit more risk involved than I’m willing to take on. (It’s worth noting Rodón was originally pitcher 11 but has dropped with the recent injury news).
27. Luis Severino (NYY) – Nick puts it nicely when he says that at some point in the draft you need to ask yourself, “Is he going to be healthy enough or is he going to be good enough?” and more often than not you should likely choose the healthy side. There’s a realistic chance that, with TJS behind him and a full season under his belt, Luis Severino goes 160-180 IP. If he does, I think you’re getting a really good pitcher who could theoretically take a step forward with the new cutter that Stuff/PLV really seem to dig. Even if he does burn you in the IP department, I think the floor is high enough too that it won’t hurt that much.
28. Nestor Cortes Jr. (NYY) – For various reasons – timing, deceptive four-seamer – Cortes is really good at inducing weak contact. He threw a lot of middle/middle four-seamers over the course of the year and put up fantastic results on them contextually. Cortes improved his four-seamer in terms of flattening it out and I think that four-seam/cutter mix can keep him with a very low ERA. The HR’s will likely jump up a bit along with the BABIP but – barring any major changes – not drastically enough for it to negatively impact the rest of his arsenal.
29. Drew Rasmussen (TBR) – Rasmussen added a cutter last year and it was very effective for him. We saw him get an increased workload and considering how injury prone the Rays are (Glasnow already going to start the year on the IL) they’re going to need someone else aside McClanahan to take on the bulk of those innings and I think it can be him. I think there’s a chance he unlocks some more Ks with that slider if he can continue to locate it gloveside with consistency and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him put up similar numbers this year to what he did last year.
30. Robbie Ray (SEA) – We saw diminished velocity from Ray which led to a lack of four-seam performance which led to the introduction of a sinker which really was …just ok. Ray’s sinker heavy approach to righties was curious last year as – while it returned a good amount of whiffs – it got hit pretty hard; perhaps because it was armside so much and would tail over the heart of the plate to righties and get smashed. If we’re hearing that Ray’s velo is where it was last year, I don’t really know if there’s another step forward for him. Especially if he can’t figure out how to better command that sinker – which is something he hasn’t historically been able to do.
31. Logan Webb (SFG) – So Logan Webb…made a change to his slider that resulted in fewer whiffs and more in zone contact that led to more fly balls but also more hard hit balls and a higher wOBA. He had a wOBA on his sinker that was 50 points higher than his 2021 wOBA and yet he was able to bring his ERA down from 3.03 to 2.90? Something doesn’t add up here. While the regression may not be super severe – he obviously is able to have some form of success with this formula – barring any change with the slider (which could come! Those whiffs really dropped!) I don’t see a 27% K rate returning and there’s danger for a higher ERA and higher WHIP.
32. Chris Sale (BOS) – Trying to project Sale is very difficult because he hasn’t really given us a sample size that’s meaningful since 2019 and even then he was dealing with lower velocity that prevented him from succeeding. Even though it was an inconsequential sample size in ‘22 it was good to see that he had his velocity. At the end of the day, I don’t think ATC’s projection is that far off: around 130 IP with maybe a mid 3 ERA and a good amount of strikeouts. I could honestly see him out performing that and making everyone look like idiots or Sale having another injury plagued season.
33. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – I don’t think we see a Kershaw that’s drastically different from what we saw last year: not a lot of innings but really good ratios, a near-or-sub 1 WHIP and a K% that – while maybe a bit lower than usual – will still hover around/above 25%. The change in the four-seamer to make it more contact dependent is a bit worrisome but I think because of his ability to locate the pitch / the fact that it pairs so well with the slider, he can continue to maintain really low wOBA’s on the pitch. The only question becomes, when do you draft a guy who you won’t get more than 130 IP out of?
34. Tyler Glasnow (TBR) – If I knew I was guaranteed 150 IP of Tyler Glasnow then you could easily make the case that he’s a top 15 pitcher in all of baseball. I just refuse to believe that a man who has never thrown more than 112 IP in a single season is now miraculously going to go from 6.2 IP to over 130. Those 130 could be really, really good but they can also hinder you if you don’t know when you’re getting them. Considering the Rays approach to SPs and the fact that they have other guys who they can probably toss longer and thereby cut down on Glasnow’s pitches per appearance, I don’t know how much I’m buying it in ‘23.
35. Dustin May (LAD) – I’m a believer overall in May’s stuff. I think the command issues we saw last year are fully exacerbated by small sample sizes and that with a full season we’d see something a little bit closer to the 7 or 8% mark which, while not great, is much better. The lack of shift could hurt May a bit as could the fact that he likely isn’t going to be able to throw more than 125 IP but I really do believe that in that time we could get a 25% with a relatively low ERA and a WHIP hovering at 1.10
36. Triston McKenzie (CLE) – Saw him improve his command issues thanks to his ability to find the zone more effectively with his heater and his slider. There are a lot of areas where I feel he can take a step back: the BABIP should fall a bit, the four-seamer performance should regress a bit, I don’t think he can sustain an 80% LOB or the HR/FB which is pretty volatile year over year. He succeeds in different ways than we’re used to – almost the Bieber template of lower-more-over-the-plate heaters that set up his breaking pitches – but I don’t think he will necessarily fall short because of that.
