To Buy or Not To Buy… Looking At Three Young Starters & Determining Their Value In 2019


One of the toughest decisions fantasy have to make is whether or not to buy into young starters, because one bad start could have a significant impact on your team.  Let’s take a look at a few intriguing options who have the potential to produce, despite some rough patches, and determine if they are worth owning or not:

Domingo German – New York Yankees
2019 Statistics – 38.1 IP, 2.35 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.16 K/9, 2.82 BB/9

As the injuries have mounted for New York German has found himself locked into a rotation spot.  Can he maintain the role, though?  It would be easy to assume that he can, but there are a few numbers that are going to send off warning signals:

  • Luck – .204 BABIP; It’s not to say that he’s carrying a bloated Hard% (34.0%), but there’s little chance that he maintains this type of mark.
  • Home Runs – 39.4% fly ball rate; This nearly matches last year’s 37.4% mark, when he yielded a 1.58 HR/9.  This year, despite calling Yankee Stadium home, he’s carrying a 0.47 HR/9.  Does anyone believe that he can continue to avoid home run issues?

The strikeouts are nice and the control is solid, but things could easily go south in a hurry.  Now isn’t the time to be buying, and in fact it’s somewhat tough to trust.

Verdict – Trutworthy (in short-term), but long-term don’t buy in

Brandon Woodruff – Milwaukee Brewers
2019 Statistics – 42.1 IP, 4.25 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 11.48 K/9, 2.55 BB/9

Obviously the ERA and WHIP are uninspiring, and there are a few numbers that bring significant concerns:

  • Hard% – 44.2%
  • Groundball Rate – 37.8%

Home runs haven’t been an issue thus far (0.85 HR/9), though it’s an issue that’s brewing if he can’t rediscover some groundball stuff.  Couple that with the Hard%, which helps to backup a .385 BABIP (maybe it shouldn’t be this high, but it justifies an elevated mark), and the struggles aren’t unjustified.

He’s proven capable of getting strikeouts and post solid control (it’s not spectacular), though is that enough?  There are going to continue to be some bumps along the way, and with the Brewers looking to battle for a World Series title they aren’t going to have as long a leash as others.  If you are playing for the future he’s worth stashing, but if you are looking at 2019 he’s hard to trust.

Verdict – Untrutworthy

Reynaldo Lopez – Chicago White Sox
2019 Statistics – 42.1 IP, 6.38 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 9.99 K/9, 4.46 BB/9

He has a long history in the Majors and the results have been consistently poor.  A recent 14 K performance has given some hope that he could’ve turned a corner, but he followed that up by allowing 6 ER over 5.0 IP to the Red Sox.  Let’s keep in mind that the impressive performance came against Detroit and there’s a long list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t be trusting him.

  • Maybe his control isn’t as bad as it’s been thus far, but he was at a 3.58 BB/9 over 188.2 IP in the Majors last season.
  • His 31.5% groundball rate (33.5% over 322.2 IP in the Majors) shows that he’s going to continue to have home run problems.  Will he improve upon his 1.91 HR/9 this season?  Most likely, but it’s always going to be an issue.
  • A 37.8% Hard% tells us that opposing hitters are teeing off on him, and while a .373 BABIP is inflated there’s a good chance that the mark remains elevated.

Throw in a drop in velocity (his average fastball has gone from 95.5 mph to 94.2) and the package is far too concerning to invest in.

Verdict – Untrutworthy

Source – Fangraphs


  1. Having watched a couple of Woodruff starts, he often misses with fastball location, and in a bad way. Lots of calls for outside corner that wind up being inner half. I can see some blow ups, if he keeps this up and hitters are ready for it. And not sure how he went from having such a very solid GB rate last year to being so sub par. I really want to believe in him, but I think you’re right here.


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