Hyun-Jin Ryu signs with the Toronto Blue Jays
Ryu finally pieced together a great season by staying healthy and throwing more innings (182) than any time since 2013 (192). While his strikeout rate was acceptable (23%), he dominated (2.32 ERA) by walking almost no one (3%) and in the juiced ball era, he limited home runs (0.8 HR/9) with a surge in groundball rate (50%).
I hate this move for Ryu’s value with every aspect being a downgrade from the Dodgers. He moves to the AL where he’ll face a DH more often. He goes to the hyper-competitive AL East. He transitions from a pitcher’s park to one that is neutral overall but gives up more home runs than average. Finally, he goes from a nearly average defense to one in the bottom third.
It’s tough to get a handle on how everything will play out with likely regression from both talent and playing time. And then the outside factors are added in. With everything pushing his talent down, it’s not a matter of being worse, but how much.
In my pre-trade rankings/projections, he came in as the 38th pitcher. In the NFBC, he’s going on average with pick 112 as the 37th pitcher (including relievers). With the move, I’d not be surprised to see him drop to being around the 50th pitcher taken. With so many negative factors in play, it’d be a fool’s errand to try to guess each one’s effect. Just give the projection systems a few days to catch up on the move and see how they change. Owners need to anchor all new values off of the new projections.
On the bright side, at least he didn’t sign with Baltimore.
Dallas Keuchel signs with the Chicago White Sox
Simply, I haven’t been Keuchel fan for a few seasons so if someone is hoping for a sunshine-and-rainbows post look elsewhere. Keuchel is a 31-year-old lefty with an 88 mph fastball. Let those facts sink in. Among all starters, his strikeout (19%) and walk rate (8%) are worse than the league average. What’s to be excited over? He continues to rely on his elite groundball rate (60% last season) for easy outs, double plays, and fewer than average home runs. The formula continued to work last season except he was hit with a 1.3 HR/9 last season.
I’m not worried about the new team and the park at all. He’s dominated in an AL hitter’s park while with Houston. I just don’t think he’s got any upside, especially with a career-low fastball (88 mph) velocity with an extra few months of rest. While his sinking action ensures few balls are in the strike zone, this fastball season was just the second time his Zone% dropped under 40%. Finally, his career-high 80% LOB% is going to regress some (74% for his career).
It seems more people have soured on Keuchel than I thought with a 283 ADP which is after than fellow sinkerballer, Dakota Hudson (277 ADP). My projections have him as the 102nd overall pitcher based off being a volume play, not an upside play. Overall, he’s a tough player to draft since he has no upside and the downside could be Rick Porcello’s 2019 season. I’m going to need a steep discount to buy-in.
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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.