Pitching 3D: Pitchers 61-70

Pitching 3D: Pitchers 61-70

This article is part of our Pitching 3D series.

The rankings continue with 10 of the 14 pitchers who earned 29 points on the DT scale. The top two pitchers were covered last episode as we looked at the pitchers who rounded out the top 60, with Tyler Glasnow and Joe Ross topping the list of 29-point players.

Here's a quick review of the rankings:

Introduction to the ratings
Rating NFBC SP 1-10
Rating NFBC SP 11-21
Rating DT SP 22-30 (and 19)
Rating DT SP 31-40
Rating DT SP 41-50
Rating DT SP 51-60

Glasnow was the only pitcher in the 29-point group to earn as many as seven points in the strikeouts category, which played a big role in elevating to the head of the class to rank 59th overall. Here are a couple points of interest in today's rankings: only one pitcher in this group earns 5 points in the WHIP category - but he brings the caveat of an inefficient delivery; and there's only one pitcher who cracks 6 points on the assessment for stuff, and that guy is 28 years old yet has never pitched more than 121 innings in a season at the highest level.

James Paxton

NFBC ADP: 53
DT Rank: 61

K 6 of 10
ERA 3 of 6
WHIP 3 of 6
W 2 of 3
IP 5 of 10
Stuff 6 of 8
Mechanics 4 of 7
TOTAL 29 of 50
Paxton is all the rage. In the time since I started this article series, his ADP has risen
The rankings continue with 10 of the 14 pitchers who earned 29 points on the DT scale. The top two pitchers were covered last episode as we looked at the pitchers who rounded out the top 60, with Tyler Glasnow and Joe Ross topping the list of 29-point players.

Here's a quick review of the rankings:

Introduction to the ratings
Rating NFBC SP 1-10
Rating NFBC SP 11-21
Rating DT SP 22-30 (and 19)
Rating DT SP 31-40
Rating DT SP 41-50
Rating DT SP 51-60

Glasnow was the only pitcher in the 29-point group to earn as many as seven points in the strikeouts category, which played a big role in elevating to the head of the class to rank 59th overall. Here are a couple points of interest in today's rankings: only one pitcher in this group earns 5 points in the WHIP category - but he brings the caveat of an inefficient delivery; and there's only one pitcher who cracks 6 points on the assessment for stuff, and that guy is 28 years old yet has never pitched more than 121 innings in a season at the highest level.

James Paxton

NFBC ADP: 53
DT Rank: 61

K 6 of 10
ERA 3 of 6
WHIP 3 of 6
W 2 of 3
IP 5 of 10
Stuff 6 of 8
Mechanics 4 of 7
TOTAL 29 of 50
Paxton is all the rage. In the time since I started this article series, his ADP has risen from No. 53 (captured on January 31) to No. 45 as of Feb. 22, and I've heard of his being plucked far earlier than that by managers looking for the next best thing. His stuff is legit, with a fastball that averages 97 mph and a pair of breaking pitches that batters struggles to square up last season, making him the only pitcher in the 29-point cohort who earns a "6" in the stuff category. He also made some mechanical adjustments last season, as Paxton used to have an exaggerated rock-n-roll pattern to his delivery in which he leaned back toward second base and pointed his glove high in the sky, as if shooting a bow-and-arrow at the sun. He has since lowered the bow-and-arrow, a strategy that has helped him to repeat the motion as well as coax more torque by solidifying his trigger of trunk rotation, hitting foot strike before the upper-half starts its rotational sequence.

The problem is that his breakout season involved a 3.79 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP in just 121.0 innings, meaning that he has another large step to take to justify a lofty ranking, yet the trends suggest that managers are drafting Paxton based on what he could do despite the fact that he is 28 and is still a ways from getting there.

