The biggest question in fantasy this September isn’t “who are the must-get call ups”, but rather “how many more IP does Pitcher X have left?” This is because many of the potentially high-impact call ups are already up and producing so barring substantial injuries, there just isn’t a lot of room for September additions to make a massive impact. Meanwhile several of those aforementioned high-impact prospects who might’ve been call ups a couple years back are now several months into their MLB careers after getting the call this summer and sticking.
Let’s take a look at where the youngsters of note are at this point in the season and try to get a read on how much they might have left in the tank. The general rule of thumb that Eno and I adhere to is 20% over your workload from the previous season. There is no set ideal for all pitchers, but 20% is usually what teams will give a young arm and then take it beyond that in a case-by-case basis.
We will start with the guys who won’t come close to the +20% threshold and thus shouldn’t be in grave danger for an innings limit cutting their season short:
|Player||Age||2015 IP||Last Yr||Diff||Last Yr+20%||+20% Diff|
|*NCAA IP incl. in last year figures|
Keep in mind that the idea of “plenty left” is relative to the +20% threshold. The team may have something else to say about it, so let’s dig in and see what we can find regarding potential limits for some of these guys.
We don’t need to investigate further on Ventura, Hutchinson, Hendricks, or Wood as they might not even reach their 2014 totals by season’s end. All are on contending teams and should be available to their teams for the duration, barring injury or sheer underperformance, of course. But innings won’t be the problem.
While Heaney is close to approaching his 2014 levels, he has plenty of buffer for the +20% should the Angels choose to exercise. On August 11th, Mike DiGiovanna said they would be willing to push beyond last year’s 167 innings while keeping a close eye on the young lefty. Hector Santiago fell out of my age bracket for looking at guys, but his 152 IP so far are a career-high in the bigs (149 in 2013) so they will also be keeping a watchful eye on him down the stretch (plus, he’s been faltering).
Outlook: Heaney should reach the finish line, I’d be comfortable relying on him in the middle of my rotation. Toronto blasted him for 8 ER, but he has a 2.22 ERA in his other nice 69 IP apart from that start. Santiago is a more troubling proposition because his performance is giving them reason to enact an IP limit and perhaps throw him into the pen for a spell.
This piece by Stephen Gross from August 7th mentions that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wanted to keep Nola closer to his 2014 total as opposed to building on what he did last year between LSU and the Phillies minor league system. An August 20th piece by Jake Kaplan reiterates the plan to stick around 170-180 innings, right around last year’s 172.
Outlook: I’d say he’s got 3-4 more starts based on the innings pace he’s keeping as a big leaguer and what the Phillies have made public. He starts tonight at the Mets and might make another three starts after that which would end his season around September 19th. If this is their plan, they have no reason to deviate from it given that they’re well out of the race. Have a backup plan.
I haven’t been able to find anything pointing to talk of an innings limit for Salazar and given that he’s spent significant parts of the last three seasons in their rotation, I’m guessing they are willing to expand his innings beyond last year’s count. Ideally, they’d like his mid-20s to be filled with 185-200 IP seasons as a key cog in their rotation fronted by Corey Kluber with Salazar and Carlos Carrasco rounding out a killer top three.
Outlook: I would be really surprised if they didn’t push beyond last year’s 171 IP. Some decent play of late still leaves them with an outside shot at a wildcard, more incentive to keep your best arms in. I am confidently relying on Salazar the rest of the way.
I skipped over Wisler because a shutdown for him doesn’t matter to us in the fantasy realm. There’s no league where his 5.22 ERA is being used. Owens has had some AL-only viability with a 4.03 ERA and good strikeout rate (27 in 29 IP). There hasn’t been a lot of talk about a limit for Owens except very broadly. Teammate Eduardo Rodriguez has been discussed much more. He’ll find his way into a different section of this piece, don’t worry.
Outlook: I think he’s fine. You need to do a risk assessment with your standings to decide how regularly you want to use him as he hasn’t been amazing, but he should make the finish line in terms of innings.
Jungmann is another guy I couldn’t find much of anything on regarding an innings limit. He was slated to started Wednesday this week, but has been pushed back to Thursday by the arrival of Zach Davies. That’s only a day so it’s not like his turn is being skipped. His rotation spot comes up six more times.
Outlook: Using the +20% cap with his IP/start through 15 starts yields 5.8 starts, in others words enough to get to the finish line.
Tomorrow, I’ll hit on the guys who are in the danger zone and have already passed even their +20% caps let alone last year’s total. We will dig for the latest updates on all of them and assess how many more starts we can expect.
If you’ve read things that contradict or enhance the info I have here, please share it in the comments. I did the necessary searches for the information I presented, but I may’ve missed a tidbit here or there, perhaps something shared on a local broadcast, a tweet that doesn’t use the terms I was searching, etc…