Rookie SP to Buy/Sell: The MadProf looks towards the All-Star Break

The Solstice is just days away.  The Dog Star will soon rise.  The All-Star Break looms.  Any SP out there?

Today I offer a quick look at several SP prospects who have made their MLB debuts (or have returned) in 2017.  The list is noteworthy.  Several of these young arms have already had an impact.  Can they keep it up?

These assessments are based on admittedly small numbers.  None of these guys has thrown a lot of IP yet.  They could be sent back down to the minors at any time.  Nonetheless, we can look at some key indicators to get a sense of where they stand in terms of poise in the MLB.

Young Guns

Name Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP GB% LD% FB% ERA Pitches PIP TBF TBIP WAR Yahoo Pct
Jacob Faria Rays 19 10.07 1.83 0 0.300 42.00% 30.00% 28.00% 1.37 307 16.0 76 3.96 1 57
Jeff Hoffman Rockies 32 10.13 1.69 0.84 0.259 33.70% 16.90% 49.40% 2.25 489 15.3 127 3.97 1.2 66
Jose Berrios Twins 46 8.8 2.74 0.78 0.230 42.70% 12.00% 45.30% 2.74 717 15.6 182 3.96 1 85
Nick Pivetta Phillies 36 8.92 4.46 1.24 0.350 38.50% 26.00% 35.60% 4.46 681 18.9 160 4.43 0.4 1
Francis Martes Astros 8.2 9.35 4.15 1.04 0.261 41.70% 16.70% 41.70% 5.19 166 20.2 39 4.76 0.1 6
Dinelson Lamet Padres 24 13.88 3.38 3 0.294 32.20% 11.90% 55.90% 7.50 443 18.5 107 4.46 -0.1 7



MLB Averages

188 10.07 2.86 1.1 0.276 37.00% 19.20% 43.80% 3.53 3144 16.7 771 4.1

Clearly, the IP indicate the extent to which any of these young Turks is performing well.  Jose Berrios seems to have arrived with a vengeance.  He is owned in 85% of Yahoo! leagues.  At 8.8 K/9 he is not the K machine that some of the others are.  Nonetheless, his other indicators are quite solid.  BABIP is far below the league average.  He is pitching efficiently insofar as his P/IP and TBF/IP are below the league average.  He’s giving up few line drives (12%–though that should normalize) and inducing GB.  Overall, he’s established himself as the real deal.  My guess is that the 85% owned percentage is due to the fact that he is not in as high demand in mixed leagues as in AL only.

Jacob Faria did me the favor of getting called up shortly after I said to grab him a couple of weeks ago.  Despite a BABIP of .300 and a high LD% (30), he also is pitching efficiently.  He’s throwing 16 P/IP and facing 3.96 batters per IP—both marks are below the league average.  My guess is that he, too, is less of a factor in mixed leagues than in AL-only.  But, he is demonstrating that his minor league performance has been no fluke…so far.  He’s in for only 19 IP.  He is still an infant in MLB terms.  Nonetheless, he is wort monitoring in AL-only leagues.  The Tampa Bay pitcher development system strikes again.

Jeff Hoffman has a 49.4% FB rate.  He also pitches in Colorado.  He is owned in 55% of Yahoo! leagues (he’s a nonfactor in AL-Only).  His 15.3 PIP and 3.97 TBFIP indicate that he is not wasting pitches. His GB and LD percentages manifest the Denver air.  So, not to worry.  He is a solid buy in NL-only leagues and, like the others above, a worthwhile grab across the board.

Three of these guys are clearly struggling.  They are throwing a lot of pitches, facing a lot of batters and showing that they require some seasoning.   Martes has only one game under his belt.  He is highly touted and getting a chance to pitch while McCullers is on the DL.  My guess is that he won’t be around once McCullers is back.  But, hey—Houston is playing so effing well that they can afford to test drive a few unseasoned rookies.

Pivetta and Lamet have pitched roughly as much as Berrios and Faria.  We see the difference between green and greener here.

Lamet is a K machine.  He is walking more batters than the league average.  His 0.294 BABIP is not horrible.  But that 55% FB rate is not yet compensated for by that nifty LD%.  These numbers will normalize.  His PIP and TBFIP indicate that he needs to work on his discipline and poise.  Still:  that’s a serious K rate.  A good speculative pickup if you have a bench spot.

Pivetta needs some work.  He’s walking a lot of batters (4.46/9) and serving up a lot of LD.  His 0.350 BABIP is as much a manifestation of that LD% as it is of shoddy fielding.  His 18.9 PIP (see also Lamet) is more than 3 PIP above the MLB average of 16.7.  That’s an 18% clip.  You can’t keep throwing that many pitches above the league average and not run out of gas. Maybe let him sit on the waiver wire a bit longer…

So—three young guns worth picking up or keeping and three to watch as the All-Star Break and the trade deadline loom.

Good luck.


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