by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With both pitching in New York, though for different teams, comparing the Yankees’ Luis Severino and the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard is intriguing. One (Syndergaard) is coming off a lost season due to injury, but a year ago was viewed as potentially one of the elite in the game. The other (Severino) stepped up and grabbed that spotlight, and is coming off an impressive breakout season. Which is the preferred option heading into 2018? Currently, based on ADP, it’s a split decision:
- Severino – 33.3
- Syndergaard – 34.2
The fact that it’s that close is fair, and the argument could go either way. Which one do we prefer at this point? Before we try to answer that question, let’s look at the three key metrics for Severino (2017) and Syndergaard (2016):
There’s minor differences in those metrics, so what will put one over the top? Let’s dig a little bit deeper:
After disappointing in 2016 Severino stepped up and emerged as one of the elite last season with a 2.98 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. His SwStr% jumped to 13.0% helping to backup the strikeout rate, and his minor league career 2.22 BB/9 helps to support the impressive control. Last season he was throwing harder (97.6 mph on his fastball) and using his changeup more (13.5%), helping to justify the spike, and there wasn’t much luck behind the numbers:
- BABIP – .272
- Strand Rate – 75.5%
The only “red flag” was despite his groundball rate Severino did struggle with home runs while pitching at Yankee Stadium (1.39 HR/9). That helped to lead to a 3.71 ERA at home (2.24 on the road) and could indicate that at least a small regression is coming (82.5% strand rate on the road). Throw in pitching in the difficult AL East and it’s fair.
Is that enough of a reason to disregard him? Absolutely not, but when deciding at the top of your draft it’s hard to ignore.
Last year was supposed to be his season, after pitching to a 2.60 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 2016. With a 14.2% SwStr% and 36.5% O-Swing% it’s easy to buy into the numbers, and you could actually argue that he could’ve produced better numbers due to the luck metrics:
- Line Drive Rate – 21.7%
- BABIP – .334
- Strand Rate – 76.9%
Syndergaard also pitches in a much friendlier home ballpark and pitches in the easier NL East, where he will get regular matchups with the Marlins and Braves. That only helps to enhance the profile, and a year older with Mickey Callaway now in his ear and having learned from his mistakes (he bulked up last year, to try to throw even harder) there’s every reason to believe that he will return and thrive once again.
At the end of the day would anyone be upset owning either of the two? Either could pitch like a Top 5 starter and win a Cy Young this season, but the two things that slant in Syndergaard’s favor can’t be ignored:
- More favorable home ballpark
- Easier division opponents
Those two things give Syndergaard the edge, despite the skillsets being virtually equal.
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|