37. Hunter Greene (CIN) – Hunter Greene was very much a ‘tale-of-two-halves’ guy. No four-seam was more improved in the second half and what a second half it was with his sub 2 ERA and sub 1 ERA in his final four starts of the year (weak teams or not, he dominated). While GABP will still overly punish mistakes, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Greene maintain the consistency he was able to establish with his four-seamer at the end of the year while keeping that very good slider that he had. If he struggles to find that consistency again however, it could be painful.
38. Joe Ryan (MIN) – I think there’s two possibilities for Joe Ryan: One he doesn’t stick with the changes that he made to his slider in the final month of the season and we see him be the pitcher he was last year who leans on his fastball predominantly with a few sliders mixed in for good measure. Two: he sticks with the new slider that we saw him throw and he has a chance of hitting a 26/27% K-rate and can stick with a mid 3 ERA. If he can do that with a few more innings that’s a really nice get, if not, the floor is a high 3 ERA pitcher with a mid 25% K rate which isn’t terrible. Considering the recent news that’s come out about his time at Driveline working on that slider, I think it sticks. Important to note, too, that Ryan missed innings due to COVID and not to a majory injury so I don’t see why the innings can’t come up.
39. Logan Gilbert (SEA) – The fastball is still absolutely fantastic for Logan Gilbert but the breakers just aren’t really there for him. I am intrigued by the new splitter that he’s throwing but it’s tough to think the ceiling with the pitch is more than him increasing his K% back up to 25% (which would still be a good thing). We also don’t know if he’ll really be able to throw that pitch for strikes or if it’s even a pitch he’ll go to that often to begin with. I can see a small step forward overall but not a drastic one at the moment.
40. Nick Lodolo (CIN) – Lodolo uses a pair of average heaters and an elite breaking ball to succeed but I’m concerned about the poor numbers he puts up against righties along with pitching in the worst park in baseball. I don’t know if there’s a step forward for him to take unless he makes some sort of change with either of his heaters (I don’t think the change-up is really the pitch for him). While he did put up a low 3 ERA when he returned from his back injury, I think it might’ve been a bit lucky and I don’t see him sustaining a low 3 ERA with a 1.20+ WHIP.
41. Charlie Morton (ATL) – Last year was not great for Morton. He wasn’t able to find the four-seamer or the curveball frequently and while he ended up returning a good amount of swings and misses he just wasn’t able to get guys out with 2 strikes the way we’re used to seeing him do so (highest 2stk wOBA since 2016). While the curveball looks as if it’s regressing in the wrong direction in terms of its movement profile, the increased velo keeps it as a top breaking pitch. If there’s some four-seamer improvement we could see a boost in pertinent ratios as well as increase in innings.
42. Blake Snell (SDP) – There are a lot of things that concern me when it comes to Blake Snell. If we knew he was a guy who had a solid arsenal that he frequently relied on, it would mitigate the IP concern. Like we know Clayton Kershaw will give us 120 IP of great ratios and while Snell is obviously no Kershaw, we don’t know what he’ll give us because he seems to like to tweak. I think if he can settle on being a four-seam/slider pitcher who still throws in a curveball every once in a while he can maintain what we’ve seen him do: give you solid strikeouts, a chance at a mid-to-low 3 ERA and an…ok WHIP.
43. Freddy Peralta (MIL) – Peralta possesses a fantastic fastball that plays up because of the elite extension and makes the average velocity a bit better. He can get whiffs with both the four-seamer and the curveball – a pitch he can throw in and out of the zone with success. There’s a good chance that we see the K% tick back up towards 30% again as I think he’ll get additional whiffs with the fastball that seemed to have gone away a bit last year. It’s another “man, it’s just about the innings” kind of guy.
44. Chris Bassitt (TOR) – All the strides that Chris Bassitt made against LHH in ‘21 really went by the wayside. We saw him increase his sinker usage and the wOBA went up 100 points from .329 to .429. I think there’s a path for him to get better there considering when he was more four-seam focused in ‘21 he had good results against lefties. We also saw him take a step back in strikeouts because he wasn’t as effective with his slider and the curveball seemed to be more called strike dependent then whiff dependent despite the increase in horizontal movement. I do think there’s still a tweak that brings him back to a 25% K rate but we may have to settle for lower
45. Lance Lynn (CHW) – I think there are a lot of signs pointing to the fact that Lynn can have a better year in ‘23. The LOB is going to regress back to normal while the HR/FB rate is likely going to come back down a bit resulting in an ERA that I think comes closer to mid 3 than high 3. I think he’s going to be able to convert a lot more of his two strike counts into strikeouts allowing his K% to jump back over 25%, especially if he makes the tweaks he needs to make with his 2 strike usage. It’s worth noting that if he’s sitting 94, there’s a chance he could do very well but if he’s sitting 93, the ERA may be closer to high 3 than mid 3.
