2020 Stock Report: Starters Free Of Innings Limits (Part 1)

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With a 60 game sprint pitchers who were going to have inning limits imposed for 2020 will no longer be facing them.  There now could be a limit that we’ll have to deal with in 2021, and there also are going to be questions as to how quickly they can work deep in games…  In other words just because there isn’t an innings limit doesn’t mean that they are suddenly full value pitchers.  Let’s take a look at a few names and determine which direction their stock is going:

Jesus Luzardo – Oakland A’s

Luzardo was supposed to be a breakout starter in 2019, but injuries struck and cost him his opportunity.  Instead of potentially breaking camp with the team he threw 54.0 total innings after throwing 131.1 innings in 2018.  We pegged him for 150 innings maximum prior to the season, but in 60 games no pitcher is going to reach that type of workload.

As we noted prior to the season Luzardo had Top 30 potential without that innings limit.  Just look at some of the key numbers between 2018 and 2019 in the minor leagues (152.1 IP):

  • Strikeouts – 10.99 K/9 (courtesy of a 15.0% SwStr%)
  • Control – 2.25 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 48.8%

Put those numbers in a spacious home ballpark and things look highly impressive.  In his 12.0 IP in the Majors last season he posted a 1.50 ERA with 16 K vs. 3 BB and he should be locked into a rotation spot (as could fellow prospect A.J. Puk).  There is going to be a question as to how quickly he’s allowed to work deep into games, but that’s a question all pitchers face.  Without the limit, he’s one of the better options in the league.

Verdict – Stock Soaring

Julio Urias – Los Angeles Dodgers

Urias has never thrown more than 122.0 innings in a season and only threw 81.2 innings in ’19 (15.2 in ’18).  That led to an expected innings limit around 120 in ’20, but that’s not the only obstacle the once top prospect faced.  Over 162 game season the Dodgers were going to juggle their rotation, as they always do, keeping pitchers rested and hopefully healthy.  Over 60 games they aren’t going to be able to do that as much, and while we want to believe Urias gives them a great shot to win ball games can we guarantee he’s in the starting five?  Just look at the other names they have:

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Walker Buehler
  • David Price
  • Alex Wood
  • Dustin May
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Tony Gonsolin

That doesn’t include other prospects in the 60-man player pool, like Josiah Gray and Mitchell White.  Could Los Angeles use someone like Urias for 3-4 innings, then piggyback him with a Nelson or Gonsolin or Wood for another 3 innings before handing the ball over to the back of their bullpen?  Just consider these numbers over Urias’ MLB career:

  • First Time Through Order – 2.73 ERA
  • Second Time Through Order – 3.81 ERA
  • Third Time Through Order – 7.07 ERA

Seeing the Dodgers stack starters, especially given their health, makes a lot of sense.  That would take Urias out of contention for W/QS, thus hurting his value.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t have potential value, but he also isn’t a must buy.

Stock – Stagnant

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants
PositionLast Updated
Catcher04/13/20
First Baseman--
Second Baseman04/15/20
Shortstop04/17/20
Third Baseman04/20/20
Outfield04/24/20
Pitcher--

1 COMMENT

  1. Rotoprofessor,

    Happy 4th.

    As usual, I want to thank you for your excellent work topics, articles, great value draft/auction prep and advice. Thanks to your work, I zeroed in on Luzardo early (and McCullers). This spring traded Mallex Smith and Nick Anderson for Luzardo/McCullers to the same team. While I thought that team got value which resonated with their team construction philosophies, I love my side of that trade (especially for 2021 – which I’ve focussed on all along, after the start of the pandemic). In an AL-Only league, those guys at low cost basis can be kept for years and deliver SP 1-2 performance; in addition, quality SP AL-Only performance has real scarcity; it’s so bad, MR centric pitching staff construction is almost the default alternative.

    PS: Oakland’s stadium is an x-factor for their SP staff, that often gets overlooked.

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