Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Spring Training Velocities, Gsellman, Davis, & Garrett

Spring Training Velocity Extravaganza

After my Tout Wars weekend, I found time to update the spring training velocities. Here are some pitchers seeing significant changes.

Cole Hamels

Hamels’s fastball average 91.5 mph on the 21st and down to 90.8 mph on the 26th. Last season it averaged 92.6 mph. I would be diving in more on Hamels but his velocity starts low every season.

While he starts slow, owners should closely monitor his velocity to make sure it starts ticking up.

Jake Arrieta

I am less optimistic on Arrieta. He is seeing a similar drop in velocity to Hamels at ~2.0 mph.

Arrieta doesn’t increase his velocity and gaining 2 mph is tough to do. His owners need to closely watch his first MLB game to see if he can regain the lost velocity.

Robert Gsellman

I watched his spring training start yesterday and came away relieved. I know he pitched great at the end of 2016 but I had fear of a T.J. House-like breakdown*. I wanted to see Gsellman throw before going all in. Feel free to go all in. His stuff could push him into the top 20 pitchers, if not higher. His two fastballs sat at 93-95 mph with the 2-seamer generating a ton of groundballs. The 88-91 mph Warthen slider is just nasty. His curve is an average third pitch. Buy, buy, buy.

My only issues with him are a possible innings limit (130 IP in 2016). Additionally, the Mets will have a subpar infield defense and Gsellman could get BABIP’ed to death some starts.

Zack Burdi

Burdi’s throwing 99 mph bullets. With the White Sox looking to move David Robertson and possibly Nate Jones, Burdi has the chance to be the White Sox closer sooner rather than later. One issue Burdi has to get under control is his walks (5.1 BB/9 in AA and 6.2 BB/9 in AAA).

Danny Duffy

Duffy’s velocity is down 1.5 mph from last year. The drop isn’t a huge concern since he bumped up his velocity into the 96 mph range for 16 relief appearances. Over the last two months, he sat at 94 mph which puts his “drop” at only 0.7 which is completely reasonable.

Dillon Overton

For those unfamiliar with Overton, he averaged 88-90 mph in college while touching 95 mph. He had Tommy John surgery and has struggled since then with the Baseball America Handbook stating his velocity sat at 86-91 mph in 2016. It averaged 88 mph relieving in the majors. So, Overton sat at 91 mph on Saturday. He averaged 92.2 mph the week before. It is a near 4 mph jump. I am going to add him to my watch lists to see how the other pitches, curve and change, work with the fastball.

Greg Holland

Looks like Holland passed a test to possibly secure the closer’s role yesterday with back to back appearances. He maintained his velocity averaging 94.5 mph on the 27th and 94.1 mph yesterday.

Tyler Chatwood

His velocity is up ~2 mph but owners must remember he’s on the Rockies. He’s only useful for NL-only road starts in my opinion.

Hisashi Iwakuma

Iwakuma has been teetering on fantasy relevance for a few seasons but a fastball velocity drop to 86 mph could put the nail in the coffin. I am out in all formats. He could be at the point where middle relievers have more value.

Jake McGee

His velocity (95.1 mph) is back up to 2015 levels (94.5 mph) vice 2016 levels (93.1).


Rookies in the Reds rotation

Rookie Davis and Amir Garrett have been named the Reds’ third and fourth starters. I haven’t seen them pitch yet but I decided to find comparable pitching prospects to their 2017 grades. I will give an updated assessment in the near future.

Prospects With Similar Component Grades to Amir Garrett’s Grades
Name Year Report Publication Fastball Slider Changeup/splitter Control/Command
Amir Garrett 2017 BA 60 55 45 45
Sean Manaea 2016 BA 60 55 45 50
Blake Snell 2014 MLB 60 55 50 45
Justus Sheffield 2017 MLB 60 55 50 45
Amir Garrett 2016 BA 60 50 45 45
Jimmy Nelson 2014 BA 65 60 45 45
Josh Hader 2016 MLB 65 60 45 45
Josh Hader 2017 MLB 65 60 45 45
Josh Hader 2017 MLB 65 60 45 45
Dillon Tate 2016 BA 60 60 45 50
Cody Reed 2017 BA 60 60 45 50
Edwin Diaz 2014 MLB 60 55 40 50
Amir Garrett 2016 MLB 60 55 50 50
Justus Sheffield 2016 2080 60 55 50 50
Justus Sheffield 2016 2080 60 55 50 50
Justus Sheffield 2017 BA 60 55 50 50
Amir Garrett 2017 MLB 60 55 50 50
Buck Farmer 2014 MLB 60 50 45 50
Chad Kuhl 2016 MLB 60 50 45 50
Sean Manaea 2015 BA 60 55 50 40


Prospects With Similar Component Grades to Rookie Davis’s Grades
Name Year Report Publication Fastball Curveball Changeup/splitter Control/Command
Rookie Davis 2017 MLB 55 50 45 55
Logan Allen 2015 2080 55 50 50 50
Jose Berrios 2015 BA 60 50 50 55
John Lamb 2014 MLB 50 45 45 50
Taylor Clarke 2016 2080 60 50 50 50
Clayton Blackburn 2013 MLB 60 50 50 50
Jordan Johnson 2016 2080 60 50 50 50
Glen Perkins 2004 MLB Scouting Reports 50 50 50 50
Jen-Ho Tseng 2016 2080 50 50 50 50
Joey Wentz 2016 2080 60 55 45 50
Scott Blewett 2016 2080 55 55 40 50
Anthony Banda 2017 FanGraphs 55 55 50 50
Tommy Bergjans 2016 2080 50 55 45 50
Clayton Blackburn 2014 MLB 50 55 50 55
Mike Soroka 2017 BA 55 55 50 60
Ian Clarkin 2016 2080 60 55 50 50
Kolby Allard 2016 BA 60 60 45 55
Anthony Banda 2017 BA 55 60 50 55
Anthony Banda 2017 BA 55 60 50 55


While not ideal, the outlook for Garrett is better than Davis.


*In 2014, House broke on the scene with a velocity bump (+2 mph), nice groundball rate (>60%), and devastating slider and change (both over 16% SwStr%). It was all gone at the start of next season with his velocity down because of several injuries.

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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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NL Rules
NL Rules

Thanks Jeff! Yes, it seems the Marlins like Overton. I’d expect him to get a chance at some point.

baltic wolf
baltic wolf

I think you meant to say the Mariners. I only know that because I’m preparing for an AL-only draft tomorrow and his name is on my watch list.