Marco Estrada

NFBC ADP: 59
DT Rank: 62

K 6
ERA 4
WHIP 5
W 2
IP 6
Stuff 4
Mechanics 2
TOTAL 29
Estrada is the only player in the 29-point group who earns as high as a "5" in his projected WHIP, and though the modus operandi is to heavily regress the stat lines of players with egregiously-low BABiPs, Estrada is the rare pitcher who has consistently posted low marks in the BABiP category over the years - he has a combined .241 over the last four seasons covering 635.2 innings of work, with full-season marks of .261 or lower in each season. His delivery has gotten much better over the years, yet he is still one of the heaviest spine-tilters in the game and has an extremely slow pace to the plate, contributing to the low mechanics grade. Given my personal penchant for mechanics, it pains me to put Estrada so high among his cohort of 29-point pitchers, but the veteran has established an ability to generate numbers despite the inefficient delivery, and he has done so long enough to receive some benefit of the doubt.

Drew Pomeranz

NFBC ADP: 60
DT Rank: 63

K 6
ERA 4
WHIP 4
W 2
IP 5
Stuff 4
Mechanics 4
TOTAL 29
Pomeranz is an interesting character, sometimes masquerading with ace-like numbers yet never offering the consistency or the innings to serve as a rotation anchor. He's penciled into the back-end of the Boston rotation, but he will face competition all season from the likes of Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright, and given that Pomeranz has thrown triple-digit innings at the highest level exactly once in his career (last season's 170 frames), the onus is on his expected workload. He should be able to hold down the ratios while generating enough Ks to be useful when he is on the mound, but counting on much more than 150 innings is to ignore the lefty's track record of fragility.

Michael Wacha

NFBC ADP: 69
DT Rank: 64

K 5
ERA 4
WHIP 4
W 2
IP 5
Stuff 5
Mechanics 4
TOTAL 29
Wacha's stock has plummeted in the span of just one year. After three years of ERA's under 3.40 (composite ERA of 3.21 from 2013-15), Wacha was blown up last season to the tune of a 5.09 ERA, but his peripherals from the previous two seasons were largely intact. His walk rate was a carbon-copy of the previous two seasons and his K rate lost a tick, but the culprit behind his demise was a sudden affinity for hits allowed - especially those of the extra-base variety. His H/9 went up from three seasons of 8.0 or fewer to the 10.4 H/9 of 2016, and though the lack of punchouts indicates that Wacha was probably playing a bit over his head to begin with, last season was a much greater aberration in the opposite direction. Consider this ranking a hedge that he gets back some of the magic, but that his stats prior to '16 painted a picture that was a bit too optimistic.

Tanner Roark

NFBC ADP: 36
DT Rank: 65

K 4
ERA 4
WHIP 4
W 2
IP 7
Stuff 4
Mechanics 4
TOTAL 29
I think that folks are gonna hate this ranking, based not only on his NFBC ADP but also the considerable attention that Roark is getting from other fantasy pundits. I realize that he has a career ERA of 3.01 in more than 560 innings, a mark which would qualify for an easy 5 points in the DT system, but I'm more critical of his ability to repeat that mark in 2017. His delivery has morphed greatly over the last few years, strikeouts have never been an asset and his value is largely tied up with balls in play, a dangerous combination. Roark serves as an example of the perfect player who gets nailed by this system, and the fact that I didn't rush to place him at the top of the pile of his 29-point friends shows that I am on board with the system's assessment. Assuming that the strikeouts aren't going to magically appear, he basically must have an ERA in the low 3.00s to justify his ADP, so I see a player with no room to create profit at his ADP and who could become a detriment in every category if things don't go his way on contact.

Matt Moore

NFBC ADP: 55
DT Rank: 66

K 5
ERA 3
WHIP 3
W 2
IP 7
Stuff 5
Mechanics 4
TOTAL 29
I was a big proponent of Moore as he was coming up through the Tampa Bay system, and I held out hope that he was a minor adjustment away from taking a big leap forward in performance as his MLB career got off the ground. However, the necessary adjustments never materialized while his velocity went south (though it has seemingly stabilized near 93.5 mph) , leaving him as a pitcher who still struggles with command (though it has gotten better), whose ERA was over 4.00 last season despite playing his home games in a great pitcher's park and whose strikeouts have become a liability in the category. Scarier is the prospect that Moore will pitch considerable innings this season, meaning that any subpar ratios will be magnified in their impact on a fantasy team's roto categories. Only invest in his services if innings are at a premium and your club is unlikely to meet the innings cap. But hey, he has a great curve, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Lance Lynn

