Late-Round Evaluations: Margevicius, Chatwood, Plutko, Marquez, & more

I’m going to continue my attention on fringe starters. They are the players 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 decided to not pull the pitchers out of thin air but moved from the #EarlyMock’s ADP to NFBC’s ADP. I’m still starting at the bottom and selecting any pitcher drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of the seven more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

#321: Nick Margevicius

His stats scream matchup streamer as a 4.50+ pitcher. There are not any standout tools, but he did see his strikeout rate increase (6.6 K/9 to 7.8 K/9) that followed a fastball velocity jump (88.3 mph to 90.0 mph). The jump is a little deceptive since he lost all the gains as the season progressed.

The velocity loss could explain the 3.97 ERA in July and 5.74 ERA in September. No upside, all downside.

#319: Tyler Chatwood

If Chatwood is over his forearm injury, he’s a steal at this point in the draft. With the Cubs, he has made positive progress, and last year was no exception. The big gain was in his strikeout rate that jumped from 8.7 K/9 (old career-high) to 12.1 K/9 (new career-high). To make the change, he threw his sinker (6% SwStr%) less and his cutter (19% SwStr%) more. Those two pitches when paired with his curveball (16% SwStr%), gave him a respectable pitch mix.

The changes are hidden since he posted a BABIP (.400) inflated 5.30 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. His ERA estimators were in the 3.50 to 4.00 range.

There are a couple of concerns. He needs to get the walks (4.3 BB/9 over the past two seasons) under control. Also, fantasy managers will need to make sure his forearm (elbow) is healthy before investing too much in him. Finally, his value could be dependent on what team he signs with. If he’s in a team’s rotation, he’s probably a must draft in all formats.

#310 Adam Plutko

I’m amazed Plutko remains rostered by an MLB team. He has a 5.05 ERA, a 6.46 K/9, and 2.0 HR/9 for his career. He brought them into symmetry last season with a 4.88 K/9 and 4.88 ERA. Any middle reliever will likely outproduce him.

#308 Brailyn Marquez

Marquez is the Cubs #3 prospect according to our own Eric Longenhagen. He got called for one game and got rocked for five runs and couldn’t get through an inning.

What we know about him is that he was still throwing his 98-mph fastball.

Additionally, his scouting report gives him an average slider and below-average control.

While his minor league numbers seem fine, the most he ever pitched was 26 innings in high-A. I can’t get behind such an unproven arm.

#302 Joey Lucchesi

There was lots of excitement about Lucchesi after the 2018 season when he posted a 10.0 K/9 in 130 innings. While the strikeouts dropped to 163 in 2019, he was decent with a 4.18 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Last season, he made just three appearances for a total of five innings.

He’s been a two-pitcher since joining the league with a sinker that doesn’t generate a ton of grounders (51% GB%) and an elite changeup (18% SwStr%). The sinker has lost about 1 mph since 2018 and got crushed last season.

He wasn’t needed by the MLB team last season, so didn’t throw much. In a longer season, injuries would have mounted and he would have likely seen more time. I see no way to roster him unless he’s guaranteed to be on the MLB staff.

#301 Jordan Balazovic

I don’t get this pickup. The Twins #5 ranked prospect only made it to high-A in 2019. The 22-year-old righty could possibly make the jump to the majors, but it is highly unlikely. Hard pass.

#299:Cory Abbott

Unlike some of the other prospects listed, at least Abbott has pitched in AA. The Cubs 11th ranked prospect put up decent numbers (3.01 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 10.2) in 146 innings. I know the player pool gets thin in the 50-round draft-and-holds, but I think a reliever or Chatwood would be a better choice.

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 twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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