Andrew Cashner’s 2015 Fantasy Value

If you like what you’re reading then you will like my 2015 Fantasy Baseball Guide! Last year’s fantasy guide was more than 150,000 words and had 440 player profiles (of hitters and pitchers). My approach to player evaluation is to ask questions about what the player has done in the past and what he may do in the future. I certainly provide a narrative on how I feel a player will perform, but I also ask a lot of open ended questions that I hope will get you thinking about the information I’ve provided.

The big question in the fantasy community is will Andrew Cashner ever provide 30-plus starts in a season? Because if he does he could be a top 10-15 starting pitcher. Last year he missed 76 games due to a strained elbow in May and shoulder inflammation in June.

With any Padres pitcher let’s first look at Cashner’s home-road splits (table below).

Splits ERA WHIP BABIP K% BB% HR/FB LOB%
Home 2.11 1.00 .257 19.5% 5.5% 6.7% 76.7%
Away 4.07 1.32 .303 19.3% 7.9% 8.8% 70.1%

In regards to his stuff it can be unhittable in bursts or when he wants to be. By that I mean he’ll go months without throwing his slider, his best secondary pitcher (image below from BrooksBaseball.net). In 2013 he almost completely abandoned the pitch for the first half of the season.

andrew-cashner-slider-usageTo further expand the importance of his slider the table below shows his performance in the first and second half of 2013. You’ll notice his numbers got vastly better the more he started using the slider.

Split ERA WHIP AVG BABIP K% BB% HR/FB%
1st Half 3.81 1.27 .262 .298 16.2% 6.8% 8.4%
2nd Half 2.14 0.95 .194 .236 20.7% 6.5% 6.5%

When looking at his 2014 season there some negative trends. The contact rate rose 1.4 percentage points from the previous year while the ground ball rate (from 52.5% to 48.3%) and the swing and miss rate decreased (from 20.0% to 18.4%).

Cashner is a very intriguing and tempting pitcher because he pitches in Petco Park and has, in bursts, has looked like an ace. Injuries have been consistent throughout his career (he’s had significant shoulder injuries in three of the past four years as well as a strained elbow last summer). He will sporadically not throw all of his pitches (which is probably due to him not being 100%). On top of all that he’s missing fewer bats and he’s not generating as much weak contact.

The shallower the league the more likely I’m going to take a chance on Cashner. Also, if you’re confident in finding pitching on the waiver wire (i.e. Jacob deGrom, Jake Arrieta, Marcus Stroman and etc) then Cashner is well worth the risk because if he does go on the DL you will be able to augment your team with a very good replacement level pitcher.

My 2015 projection for Cashner is 150 IP, 3.31 era, 1.13 WHIP, 120 Ks and 9 wins.

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Tanner Roark’s 2015 Fantasy Value

If you like what you’re reading then you will like my 2015 Fantasy Baseball Guide! Last year’s fantasy guide was more than 150,000 words and had 440 player profiles (of hitters and pitchers). My approach to player evaluation is to ask questions about what the player has done in the past and what he may do in the future. I certainly provide a narrative on how I feel a player will perform, but I also ask a lot of open ended questions that I hope will get you thinking about the information I’ve provided.

As of mid-January Tanner Roark is not expected to begin the year in the Major League rotation. This player capsule assumes he will be. Even if he does not begin the year in the rotation he’ll mostl likely spend some time in the rotation because pitchers do get hurt and a lot can happen from January 22nd until Opening Day; a trade perhaps?

When looking at Roark’s 2014 numbers it’s easy to say he’s going to regress when his strand rate was very high (79.3%), the BABIP is really low (.270), he doesn’t strike batters out and he didn’t’t generate a lot of ground balls. I do agree he’s going to regress and last year will probably be the best fantasy season he will have in career, but he still has value as a streaming option in 10-team mixed leagues.

First, let’s look at the strikeout rate. Before the month of August he had a slightly below average strikeout rate (19%), but it was still much higher than his season total would indicate. The image below shows his strikeout and walk rates by month last year.

tanner-roark-k-bb-rate-by-month-2014If Roark is going to be a successful real life and fantasy starting pitcher it’s going to come down to what kind of pitcher is he? Is he the pitcher who will generate ground balls 50% of the time in 2013 or 40% last year. The main reason why the ground ball rate was lower was due to the performance of the curveball and slider (image below from BrooksBaseball.net).

tanner-roar-ground-ball-pitchesSince the ground ball rates were so low something must have happened to those two pitches? Maybe he left the pitches higher in the zone? The table below shows the percentage of times the curveball and slider were thrown down in the zone and the ground ball rate of those pitches down in the zone.

Splits Down% GB%
2013 55.1% 81.8%
2014 63.2% 39.1%

After looking at the table it looks like he was extremely unlucky with the ground ball rate last year. Therefore, I expect the ground ball rate to positively regress in 2015. If he’s ground baller he’s should be able to have an ERA less than 3.50 and a sub-1.20 WHIP with a lot of wins.

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Drew Hutchison’s 2015 Fantasy Value

If you like what you’re reading then you will like my 2015 Fantasy Baseball Guide! Last year’s fantasy guide was more than 150,000 words and had 440 player profiles (of hitters and pitchers). My approach to player evaluation is to ask questions about what the player has done in the past and what he may do in the future. I certainly provide a narrative on how I feel a player will perform, but I also ask a lot of open ended questions that I hope will get you thinking about the information I’ve provided.

After missing a little less than two seasons Drew Hutchison was finally healthy and made 32 starts. In late April I wrote, “After watching his start three starts I’m a believer that his raw stuff is good enough that he could be a 200 K pitcher if given the opportunity to start 31-33 games.” He ended up having 32 starts and pitched 184 innings. Coincidently he struck out 184 batters so if he pitched a few more innings my projection would have come true.

In that same piece I concluded my evaluation of Hutchison that he would finish the year with, “At the end of the year he’ll be somewhere near a 3.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP with 180 strikeouts.” Obviously I was incorrect about the ERA, but he had a 3.85 FIP and 3.82 xFIP so I was definitely on the right track.

The one thing he should try to work on is trying to limit the fly balls. Last year his fly ball rate was 45%, which is high considering the home ballpark is a bam box. If he can lower the fly ball rate to even 40% he’ll have an opportunity to have an ERA in the sub-3.80s. There’s another sign of optimism as his strikeout rate increased month-over-month while the walk rate decreased slightly as the season progressed (image below).

drew-hutchison-2014-k-bb-rateIf Hutchison played in a bigger market and in a better pitchers ballpark there would be more talk about him as a potential breakout candidate. He’ll likely be drafted in the 60-70 among starting pitchers (or even later), but he is one of the best candidates to substantially improve in 2015.

My 2015 projection for Hutchison is 200 IP, 3.79 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 200 Ks and 13 wins.

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