Man Can Live on Fastball Alone

One is young, one is old. One throws lefty, one throws righty. One is skinny, one us far from it. One uses his delivery to hide the ball from batters and the other uses his girth. One consistently pounds the strike zone while the other approaches it with shotgun aim. Despite their differences, they have very similar results across the board.

Most would guess that the younger Cingrani throws the harder fastball, and they would be right. Cingrani had an average fastball velocity of 91.8 mph last season, topping out at 96.3. Colon was further down the list at 89.9 mph, but he would occasionally dot 96 on the radar gun as well. The bigger difference shows up in how each pitcher used the fastball to achieve similar results.

Pitcher Pitches Miss|PERCENT| Strike|PERCENT| Called Str|PERCENT| In Play|PERCENT| GB|PERCENT| FB|PERCENT|
Colon 2367 12.5|PERCENT| 69.2|PERCENT| 39.7|PERCENT| 46.6|PERCENT| 42.5|PERCENT| 38.8|PERCENT|
Cingrani 1483 24.3|PERCENT| 66.5|PERCENT| 35.0|PERCENT| 31.4|PERCENT| 33.6|PERCENT| 49.6|PERCENT|

Despite the fact batters made more contact with Colon’s fastball and put a much higher percentage of them in play, Colon had the lower opponents’ OPS of the two pitchers while opponents’ batting average against Cingrai’s fastball was 62 points lower. The larger difference came in how each limited their overall damage.

Colon faced 769 batters and allowed just 29 free passes to those batters while allowing 14 home runs. Cingrani also permitted 14 home runs, but did so facing just 420 batters and walked 43. Colon’s 3.8|PERCENT| walk rate was one of the best in baseball while Cingrani’s 10.2|PERCENT| was below the league average for starting pitchers. That helped Colon post the better ERA by 0.27 points last season despite the lower LOB|PERCENT|.

If your goal is to get a pitcher that is going to help you in all four starting pitching categories, Cingrani is the clear winner simply because of the strikeout dominance. That said, the combination of a high walk rate and a very high LOB|PERCENT| for a starting pitcher are worrysome. The gap between his 2.92 ERA and 3.78 FIP last season give you a caution flag to stare at. Additionally, the fact he lost velocity as the season went on is another caution flag for the young hurler. 

If you are later in your draft and are looking for help with your ratios while letting the Win Gods do what they do, consider letting the big fat one (as Matthew Berry would declare in each Tout Wars auction) waddle his way on your roster.