Two Young Starting Pitchers To Avoid Down The Stretch

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

At this time of year we are all willing to take a few extra gambles, depending on where we are in the standings.  There is no riskier investment then a young starting pitcher, who bring an extra level of volatility as they try to find their footing in the Major Leagues.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at two youngsters fantasy owners appear to be flocking to and show why the investment is too risky:

 

Dillon Peters – Miami Marlins
Peters has made a strong first impression for fantasy owners, with 14 K and a 67.9% groundball rate over his first two starts in the Majors.  Couple that with a minor league career 1.9 BB/9 and it would be easy to get excited.  Of course things aren’t quite that simple, as we know.

The strikeouts are deceiving, especially when you look at his 7.6 K/9 in the minors (7.88 in 46.2 IP at Double-A prior to his recall this season).  The groundball rate is also deceiving, as he owns a 1.15 GO/AO over his Double-A career (68.1 IP) and a 1.55 over his minor league career.  Over his first two starts in the Majors?  A 3.75 GO/AO, which obviously is extremely unrealistic.

  • So we are likely to see a regression in his strikeouts…
  • His groundball rate should be solid, though it’s not this good…
  • The control has taken a step back, albeit in a small sample size, given the leap in levels…

That’s not a recipe for ultimate success, despite what he’s shown in two starts.  He’s definitely a hard sell, and while you may want to consider him a matchup play he’s simply not a starter that would be recommended down the stretch.

 

Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds
He’s a familiar name, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be a recommended option.  Sure he’s shown strikeouts in the Majors this season (9.60 K/9), but there are two significant red flags that we simply can’t ignore:

  • Control – 5.98 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 38.2% groundball rate

These are two things that have consistently plagued him, and pitching in Cincinnati it’s a recipe for disaster.  He’s going to have the base paths full nd he’s going to be burnt by the long ball.  Does that sound like a mix that you want to consider investing in under any circumstance?

He’s been posting strong numbers recently, with a 2.22 ERA in August and 1.50 in one September start.  However he also hasn’t shown improved control or more groundballs, so the numbers are certainly deceiving.  The implosion is likely coming, so don’t get caught up with the name recognition or the recent string of strong starts.

 

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

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