Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Godley, Zimmer, & Happ

Quick Look: Zack Godley

I’ve had my eye on Godley since spring training when his velocity climbed up a couple ticks. It has stayed up and so has his production. The following is a take on the 27-year-old’s most recent start.

I’m stuck using Arizona’s bad camera angle since all his starts have been at home so far this season. Sorry, it’s far from the best view.

• Sinker(Fastball): 90 to 93 mph with release-side run with some late sink. It’s kind of a unique pitch with all the ground balls and limited sink. It won’t get many swings-and-misses (3% on the season) because of the limited break.

There is just enough late break to generate weak groundball contact at an 82% clip. Yes, an 82% GB% rate which has pushed his overall GB% to 73%. This jump is a difference maker for him. His fastballs used to be a hinderance but now it may be a career changer. He could be a fantasy staple for years to come.

• Curve(84): 82-84 mph. 12-6 break. Nice velocity and break. A plus pitch as seen by its 27% SwStr% and 50% GB%. It can even get better. He wasted a few by bouncing in front of home plate. Here are a couple back-to-back curves from the 2nd inning. One he spiked in front of home plate and their other is a work of art.

Spiked Curve

Plus Curve

• Change(84): 84-85 mph. A below average change. Its velocity is only within 6 to 8 mph of his fastball. Additionally, it doesn’t break. It’s a third pitch and he smartly limits its use.

• Godley loses his control at times and starts issuing free passes (4.4 BB/9). Part of his walk issue stem from giving away pitches (curve and change). If he improves his consistency with those two pitches, his walks will drop.
It’s tough to get excited for a non-prospect Quad-A player but Godley currently has some nice skills. While his change and control could use some help, his fastball and curve are at least above average pitches.

He’s a tough guy to comp with his insane ground ball rate but Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are the best I could come up with. He’s really in his own class right now. I think he should be owned in all leagues like Keuchel and McCullers.

My biggest concern is if he can keep up his results. If not, move on. The scary part is that he could improve the walk rate and possible be a top-20 starter rest of season.

 

Prospects Promoted: Ian Happ and Bradley Zimmer

Over the past week, two top-100 ranked prospects, Bradley Zimmer (#45) and Ian Happ (#51) have been called up. They aren’t exact difference makers and will likely be overhyped. Here are the hitters who had similar individual prospect grades.

Ian Happ Comps
Name Year Report Publication Batting Power Speed Defense Arm
Ian Happ 2017 BA 55 55 55 45 50
Ian Happ 2016 BA 55 50 55 45 50
Lourdes Gurriel 2017 BA 55 55 55 50 50
Austin Meadows 2015 BA 55 55 50 50 50
Blake Rutherford 2017 MLB 55 55 50 50 50
Nick Williams 2016 MLB 60 55 55 50 50
Max Kepler 2016 MLB 60 55 50 45 50
Grant Green 2011 BA 60 55 55 45 45
Brandon Nimmo 2014 MLB 55 50 50 50 50
Brandon Nimmo 2015 MLB 55 50 50 50 50
Brandon Nimmo 2016 MLB 55 50 50 50 50
Alex Kirilloff 2017 MLB 55 50 50 50 50
Franklin Barreto 2016 BA 60 50 55 50 50
Franklin Barreto 2017 BA 60 50 55 50 50
Trent Clark 2016 MLB 60 50 55 45 55
Ian Happ 2017 MLB 60 50 55 45 55
Corey Ray 2017 BA 60 55 60 50 50
Joc Pederson 2014 BA 55 60 55 50 55
Tyler O’Neill 2016 BA – Scouts View 50 60 55 50 50
Addison Russell 2015 BA 60 60 55 50 50
Robert Refsnyder 2014 MLB 55 45 55 45 50
Garin Cecchini 2013 MLB 50 50 50 50 50
Chris Owings 2013 MLB 50 50 50 50 50
Corey Seager 2013 MLB 60 50 50 50 50
Eddie Rosario 2013 MLB 60 50 50 50 50
Tyler Austin 2013 MLB 60 50 50 50 50

