Late-Round Evaluations: Barria, Loaisiga, DeSclafani, Wood, & More

I’m continuing my attention on fringe starters. They are the starters who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I’m using NFBC’s ADP and starting at the bottom and selecting any starter drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of the six more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6).

#596 Jaime Barria

Barria is a steady below-average MLB starter who should be streamed in half his starts. Here is what  is known about him.

  • His 7.5 K/9 wasn’t ideal, it was at least paired with a 2.5 BB/9.
  • His fastball velocity increased just a bit (91.7 mph to 92.1 mph).
  • He’s flyball prone (34% GB%) so he could give up a decent number of home runs (1.6 HR/9 on his career).
  • He’s got an average four-seamer (8% SwStr%) and slider (14% SwStt) and an ineffective sinker (3% SwStr%) and changeup (9% SwStr%). He needs to ditch or improve the last two (22% usage).

The same upside exists with him with just about every other pitcher. Throw harder. Improve or add a pitch. Ideal pitch mix. Until he shows an improvement, just stream him against weaker opponents.

#594 Jonathan Loaisiga

Loaisiga has shown the potential to take a step forward at times. He just hasn’t consistently used the right mix of pitches. Here are the career stats on his four offerings.

Jonathan Loaisiga Career Pitch Results
Pitch SwStr% GB% Usage
Four-seamer 8% 37% 49%
Curve 18% 49% 27%
Change 24% 62% 14%
Sinker 7% 57% 10%

An average fastball (97 mph) and two above-average breaking pitches should produce decent results. Maybe he could ditch the four-seamer and go for groundballs especially in Yankees Stadium.

The Yankees have limited his usage the second time through the order (6.92 ERA), but with three pitches, he should be fine. He may continue to struggle but the skills are there for a major step forward.

#593 Alex Wood

Wood had a formula that was working and then ditched it to “improve”. The change starts with his fastball. While the pitch tracking services still have him throwing a sinker, it just has a 28% GB% over the last two seasons. Here are the pitch’s stats over of the past few seasons.

History of Alex Wood’s Sinker
Season SwStr% GB% mph rpm Bauer (rpm/mph)
2015 6% 49% 89.8 1915 21.3
2016 6% 46% 91.2 1947 21.3
2017 3% 45% 91.9 2031 22.1
2018 5% 43% 89.9 1921 21.4
2019 11% 28% 89.9 2112 23.5
2020 11% 28% 91.2 2212 24.3

The key takeaway is to remember that Wood has changed his approach from a control-orientated groundball pitcher to one with more strikeouts and flyballs (i.e. home runs). While he hasn’t thrown many innings (48 IP) during his transformation, the home runs have been substantial (2.4 HR/9).

As for Wood’s value going forward, the first key is the team he signs with and his role with them. Also, he’ll just be 30-years-old, so he might be productive considering his past injuries. I could see taking a chance on him, but I think it would be in a league where I could drop him if he continues to struggle (5.96 ERA) with his new fastball.

#584 Anthony DeSclafani

DeSclafani fell apart last season. His strikeouts were down (9.0 K/9 to 6.7 K/9) and his walks were up (2.7 BB/9 to 4.3 BB/9) and all the surface stats followed (1.70 WHIP, 1.9 HR/9, 7.22 ERA, 5.63 xFIP). He just couldn’t find the strike zone with his Zone% dropping from 50% to 46% and two main pitches (four-seamer and slider) saw close to a 7% point drop. The wildness could have been from an early-season back injury that never healed.

So how to value him going forward? I’m in at his cost for the simple reason that he signed a decent ($6 mil) contract with the Giants. The Giants have shown over the last couple of seasons the ability to get the best out of castoffs (e.g. Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly) and I’m guessing they believe DeSclafini is healthy and can contribute once “fixed”.

I’d not be surprised if they ask him to go four-seamer, curve, and slider and drop his sinker and change. Here are his career numbers on the pitches.

Anthony DeSclafani Pitch Mix
Pitch SwStr% GB% Usage
Four-seamer 7% 30% 33%
Slider 17% 45% 27%
Curve 14% 43% 9%
Sinker 4% 52% 25%
Change 12% 46% 5%

He could just throw his better pitches more while staying healthy and be solid

#579 Kyle Freeland

Simply, Freeland is a best ball specialist and maybe a road streaming option. It’s about impossible to consistently start a Colorado pitcher at home knowing a blowup could happen at any time. In a best-ball league, only the good starts count and those starts aren’t great with just a career 6.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 (a Jaime Barria clone in Colorado). Even in a normal park, he’s just a streaming option.

For the fantasy game, why delve into the specifics when he’s just not going to be used much.

#577 Corbin Martin

Martin is ready to pitch in 2021 after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Right now he’s fighting for the last rotation spot in Arizona with Merrill Kelly 켈리 and Alex Young. It’s nearly impossible to put a value on Martin after being out for a season. And he wasn’t pitching the best before getting hurt with a 5.6 BB/9, 3.7 HR/9, and 5.59 ERA.

All of this value is based on his prospect pedigree. Right now, no one knows if he’s any good. He’s a dart throw that I’d rather take in a league with a waiver wire so he’s not taking up a roster spot if/when he struggles and/or gets demoted.

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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1 year ago

Loaisiga is such an odd duck in terms of pitching experience its hard to know what he is. Injuries have really hurt his career so far. And I found it interesting you called it an average (97 MPH) fastball.

He reached the majors in 2018 after only 56 IP in full season minors ball. Through 2020 still has just over 75 IP in the majors, and only 18 added IP in the minors since 2018. It may be that he just doesn’t have a full base of experience yet to draw on. He often looks so good – I remember Smoltz just raving about him on a broadcast for what that’s worth.

With an uncertain role, but also out of options so likely to stick with NY again, he is just a hard one to peg – and with such light career workloads its hard to see him as a full time starter yet. And with such a small frame maybe he never gets there, but that’s been said wrongly about other guys in the past.

1 year ago

Fastball was 93rd percentile in velocity last season per Baseball Savant, spin rate was 67th percentile.

1 year ago

yanks dont seem to trust him to start unless desperately needed. the HR/FB% is quite high and it doesn’t help pitching in YS. Upside seems to be limited to a Devenski type who goes 2 innings often and maybe racks up 80+ innings a year.