I have posted two articles earlier this season on the hitters with the largest changes to their Depth Charts rest of season projections versus the preseason, and today I’m going to take a look at the pitchers.
First, let’s take a look at the ten starting pitchers whose projections have increased the most (minimum 65 IP rest of season):
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||0.64||4.31||3.67|
|Steven Wright||Red Sox||0.41||3.75||3.34|
Aaron Sanchez was projected to be a below replacement SP before the season started, but he has pitched better as a starter this year than he did even as a reliever last season. The 4.31 pts/IP projection implies a 5th SP for ottoneu at best, but I think there is plenty of reason to believe the upside is much higher than that, given the rare ability Sanchez has to generate groundballs (57.2%) and strikeouts (23.4%).
The projections did not fully buy in to the four fantastic starts Rich Hill made last season, but another 11 impressive starts this season have changed his projection drastically. Hill now profiles as a top 30 SP, rewarding owners that bought in to his renaissance.
What more can be said about Noah Syndergaard? Baseball fans everywhere held their collective breaths when he was removed from his start on Wednesday due to elbow discomfort, but a clean MRI has him penciled in for his regular turn in the rotation next week. Thor should be one of the best three SP in ottoneu going forward, assuming he isn’t felled by injury.
The most gif-able (is that a word?) pitcher on the planet right now might be Steven Wright, the knuckleballer for the Red Sox who continues to flummox opposing hitters. The projection of 3.75 Pts/IP is still well below replacement level, but knuckleball pitchers tend to break the projection systems.
Aaron Nola, Jon Gray, James Paxton, and Matt Shoemaker all represent young SP who weren’t projected to be more than $1-$3 pitchers before the season started but who have all pitched very well in the first half. Nola has been the best of the four, and projects to be the best going forward as well, despite some recent struggles. Gray has been succeeding despite the stigma of Coors Field, while Paxton has turned up the heat with a big jump in his velocity since his recall to replace King Felix.
And now let’s take a look at the pitchers whose projections have decreased the most:
|James Shields||White Sox||(0.90)||3.63||4.53|
|Clay Buchholz||Red Sox||(0.62)||3.85||4.47|
James Shields has been cut in more than 30% of ottoneu leagues over the past 30 days, but is still owned in almost 59% of leagues. What are you all waiting for?!? Shields was bad in San Diego, and has been atrocious in Chicago, and his projection is about as bad as it gets for a pitcher that will keep a spot in the rotation.
When he’s not throwing at batters and inciting brawls, Yordano Ventura has pitched very poorly. His last two starts have been encouraging, so maybe he will turn things around after he returns from his suspension, but the projections are not optimistic.
Matt Harvey and Francisco Liriano were both projected to be top 20 SP before the season started, and despite their poor performance and decreased projections both still project to be top 32 SP going forward, with Harvey dropping about 11 spots and Liriano dropping 13.
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.