 

Bradley Zimmer Comps
Name Year Report Publication Batting Power Speed Defense Arm
Bradley Zimmer 2017 BA 45 55 55 60 55
Bradley Zimmer 2017 MLB 50 55 55 60 55
Daz Cameron 2016 BA 45 50 55 60 55
Clint Frazier 2017 MLB 50 60 55 55 55
Clint Frazier 2017 BA 50 60 55 55 55
Dustin Fowler 2015 2080 50 55 60 60 50
Manuel Margot 2015 BA 50 50 60 60 55
Hunter Renfroe 2016 MLB 50 60 50 60 55
Lewis Brinson 2017 MLB 50 60 60 60 55
Clint Frazier 2016 MLB 50 60 55 55 50
Bradley Zimmer 2016 BA 55 55 55 60 55
Steven Souza 2015 BA 50 60 55 55 60
Aaron Judge 2016 MLB 50 60 50 60 50
Jake Marisnick 2013 MLB 50 60 60 60 50
Luis Sardinas 2013 MLB 50 50 50 60 60
Addison Russell 2013 MLB 50 60 50 60 60
Jorge Soler 2013 MLB 50 60 50 60 60
Rymer Liriano 2013 MLB 50 60 50 60 60
George Springer 2013 MLB 50 60 60 60 60
Bubba Starling 2013 MLB 50 60 60 60 60
Courtney Hawkins 2013 MLB 50 60 60 60 60
Lewis Brinson 2016 BA 50 60 60 60 60
Michael Taylor 2014 MLB 40 50 60 65 55

Zimmer has some better comps but he will need more Bat and Power to get into the Russell and Soler range of players. I don’t see a reason to spend many resouces picking either one up.

 

Notes

Avisail Garcia started the season red hot by hitting .368/.409/.621 in April and has cooled off to an expected .286/.352/.408 so far in May. Garcia’s early offensive explosion was from a BABIP north of .400 (and at times, .500). It’s cooled off to .317 in May but some signs of a turnaround exist, mainly a 6.5% point drop in his K%.

He discussed this change in a recent article he wrote at MLB.com.

I studied videos of my swing. I’m trying to keep my hands inside more. I want to be more compact, shorter to the ball. Before I was too long with my swing, and it made me hit a lot of groundballs. When you stay inside, even if you’re late on a fastball, you still can inside-out the ball, and maybe it’s a blooper for a hit. That’s what experience does for you. You learn to figure out what’s good for you, and what’s not.

He still may be overvalued with his hot April inflating his stats but don’t be afraid to buy in as his owners begin to sour on him.

• The first place Twins have seen quite an improvement from 2016, especially on the pitching front (5.08 ERA in ’16 to 4.32 in ’17). Some of the change can be attributed to the Twins new front office according to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.

The Twins have achieved this not with major personnel changes to their pitching staff, but to their catching, coaching and front-office staffs. Minnesota’s modernization is something that probably won’t bear postseason fruit here in 2017, but it does have this club better-armed and simply better-positioned in a game that evolved drastically while this franchise stayed strangely stagnant.

“It’s been a whole different avenue,” said pitching coach Neil Allen, “for us to go down.”

As recently as last season, the advanced scouting reports handed down by the front office were rudimentary, at best. Allen would get a print-out of what the upcoming opponents’ hitters had done the previous week to 10 days. The rest all came down to memory.


But the importance of analytics — the way the information can be used not just to draw up a game plan but to influence in-game bullpen maneuvering — in today’s game is well-established. For the Twins, going from their previous reports to the kind of data being disseminated by the Falvey-led front office is a leap from Stone Age to Internet Era.

Congratulations on the Twins joining the 21st century.

 





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.

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OddBall Herrera
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OddBall Herrera

“Zimmer has some better comps but he will need more Bat and Power to get into the Russell and Soler range of players”

This is interesting. If you’d asked me to guess, I wouldn’t have bet that Soler is touting a higher career wRC than Russell, and I definitely wouldn’t have guessed he was the only one of the two over 100.