Deep League Starting Pitchers (Bubic, Manning, Gomber, Lodolo, & Sanmartin)

After a couple of articles with several decent deep sleepers, this list is just full of disappointments besides Lodolo’s potential.

Dual role pitcher profiled at RotoWire.

Deep League Starting Pitchers

Kris Bubic (458 ADP)

In 180 innings over the past two seasons, Bubic doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be anything close to an average major league caliber pitcher. While he has been graded out as a top-100 prospect by some prospect services, he’s not met those expectations.

He had a 7.9 K/9 last season which was down from his 8.8 K/9 in 2020. The reason for the drop might be that his fastball lost a half tick (91.5 mph to 90.9 mph). While his changeup remains elite (15% SwStr%), his curve (7% SwStr%, 66% GB%) doesn’t generate many swings-and-misses.

The strikeouts would be acceptable if he wasn’t walking nearly a batter every other inning leading to a 4.1 BB/9 and a corresponding 1.38 WHIP. Those numbers are just not acceptable.

If there is one item to dream on is his September when he had a 2.5 BB/9 and that his fastball averaged 91.7 mph.

If/when Spring Training starts, I’m watching two things. Is his walk rate down (5.1 BB/9 in 2021 Spring Training) and his fastball is at or over 91.5 mph. Otherwise, he’s not rosterable.

Matt Manning (489 ADP)

Back in 2016, the Tigers drafted him 9th overall, but he struggled last season in the majors with few strikeouts (6.0 K/9) and a non-ideal walk rate (3.5 BB/9). While progressing through the minors, a 9.7 K/9 was the lowest strikeout rate he posted. It was at 10 K/9 in AAA before being promoted. The strikeouts just evaporated.

It’s tough to figure out what went wrong. His fastball averaged 93.7 mph in the majors and was in line with his minor league velocity. One possible issue was that he threw his OK four-seamer (7% SwStr%) and sinker (5% SwStr%, 53% GB%) a combined 60% of the time. For someone with five pitches, that number is surprisingly high.

The reason that he didn’t throw his non-fastballs more was that his slider (10% SwStr%), change (5% SwStr%), and curve (6% SwStr%) were below average at generating swings-and-misses. His slider was his plus pitching coming through the minors according to scouts but it just got crushed (.896 vsOPS). He did up his strikeout rate to 8.0 K/9 in 26 September innings. The big change was leaning into his fastballs even more (65% usage).

I don’t know how to value him. There was just a huge disconnect between his minor league and major league results.

Austin Gomber (495 ADP)

Gomber would be an interesting pitcher if he pitched for anyone but the Rockies. The lack of Wins (the Rockies are likely the worst team in baseball) and having to pitch in Colorado (huge park increasing BABIP) make him unrosterable, even in draft-and-holds. It’s just tough to see any scenario where a fantasy manager would start him. At Arizona? Just let someone else deal with the headache.

Nick Lodolo (496 ADP)

Lodolo is considered by many to be one of the top five pitching prospects in the game. Scouting reports have him as a sinker slider pitcher who mixes in a change and curve. He’s able to keep the ball on the ground as seen but his 50% or higher groundball rates in the minors. Additionally, he had control with a sub-2.0 BB/9 across all minor league levels last season.

If he can come any bit close to repeating his minor league results in the majors, he’s a must roster. As with any prospect, the number one question will be when, if ever, will he get promoted.

Reiver Sanmartin (503 ADP)

Sanmartin is an interesting pitcher who may get overlooked because his fastball average is 89 mph. Even with that lack of velocity, he had a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 in AAA with a 54% GB%. He threw 11 major league innings using his four pitches (4-seamer, slider, change, and sinker) almost equally. Besides the sinker, the pitches performed great in a small sample but it’s still a small sample. Here is how pitches with similar characteristics have performed.

Four-seamer

Sinker

Slider

Change

There feels like there are too many instances of Jon Lester on these lists. The expectations on the pitches fall are reasonable. A sub-90 mph fastball will struggle while his non-fastballs performed decent enough to get him to the majors. It’d be nice if his sinker was expected to create a decent number of groundballs. There are some interesting parts (i.e. control and two decent non-fastballs), but the lack of an average fastball might keep him from being an MLB pitcher.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Don Pottermember
9 months ago

Jeff, does someone edit your posts? I’m a big fan of your work, but find at least one or two typos (usually grammar mishaps) in every article Also, the tables embedded in the post above are not properly aligned — the heading breaks are not right I’m sorry for posting this here, but I couldn’t find a way to send you a message elsewhere on the website.