The Z Files: Five Surprise Arms

The Z Files: Five Surprise Arms

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

As many of you know (and if you don't, you're missing out on some cool content), I administer a weekly Tout Table where I pose a question to the 94 participants. Anywhere between a quarter and a half of the group responds and I post the answers on ToutWars.com.

This week's query was:

Which surprising arm has the greatest likelihood of maintaining success and which is slated for the biggest fall among Matthew Boyd, Danny Duffy, Taijuan Walker, Huascar Ynoa and Kyle Gibson?

I started to do the research for my answer when I realized it would make a nice Z Files, so here we go.

Before diving into the players, here's my approach. The first step is comparing actual ERA to ERA estimators as well as getting a feel for luck-oriented metrics such as BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB. For some, it ends here with the luckiest most likely to fall and the one whose actual ERA most closely matches the estimators deemed "for real."

For me, this is just getting the lay of the land. A fortunate hurler can fend off regression via improving skills. A pitcher whose skills support his early success may not be able to maintain them. Perhaps he's benefited from an easy early schedule or has faced teams missing their top players. To consider a skills change sustainable, I want to see something different from previous seasons. This can be added velocity or spin, a new pitch or different usage

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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