Deep League Starting Pitchers (Irvin, Beede, Keller, & Lorenzen)

Dual role pitcher profiled at RotoWire.

Deep League Starting Pitchers

Cole Irvin (552 ADP)

I thought I would like Irvin’s profile more but there is just not much to build off going forward. He was a fine streamer in a Zack Greinke or Kyle Hendricks sort of way with good ratios coming from a low number of strikeouts and walks. After his start on August 13th, he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 0.7 HR/9. From then on (9 starts), he posted a 6.49 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, and 2.5 HR/9. There was no single event like velocity loss or an injury that I could find to point to the decline. The major issue was a lack of control as seen by his Zone% dropping and walk rate increasing.

Looking through his pitches, they get average to below average results.

Cole Irvin’s PItches
Pitch Usage SwStr% GB%
4-Seamer 39% 8% 25%
Change 22% 12% 49%
Sinker 21% 6% 40%
Slider 15% 12% 41%
Curve 3% 1% 40%

First, he just needs to drop the curve since it violates the Yu Darvish Rule. Second, it’s just not a good group of pitches and as the season went on, he backed off throwing his decent changeup.

With subpar pitches, the only way he seemed to be keeping hitters off-balance was to mix up his pitches. He could not keep it up.

I’m going to consider him a streamer coming into the season. I don’t like how the season ended for him and there is just no obvious upside to take a chance on.

Tyler Beede (565 ADP)

Beede threw one major league inning in 2021. He was coming off Tommy John surgery and then immediately returned to the IL with a back issue. It’s just not much to go off.

Looking back to 2019, he had a 1.48 WHIP with a 5.08 ERA (with matching ERA estimators) before needing surgery. One key fact was that his velocity sat at 94.3 mph.

In his 1 IP of work, he threw 95.8 mph. From a birdie, I found out his average fastball velocity in his minor league rehab appearances bounced around from 94 to 96 mph. It’ll be interesting to see where he’s sitting once/if Spring Training starts up.

Just for comparison, here is how his fastball’s shape compared to similar fastballs.

It’s OK for a fastball. One key will be if he can get back to throwing his non-fastballs. His change, curve, and cutter all averaged over a 16% SwStr% back in 2019.

The other key will be if he can get the walks under control (career 3.9 BB/9). He might continue to struggle with his control since coming back from Tommy John surgery and control is the last thing a pitcher gets back.

Mitch Keller (563 ADP)

So, from what I can tell, the only information a person needs on Keller is Twitter videos of him throwing gas.

OK, he can throw hard, but he’s done that before (topped out at 98.3 mph last year). He’s had good velocity in the past but he’s not been able to sustain over a full season.

The key factor in him taking a step forward will be throwing strikes. He has a career 4.4 BB/9 meaning he walks a batter every other inning leading to a 1.73 WHIP and 6.02 ERA in a 170 career IP. This improvement could happen … maybe.

The other factor needing to happen is to add a third league average pitch. While his slider is good (18% SwStr%, 49% GB%), his curveball does very little (7% SwStr%, 48% GB%). With just two effective pitches, he could struggle to get through a lineup a second or third time.

It’s going to take more than a video of a few throws for me to consider drafting him.

Michael Lorenzen (594 ADP)

So Lorenzen signed with the Angels to start. I just don’t see how this move could work.

Last year he had a deserving 5.59 ERA in 29 IP out of the bullpen. A 6.5 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 are not going to cut it. Another way to examine him is to see how he performed as a starter over his career. In 129 IP, he has a 6.8 K/9, 1.60 WHIP, and 4.95 ERA. It’s not good.

Also, there are just no changes to build off of to point to a breakout. His velocity tanked during the season. He got worse as the season went on (4.49 xFIP in August and 5.72 xFIP in September). Additionally, he’s violated the Yu Darvish Rule … as a reliever by throwing six pitches with his slider and change having at least an 18% SwStr% over his career. He’s added a cutter this past season, but his strikeouts dropped.


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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