Nolasco Demoted

Ricky Nolasco is not having the season expected of him. Nolasco’s ninth start occurred last night, and it might be his last in a Florida uniform for a while. After the game he was optioned to Triple-A. That suggests how he fared. Sort by ERA descending on the leaderboards and you get the following grouping as the only qualified pitchers with ERA over 7:

Ricky Nolasco 9.07
Scott Kazmir 7.69
Jamie Moyer 7.62
Joe Blanton 7.11

Sort by FIP and you get Moyer at the top, Kazmir, Blanton, yet Nolasco is nowhere to be found.In fact, he’s far down the page, grouped with Roy Oswalt, Matt Cain, and John Maine. Those three have ERAs of 4.47, 2.65, and 4.53, giving you an idea of where Nolasco’s walk, strikeout, and homerun rates would theoretically place him. So if Nolasco’s peripherals are decent, what’s the problem with his ERA?

After last night, about 40% of the balls being put into place against Nolasco are resulting in non-homerun hits. To say that’s a bit on the high side is like saying a flood resulted from a little rain. Nolasco’s line drive rate is up to 26%, which hardly falls in line with his prior performances. Nolasco’s pitches are finding the zone slightly less while still maintaining similar break and velocity as in prior years. The excess hits are leading to an awful strand rate of 49.4%, Nolasco’s career strand rate is 68.1%.

Maybe Nolasco does have something to work on in Triple-A, but this move seems more like a space-clearer than anything else. The Marlins are in dire need of fresh arms for a pen overworked this week. If you have the room on your fantasy bench, stash Nolasco or if you see him waived, see if you can’t pick him up after he clears waivers. It’s not like his fantasy value can drop any further.

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10 Responses to “Nolasco Demoted”

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  1. Nny says:

    The LD% against is basically the telling thing. He isn’t pitching well at the moment because he is not throwing quality strikes with his fast ball. His putting it over the plate and getting crushed for it. His BABIP isn’t unlucky because it’s online with his LD%. His LOB% isn’t unlucky because you’re not going to leave many on base when you give up a ton of hits, as you point out.

    The whole theory behind FIP, BABIP, ect is that there isn’t much of a difference in skill set of major league talent players. Nolasco should do a lot better later, because he does have major league talent. He’s not pitching like it right now though.

    The move really isn’t a space clearer because the Marlins are really short on starting options. They’re optioning/dfaing relievers and position players that are interchangeable, but they’re already have trouble filling the spot left by Anibal Sanchez’s injury. Now adding another hole in the rotation means having yet more starting pitching problems. It’s to hopefully right Nolasco’s ship, get him to throw quality strikes again.

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    • Badenhop having to pitch in the doubleheader threw him off starting tonight, so moving Nolasco down allowed them to bring up tonight’s starter along with an additional arm. That’s what I meant by space clearing move, I should’ve articulated it better.

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    • Sky says:

      I don’t really disagree. However, if his fastball is so much more hittable right now, why is that only showing up in BABIP? Why is he still striking out as many batters and why isn’t he giving up a ton more HRs? His BB rate is up a bit, perhaps showing he’s nibbling a bit more, but it’s still a good BB rate.

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  2. Sky says:

    One thing I wonder is if Nolasco’s stuff just isn’t as good this year? More LDs and more HRs per FB point towards worse stuff. More BBs point towards Nolasco realizing that and avoiding the zone.

    Looking at his FG pitch f/x numbers, he’s throwing his slider a lot more, which has a bit more horizontal break and a touch less vertical break. His fastball has a bit less vertical break. Nothing drastic, though.

    Not saying there’s anything there, and because his strikeout rate is just as high as last year, he obviously still has something to his pitches. But there COULD be something behind the increased LD rate and the higher HR/FB rate (although it’s no that much higher). We should be looking at ways to detect that.

    All that being said, I’m buying Nolasco in any fantasy leagues.

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    • Nny says:

      In response to using his slider more, he didn’t start really using it until June last year, so it’s kinda hard to measure how much he used it last year v.s. this year (since, afaik, there are no splits regarding that kind of stuff). That’s what he credited to his June plus outbreak, and going over Brook’s PithFX only has him using the pitcher a few times pre-june.

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  3. Sky says:

    Also, looking at the Pitch f/x page, Nolasco’s throwing a two-seam fastball more this year (or at least the Pitch f/x ID system thinks he is). However, on his season stats page, the pitch f/x values use different ID names, and there’s no “FT” classification for two-seamer. He’s getting rocked on fastballs according to that data — maybe it’s including the two-seamer? Maybe he should stop throwing the two-seamer, if in fact he’s added one? Although maybe I’m just confused as to how all the data is organized/classified.

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  4. Mikey says:

    I watched Nolasco pitch quite a bit last year and I’ve noticed his velocity is down a couple notches. When he was dealing last year he was throwing 93-95 and it seems this year he’s more around 90-93.

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    • Matt H. says:

      I watch 90% of Marlins games and the stuff looks the same to me, the results not so much. However, I have never been mistaken for a scout.

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  5. Austin says:

    yea, but if you compare his average fastbal velocity this year to last (per fangraphs) they’re the same at 91.2

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  6. Sam says:

    Sucks for your BoaB team, R.J..

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