This article is part of our The Z Files series.
As a follow-up to last week's episode discussing hitters moving the most within my ranks since draft season, here are 10 pitchers I've adjusted, five higher and five lower. The criteria are simple: they're all relevant in mixed leagues without immediate injury concern.
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
There are indicators Castillo is outpitching his peripherals. Specifically, his xFIP is 3.17 while his SIERA is 3.59, as compared to an actual 2.38 ERA. However, even if he pitches to his estimators, that's an improvement over what was expected after last season's disappointing campaign. Additionally, he's ramped up his strikeouts, the pitching equivalent to homers for hitters as punchouts influence ERA, WHIP and wins the same way homers affect runs, RBI and batting average. The righty's swinging strike rate is a career best, along with a 60 percent groundball rate. Personally, I classify groundball rate as a trait, not a skill since its utility is contextual. Considering Castillo works about half his games in the Great American Ballpark, more grounders are desired. Lost in Castillo's strong start is a high walk rate. He can mitigate impending regression with better control. This will serve to help him work deeper into games, as he's averaging about 5 2/3 innings per outing, a little low for a real-life or fantasy ace.
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
Last week, I rued making a couple of subjective overrules of my system. Add Snell to the list. My concern was more narrative than numbers.