Quick Looks: Nix, Kopech, & Gonsalves

Jacob Nix

Fastball: Come in at 91-95 mph and straight but the 22-year-old righty hit his spots moving it around the strike zone.

By the 5th inning, he’d lost a couple ticks off the fastball. With the velocity loss, he may struggle later in games.

Curve: 76-79 mph with a 12-7 break. He didn’t have a feel for it and bounced a couple up to the plate. It’s not loopy and has above average speed. It could be a really good pitch for him.

Change: 79-81 mph with some late drop. I’m not sure why he uses this. It’s between the velocity as his curve and slider making it blend in. Also, it doesn’t break.

Slider: It’s a nice swing-and-miss slider (82-84 mph) with horizontal movement.

Overall: I’m not sure of his value. There seems like a lot of average going around. Right now, he profiles as 6th/7th fantasy starter. Possibly a streaming option. His results are going to determine if he’s a top-50 or top-150 starter.

Stephen Gonsalves

Note: The 24-year-old lefty just got rocked with a .857 BABIP on the game. I still wanted to see him throw. The outing wasn’t horrible as every batted ball seemed to find the turf like this one.


Fastball: Sat 89-93 mph. It’s straight and doesn’t do anything.

Curveball: Loopy 10-5 break at 71-73 mph. These curves may work at the lower levels but are rarely successful in the majors.

Change: 81-82 mph and straight. Its only deception is a change of speed.

Slider: More of a cutter at 83-87 mph. It’s not horrible and he may need to pitch backward from it to have any success.

Overall: On the first pitch, I already didn’t like him. He lands on the first base side and twists his body towards home. Few lefty starters have continued with this motion. The angle will though make him successful against left-handed hitters. Additionally, he nearly falls off the mound to just hit 90 mph. He reminds of high school kids at a showcase.

While his none of pitches stands out, he may be able to get by using the whole kitchen sink. Probably not though. There is just not much to like with him and I see him as a spot starter or as a long reliever.

Michael Kopech (check out Paul’s piece on Kopech, too!)

Fastball: 95-98 mph with some possible rise. Every pitcher wants to start out with a 97-mph fastball.

Slider: 79-85 mph with a near 12-6 curveball break. If he just pairs this pitch with his fastball, he’d be one of the game’s top closers.

Change: At 90-91 mph, this pitch puts him over the top. Hitters don’t have a chance.

Overall: He shows some ‘thrower’s mechanics where he gives 100% effort on each pitch and just launches the ball at the plate. By doing this, he often throws over the middle of the plate.

In my eye’s, he’s easily a top-30 pitcher going into next season with the chance of producing like a top-10 arm. My only worry is that hitters get a little too much of flyball fastball and he’ll be home run prone, especially in his home park.

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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Great stuff. This is a stupid question but seeing what you see on Gonsalves, how is it that the Twins didn’t try to work on his form in the minors? That contortion when he finishes his pitches can’t be good for his knees.