Michael Wacha
Michael Wacha
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
Tampa Bay Rays
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Poor ratios are usually a combination of bad luck and bad pitching. Wacha's actual 6.62 ERA dwarfed his 4.30 xFIP and 3.99 SIERA, but it wasn't all misfortune. In a vacuum, a 23.7 K% and 4.5 BB% should lead to better outcomes. However, Wacha lacks the 10-mph delta between his fastball and change to keep hitters off balance. His repertoire consists of three pitches: a 94-mph fastball, an 89-mph cutter and an 87-mph changeup. Hitters can sit on a pitch, and if they guess right, hammer it as evidenced by a .366 BABIP and 20.5% HR/FB. Wacha signed with the Rays and if there's any organization able to put Wacha in a position to succeed, it's Tampa Bay. There's a chance it's as an opener, quelling chances to earn wins, but it could be as a primary pitcher, increasing the odds. It's purely a speculative bet, but one worth considering at the nominal cost. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#519
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Rays in December of 2020.
Lasts five frames in no-decision
PTampa Bay Rays
July 21, 2021
Wacha allowed three runs on six hits and struck out two in five innings of Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the Orioles. He did not factor into the decision.
ANALYSIS
The righty was incredibly efficient, not issuing any walks and requiring just 58 pitches to complete the five innings. A pair of solo home runs slightly diminished what was otherwise a solid outing for Wacha, who now has a 5.16 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 66.1 innings this season. Inconsistency has been the story of his season, although that may be attributable to his varied roles as a starter, reliever and a bulk pitcher following openers. Wacha figures to be in the rotation for the remainder of the season and is expected to make his next start Wednesday against the Yankees.
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Pitching Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
61
Last 10 Games
57
Last 5 Games
74
How many pitches does Michael Wacha generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Michael Wacha generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-13%
BAA vs LHP
2021
 
 
-1%
BAA vs LHP
2020
 
 
-21%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-16%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2019vs Left .267 402 77 40 95 20 2 13
Since 2019vs Right .306 595 121 40 165 29 2 36
2021vs Left .276 109 17 9 27 6 0 2
2021vs Right .278 170 40 9 44 7 1 12
2020vs Left .275 75 20 5 19 3 1 3
2020vs Right .346 81 17 2 27 8 1 6
2019vs Left .259 218 40 26 49 11 1 8
2019vs Right .309 344 64 29 94 14 0 18
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-20%
ERA at Home
2021
 
 
-33%
ERA at Home
2020
 
 
-14%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-23%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2019Home 4.54 1.32 103.0 3 4 0 8.1 2.4 1.8
Since 2019Away 5.66 1.65 124.0 6 9 0 7.6 3.8 2.0
2021Home 4.13 1.10 32.2 1 0 0 7.4 1.7 1.7
2021Away 6.15 1.57 33.2 1 2 0 8.0 3.2 2.1
2020Home 7.20 1.40 15.0 0 3 0 9.6 1.2 3.0
2020Away 6.16 1.68 19.0 1 1 0 9.9 2.4 1.9
2019Home 4.07 1.43 55.1 2 1 0 8.1 3.3 1.6
2019Away 5.30 1.67 71.1 4 6 0 6.8 4.4 2.0
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Michael Wacha compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 120 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.17
 
