MASH Report (5/9/13)

This week I will examine three pitchers coming off the DL and the 10 starting pitchers with the lowest 2013 Zone% values.

Chris Capuano (calf) is back from the DL and his first start was far from stellar, 4 IP, 2K, 2BB, 2HR, 6 runs. His velocity seemed fine.

I see no reason for concern. He is a 34-year-old pitcher with a career ERA (4.32) and FIP (4.33) over 4.00. He is going to have his bad days.

Craig Breslow in two appearances since returning from the DL has seen his velocity off almost 2 mph from 2012 (90.9 mph down to 88.1 mph)

He has been an effective LOOGY the past few seasons with a career 3.01 ERA. I see no reason to roster him right now until he improves.

Mark Lowe‘s fastball is at the same point is was in the second half of 2012. His 2013 average of 92.9 is almost 4 mph slower than his 2011 average.

One good sign, even though it was one game, his Zone% was at 62.5%, after having a high of 41% in his previous appearances.

• I am going to go digging for possible injuries. Here is a list of the 10 qualified starters with the lowest 2013 Zone% values. A Zone% less than 47% makes a pitcher more of an injury risk. These pitchers are way below the threshold.

2013 2012
Name Team IP Zone% Average Fastball IP Zone% Average Fastball Zone% Average Fastball
Lucas Harrell Astros 39.1 40.2% 91.7 193.2 49.1% 92.2 -8.9% -0.5
Jeff Locke Pirates 33.2 40.7% 90.0 34.1 53.5% 90.8 -12.8% -0.8
Jason Marquis Padres 44.0 42.4% 87.2 127.2 45.4% 88.5 -3.0% -1.3
Jeremy Hefner Mets 35.0 42.8% 90.0 93.2 49.8% 90.3 -7.0% -0.3
Ryan Dempster Red Sox 43.0 43.0% 88.8 173.0 48.1% 89.6 -5.1% -0.8
Jake Westbrook Cardinals 39.0 43.1% 89.7 174.2 45.8% 90.4 -2.7% -0.7
Wily Peralta Brewers 39.0 43.1% 94.0 29.0 44.9% 95.4 -1.8% -1.4
Mark Buehrle Blue Jays 41.0 43.5% 84.4 202.1 48.6% 84.9 -5.1% -0.5
Trevor Cahill Diamondbacks 45.0 43.6% 90.3 200.0 44.4% 89.7 -0.8% 0.6
Scott Feldman Cubs 36.2 44.5% 90.0 123.2 50.1% 90.5 -5.6% -0.5

All 10 have seen a drop in their Zone% and nine of the ten have seen a velocity drop. After looking at each pitcher, they all scare me at least a little bit. I will look at a few here, but if you are an owner of one, you may look yourself for other injury signs.

Jeff Locke (3.21 ERA) is owned in about 8% to 9% of leagues. He is a regression candidate for sure. No way a .220 BABIP will be maintained. If he is going to throw strikes only 41% of the time, he will quickly end up on the DL or back in the minors.

Mark Buehrle isn’t throwing strikes and his BB% (2.4) is the highest it has been since his rookie season in 2000. Now that he is walking batters, his value will be down quite a bit.

• Hitters aren’t chasing Wily Peralta pitches out of the zone. Looking at his release points this season, he is moving to different location on the rubber. This shows me he knows something is wrong mechanically and/or physically. He may pull it all together, he may not.

Ryan Dempster can’t throw a strike, but it doesn’t seem to matter, everyone swings anyway. Wait until a team shows some patience and he may be exposed. Look to sell high if possible.

Players on the DL

(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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fantastic. thanks for the hard work.