by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Deciding when to sell high on a quick starter pitcher can be tricky. Obviously you want to ride the wave and extract as much value as possible, but sometimes you are better off selling a week too early as opposed to a week too late (it’s amazing how one poor outing can change the perceived value in a trade). Here are two pitchers you may be skeptical to move, but should before the impending implosion hits:
Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
2017 Statistics – 2.93 ERA, 1.13 WHIP over 76.2 IP
The ERA and WHIP are certainly impressive, though it’s easy to say that they have come courtesy of a lot of luck:
- BABIP – .261
- Strand Rate – 83.8%
Considering his 23.8% line drive rate we can envision the BABIP rising significantly. He’s also never been much of a groundball pitcher (31.4% this season, 33.9% in the Majors), so his 1.09 HR/9 could also as the season progresses as well.
Bundy has struggled generating strikeouts, with a 6.22 K/9. His SwStr% may indicate a bit better of a mark, at 9.9%, but is that really enough to ignore the other numbers? When the luck turns and the home runs start flying the numbers should become ugly. Sell him now, while you truly can cash in.
Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals
2017 Statistics – 2.88 ERA, 1.06 WHIP over 68.2 IP
Those numbers are impressive, and he’s even striking guys out (8.26 K/9) and showing decent control (3.41 BB/9). So why would we be considering giving up on him? Just look at these numbers:
- BABIP – .201
- Strand Rate – 85.0%
- HR/9 – 1.57
He’s never been quite this homer prone, with a 0.74 HR/9 for his career, but after missing all of ’16 it’s hard to call it a guarantee that he improves on the mark. We also can’t expect him to maintain his current 16.9% line drive rate. Even if he did the luck is going to regress, and when that rises (career 21.1%) things could get ugly.
You also have to wonder if he can maintain the strikeout rate, considering that his best Whiff% are against his cutter (14.11%) and fourseam fastball (12.10%). Throw in questioning how many innings the team may let him throw and the potential for an early shutdown, and it’s easy to see why selling high makes sense.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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