46. Jeffrey Springs (TBR) – There is room for growth for Springs and there’s room for regression. The growth however, depends on Springs establishing another pitch for LHH because as of now he struggles quite a bit against them. The regression seems a lot more likely. The four-seamer isn’t all that dominant and can give up a pretty decent amount of hard contact. The change-up is undoubtedly fantastic and his best pitch but the four-seam can take steps back in BABIP and wOBA and HR/FB and I don’t know how much he can lean on that change-up to help him. Add in typical IP concerns you get from the Rays and you have what could be a lower floor than people think.
47. Pablo López (MIN) – I think Lopez has the ability to return to being a 25% K pitcher at a minimum considering the amount of whiffs that he got last year. I also think he needs to focus more on the change-up with two strikes and drop that curveball usage down as it doesn’t seem super effective as a put away pitch. I think him being limited to two times through the order will both hamper his innings but also increase his K’s and drive his ratios down. If he can stay healthy, I’m still a believer in that two pitch four-seam/change-up combination. I’m intrigued by the addition of a new breaking pitch but considering how volatile usage can be with new pitches, I don’t think we should take it into account too much.
48. Brady Singer (KCR) – I am a lot more in on Brady Singer than I anticipated I would be. The changes that he seems to be making to his sinker I think could unlock a lot of potential for him. The pitch is dropping less and riding more, it could give him additional separation from his changeup while helping to increase the amount of whiffs that he’s able to get overall. The floor is a bit scary but I believe in the changes that he’s made and I think he could be a really good pitcher in the 2023 season.
49. Kyle Wright (ATL) – There are good things and bad things about Kyle Wright. The good: his curveball changed shape and was really nasty for him, the change can get a good amount of whiffs and the sinker can get some weak contact. The bad: the sinker can leak out over the heart of the plate a lot, the four-seam is god awful and there are some loud contact issues with a good amount of his pitches. I don’t think it’s wise to buy off a career year as Colton and the Wolfman say and while I don’t buy too much into the spring shoulder injury, I don’t know if I’m buying 180 IP again.
50. Lucas Giolito (CHW) – Arguably the biggest indication of whether or not Lucas Giolito will succeed in 2023 is what his spring training velocity looks like. Until we can find out if he’s sitting 93 or 94, I think he’s not a bad flier to take overall. Not just because the severe high’s we saw in BABIP and highs we saw in HR/FB indicate that there’s positive regression but because his change-up specifically is better than what it performed at last year. While I think the four-seam may not positively regress as much as we think (PLV and Stuff+ and Pitching+ really don’t like it), it should still lead him to a high 3 ERA in a walk year.
51. Sonny Gray (MIN) – I’m a believer in the strides that Gray made with his four-seamer. He returned to elevating the pitch like he did in 2019 and the results were there and while I think the increased GB% on the pitch paired with the ultra low BABIP may not be fully sustainable – especially with the shift ban – he still has Carlos Correa behind him meaning the regression may not be as severe. The curveball saw a nice jump in fly-ball percentage and while there were a significant amount that were hit hard, the park and some good defense definitely benefited him. I think the K’s could theoretically return with the curveball and if he keeps elevating with his heater he can come closer to repeating than I originally thought; but can he do it for more than 140 IP?
52. Jordan Montgomery (STL) – While Montomgery made strides with his four-seamer in the first month of his tenure in STL I think that was more BABIP/LOB fueled then anything as all those gains fell back down to earth in the final month of the season. I think if they get back to having Jordan Montgomery be a sinker/curveball pitcher and drop that four-seam usage back down, there’s a path for him to maintain his good ratios and maybe tick back up to a 25% K-rate, especially if that change-up returns to form. If they insist he sticks with the four-seamer, I don’t know if I see another step forward for him.
53. Kodai Senga (NYM) – Tough to do legitimate analysis on Kodai Senga because we haven’t really seen that much from him but you have to be excited by a guy with his velocity and his splitter. I think Nick makes a good point that his early schedule is really promising so I’d be more inclined to take a risk there, as long as the price is right. If he looks fantastic out of the gate in spring the helium may be a bit too much. For now, I think siding with the ATC projection is the wise move.
