Given the title of this article, it would make sense to discuss what skills Dallas Keuchel used to break out.
His hallmark is his groundball rate, which he has improved from year-to-year, which helps him keep the ball in the yard.
However, the biggest thing Keuchel has done to improve his Fantasy value is to refine his command. Last year, he threw fewer pitches in the zone while getting more strikeouts and walking fewer batters. And of course, it always helps to have nasty stuff.
Many of the pitchers on this list have exhibited nasty stuff at one point or another in their career, be it in the major or minor leagues. Each player has also had some piece missing from their game that has held them back from reaching their ceiling, however.
This article will look at pitchers who should return major value this year and are in the right situation with the right skills to become the next Dallas Keuchel, helping you on your way to a Fantasy Baseball championship.
Which of These Possible 2016 Breakout Pitchers is the Next Dallas Kuechel?
Here are six candidates to break out in the majors and in Fantasy Baseball leagues this season.
Garrett Richards, L.A. Angels
Richards didn’t miss much time last season in his return from a serious knee injury, but it seemed to affect his performance in the first half of the season. His strikeout rates for the season were disappointing, but both his K/9 and K% rose in the second half of his season.
Second-half stats may be an arbitrary cutoff for the evaluation of some players, but given the context of Richards’ return from injury, it makes sense to consider whether he showed improvement throughout the season.
Richards posted the best swinging strike rate of his career last year, another key indication that more strikeouts should be coming. His HR/9 did rise last year but not to a level to cause me to panic. While I wouldn’t bet on it, I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Richards surpass Keuchel’s Fantasy value this year due to what should be an excellent strikeout rate.
Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals
I’m going to ask you to forget the perceived antics and immaturity of Ventura and just focus on the numbers. Fantasy players will like what they see. His overall numbers were disappointing last season, but even if the season were considered a failure, Ventura managed to improve in encouraging ways.
Notably, he made nice strides with his curveball last year, as the whiff rate on the pitch rose from 14.51 to 18.86 percent last season. This was one factor in Ventura’s improved K/9 and K%. Though they come with many caveats, Ventura’s FIP, xFIP, and SIERA all indicate he had unlucky results in 2015. The combination of an ERA in the low threes while striking out a batter per inning is a possibility for Ventura.
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