Late-Round Evaluations: Quintana, Minor, Hill, Peralta, & Morejon by Jeff Zimmerman November 6, 2020 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 use dthe ADP from the #EarlyMocks to find them. I started at the bottom and selected any pitcher added by two or more teams (and no auto drafts). Here is an evaluation of the next five starters (Part 1, Part 2). #483 José Quintana Quintana’s 2020 season was ten innings long after returning from IL (neck and back). It’s just too small of a sample to draw any major conclusions. His fastball velocity stayed constant at 91.4 mph. He didn’t introduce any new pitches. Probably his 2019 projection would work fine for the 32-year-old free agent depending on where he signs. #478 Mike Minor After posting a 3.59 ERA over 32 starts in 2019, Minor’s ERA exploded to 5.56 last season. The deal is that he was basically the same pitcher otherwise. He had an identical 1.24 WHIP. His strikeout rate was even up (8.6 K/9 to 9.9 K/9). It seems like he’s at the whims of being a heavy flyball pitcher. Here are some of his stats over his over the past three seasons. Mike Minor Stats Season GS BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP SIERA 2018 28 .259 73% 34% 12% 1.4 4.18 4.43 4.53 4.27 2019 32 .287 80% 40% 13% 1.3 3.59 4.25 4.60 4.51 2020 11 .269 63% 36% 16% 1.8 5.56 4.64 4.50 4.20 While his ERA’s have bounced around, his ERA estimators are in the 4.25 to 4.50 range. Also, he’s an extreme flyball pitcher so sometimes a few too many of those flyballs go for home runs than outs. Now, the 2020 home run bump might not be all luck with Minor’s fastball velocity down. The higher ERA is easier to explain than the strikeout jump. Minor’s fastball velocity is down and with this velocity drop, he threw his fastballs more (47% to 51%). Additionally, his swinging-strike rate barely dropped (11.5% to 11.4%). Minor did get a few more called strikes with a Called + Swinging Strike rate going from 13.0 to 14.8 but velocity drop still worries me. I’d like to see a sustainable strikeout rate. He’s just someone I’m interested in if the velocity jumps back up. #475 Rich Hill Before the shortened 2020 season, fantasy managers had an idea of what to expect from Hill. Between 60 and 140 innings of good results will several blister-related IL trips thrown in. The surface results (1.16 WHIP and 3.03 ERA) were as expected but several signs point to a pending final fade. He lost 2.6 mph off his fastball (87.7 mph) and his strikeout rate followed from a consistent value of 10 K/9 down to 7.2 K/9. His curveball velocity mirrored the fastball decline and both pitches performed worse. The swinging-strike rate on his fastball dropped from 11% to 6% and on his curve it dropped from 11% to 7%. Additionally, his walk rate (4.0 BB/9) jumped to his highest value since 2015 resurgence with the Red Sox. His only saving grace was a 0.7 HR/9 after posting home run rates at or over 1.2 HR/9 for the past three seasons. This “luck” can be seen with his xFIP and SIERA coming in around 5.00. Depending on if and where he signs, don’t have much faith in him unless there are reports of the 40-year-old’s velocity up. #474 Freddy Peralta I know Peralta is not the ideal starter, but fantasy owners need to start considering him to be one. According to the Razzball player rater, he rated as the 232nd best player in 2020 (98th best pitcher). His reliever profile is valuable even without any Saves when compared to most starters. Peralta’s a perfect one time through the order pitcher and let’s start there. The Brewers have almost quit trying to have him start (once in 2020) so he averaged 2 IP per appearance with a 3.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 14.4 K/9. His 47 strikeouts were the 70th(t) highest total in the league. Now, there is some upside since Peralta added an effective slider (21% SwStr%) that he threw 24% of the time. He’s never had a useful second pitch and this one’s good enough for him to face a lineup for the second time. With starters throwing fewer innings, high-strikeout middle relievers can outperform many starters for a fraction of the cost. #473 Adrian Morejon There is some sleeper potential with Morejon. Fantasy owners who glance quickly at his profile will see the 4.66 ERA (10.13 ERA in 2019) and just move on. He deserves that ERA since he allowed 3.3 HR/9. He never gave up many homers in the minors so fantasy managers should expect the number to regress. His xFIP and SIERA point to this regression since they are closer to 3.00. It’s tough to ignore a starter or releiver with an 11.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. He gets by with an OK fastball (7% SwStr%), below-average curve (7% SwStr%), and devastating splitter (30% SwStr%, seen below). The lack of a complete arsenal puts Morejoin more in the same bucket as Peralta, provides a few good innings. The Padres treated him as such by never letting him go longer than three innings in any appearance (four starts). I believe he can throw more innings so there is some upside, but even if not, he’ll still be a valuable pitcher.