Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Should We Believe In These Young Starting Pitchers & Their Strong Starts?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s easy to get excited about a strong start for a young pitcher, whether you are trying to get a short-term boost or think there’s long-term potential.  That’s not always a prudent decision, however, and often times a few starts are nothing more than a flash in the pan.  Let’s take a look at two pitchers who have impressed over their first few starts and try to determine what type of value they may hold moving forward:


Jarlin Garcia – Miami Marlins
After opening the year coming out of the bullpen the Marlins’ Jarlin Garcia has transitioned to the rotation with strong results:

  • 04/11/18 (vs. NYM) – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • 04/17/18 (at NYY) – 5.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 2 K

Obviously you see 0 R on 1 H over 11.0 IP and your interest is going to be piqued.  However pair that with 5 K vs. 7 BB and that should ultimately stop you in your tracks.  Overall this season (21.0 IP) he owns an 8.2% SwStr% and 25.7% O-Swing%, meaning he may never thrive in either area (he did show better control in the minor leagues, with a 2.2 BB/9 overall, though a 3.5 BB/9 while at Double-A).

Maybe he can continue to flash groundball stuff (54.7%), though as a stand alone skill that’s hardly enough.  His .096 BABIP and 96.2% strand rate will ultimately implode, and when coupled with the other issues the results will ultimately be ugly.  He’s not even worth a streamer consideration, because the risk is far too high.


Chris Stratton – San Francisco Giants
After posting a solid 3.68 ERA over 13 appearances (10 starts) in 2017 Stratton has really made his presence felt over his first four starts of 2018.  Over 24.1 IP he owns a 2.22 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, but is there any chance he’s able to maintain it or is this nothing more than a flash in the pan?  The “skills” he’s shown point towards the latter:

  • Strikeouts – 7.03 K/9
  • Control – 2.59 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 32.8%

He’s getting hit hard (29.7% line drive rate, 41.5% Hard%), though he’s benefited from an unsustainable .231 BABIP.  That alone sheds him in a negative light, but considering the groundball rate how about the fact that he has yet to allow a home run?  How about an unimpressive 8.8% SwStr% and 27.2% O-Swing%?

Nothing about his profile is impressive and there’s little chance that he’s able to come reasonably close to maintaining his early season success.  He’s not even worth streaming while he’s going well, because an implosion is inevitable.

Source – Fangraphs

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  


  1. randy says:

    for rest of year minter of atl or jimenez of det
    for rest of year gurriel of tor or andujar of yanks————thanks

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m going Jimenez (though it’s close, I just see Atl trying to limit Minter’s opportunities to eep his price tag low) & Andujar (assuming he’s playing almost every day)

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