Sleeper or Stay Away: Is Jacob Faria A Player Worth Targeting In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Rays always seem to be able to churn out young pitchers, and this season appears to be no different.  With trade rumors swirling around Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer, the arrival of Brett Honeywell is finally imminent.  While he is going to get all of the attention, what about Jacob Faria?  It’s easy to overlook him for various reasons, though the numbers he posted last season were impressive:

86.2 IP
5 Wins
3.43 ERA
1.18 WHIP
84 Strikeouts (8.72 K/9)
31 Walks (3.22 BB/9)
38.3% Groundball Rate
.265 BABIP

We can look at a few of the numbers and get excited, though fantasy owners need to potentially pump the breaks.  While there appears to be strikeout stuff, the rest of the numbers indicate significant risk.

Considering his 12.0% SwStr% and 12.89 K/9 at Triple-A in 2017, it’s fair to get excited.  While that will help to offset some of the issues, it may not be quite enough to eliminate them.

 

Control
This isn’t the biggest question, but spending time over the past two seasons at Triple-A he hadn’t shown as much upside:

  • 2016 (67.2 IP) – 4.26
  • 2017 (58.2 IP) – 3.38

Couple that with a 29.3% O-Swing% and a 4.10 BB/9 over 48.1 IP after the All-Star Break and there’s reason to be skeptical.

 

Home Runs
He clearly didn’t generate many groundballs in the Majors, and that was a carryover from what he had done at Triple-A (39.0% and 41.5%).  While home runs weren’t a significant issue, a 1.14 HR/9 isn’t a strong number and with routine matchups against the Yankees and Red Sox it is easy to see a regression coming.

 

Luck
Just look at these numbers and try to come to the conclusion that a regression won’t come:

  • Line Drive Rate – 21.7%
  • BABIP – .265
  • Strand Rate – 78.6%

That obviously will have a negative impact on his other results.

 

Conclusion
While he does bring strikeout potential, what else does he really have working for him?  The control may be decent, but that’s not a guarantee…  Home runs could be a significant issue…  The luck is going to regress…

That brings obvious concerns, and there’s reason to believe that he will struggle enough to spend time at Triple-A once again.  While he may not have a high cost, the risk still far outweighs the reward.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
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Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

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