54. Grayson Rodriguez (BAL) – The tools are there. He’s got what could be an elite four-seam, change-up combination with some breaking pitches that – while they may have taken a step back – can get a good amount of whiffs still. The Orioles have already seemed to admit that they’re going to handle him with kid gloves and in a redraft league, I don’t really see that as being something I’m interested in. It’s rare for a rookie to come to the league and immediately hit his ceiling so when I see lower innings plus the possibility for natural rookie struggles, I don’t get all that excited.
55. Andrew Heaney (TEX) – Overall, while Andrew Heaney’s sweeper may not have impressed too much by Stuff+ and Pitching+ and PLV that might not matter all that much because he’s so elite at elevating his four-seamer at the top of the zone. He led the league in elevated whiffs last year and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to continue doing something similar this year. Overall, I would expect him to be a pitcher that lives between what he was in a Dodger uniform and what he was in an Angels uniform. Whether that can be over 100 IP though… that’s tough to say
56. Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU) – While McCullers will begin the year on the IL, there’s a good chance we get more of the same of him by year’s end: around 120-140 IP of mid-to-low 3 ERA with a WHIP that doesn’t kill you and a solid amount of strikeouts. To this day I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher debut a pitch and immediately dominate with it the way that McCullers did with his slider. While the sinker can often get hit relatively hard, those breaking pitches are enough to assure McCullers will have success when healthy.
57. Luis Garcia (HOU) – I don’t think that the final ERA numbers for Luis Garcia paint an accurate picture of who he was as he went on a fantastic run to end the season that brought his ERA below 4 for the first time of the year. I do think that there are opportunities for Garcia to improve, noticeably against lefties where I think he could focus more on that cutter and get rid of what was a terrible four-seamer. If he does that, I think we could see a return to a near 25% K rate and another full season of a mid to high 3 ERA. I feel like he’s a bit more valuable in roto leagues than category leagues.
58. Tyler Mahle (MIN) – It’s tough to rely on what was a down year for Tyler Mahle; a year where he struggled early and tried to play catch-up, got out of CIN and immediately suffered a season ending injury. I think the steps back that he took with his splitter he can recover from and I’m curious to see what – if anything – the Twins try to do with his cutter usage. In the meantime, I think he can return to being a high 3 ERA pitcher led by a good four-seam/splitter combination.
59. Alex Cobb (SFG) – As is probably the case with a lot of guys after the 50s there’s a relatively wide gap between the ceiling and floor. The ceiling is Cobb is able to get the splitter a few more whiffs, the cutter provides him with a new called strike pitch, the defense steps up a bit for him and he can stay healthy enough to throw like 160 frames with a mid 3 ERA, a mid 1.2 WHIP and a K rate in the 25% range. The floor is the BABIP issues continue to plague him with a poor SF defense, the splitter continues trending downwards and he gets hurt and gives you 90 IP with a low 4 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. I’m leaning more towards the ceiling than the floor.
60. Kenta Maeda (MIN) – Maeda has a clean bill of health and is in a walk year with MIN so I would expect him to see a good amount of innings. If he can find a way to get back to keeping the four-seamer down, I think that’s going to go a long way for him and get him back to being a mid to high 20’s strikeout kind of pitcher with a mid to high 3 ERA there for him.
61. Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) – Eovaldi has been stable in the past three seasons in that he’s given you a high 3 ERA with a WHIP near 1.20 and not a lot of innings due to injury. We saw a lot of volatility with his velocity last year though it is worth noting that even when he did sit 94 he was able to have success in large part due to a really good splitter that sort of went off last year. The thing is, if he is sitting 95 or 96 we’ll always have to worry about how many innings you’re going to get out of him.
62. Jack Flaherty (STL) – The injuries have made it difficult to adequately project what Flaherty can do this year. The only thing we know is that it won’t – in all likelihood – be 160+ IP from him. If we find out that he’s sitting 94 at spring training then I’m in because I think he can get back to having great K #’s and a killer slider. If he’s still sitting 93 then I worry about the way his velo is trending and I don’t know if I’ll fully be back in
63. Jesús Luzardo (MIA) – I don’t quite know if I see the overall allure to Jesús Luzardo. I get it, there’s a good amount of upside and maybe there’s a world where he can get 150 IP with a 30% K rate and a low 3 ERA, that’s not off the table. I’m a little shocked to see that none of his pitches grade out to be that good by Stuff+ or even PLV and I also just think considering he already had a forearm strain and is out of the first honeymoon period with Tommy John he’s got a lot of injury risk to him.
64. Garrett Whitlock (BOS) – Garrett Whitlock possesses a dangerous back-door sinker that can often leak over the heart of the plate but doesn’t get really punished when it does. He also possess a change-up that can get a good amount of whiffs and a slider that I genuinely believe will take a step forward considering the insane .500 BABIP it gave up against RHH last year (along with the fact that he was able to throw it out of the zone for whiffs fairly successfully). I’ll be curious to see how he does when he makes that transition to starter for a considerable amount of time but I like that he should theoretically feel a bit more comfortable pitching this year in his junior year in the league.
