As the first week of May came to an end I wanted to look back before speculating on the future of three very intriguing arms.
All three of these pitchers have outperformed their preseason prognosis to date but what are their rest of the season expectations?
I have deconstructed the current data and contemplated my previous perceptions in an attempt to accurately valuate their status in the starting pitcher market.
The subjects I have chosen for appraisal are the trio of Gio Gonzalez, Rick Porcello and Jose Quintana.
This week’s task will be an evaluation of my preseason composition’s from the 2016 Starting Pitcher Index versus present day prices in the starting pitcher market.
Missives From the Mound
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals
• 31.1 IP
• 1.15 ERA
• 2.78 FIP
• 4.14 xFIP
• .233 BABIP
• 85.0 LOB%
• 46.5 GB%
• 2.8 HR/FB
• 20.5 K%
• 13.4 K-BB%
• 63.0 FPK%
• 9.3 SWK%
The early season returns on Gio have been solid but even small sample sizes can be foreboding. I do believe Gonzalez will continue to be an effective starting this season. And below in italics is my write-up from the 2016 SPI released on February 23rd. There are many stats that signal a pull back is coming, his low BABIP, high LOB%, non-existent HR/FB% along with league average K% and K-BB% are the obvious. If valued correctly after factoring in regression Gio should still be an advantageous piece for any rotation given realistic expectations.
Gio posted some compelling statistics last season, he led MLB with the highest BABIP for qualified starting pitchers, finished 9th in GB% and tied for 16th with Matt Harvey in FIP.
Are you giving up on Gonzalez? I’m not because of his 2016 price and perceived value he offers.
I viewed Gonzalez as undervalued and cost effective option entering 2015. Gio continues his slide in the starting pitcher market but remains an asset when assembling a successful rotation.
Knowing who Gio is and what role he offers for your rotation at this point in his career is a pivotal aspect of rotation construction.
Rick Porcello, SP, Boston Red Sox
• 32.2 IP
• 2.76 ERA
• 3.59 FIP
• 3.01 xFIP
• 2.41 BABIP
• 88.0 LOB%
• 49.4 GB%
• 16.7 HR/FB
• 28.1 K%
• 23.4 K-BB%
• 60.9 FPK%
• 8.1 SWK%
Who is this imposter and what did he do with Rick Porcello? Is this believable, sustainable or a momentary lapse of reason we are experiencing?
I am somewhat drinking the Porcello kool-aid, yes BABIP and LOB% indicators heed warning but his K% combined with K-BB% are hovering around borderline elite territory. The fact that Rick’s ground ball percent is circa 50% and strikeouts per 9 innings is just below 10 is very encouraging.
It is understandable to be skeptical, given his previous body of work but I’m cautiously optimistic.
Boston sent Cespedes packing for Porcello last offseason and extended Rick with a 4 year $80M deal. His inaugural season with the Red Sox was a dumpster fire over his first five months but a September surge of statistical goodness keeps him on the radar for 2016.
Porcello arriving in Boston was not an exciting option for fantasy but an innings eater on a good team has relevance.
Porcello is a pitch to contact guy who has routinely allowed more hits than innings pitched and offers limited upside but there is slight intrigue late in drafts.
Jose Quintana, SP, Chicago White Sox
• 45.2 IP
• 1.38 ERA
• 2.11 FIP
• 3.25 xFIP
• .284 BABIP
• 84.9 LOB%
• 40.3 GB%
• 2.4 HR/FB
• 24.0 K%
• 18.9 K-BB%
• 65.1 FPK%
• 8.7 SWK%
A superb start to the 2016 season has catapulted Jose’ status in the pitcher market. The question now with Quintana is pricing him correctly, is he a buy, sell or hold going forward?
I have long thought of Jose as a solid middle of the rotation arm previously but did have apprehensions of him taking that next step this year or in the future. There is a mixed bag of indicators when gauging his game currently.
I would buy or sell him at the appropriate price point but also be more than happy to hold him. That wasn’t helpful at all, my point being I don’t think you’ll get the proper return when selling and his current market price is probably overpriced if buying, holding this commodity might be the most prudent course of action.
Quintana is the Rodney Dangerfield of starting pitchers. His consistency is boring and reliability is often ignored for upside but securing sound statistics is an astute strategy. Jose is the no frills pitcher who outperforms some of the more expensive brand names in the starting pitcher market.
Jose owns a tremendous first pitch strike percentage, which has fueled his success. He did make small strides with his swinging strike percentage last season.