by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The injury to Sonny Gray obviously hurt the Oakland A’s, but could there be a silver lining? His absence means an opportunity for Andrew Triggs, and it’s possible that he grabs a rotation spot and never relinquishes it.
Having never worked as a starter since being selected in the 2012 draft, the biggest questions facing the soon to turn 28-year old are:
- How many innings can he throw?
- Can his stuff hold up to the increased workload?
The first question is important, considering last season’s 74.2 innings represented a career high. Given his age the A’s may not be as conservative with his workload as they likely would be with a young starter, but it’s still hard to expect him throwing more than 120-130 innings this season.
As for the stuff, that’s tougher to answer. It was only six starts last season (25.1 IP), but the numbers show a lot of upside:
- Strikeouts – 7.71 K/9
- Control – 0.35 BB/9
- Groundballs – 45.2%
While his control isn’t going to be that good, he owned a 2.0 BB/9 over his minor league career so that should be a strength. He also should see a significant bump in his groundballs, considering his 2.71 GO/AO over his minor league career (he used his sinker 51.41% of the time in the minors, further supporting the improvement).
Control + Groundballs = Strong Streaming Option, especially when you look at a pitcher calling Oakland home.
The strikeouts are the biggest question, as he posted a 9.0 K/9 in the minors but we’d expect a drop with the move to the rotation. At the same time, his nearly 8.0 K/9 as a starter last season would be more than enough given the other skills. He posted an overall 10.2% SwStr% in the Majors last season, and a 10.7% mark in August (which was the month that featured the bulk of his starts).
With the potential to see a strong strikeout rate, Triggs is looking like a strong “gamble” to open the season. The biggest issue is the potential of an innings limit, but for now in deeper formats he’s well worth adding to see how things play out.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference, MILB.com
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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|