by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We are always trying to determine who we should be holding on to and who we should be selling. That’s sometimes easier said than done, especially when it comes to pitchers who were bought under-the-radar or look to be living up to expectations. While you may not realistically be able to sell high on these players, here are three pitchers that you should at least try to:
Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves
He’s long been a hyped sleeper candidate, but do we really believe in him or has the time come to finally give up? It’s been a roller coaster ride in ’17, as he’s shown both good and bad depending on the time frame you focus on. Just look at some of his metrics by month:
Clearly home runs have been a consistent issue, and without an impressive groundball rate (39.4% overall) and playing in a hitter friendly park it’s not one that’s going to disappear. As for the strikeouts, his overall 8.4% SwStr% and 28.1% O-Swing% makes his May mark seem a lot more believable.
His changeup has been his best swing and miss pitch (19.39% Whiff%), but it’s one he doesn’t throw very often (7.37%) and opponents are hitting .400 against the pitch when they do make contact. Throw in a drop in his velocity on his fourseam fastball (96.40 mph to 95.29) and there is a lot of reason for concern. Coming off a strong performance, kicking the tires and selling high makes sense.
Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
His 3.73 ERA and overall pedigree makes him seem like an appealing option, but when you start looking at some of the underlying metrics the concerns begin to grow:
- 64 K/9
- 3% groundball rate
- 8% strand rate
- .264 BABIP
Home runs have been an issue, as you’d expect, with a 1.36 HR/9. The problem has been fairly consistent, with a 1.27 mark at home and 1.46 on the road, and with the possibility that the numbers get worse at home the concerns begin to rise.
There also is the luck metrics (21.5% line drive rate) and the lack of strikeouts and the picture gets pretty murky. His slider is the only pitch he’s getting significant swings and misses from (22.76% Whiff%), but he has to get to the pitch despite seeing his velocity drop (92.42 mph on his fourseam fastball). Considering opponents are hitting .299 with a .537 SLG on the pitch, it’s easy to see where the potential issues lie. With no guarantee that he fixes them, seeing if someone will buy into the name and trying to extract a premium makes sense.
Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins
He continues to get the job done, with a 2.97 ERA, but sooner or later we all know the bubble is going to burst. Look no further than a .190 BABIP and 84.7% strand rate as proof that an implosion is on the horizon. Throw in home run issues (1.35 HR/9) and a lack of strikeouts (6.66 K/9 courtesy of an 8.7% SwStr%) and the concerns grow greater.
Chances are you aren’t going to be able to get much for him, but seeing what’s out there makes sense. He’s a pitcher you’d rather trade a start too early than a start too late, because once he flops the value will be nil.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
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