65. Jon Gray (TEX) – Gray added a sweeper to his repertoire in 2022 and it turned out well for him except in high leverage situations which could theoretically change; the pitch plays off the four-seamer well and I think makes him a better pitcher overall. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to maintain the changes that he made in 2022 with the four-seam/slider and have another good season albeit with the same HR issues and a lower-than-usual BABIP compared to his career BABIP due to the stadium change. The biggest concern is always going to be IP. If he can somehow manage to get over 150 again, he could be a big help.
66. José Berríos (TOR) – No need to reinvent the wheel here, Nick’s analysis is spot on when it comes to Berrios. It seems like this is a pitcher who can make a few tweaks and can regain what was his past…dominance? Can you really say that? I think this is all about where Berrios is going in drafts. It has to be around the tier where, if he does show you he hasn’t been able to make those fixes, it won’t really hurt to cut him which is…right at his current ADP of 200 / 57th pitcher off the board. If you can snag Berrios as your SP 5, I think you’re sitting pretty. If he’s your SP4 I’d be a bit more worried.
67. Reid Detmers (LAA) – Detmers made positive changes down in the minors that makes that 2nd half ERA seem a bit more substantial and not just smoke and mirrors. However, I don’t think he really possesses any plus/plus pitches and at the end of the day will be a guy who can get by on successfully elevating heaters and dropping that slider outside of the zone for whiffs. I think he can be a viable fantasy option, especially at the back end of drafts, but I’m not sure I see another tier here for him unless he makes a tweak to his curveball.
68. Jameson Taillon (CHC) – Taillon made some significant changes with the Yankees, with some of them being really good like a drop in his four-seamer usage and some of them being interesting like a drop in his four-seamer location. He’s allegedly throwing a sweeper now which may help him get his K’s back up to what they used to be and maybe he goes back to elevating the way that he did in 2021 where it was actually really effective for him. Either way, I think we can get a good amount of innings, I’m just not sure on how high that ceiling is.
69. Patrick Sandoval (LAA) – Patrick Sandoval almost reminds me of Kyle Bradish in that he’s got a really good slider that he can throw in and out of the zone and has a really poor pair of fastballs. The difference, among many others, is that Sandoval can get elite swings and misses out of the zone. While I see some significant regression coming Sandoval’s way – a high 1.30 WHIP and high 2 ERA just don’t blend well together – it may not be as severe as some models project.
70. Marcus Stroman (CHC) – Stroman didn’t have the best year overall and was still able to eke out a middle 3 ERA (which may have even gotten a bit better had he not been hampered by injury). There’s enough in his arsenal that he can rely on were one of his pitches not to prove effective enough. We saw last year that the splitter just…went away. He didn’t get whiffs on the pitch and it got squared up a bit more so he stopped relying on it as much. While I don’t think we’ll ever see him be more than a 21% K guy, I do think that he can theoretically get back there were the splitter to return. Might not hurt your ratios but isn’t going to do you any favors in strikeouts and doesn’t get you the innings to make that all that worth it.
71. Sean Manaea (SFG) – Even before we found out that Manaea was showing an increase in his velocity there was some intrigue because he could theoretically positively regress in terms of his change-up wOBA and the HR/FB that his slider put up. There was already a path for him to return to getting whiffs out of the zone on both of those pitches. Now that he has increased velocity though (especially paired with that extension) the ceiling could in theory be even higher than what we saw in 2021 with the high 3 ERA.
72. Tony Gonsolin (LAD) – I think Tony Gonsolin could be in for a rude awakening as he could be a pitcher who is really impacted by the shift rule change. If that were the only thing against him, I wouldn’t be regressing him that much but you add to that the fact that he may have a weaker defensive behind him + the fact that a .207 BABIP is unsustainable and that his HR/FB will likely negatively regress and the fact that I don’t know if I ever see him being a guy who gets like more than 150 IP you have what could be a really significant downside for him. If the four-seam had some more elite underlying numbers, I’d be more inclined to believe that last year wasn’t a fluke but they don’t so I dont.
73. Trevor Rogers (MIA) – There’s no question that Trevor Rogers had a terrible year last year but I think there are theoretical tweaks that he could make that would bring him back down to earth, or at least back down to a mid-to-high 3 ERA. I don’t know if he’s a pitcher who should be elevating with that four-seamer and I think he should stop trying. I think he can make a few release point tweaks to get him back to the release point that he had in ‘21. There’s a lot to be worried about here but at the moment you can take him in the last couple rounds and make him a quick drop if it doesn’t look like he’s got it figured out yet.
