Top 25 Starting Pitcher Busts: Oliver and Steamer Projections

Clay Buchholz

We looked at outfield busts two weeks ago and infield busts lasts week, while our attention will turn to the biggest starting pitching busts of 2014 this week; we’ll look at closer busts next week.

(If you read the previous two articles you can skip the next two paragraphs, which describe how we define a bust.)

To ascribe an analytic value to how we quantify a bust, we will look at a player’s 2013 roto value and a hybrid of their Steamer and Oliver projections.

Bust: Our formula for a bust will be a player’s projected 2014 roto value—this forecasted value will be composed of an average between a player’s Steamer and Oliver projections—minus their 2013 roto value. (Values will be calculated for a 12-team 5×5 roto league)

Starting Pitcher Busts

[table id=28 /]

Bartolo Colon: New York Mets

Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon may pitch well in 2014, but it is unlikely that he’ll make it the whole season without a trip to the DL. Photo by Keith Allison

Bartolo Colon is like that crazy friend everyone had in their mid twenties. You loved to party with him, he always had crazy stories, and he always knew girls that were five years younger, tan, had platinum blonde hair, and were built like pin up models; and then he went to rehab because no one can sustain that level of recreational indulgence for long. The same goes for Bartolo Colon. The last couple of years have been fun. You drafted him in the last round or spent a dollar on him, and you were thrilled when he produced like a top twenty pitcher. But, the writing is on the wall, and you don’t want to be the owner that spends money on Colon when the wheels fall off. Colon has been on the DL each of the last two seasons, and according to Jeff Zimmerman’s research done on injury prediction, Colon is the most likely pitcher in baseball to visit the DL in 2014.

Clay Buchholz: Boston Red Sox

Buchholz will see a regression toward the mean in terms of his 2013 4.5% HR/FB ratio and .254 BABIP, which should correct his ERA to his career average of 3.60 in 2014. While Buchholz’s peripherals will correct themselves, that doesn’t mean that he won’t have a good season, it just means that he won’t be a top fantasy option like he was in the first half of the season last year. Still, owners should be skeptical of the shoulder injury that cost him the second half of last season.

Hisashi Iwakuma: Seattle Mariners

Somehow Iwakuma was able to not walk batters in the first half of 2013 (3.8% BB%), but then readjusted to his career norm in the second half (6.4% BB%), which could be the result of an increased use in his fastball (38.6% in 2013 compared to 32.7 in 2012). Iwakuma is still projected to have a great year by Oliver with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

Julio Teheran: Atlanta Braves

Oliver and Steamer unanimously agree that Julio Teheran’s ERA will go up in 2014, but they are also in a consensus when it comes to a reduction in his strikeout total. Teheran’s SwStr% of 10.5% correlates more to 8 K/9 than his 2012 total of 8.24. While Teheran did receive some luck from batted balls in 2013, most of his luck came from an 80.9% LOB% that will be difficult to duplicate. On a lighter note, in the same research conducted by Jeff Zimmerman that was quoted for Bartolo Colon, Teheran is one of the least likely pitchers to visit the DL in 2014.

Dillon Gee: New York Mets

Excluding R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee threw the tenth slowest average fastball in 2013 (89.2 MPH). I’m not sure if there is a correlation between average fastball speed and overall success, but is interesting that someone with such a tempered velocity can have a 9.4 SwStr%—the same as Cliff Lee. Gee is projected to be around the league average mark for ERA by Steamer and Oliver, but this is one case where there is a clear path to success beyond the projections.  Gee attempted to submarine his 2013 campaign with a 5.96 ERA in Aril and a 5.46 ERA in May, however in the second half of the season his combined ERA was 2.74.

Follow Me on TwitterDevin Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading him, follow him on Twitter @devinjjordan.

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