Moscoso and Worley: Pitchers to Avoid

All of us deep league managers have to do the dirty deed at some point and pick up a player that makes us feel dirty. I still have Juan Pierre on my 20-team roster, for example. Hey, 100 outfielders start in that league, who cares how ugly he is right now. And I don’t mean in the face. He’s handsome enough I guess.

But here are two pitchers that you should avoid in pretty much every league. They just don’t have the underlying skills to be much better than average, and with pitching in abundance these days, there’s someone better out there. Even in NL- and AL-only leagues.

Guillermo Moscoso (1% owned in Yahoo)
He struck out eight Marlins! He’s given up one run in his last 17 2/3 innings! He pitches in a home-run-suppressing park! Yes, but. There really isn’t a single specific skill that you can hang your hat on with Moscoso. He has a putrid 4.6 K/9 which is supported by a bad swinging strike rate (5.4%). He’s had good control in the minor leagues, but his 3.56 BB/9 right now is below-average (hey! not terrible!). He has yet to show his minor league walk rate (2.5 BB/9 in MiLB) in the major leagues (3.90 BB/9). Last, but not least, he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher. His ground-ball rate this year is is 24.6%, and even with his other 14 2/3 major league innings added in, it only ‘jumps’ to 26.5%. Other players have come up and been underwhelming in their first 50-odd major league innings, but there doesn’t seem to be much upside here either. His Triple-A strikeout rate was around eight per nine, and that’s just not enough for a fly ball guy unless he has elite control. Until you see a bunch of zero-walk games, he’s a miss. Even then…

Vance Worley (5% owned)
This one might be more controversial. He’s probably going to end up fairly valuable to his real-life team, filling in as a fifth-sixth starter. The Vanimal has a 2.57 ERA of course, and his 3.44 FIP isn’t terrible. In his case, though, it seems that his 4.14 xFIP has a little more to say about his true talent level. Worley features the same sort of underwhelming stuff as Moscoso. 50 innings into his major league career, he has a 5.5% swinging strike rate. It’s built on a 91 MPH fastball, a decent 85 MPH slider, a rarely-used curveball and (by linear weights values at least) a poor changeup. If the changeup is indeed poor, he will be susceptible to bouts of ineffectiveness versus left-handed hitters. He gets some groundballs (46% career), but that’s only a tick above average (44% most years). Once his home runs per fly ball normalize (4.2% right now), more balls will leave his comfy little home park, and his ERA will balloon. He could be a spot-starter in some deep leagues, but don’t rely on the Vanimal, cause he might bite you.

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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12 years ago

“Once his home runs per fly ball normalize (4.2% right now), more balls will leave his comfy little home park, and his ERA will balloon. ”

I understand that Citizens Bank Park has a higher than average HR/FB rate.

Does anyone have a theory as to why this hasn’t translated to a higher HR park factor for CBP? Since 2008 there have only been 3.8% more HRs in the Phillies’ home games than in their away games (649 in 292 home games, vs. 591 in 276 away games)? This ranks around 12th among the 30 parks.

12 years ago
Reply to  Eno Sarris

I believe those are calculated by comparing HR/FB rates, not HRs per game.