I will continue to implement player grading on the scouting scales of 20-80. I will use Dan Farnsworth’s scale he discussed in this article.
|Grade||Hitter||Starting Pitcher||Relief Pitcher||WAR|
|80||Top 1-2||#1 Starter||—-||7|
|55||Above Avg||#3/4||Mid Closer||2.5|
|50||Avg Regular||#4||Low CL/High SU||2|
|40||Bench||Swing/Spot SP||Middle RP||1|
|35||Emergency Call-Up||Emergency Call-Up||Emergency Call-Up||0|
I will give a value for where I think the pitcher could currently fit in on the average team (CV=current value) and where they could end up (FV=future value). I am sure I will disagree with some grades from others, but I am only looking at one game.
Note: If I say a pitch moves 11-5, it is from the pitcher’s perspective.
Jerad Eickhoff (CV: 45/FV: 55)
9/19/15 vs Braves
• The 24-year-old righty is an instance when the sum is better than the individual parts.
• His fastball was between 89-93 mph and straight as can be. It has a bit of rise on it, especially for a fastball so slow. It only got a 31% GB% on the season with a 12% popup rate. Also, it was his only pitch which allowed a home run this year. It is extremely hittable with a 4.9% SwStr%.
• He threw an 81-83 mph slider with some 3-8 glove side run. It is a good pitch which generates a swing-and-miss 25% of the time it is thrown. He can throw it for strikes.
• Additionally, he had a 73-77 mph 12-6 curve which he could also throw for strikes and has an above average swing-and-miss rate.
• Finally, he saw him throw a few 84-86 mph change ups. When the pitch broke, it was in the 12-6 plain. Sometimes it did not break.
• He sometimes gets breaking ball happy as in throwing Simmons four straight breakers in the 4th.
While I didn’t notice it, Eickhoff has been working a sinker which got almost no swings-and-misses, but did have a 77% GB%.
• He worked quite a few hitters backwards because of his below average fastball. Keeping the hitters guessing is a huge advantage for him.
Final thoughts: Eickhoff needs to improve his fastball in some fashion, or he will be a junk ball pitcher with a show-me fastball. If he can find some swing-and-miss with it, his stock will soar. He will be interesting with a flyball fastball and the rest of his pitches creating a high number of groundballs.
Jorge Lopez (50 CV/60 FV)
9/29/15 vs Padres
• I watch Lopez after getting offered him in a trade in a deep league. I really didn’t expect much from him, but came back surprised.
• He is a tall (6’4), skinny (165 lbs) with a high 3/4 easy release. If he moved to the bullpen, I could see his velocity play up.
• His fastball started out at 95-97 mph and he could move it around the zone with ease. Instead of working side-to-side, he worked up-and-down …. well mainly down. The pitch had little horizontal movement. He threw 136 of them and was able to generate a 10% SwStr% which is way above average.
• He did have issues keeping the velocity up. By the 4th inning he was in the 93-94 mph range. The drop can be seen in this graph by BrooksBaseball.net.
• His second pitch was a curveball. It is a nice hammer at 83-84 mph with a 12-6 break. I think he lost his grip on the pitch a couple times and the ball almost hit the batter.
• His final pitch was is a change. Its movement and speed cause issues with classification since it is around 89 mph and goes straight and down. It has the movement of many pitchers’ 2-seamer.
• He lived off his fastball and had great results. His breaking balls aren’t consistent and sharp right now, so he could improve.
Final thoughts: I see myself taking a chance on Lopez in several leagues next year. He may struggle the second and third time through the order without above average breaking balls or he could figure them out.
• The 22-year-old righty is a pure thrower and it may limit his upside.
• I will start with his slider because that is his favorite pitch. At times, he works backwards from it. It is 83-85 mph with a 3-9 break. He throws it 36% of the time. He threw it the 6th most amount all starters (min 70 IP) with his brother taking the top spot at 42%. The reason he keeps using it is its effectiveness. It has an insane 26% SwStr% to go with a 54% GB%.
• His fastball was between 92-95 mph and straight with some sink, but little swing-and-miss (4%). I wished he would trust it more instead of always going back to the slider.
• He threw a horrible 86-88 mph straight change.
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.