NFBC ADP: 74
DT Rank: 67

K 6
ERA 4
WHIP 3
W 2
IP 4
Stuff 5
Mechanics 5
TOTAL 29
Innings are always a question with a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery, and we will need to get deeper into spring to understand how much of Lynn's effectiveness survived the procedure. His WHIP was an issue before the surgery, though it was at least predictable, given the stable walk rates (3.2-3.5 BB/9 each season) and relatively-consistent hit rates (8.0-9.2 H/9) that Lynn put up from 2012-15. He has a solid delivery with a low arm slot, which combines with his sidewinding stuff to create a lot of lateral variation on his pitches - in short, his command is better than his walk rates suggest, but it's tougher to get strikes when the ball misses in/out than it is when the ball misses high/low (the Estrada paradigm). The score and ranking of Lynn is very volatile this spring, but be careful, because the upside is modest but the downside is steep.

Collin McHugh

NFBC ADP: 85
DT Rank: 68

K 6
ERA 3
WHIP 3
W 2
IP 7
Stuff 3
Mechanics 5
TOTAL 29
The only thing keeping this guy from a "6" delivery is repetition of timing, but I really like the efficiency of his momentum, as McHugh maintains a straight line of accelerating kinetic energy through the lift and stride portions of his delivery, helping the right-hander to make the most of his solid-yet-unspectacular repertoire of pitches. His motion is not exceptionally powerful, but it is very efficient in generating power, directing his motion toward the target with the first movement of his lift leg, and maintaining excellent balance throughout the delivery. His projections in the rotisserie categories are very similar to those of Matt Moore, but NFBC ADP has them 30 picks apart; go figure.

Hisashi Iwakuma

NFBC ADP: 71
DT Rank: 69

K 5
ERA 3
WHIP 4
W 2
IP 6
Stuff 3
Mechanics 6
TOTAL 29
A theme begins to emerge as Iwakuma comes into the fold, as yet another pitcher with an excellent delivery but numbers that are no longer an asset. Iwakuma's obviously in decline, with fastball velocity that has dropped 1.6 mph over the last two seasons and now averages 88.3 mph. His fantasy stats took a beating last season, as all four categories marked career worsts for the right-hander, including a K rate that tumbled to unacceptable levels. The above projection involves some bounceback for Iwakuma, but the health of his right shoulder will determine whether such a scenario is in the cards.

Jordan Zimmermann

NFBC ADP: 78
DT Rank: 70

K 4
ERA 3
WHIP 4
W 2
IP 6
Stuff 4
Mechanics 6
TOTAL 29
It kills me to have J-Zimm this low, as I have fawned over his high-momentum (yet well-stabilized) delivery several times in the past, while acknowledging that his arm action includes a known precursor to elbow injury (elbow drag, Tommy John Surgery already on resume), but at this point his physical skills appear to have declined to where his weaknesses are exposed. Zimmermann's fastball - which averaged 94.6 mph for three straight seasons from 2012-14 - has now dropped a tick in each of the past two seasons, leaving him with an average of 92.6 mph last season. Compounding the issue, Zimm's slider has averaged 87.7 mph or more in each of the past three seasons, an uptick from his peak. This is a problem for a player who leans so heavily on two pitches, as the effective result has squeezed the velocity bands of his pitches. Zimm has been throwing some extra curveballs (80 mph average) the last couple seasons to mix things up and the pitch has been effective, so it might become a more prominent part of his repertoire if the right-hander is to succeed as he gets further from his physical prime.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doug Thorburn
Doug started writing for RotoWire in April of 2015. His work can be found elsewhere at Baseball Prospectus and RotoGrinders, and as the co-host of the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast. Thorburn's expertise lies on the mound, where he tackles the world of pitching with an emphasis on mechanical evaluation. He spent five years at the National Pitching Association working under pitching coach Tom House, where Thorburn ran the hi-speed motion analysis program in addition to serving as an instructor. Thorburn and House wrote the 2009 book, “Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: Building a Million Dollar Arm,” using data from hi-speed motion analysis to tackle conventional wisdom in baseball. His DraftKings ID is “Raising Aces”.
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