74. Michael Kopech (CHW) – There were a lot of scary things about Michael Kopech last year: the velocity fluctuations, the drastic drop in slider whiffs, the drop in heater whiffs, the fact he couldn’t get guys to swing at his slider out of the zone. I find it really difficult to believe that this is the pitcher that Kopech is, the 36% K rate in 2021 was just too good even if it was largely in relief. I think we have to consider that the knee injury was impacting him a lot worse than we thought it did. I think there’s a lot of ceiling but that floor is quite scary.
75. Ross Stripling (SFG) – I don’t think the season that Stripling had last year was as smoke and mirrors as a lot of people think. I love to see that he decreased the four-seam usage a bit and that he stopped throwing it as much when he was behind. I think if he continued in that trend and either threw sliders when behind or maybe some more sinkers, there’s a path for him to sustain some of the success he had. The HR/FB will regress but it may not as much in SF and I think the fact that he started to elevate his four-seamer more (which led to more ground balls) could be good for him. I think he’s a guy who is a few tweaks away from maintaining good ratios, he’s just got to stay healthy.
76. Miles Mikolas (STL) – The more and more I look into it the more and more I buy into the fact that it was Mikolas’ 2019 that was the outlier and not his 2018. I think because of his ability to command all of his pitches super well – along with the revisions he made to his four-seamer and sinker location (four-seamer was arm side and sinker was gloveside) that Mikolas can put up numbers more closely resembling his better years than his worst year. I think he can get you a good amount of innings and – though I don’t anticipate it happening – there’s a chance he could take a step forward in the whiff department, too, via his slider.
77. Merrill Kelly (ARI) – I think a lot of Merrill Kelly’s success next year may depend on the bounciness of the ball. We saw league low’s in hard-hit fly-ball wOBA’s and Chase is a great place for fly-ball pitchers. If the ball gets bouncier, a few of those cutters may fly out of the yard a bit more. You’re likely to get 170+ IP with an OK amount of wins and a WHIP that hovers around 1.20. While the strikeouts may not take too much of a step forward, I wouldn’t anticipate the ERA to regress to the point of being mid-4’s
78. Tyler Anderson (LAA) – It’s not difficult to see why so many projection systems are so out on Tyler Anderson though I wonder if they’ve gone a bit too far. There were legitimate changes made to the change-up that seemed to allow his arsenal to really click. While it seems like it isn’t necessarily uncommon for him to have a larger disparity b/w his SwSt and his K%, there is a chance that his K comes up to like 22% again (where it has been in the past), perhaps with his cutter. The disparity between floor and ceiling scares me though: you could get 180 IP of low 3 ERA with a 20% K rate with a good WHIP or could get a low 3 ERA with a 19% K rate and a 1.20 WHIP. One wins you leagues, the other, depending on where you take him in drafts, hurts a lot. I think you have to anticipate that he’s somewhere in the middle.
79. Hunter Brown (HOU) – I really dig Hunter Brown’s arsenal and while there still may be some command sloppiness from him, I trust HOU to be able to figure that out a bit. The underlying stuff – regardless of command – is really good though and it’s not like the command is completely out of whack ..even if he did have an 11% walk rate in AAA (ok maybe it’s not that great). There’s no guarantee at the moment that he has a job out of camp even with McCullers injury but the tea leaves say that he’s likely to start in the rotation and at that point truly anything can happen (additional injuries, McCullers derailed rehab, etc). He’s a nice late flier.
80. Eric Lauer (MIL) – I believe in the strides that he made with his four-seamer last year but I don’t know what else there is for him. He seems to struggle with his curveball command and while I don’t think he’s the sub 2 ERA pitcher of the first month or the 6+ ERA pitcher of July, I’m also not quite sure he’s a mid 3 ERA pitcher either; that is unless he can take steps forward with one of his other breaking pitches. The cutter could theoretically return to form a bit giving him a small boost but I don’t know if I’m interested.
81. Kyle Bradish (BAL) – The increased velocity that Kyle Bradish is showcasing in spring is really interesting because increased velocity will rarely lead to poorer performance. The breakers are there for him, especially the slider. He can throw the pitch for strikes and can get a good amount of whiffs with it, too making him an interesting candidate to sort of pitch backwards. The breaking ball is better than show-me as it can get some weak contact in a jam but isn’t much by way of whiffs. The four-seamer was bad last year but I’m curious to see if the increased velocity benefits him, even if it just means a bit more whiffs or is something that allows him to play off of the slider a little bit more. Last year I think we saw more floor and I think a low 4 ERA is not out of the realm of possibility.
82. Taijuan Walker (PHI) – While it was nice to see Taijuan Walker increase his splitter usage to both lefties and righties (even getting it to the point where it was the pitch he went most to when it came to lefties) he still possesses a relatively league average four-seamer with no other viable heaters and a slider that doesn’t get a lot of whiffs. While I think he can make some strides in the whiff department with that splitter and that he could sustain the lower BABIPs and sub 1.20 WHIP with Trea Turner behind him I’m not sure if I see another gear from him UNLESS he starts to throw that cutter with a bit more frequency.
