Reviewing 2016 Pod Projections: Raisel Iglesias

Alas, we have come to both the final 2016 Pod Projection recap and the last review of my 2016 preseason articles! We arrive at Raisel Iglesias, whose projections were all likely to be wrong, because we all figured he’d remain in the starting rotation. Instead, he ended up making just five starts, missed a month and a half with a shoulder injury, and then return as a reliever. He even ended up recording six saves! But let’s see what I projected and what actually transpired anyway.

Projected IP: 170 | Actual: 78.1

Sooo yeah, obviously becoming a reliever made it impossible for Iglesias to reach my innings projection. Manager Bryan Price has already suggested that Iglesias would be part of a closing committee next season, so it appears he’s heading for the bullpen all season.

Projected K%: 23.7% | Actual: 25.5%

Of course, a pitcher is going to post a higher strikeout rate when the majority of his innings are recorded while in a relief role. As a starter though, his strikeout rate was nearly identical to my projection, as it sat at 23.6% after five starts. As a reliever, he posted a 26.7% mark. Iglesias’ slider was excellent again at inducing swings and misses, while both his sinker and four-seamer were above average as well. His changeup, though, lost some of its whifftastic ways of 2015, as the pitch’s SwStk% plummeted from 17.1% to 10.7%. Assuming he remains in the bullpen in 2017, he will likely once again post a mid-to-high 20% strikeout rate.

Projected BB%: 7.7% | Actual: 8.0%

Almost nailed the walk rate too, though that was for his overall season total, as opposed to just as a starter. As a starter, he posted a 5.7% mark, but his walk rate shot up to 9.4% as a reliever. His control wasn’t very good in Cuba, so I thought there was some risk of serious regression here. It didn’t happen, though he was a bit worse than 2015. His overall strike percentage did plummet though, falling below the league average.

Projected GB%/LD%/FB%: 46% / 21% / 33% | Actual: 40.6% / 21.3% / 38.2%

With little historical data to work with, I just assumed very slight regression on the ground ball rate off his 2015 rookie campaign. Instead, more of those previous ground balls became fly balls. It was all because of his slider, which was a ground ball pitch in 2015, but reversed course and became a fly ball pitch this season.

Projected HR/FB%: 11.5% | Actual: 8.9%

Iglesias posted an inflated HR/FB rate in 2015, but you couldn’t blame his home park, as he actually allowed an away mark of 21.4%. This season, his away HR/FB rate fell by more than half, closing the gap between his home and away marks. Even with the leaguewide power spike, his HR/FB rate ended up declining, proving as usual that these marks over small samples are super random.

Projected BABIP: .295 | Actual: .275

The Reds defense was just average this year, barely posting a positive UZR/150, but Iglesias still managed to post a suppressed BABIP despite an LD% above league average and IFFB% below league average. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be anything in his profile that would support a low BABIP, so I’d expect regression next year.

Below was my final projected pitching line, along with the other systems and his actual results for comparison:

Raisel Iglesias 2016 Projections & Actual
Pod 170 11 3.52 1.23 169 8.9 2.9 0.96 23.7% 7.7% 0.295 74.3%
Steamer 175 10 3.58 1.20 170 8.7 2.7 1.04 23.1% 7.2% 0.284 73.6%
Fans (13) 150 8 3.58 1.15 156 9.4 2.5 0.96 0.299 72.3%
ZiPS 133 7 3.79 1.24 127 8.6 2.4 1.08 0.313 73.6%
2016 78.1 3 2.53 1.14 83 9.5 3.0 0.80 25.5% 8.0% 0.275 85.5%

My projection was most optimistic on the ERA side, though actually ranked third out of four on WHIP, which is strange! I was most bearish on the walk rate and almost nailed both the BB/9 and BB%, while I was second most bullish on the strikeout rate, but missed because of the move to a relief role. I highly doubt the Reds enter the season with a committee of closers and Iglesias is more than capable of doing the job. My money is on him to be a solid middle tier option.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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