• For Faria, I watched his July 6th game against the Red Sox. The game was the most recent with a decent camera angle.
• The nearly 24-year-old righty used a 3/4 release with decent command and control of his pitches.
• Fastball: 91-93 mph. Straight with some sneaky rise with its groundball rate at only 29%. He seems to have decent control of it. It’s suprisingly, at least to me, getting an above average number of swings-and-misses (8%).
• Change (81): 81-83 mph. This pitch is nasty. Hard late drop with even some release side movement. A couple times it didn’t break and the pitch got hit around.
• Slider (84): 83-85 mph, Nice sweeping action with some downward break (2-10 break). Useful but not devastating. Inconsistent. This pitch could get hit hard when it doesn’t break as much as desired. Since it doesn’t break a much to start with, by taking away some movement, the pitch can get crushed.
Also, it could be inconsistent at time. It could get hit hard when it didn’t break as much as desired. Since it doesn’t break a much to start with, by taking away even some of the movement made the pitch extremely hittable.
• Curveball: At 74-mph with a 12-6 drop. He rarely threw it but it could become useful for him in the future
Overall: He has a Rick Porcello feel going on with a high flyball-inducing four-seamer and acceptable breaking pitches. He’s a match/home start pitcher in shallow leagues based on his stuff. It’s good, not great.
One biggest issue with Faria is a change of production in July. In June, his K:BB was 7:1. For July, it’s 1:1. The biggest issue I have found is his fastball velocity dropping from 93.2 mph to 91.5 mph.
The fastball’s June swinging-strike rate was 11% and now it is down to 5%. He may be hiding an injury or just can’t keep the velocity up over a full season. His owners should look for some improvement or they may need to change their expectations of him.
• The 24-year-old righty is a max effort thrower. He falls off to the first base side on every pitch out of the windup (fastball video).
• Fastball: 95-100 mph and straight as a bullet with no deception. If a hitter can catch up to it, they would have no issues hitting it hard. And they are this season by posting a .356 ISO versus the pitch.
In this start, he relied on the fastball too much (71%) and hitters eventually go to him. Someone with the Reds noticed this fact and his fastball usage dropped 14% points in his next start. He probably needs to keep its usage around 60% so hitter can’t time it.
• Change: His 87-89 mph changeup takes the same path as his fastball and then the bottom drops out of it. It’s been pretty devastating with hitters gearing up for his fastball (23% SwStr%). A plus pitch.
• Slider: At 85-86 mph, the slider is his slowest pitch. While its horizontal movement was inconsistent, it has a nice late dip which will help it generate groundballs (82%) and swings-and-misses (17%).
Overall: He has some wildness going on which will lead to a good number of walks. I see a lot of Yordano Ventura in him but I think Castillo’s breaking pitches are a little better. As long as he can stay healthy, he’s going to be in the majors starting. For now, I don’t see him as being a lights-out pitcher.
For 2017, I don’t think he’s a must start unless an owner is needing to pick up strikeouts. Otherwise, he’s a match up play. With half his games in homer friendly Cincinnati (4.58 ERA vs 3.12 on the road), he may not be much of an asset in shallow leagues with limited bench spots. I’m getting to the point of grouping Reds pitchers in with the Rockies and only use them on the road. With his high-velocity fastball, owners may take a chance on him if offered in a trade.
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.