Rookie pitchers can be a great source of value for fantasy owners, as they can be picked up off the waiver wire instead of having to pay a premium to get them.
Of course, they also carry a huge risk, as they are generally an extremely inconsistent bunch while trying to acclimate themselves to the Major Leagues.
We have all kept close tabs on some of the bigger names, like Michael Pineda, Jeremy Hellickson and Kyle Drabek, but let’s take a look at how some of the others have fared:
Dillon Gee – New York Mets
All he has done this season is go 6-0 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, so why is it that it feels like he consistently gets disrespected by fantasy owners?
An extremely lucky BABIP as a starting pitcher certainly helps matters, as he is currently sporting a .236 mark.
However, outside of that mark, exactly what is there that we don’t like? He calls a pitcher’s park home and does a good job of generating groundballs (47.1 percent groundball rate). He has solid control, with a BB/9 of 3.33 and a minor league career mark of 1.95.
He has not been overly lucky with the ERA, with a strand rate of 72.4 percent.
In other words, the guy has been consistently good and proven that he belongs in the big leagues. While the WHIP may not be repeatable since he’s going to give up more hits, there certainly is reason to believe that he’s going to remain a viable option in all formats.
Ivan Nova – New York Yankees
He’s sporting a 4.50 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. If those numbers weren’t enough to scare us off, throw in the fact that he pitches in the ultra-competitive AL East.
Clearly, there are reasons to be skeptical. Sure, you can argue that he’s suffered from some poor luck, with a .311 BABIP and 67.5 percent strand rate, but that is far from enough to justify using him.
He has shown almost no strikeout potential, with a 4.35 K/9. In the minor leagues, he was at just 6.32, so it’s not like he’s suddenly going to start mowing down opposing hitters.
In fact, he’s shown a strikeout-to-walk rate of 29-to-26, far from inspiring.
Numbers like that make him nearly unusable, especially with routine matchups against the Red Sox and Rays.
Tyler Chatwood – Los Angeles Angels
He has a 3.64 ERA, though it’s a bit deceiving considering his 1.52 WHIP.
While the BABIP (.289) and strand rate (76.3 percent) are realistic, the numbers are not impressive, and there should be fears of significant struggles moving forward.
His current strikeout rate is 4.06, while his walk rate is 4.76. Yep, he has 34 walks vs. 29 strikeouts, a ratio that is horrendous. Has he been pitching better lately? Sure, he’s allowed just 4 ER over his last 20.1 innings, but with just 10 strikeouts and seven walks.
Part of the problem could be that he’s too dependent on his fastball, which he’s throwing 74.4 percent of the time. Over his minor league career, he did show more strikeout potential (7.68 K/9), though he didn’t show much once he graduated to Double-A.
In other words, don’t bother taking the gamble on him.
Aneury Rodriguez – Houston Astros
He’s posted a 5.28 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 16 appearances (seven starts). The Rule 5 draft pick was solid for the Rays Triple-A team in ’10 (3.80 ERA, 1.35 WHIP), but these are extremely different circumstances.
He has pitched better as a starting pitcher with a 4.95 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, though how inspiring is that? He calls a pitcher's park home, where he has posted a 5.95 ERA.
Without impressive strikeout numbers, it’s easy to bypass him in all but NL-only formats.
Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks
He has been incredibly impressive thus far, going 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 12 appearances (5 starts).
As a starting pitcher he has a 1.23 ERA and 0.68 WHIP, so it’s not like his numbers are buoyed by his time in the bullpen.
Should we be getting excited? He’s sporting an unmaintainable .148 BABIP as a starting pitcher, as well as an 82.3 percent strand rate, so we all know that there is a major regression likely on the horizon.
His strikeout rate as a starting pitcher is a miniscule 4.60, though he showed a lot more potential in the minor leagues (8.25 K/9 over 94 appearances, 92 starts). An improvement there certainly would help to offset his other potential regression.
Of course, his minor league BB/9 was 3.08, compared to his 1.23 as a starting pitcher in ’11.
Another number to be aware of is his 0.00 ERA at home (while he’s allowed 4 HR on the road). Does anyone really expect him to be able to maintain that type of production?
Tread carefully with him, because there appears to be reason to think things will come crashing down before long.
What are your thoughts on these pitchers? Who would you use? Who would you ignore?
Make sure to check out these other great articles from Rotoprofessor:
- Around The Majors: June 6: Nelson Cruz, Cliff Lee and More
- Injury Report: June 7: Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Evan Longoria & More
- Potential June 1 Callups – Pitchers Edition
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