83. Edward Cabrera (MIA) – There’s no question that the stuff is absolutely filthy for Edward Cabrera, I just don’t know if he’s ever really going to be able to command it. That four-seam has red flags written all over it. Between its insane fly-ball tendencies, sub .100 BABIP and terrible strike rate,I really see it falling off this year, especially with the shift changes. When you add in the BABIP as a whole along with walk rate I just see the WHIP and ERA taking a turn for the worst. There’s a large gap between that ceiling and floor and when you factor in the fact that it may be difficult to get more than 120 IP out of him you could be looking really boom or bust with him.
84. Roansy Contreras (PIT) – There are tweaks that Roansy Contreras can make to take it to the next level but they all have to do with command which I think is something that is easier said than done for him. He likes to go to that four-seamer gloveside more than average and he doesn’t have success when he does (though it’s not bad against opposite handed hitters). If he can jam righties with the pitch a bit more it can set up the slider even better. If not, I think he just ends up being the same pitcher.
85. José Urquidy (HOU) – I don’t think the season that Urquidy had is indicative of the pitcher that he is. I wonder if the introduction of the cutter led to the four-seam performance taking a step back and I think that even if he does decide to continue to incorporate that cutter a bit more we can see the four-seamer return a bit to form (it’s going to have to if he wants to throw it 50% of the time). I think there’s a path where Urquidy returns to what he was but is that that great? A near 20% K rate and a good WHIP and ERA with a threat of pitching 150 IP? Doesn’t hurt you but that’s if he can get there again. Don’t necessarily know if I see an additional ceiling.
86. Noah Syndergaard (LAD) – The Dodgers aren’t signing Noah Syndergaard if they don’t feel confident that there is something to unlock in him. Whether that’s a sweeper or some other tweak, you have to imagine that if they’re signing him to a deal, there’s a way to make him bring his K% back to normal and his ERA back to the mid 3’s. Even if they can’t fix the WHIP, I imagine there’s going to be something there.
87. Steven Matz (STL) – If I were to tell you that Steven Matz had three pitches with a SwSt over 10% would you believe me? Sure, it was a smaller sample size but it was pretty remarkable to see Matz do that last year. While that might not be repeatable, neither will the .429 BABIP he put up on his sinker. Matz made some interesting tweaks with that pitch as he started to elevate it more than usual – which, again, could have been a small sample size problem. If he can get back to keeping that sinker low while maintaining his whiff numbers on the change, curve and sinker, we could be seeing a surprisingly nice season from a guy bouncing back from a non-arm injury.
88. Zach Eflin (TBR) – If there’s going to be an organization that is able to unlock something in Eflin that helps him reach a new ceiling, it would certainly be the Rays and there has to be a reason why they made him their highest paid player in their franchises history. The sinker / curveball combination shows flashes where it can be really elite for him and Eflin has other pitches in his pocket in his four-seam / cutter and slider that the Rays could theoretically tweak to make Eflin a bit better. While I think there’s a relatively small gap between Eflin’s ceiling and his floor, I don’t know if he’ll be able to be super beneficial for your fantasy team considering the lack of IP he frequently returns.
89. Carlos Carrasco (NYM) – Carrasco doesn’t really have a good four-seamer at all and while he can command the pitch relatively well, it can get hammered a lot because the stuff plus is so incredibly poor. I do think there’s a way for him to improve a bit by going to that four-seamer even less and not relying on it to start off at-bats though I don’t know how much further in that direction he’s willing to go in 2023. The IP concerns are always going to be there and I think there’s a lot of things that would need to happen for us to see a significant step forward for him like returning a mid 3 ERA. Not a great ceiling to be chasing.
90. Matthew Boyd (DET) – Boyd is coming into the season healthy and I’m liking what I’m seeing. I’m happy that he’s reunited with his old team in Detroit and I think he’ll be able to retain some of the magic that we’ve seen from him. The slider is still very capable of getting whiffs and I actually don’t think we’ve really even seen the ceiling for the change-up quite yet. While there’s a wide range between his ceiling and his floor here, I think he’s a fun late round flier to take and I wouldn’t really mind starting him against the Rays (although there is a chance he then gets HOU and TB after that).
91. Alex Wood (SFG) – Overall I think there are positive signs for Wood. The ERA is going to regress with the LOB and I can see a world in which he gets better results on both the sinker and the slider. The floor however is a mid 4 ERA over 120 innings and there are better things that you can draft in those positions. I think it’s realistic for him to get back to a high 3 ERA however and return to a 24% K rate and I think he could still provide value late in drafts.