K/9
7.7
 
BB/9
2.4
 
HR/9
1.9
 
Fastball
93.3 mph
 
ERA
5.16
 
WHIP
1.34
 
BABIP
.305
 
GB/FB
1.16
 
Left On Base
72.0%
 
Exit Velocity
82.5 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
5.1%
 
Spin Rate
1951 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
23.0%
 
Swinging Strike
10.5%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Michael Wacha
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Aces Flying Solo
2 days ago
Todd Zola ranks the week’s starting pitching as Julio Urias is one of the few top-quality pitchers with two starts.
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Giants Steps
9 days ago
Todd Zola ranks the week's starting pitching, and the Giants' Kevin Gausman is on top with two starts.
FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets
10 days ago
Chris Bennett previews Friday’s FanDuel slate, rolling with Royals catcher Sal Perez as a value option against Baltimore.
DraftKings MLB: Friday Breakdown
10 days ago
Mike Barner says Freddie Freeman was red-hot heading into the break, which should continue hitting against Michael Wacha.
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: The Short and Long of It
11 days ago
Todd Zola ranks the starting pitchers for the next scoring periods. No surprise, Jacob deGrom is on top.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Wacha's 2019 campaign wasn't what he wanted heading into free agency, and he had to settle for a one-year deal with the Mets. He again battled injuries and bounced between the rotation and bullpen. In April, Wacha missed a couple of starts with left knee tendinitis before ending the season dealing with shoulder soreness. He was able to throw bullpens in October so he should be healthy heading into the spring. How long he stays that way is the concern, along with eroding peripherals. Wacha's K-BB% dropped to a career-worst 8.7%. He surrendered 26 homers in just 126.2 innings for a 1.85 HR/9, one of the worst marks in the league, despite Busch Stadium suppressing home runs. Be it as a starter, primary pitcher or reliever, Wacha is an injury-prone, fantasy liability. He's shown no signs of skills growth, sporting a weak SwStr%, failing to eclipse 10% since 2014. Let someone else hope, "This is the year."
There was a stretch in 2018 where it seemed like Wacha had found a time machine, as he was dealing as he did as a rookie in 2014. Over that 10-game stretch, Wacha went 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA and struck out 23% of the batters he faced. The fact he pitched in just 15 games and had an overall 3.20 ERA tells you two things: he ended up hurt (oblique), and he pitched poorly in the bookends around that 10-game stretch before going down. Wacha’s FIP was a full run higher than his actual ERA because he got away with a lot of walks thanks to a surprisingly low batting average on balls in play. Wacha’s 10% K-BB rate ranked 111th out of the 144 starting pitchers who worked at least 80 innings in 2018. For all his talents, he has but twice made 30 starts in a season. The skills are there, but the consistency and health are not. He is a filler or a flier more than part of a foundation.
While Wacha has not developed into an ace as some expected, the right-hander has performed at an above-average level when on the field over the past four seasons, and he may not be done improving. He boosted his strikeout rate from 18.8 percent to 22.5 percent last season, thanks in part to an uptick in first-pitch strike rate to a career-high 65.8 percent (from 59.1 percent), and he maintained a walk rate right around his career average of 7.6 percent. Wacha trimmed his HR/9 slightly (to 0.92), which was no small feat in 2017, but manager Mike Matheny was quick to give Wacha the hook when he didn't have it; he had eight starts of 4.1 innings or fewer and that led to a modest innings total over 30 starts. That's probably a good thing for a player with Wacha's injury history, and that kind of limited workload is not a big deterrent in fantasy in this day and age with so few players throwing 200 innings.
Things went from bad to worse for Wacha when an inflamed shoulder sent him to the DL for over a month from August to September. There had been high hopes that he'd be ready to take the next step in establishing himself as a solid major-league starter, but a 4.62 ERA and 1.44 WHIP built over 24 starts did just the opposite. He also managed to average just 5.5 innings per start while his strikeout rate fell for the third straight year. Wacha's array of struggles have sparked conversations about transitioning him to a relief role and dropping him from the rotation altogether, and based off last season's performance, St. Louis has every right to do so. Opponents owned a .289 batting average and .800 OPS when facing Wacha, both of which are career-highs for the 25-year-old righty. He'll likely stretch out during spring training in case injuries impact the Cards' projected starting five, but Wacha's 2017 may feature a transition to a super-relief role.
If one were to look at Wacha’s ERA by halves, it looks like he started strong and then faded with a 2.93/4.01 split, but that doesn’t really tell the story. First off, he had a 2.69 ERA through August before a really rough September (7.88). His first six starts yielded a 2.09 ERA, but just a 4.4 K/9 which left many skeptical. He then ran off an ace-like 19-start stretch of 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9 in 119 frames before September. That’s where the wheels come off with seven home runs allowed and a 1.1 K:BB ratio in 25 innings. It looks a lot like normal fatigue of a young pitcher grinding through his first full season as the velocity dropped and homers spiked. Now just 24, Wacha will be eyeing his first 200-inning season as the reins should be off entirely. We’ve seen the premium strikeout rate in spurts every year. If he can hold it over a full season, he will be a budding ace, but even if he stays in that mid-7.0s range, he’s still a top-30 arm.
One of the most popular picks in 2014 fantasy drafts, Wacha was limited to just 107 innings in 2014 after dealing with a stress reaction in his right shoulder for much of the summer. Wacha was not impressive in his four September starts after returning form his injury, but prior to hitting the disabled list he looked even better than he did in 2013, posting a 2.79 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while striking out 83 batters in 90.1 innings. Still just 23 years old and with a clean bill of health, Wacha should be in line for another excellent season in 2015, and will likely be available later than he was in 2014 drafts due to injury concerns and recency bias. Wacha will likely slot in as the second or third starter for an improved Cardinals team in 2015.
Wacha didn't receive a full-time shot in the rotation until September and he quickly locked up a spot in the rotation for 2014 by being nearly unhittable while leading the Cardinals into the playoffs and to the World Series. Wacha made things look very easy at times, nearly throwing a no-hitter, and holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average against him during his five September starts while striking out 28 across 31.1 innings. The 22-year-old will start 2014 near the top of the Cardinals' rotation, likely as the team's No. 2 or No. 3 starter. His ceiling won't be much higher, but his floor is extremely high for a pitcher his age and he should be a very good starting pitcher for years to come.
Things moved fast for Wacha last year. After going in the first round in June, he was with Double-A Springfield by August. The 21-year-old right-hander only pitched 21 innings in the minors last year, but nobody could hit him, as he posted video-game stats of 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and an out-of-this-world 40:4 K:BB. He's on the fast track to St. Louis and could be pitching in their bullpen sometime this season. Don't forget him on draft day.
More Fantasy News
Shaky outing Friday
PTampa Bay Rays
July 17, 2021
Wacha allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five over four innings Friday against the Braves. He did not factor into the decision.
ANALYSIS
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Shines in win
PTampa Bay Rays
July 7, 2021
Wacha (2-2) allowed one run on four hits in six innings, striking out one batter and earning the win in Wednesday's 8-1, Game 1 victory over Cleveland.
ANALYSIS
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Set to start Game 1 on Wednesday
PTampa Bay Rays
July 6, 2021
Wacha will start Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against Cleveland, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Tuesday's start postponed
PTampa Bay Rays
July 5, 2021
Wacha won't start Tuesday against Cleveland after the game was postponed due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
ANALYSIS
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Roughed up by Washington
PTampa Bay Rays
June 30, 2021
Wacha allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks while tossing three relief innings during Wednesday's loss to the Nationals. He struck out five and did not factor in the decision
ANALYSIS
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