With the start of the Fantasy Football season, Fantasy Baseball may not be on the front burner for some of you. However, for those looking towards 2017 for America’s Pastime, there are still plenty of things to consider.
Which players should be kept? Which players should be looked upon as the core of a dynasty team? Which players look to be overvalued or undervalued heading into draft season? These are all relevant questions that Fantasy owners should be asking themselves.
In this week’s Fantasy Lookout, we will take a look at three bounce back pitchers for next year, who are all coming off subpar 2016 campaigns.
On the surface, their numbers do not look all that spectacular. However, once you dig a little deeper, you can see the potential for 2017.
Keep the following names in mind for draft day next year, as throughout the offseason they will probably be overlooked.
Bounce Back Pitchers For 2017
Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
For 2016 as a whole, Pineda’s 5.07 ERA and 1.36 WHIP has to register as a disappointment. He has struggled with giving up an above average rate of hard contact and that has helped contribute to having the seventh highest HR/FB rate of 17.3-percent.
His BABIP allowed of .344 ranks as the third worst among qualified starters. This compares to a career mark of .300, so luck has not been on his side in 2016. His slightly elevated line drive rate is partially to blame, but I do not think that is enough to fully explain everything. Pineda also has the 16th worst LOB% as less than 70-percent of his base runners are left stranded. Rectifying this problem will go a long way into improving his Fantasy numbers.
All has not been bad for Pineda and this is where we see the light at the end of the tunnel. His elite K-BB% mark of 20-percent is good for ninth best among qualified starters. The strikeouts seem to be fully supported by his fourth ranked swinging strike rate of 14.3-percent. He has also managed a material velocity increase of nearly one and half miles per hour to his fastball this year.
On the surface, Pineda would like to forget this year; however, with a little less bad luck and some better timing it could have been a much different story. He should come at a draft day discount next year and the foundation has been laid for him to be one of the better bounce back pitchers in 2017.
Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ray has been an elite strikeout pitcher this year, evidenced by his second ranked 11.3 K/9 mark. Unfortunately, his 4.46 ERA and 1.44 WHIP have not done his Fantasy owners any favors.
Similar to Pineda, Ray has also been hurt by an inflated BABIP of .354, a figure that ranks second among qualified starters. In fact, it is over 40 points higher than his 2015 mark despite having a lower line drive rate and higher popup rate. Ray’s hard hit rate allowed of 36.4-percent does raise concern as it has definitely played a part in his 14.4-percent HR/FB rate.
Ray has been much better since the All-Star Break as his 3.88 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 24.5-percent K-BB% show. Continuing a trend from last year, Ray has faired better on the road where his ERA, WHIP, and K-BB% are all materially healthier. This should not come a big surprise as Chase Field has once again been among the top hitter-friendly parks, ranking fourth in terms of runs according to ESPN’s Park Factors.
It is hard to ignore Ray’s second-half surge and elite K-BB% mark of 19.7-percent. If he can continue this over to 2017, Ray will no doubt be one of the top bounce back pitchers next year.
Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
While Fantasy owners must be happy with Stroman’s health and ability to have already logged 178 innings this year, they can’t be too pleased with his 4.55 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
One of the culprits has been the long ball. Stroman has recorded the fifth worst HR/FB mark among qualified starters (18-percent) despite having a league average hard hit rate of just over 31-percent.
Stroman has continued to help himself out by keeping the ball on the ground at an elite rate. He currently leads all of baseball with a ground ball rate of 60.5-percent. He has also been locked in over the second half, especially with respect to the two main things a pitcher can control, strikeouts and walks. When compared to the first half, Stroman has raised strikeout rate from 16.9-percent up to 26.2-percent and lowered his walk rate from 6.7-percent down to 3.9-percent.
The Stroman that we have seen over the second half is more what most expected prior to the 2016 season. Given his pedestrian numbers this year, he will likely be underpriced during draft season next spring. All this does is create a buying opportunity, as Stroman looks to be a solid bet to be among the top bounce back pitchers next year.
Michael Pineda, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Stroman all did not light the world on fire this year. Use that to your advantage as they have all the ingredients to be bounce back pitchers in 2017. Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!
Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
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