Zimmermann, Stauffer, and Lyles: NL Starting Pitchers

Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals | 50% Owned (Y!) | 57.5% Owned (ESPN)
The young righty didn’t exactly start the season out on a high note, as he struggled to strike batters out, and his ERA paid the price. However, Zimmermann has turned a corner as of late, and is looking like a darn good starting pitcher once again. Behold, as I give on to you split stats!

April: 29.2 IP, 4.25 K/9, 2.90 FIP, 4.55 ERA
May: 24.2 IP, 9.49 K/9, 2.70 FIP, 3.28 ERA

While Zimm’s April FIP looks awfully nice, his xFIP came in at around 4.00, so most of his work was done by keeping the ball in the yard. In May, however, his xFIP is in the low-3s.

Looking at some pitch f/x data, Zimmermann’s average fastball velocity is exactly the same as it was before he went under the knife, so it’s not like he’s trying to deal with a different arsenal of pitches at his disposal. His biggest problem has been a mediocre curveball that hasn’t been fooling hitters, but his fastball-slider combo is good enough to get righties out. He’s looking like he’s mixed-league worthy right now, and his ownership rates reflect that.

Tim Stauffer, Padres | 36% | 6.4%
Stauffer’s FIP and xFIP numbers look pretty darn good, and they have been backed up by good performances for most of this season. Over his past couple of starts, though, Stauffer has been hit around, and he still hasn’t picked up a win this year. I had the chance to watch Stauffer when he played the Mariners this past weekend, and he did not look sharp. Even though he kept the ball down in the zone and got a good deal of grounders, his fastball looked a little flat and his command was shaky at times. In my opinion, he was lucky to escape with a six innings and three earned runs. I still like the idea of Stauffer on my fantasy team, but you have to keep and eye on him during his next couple of starts to make sure he doesn’t blow up. If he doesn’t, he’s a great guy to have around.

Jordan Lyles, Astros | 0% | 0%
Lyles is Houston’s top prospect, at least according to our own Marc Hulet. Lyles isn’t anything spectacular, but he has a decent arsenal and has consistently posted FIPs in the 3s throughout his minor league career. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lyles up in the big leagues within a month or two, as the Astros need to take a look and see what they have long term with this guy. He won’t be great when he first comes up, but he could be a NL spot starter, at the very least.

Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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