92. Spencer Turnbull (DET) – The last time Spencer Turnbull threw meaningful innings was in 2021 but how meaningful they were! It was only 50 IP but we saw career best in ERA, WHIP and FIP (min 25 IP). While I wouldn’t expect Turnbull to be a sub 3 ERA pitcher moving forward – I think high 3, low 4 is far more likely – he does possess an interesting four-seamer/slider combination with both pitches able to minimize hard contact and return swings and misses. His home ballpark will always be a plus and while I don’t see him throwing more than 130 in his first season back, there’s a chance he can pick up where he left off. I’ll be curious to see if the cutter returns, too, though it’s worth noting that we haven’t seen the pitch early in spring.
93. Aaron Civale (CLE) – Civale had a crazy up and down season last year that’s difficult to make heads and tails of but I think it seems pretty clear that he’s better than the 4+ ERA he accumulated at the end of the year. The curveball is too good and the cutter has too much upside that I think he can be a high 3 or low 4 ERA pitcher. I just don’t know how many Ks that will come with or innings pitched. The sinker was a bit all over the place last year and maybe he can find some more consistency with that pitch because I think he needs something to happen with the heaters to take any significant step forward.
94. Ken Waldichuk (OAK) – Waldichuk possesses two plus stuff pitches in his four-seamer and change-up and the makings to take a good step forward in 2023. Waldichuk showed a good ability to elevate that four-seamer and while he often missed a lot over the heart of the plate in ‘22 resulting in some four-seamers getting punished, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take a step forward there. He uses his change-up fairly uniquely in that he likes to elevate it and, despite that, the pitch returned some positive results. While Pitching+ and PLV don’t love the slider – likely because of his inability to locate the pitch – it’s a beaut to look at and returned an above average SwSt last year. If Waldichuk can take some steps forward with command, he can have a really nice 2023 season.
95. Shintaro Fujinami (OAK) – Looks like he has electric stuff but doesn’t always know where it’s going. The transition from NPB to MLB can be tough enough as it is and while I really do think that there’s a considerable amount of upside there, I would be surprised if the A’s knew how to fix the command issues that seem to have been with him for his entire career.
96. Brandon Pfaadt (ARI) – I think there’s a good chance we see Pfaadt win that job out of camp and even if he doesn’t I think we can still see a good amount of big league innings out of him in 2023. He possesses a good four pitch mix and can get a good amount of whiffs with the unique four-seamer that he elevates quite well and slider.
97. Justin Steele (CHC) – It was awesome to see Justin Steele suppressing contact left and right last year by inducing a crazy amount of groundballs but I’m not quite sure I’m buying it for the 2023 season. On the one hand, having Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner up the middle for him should be a real plus. The BABIP should regress to .300 and bring the WHIP down with it. On the other hand, he’s so incredibly contact dependent. He doesn’t have a single pitch that picks up a SwSt more than 17% which concerns me a bit. I’m not quite sure I see him returning more whiffs than he did last year and I’d feel more confident in saying the K% will likely trend more towards 22% than 25% solely because I think people may spit on the slider and its 32% zone rate a bit more. I think we saw the ceiling last year and we should draft more of the floor which is a potentially low 4 ERA pitcher with a 1.30 WHIP.
98. Hayden Wesneski (CHC) – Hayden Wesneski may not win the 5th starter job out of camp but if he does, there is a lot of promise in that arsenal. He possesses a really nasty slider that can return him a bunch of whiffs along with an above average cutter and sinker by Stuff and PLV. The four-seam may have been the weakest by those metrics but it had the best results in his very small sample size. I don’t buy a 5% walk rate from him which means the WHIP might be in the 1.20’s but the stuff is there for him.
99. Kyle Gibson (BAL) – Gibson’s good for about 170 innings of low 4 ERA baseball. Camden will ease the HR issue and the Orioles pitching lab will have an interesting choice about what to do with that slider/sinker combination. Kyle Gibson has had virtually the same K% and SwSt% throughout his entire career and while it’s tough to argue that could change, Gibson’s sweeper addition in the penultimate game resulted in 25 overall whiffs and 11 slider whiffs…but still 5 ER.
100. Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Yusei Kikuchi made some changes and could be really good this year! I know it can sound like a broken record but there seems to be substantive change that happened to Kikuchi in that he altered …virtually all of his pitches. The slider and change-up are slightly different pitches in terms of shape and the release point is different for him. It’s just spring training but he’s been whiffing guys left and right. While that doesn’t mean he is now a command guy with a lot of finesse, he is a guy with what could be improved stuff and the Royals and Angels/Tigers up first for him.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Hey Alex, Chris sale is looking good in his first to starts – just watched him against the Twins. How far up in the rankings would you move him if you project 160-170 innings instead of ATC’s 130? I see him as a top 25 maybe even top 20 if he reaches 160+ innings.
Thanks and I thought this was a great SP write up…
I just moved Giolito down my board because I read elsewhere that his velocity was low like last year. Now I’m confused.