Will 2015 Be Sonny Gray’s Breakout Campaign? It Doesn’t Look Likely…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you look at the numbers Sonny Gray put up in his first full season in the Majors, the first thought is why would there be any concerns:

219.0 IP
14 Wins
3.08 ERA
1.19 WHIP
183 Strikeouts (7.52 K/9)
74 Walks (3.04 BB/9)
55.9% Groundball Rate
.277 BABIP

It would appear like all the skills are there. The strikeouts certainly don’t blow you away, but when coupled with solid control and groundball stuff it all comes together nicely. However, could there be reason for skepticism? Let’s take a look:

For one thing, as we said, the strikeouts simply aren’t impressive and may not have the upside. As it is they regressed as the season went on (7.73 to 7.23) and his 8.7% SwStr% and 29.3% O-Swing% are both below average. Throw in a 7.30 mark in the minors and there’s little to get excited about. Read more

Was Josh Harrison’s 2014 Breakout For Real?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was no real reason to pay much attention to Josh Harrison heading into 2014. It looked like he was going to be nothing more than a utility player, and one with a limited upside. However he quickly forced his way into the lineup, ultimately assuming full-time duties at third base, and proved himself fantasy relevant in all formats:

520 At Bats
.315 Batting Average (164 Hits)
13 Home Runs
52 RBI
77 Runs
18 Stolen Bases
.347 On Base Percentage
.490 Slugging Percentage
.353 Batting Average on Balls in Play

With Pedro Alvarez set to man first base this season, playing time doesn’t appear to be an issue heading into 2015. Can he match that type of production, however? Let’s take a look and see. Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will Brett Anderson’s Skills Do More Than Just Taunt Us In 2015?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Dodgers helped to fill out their rotation by signing the oft injured Brett Anderson to a $10 million, one-year contract (with incentives that could take it even higher). The first thought, likely, is why would the Dodgers hand him so much money? The truth is that, if he can finally stay healthy, Anderson has the makeup to be a Top 25 starting pitcher.

The biggest question is going to be health. Over the past three seasons in the Majors he’s thrown 35.0, 44.2 and 43.1 innings. Only twice has he thrown more than 100 innings and only once over 112.1 (he threw 175.1 back in 2009).  It speaks volumes to his skillset, though, that someone like Andrew Friedman was willing to throw that much money his way.

Even if he only throws 100 innings, the reward should be there. If you get more than that? You are likely to get a difference maker.

Simply put, there is no questioning the upside. He’s spent his entire career either in the American League (Oakland) or last year with Colorado. The move to Los Angeles alone would go a long ways towards helping his value.

We can also mark off all the skills he has shown over his 494.0 innings in the Majors: Read more

Searching for Saves: Houston Astros: In A Revamped Bullpen, Who Should Close?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Unable to find stability in their bullpen, the Astros made a splash around the Winter Meetings as they signed both Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Will one of the new faces be handed the closer’s role? Could someone already on the roster be better suited for the job? Let’s take a look at the candidates and try to get some clarity on the situation:


Chad Qualls
The incumbent, Qualls had 19 saves in 25 opportunities for the Astros in 2014. His strikeout rate has never been his strong suit, with a 7.54 K/9 last season and a career mark of 6.92. Instead he generates groundballs, with a 57.2% mark last season, and uses control to get the job done.

Of course, does anyone truly believe he can maintain last season’s 0.88 BB/9? A regression there would definitely hurt, especially since his ERA was already 3.33. Read more

Boston’s Rebuilt Rotation: Who Brings The Most Fantasy Appeal Among Their Acquisitions?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s easy to argue that the Red Sox are still in search of an ace to sit atop their rotation, but they walked away from last week’s Winter Meetings having rebuilt 60% of their starting rotation. Let’s take a look at the three pitchers they added from a fantasy perspective and determine what their potential value is:

Rick Porcello
On the surface you would think that he was the best acquisition for the team, but in reality he’s the one that brings the most concern. After taking a significant step forward in the strikeout department in 2013 (7.22 K/9), he regressed all the way back to 5.67 mark in 2014. One problem likely was a drop in velocity:

  • 2012 – 92.0 mph
  • 2013 – 91.2 mph
  • 2014 – 90.4 mph

He also had dropped his slider usage significantly in 2013, throwing it just 6.3%, but nearly doubled that mark back up to 12.2% last season. It’s hard to say exactly what the cause was, but his SwStr% fell back toward his career norm of 7.1% (7.4% in 2014) and . Read more

Why Tanner Roark Is A Regression Waiting To Happen In 2015

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Coming out of Spring Training many people thought Taylor Jordan would be the breakout starter for the Washington Nationals in 2014. Instead it was Tanner Roark, who posted the following line:

198.2 IP
15 Wins
2.85 ERA
1.09 WHIP
138 Strikeouts (6.25 K/9)
39 Walks (1.77 BB/9)
41.4% Groundball Rate
.270 BABIP

The question is, can we reasonably expect him to even come close to those types of numbers? The quick answer is no, and that’s why there is little chance I own him on any of my teams in 2015. Why, you ask? Let’s take a look. Read more