Late-Round Evaluations: Rodon, Bailey, Hamels, and the C’s

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’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 eight more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

#301 Nick Lodolo

He only made it to Single-A. He’s too far away from the major to be drafted.

#297 Ryan Castellani

Castellani has to be the least desirable starter in the league for the following reasons.

  1. He barely strikes anyone out (5.2 K/9).
  2. He walks more batters than he strikes out (5.4 BB/9).
  3. He’s a flyball pitcher (38% GB%) and therefore homer (2.5 HR/9) prone.
  4. He pitches for Colorado.

And at the point I wrote this, six of the eleven NFBC leagues had drafted him. Pass.

#295 Homer Bailey

The 35-year-old Baily missed most of the 2020 season but made two starts at the season’s end. He’s a tough pitcher to get excited about. First, he’s old and coming off an injury. Also, in his short stint, he lost 2 mph off his fastball compared to 2019 (93 mph to 91 mph).

I could see being interested in a draft-and-hold league if he signs with a team. Otherwise a hard pass.

#294 Yonny Chirinos

Chirinos had Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2020 season. I wish I was like the five managers who drafted him and had $350 to flush down the toilet for an NFBC draft-and-hold team.

#288 Carlos Rodón

The 28-year-old Rodon threw just seven innings after returning from Tommy John surgery. With so few innings, not much is known about his talent level.

His fastball velocity is back to his “healthy” level around 93 mph. He came back throwing the same three pitches (four-seamer, slider, and change) with a little more emphasis on the change (18.5 SwStr%).

The hope is that Rodon will return to his 2016 form with a 4.04 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 168 strikeouts over 163 innings. Those stats are great for decent for a late dart throw.

#287 Kyle Cody

I think a 1990 Drafter would be interested in Cody who came off a season with a 1.59 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, a 94-mph fastball, and 7.2 K/9. That’s where the excitement ends.

Cody hit the luck trifecta with a 0.4 HR/9, .233 BABIP, and .233 BABIP. He needed all the luck since he was walking more than a batter every other inning (5.2 BB/9).

I might be a little harsh on him since he’s returning from Tommy John surgery and should gain some control. The more I dug, I couldn’t find many positives. His change that he threw 46 times (12%) was the only one with above-average results (15% SwStr%). At least he’s not Castellani.

# 271 Alex Cobb

Cobb was a perfectly fine streaming option during the 2020 season and sort of steal compared to the trash drafted around him. There were four games where owners should have benched him (home vs TB (x2) and TOR, at NYY). Removing those games, he had a 3.13 ERA.

His stats don’t pop with just a 6.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. His 55% GB% helps to keep the ball in the yard and baserunners are station-to-station. The combination still works.

Cobb gets by with one of the league’s best splitters (22% SwStr%%, 64% GB%). He needs to find a fastball that does anything. While it’s labeled a sinker, it doesn’t sink (44% GB%) or miss bats (2% SwSr%). It would be nice if he found any pitch to pair with the splitter, possibly a cutter.

#266 Cole Hamels

After being an acceptable back of the rotation starter for years, the 37-year-old Hamels missed most of 2020 with a shoulder injury. The injury dragged down his fastball velocity by 3 mph.

He could definitely return to be a streamable starter or with a little luck, a weekly starter. Or the shoulder injury could end his career. It’s tough to know until he starts throwing again.

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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