Moscoso and Worley: Pitchers to Avoid

All of us deep league managers have to do the dirty deed at some point and pick up a player that makes us feel dirty. I still have Juan Pierre on my 20-team roster, for example. Hey, 100 outfielders start in that league, who cares how ugly he is right now. And I don’t mean in the face. He’s handsome enough I guess.

But here are two pitchers that you should avoid in pretty much every league. They just don’t have the underlying skills to be much better than average, and with pitching in abundance these days, there’s someone better out there. Even in NL- and AL-only leagues.

Guillermo Moscoso (1% owned in Yahoo)
He struck out eight Marlins! He’s given up one run in his last 17 2/3 innings! He pitches in a home-run-suppressing park! Yes, but. There really isn’t a single specific skill that you can hang your hat on with Moscoso. He has a putrid 4.6 K/9 which is supported by a bad swinging strike rate (5.4%). He’s had good control in the minor leagues, but his 3.56 BB/9 right now is below-average (hey! not terrible!). He has yet to show his minor league walk rate (2.5 BB/9 in MiLB) in the major leagues (3.90 BB/9). Last, but not least, he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher. His ground-ball rate this year is is 24.6%, and even with his other 14 2/3 major league innings added in, it only ‘jumps’ to 26.5%. Other players have come up and been underwhelming in their first 50-odd major league innings, but there doesn’t seem to be much upside here either. His Triple-A strikeout rate was around eight per nine, and that’s just not enough for a fly ball guy unless he has elite control. Until you see a bunch of zero-walk games, he’s a miss. Even then…

Vance Worley (5% owned)
This one might be more controversial. He’s probably going to end up fairly valuable to his real-life team, filling in as a fifth-sixth starter. The Vanimal has a 2.57 ERA of course, and his 3.44 FIP isn’t terrible. In his case, though, it seems that his 4.14 xFIP has a little more to say about his true talent level. Worley features the same sort of underwhelming stuff as Moscoso. 50 innings into his major league career, he has a 5.5% swinging strike rate. It’s built on a 91 MPH fastball, a decent 85 MPH slider, a rarely-used curveball and (by linear weights values at least) a poor changeup. If the changeup is indeed poor, he will be susceptible to bouts of ineffectiveness versus left-handed hitters. He gets some groundballs (46% career), but that’s only a tick above average (44% most years). Once his home runs per fly ball normalize (4.2% right now), more balls will leave his comfy little home park, and his ERA will balloon. He could be a spot-starter in some deep leagues, but don’t rely on the Vanimal, cause he might bite you.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

11 Responses to “Moscoso and Worley: Pitchers to Avoid”

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  1. aladou says:

    “Once his home runs per fly ball normalize (4.2% right now), more balls will leave his comfy little home park, and his ERA will balloon. ”

    I understand that Citizens Bank Park has a higher than average HR/FB rate.

    Does anyone have a theory as to why this hasn’t translated to a higher HR park factor for CBP? Since 2008 there have only been 3.8% more HRs in the Phillies’ home games than in their away games (649 in 292 home games, vs. 591 in 276 away games)? This ranks around 12th among the 30 parks.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I was going to say you have to use more than one year, but you did. StatCorner has different numbers, though: 116 HR park factor for lefties and 120 for righties.

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  2. Brad Johnson says:

    I was perusing Worley’s page and came across this gem. Didn’t quite work out huh?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Worley? Still got a below-average swsTR%, GB% and only an average BB%. I still don’t like him long term. Sometimes good streaks last 77.1 innings, sometimes they last a year, but they don’t last a career.

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  3. James Campbell says:


    You are wrong, the stats you lean against like a drunk does a lampost cannot take a man’s character, demeanor and attitude into account. This kid won’t be a 2.00 ERA 1.13 WHIP, but he will be a great pitcher (injuries aside) for quite a long time.

    I would hope you admit the errors of your ways, but I have had enough disagreements with sabercultists to know that is never the case.

    Maybe if you watched baseball more (or once) rather than just look at stats on the internet, you’d actually have an understanding of the sport.

    You must have both, not one or the other and doing so shows Vance Worley is one of the best pitchers in the majors and will continue to be

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Please get out of here with the watch the game stuff. I admit I’m wrong all the time, too. I’m a fantasy wonk, we get things wrong, we just hope to get things wrong less often than others.

      But watch the games? I watch about three games a day. I’m a Mets writer too, so I’ve seen Worley. He has a good pitch or two, and yeah he battles. But striking out nine Mets is not the feat it might have been once. And a 5.7 swinging strike rate? That’s bad.

      Do me a favor. Look at Kyle Kendrick’s first year. Identical swinging strike rate, both had good control and got an average amount of ground balls. I think you’re looking at a guy that is a little better than Kyle Kendrick.

      Which is awesome for the Phillies while he’s cheap. Me? In fantasy? Give me Greinke for Worley right now and I’ll laugh my way to the bank in our league.

      LOB%? Strange stat to bring up. Kyle Kendrick’s LOB% is 72.2%. Roy Halladay’s is 73.5%. Cliff Lee’s is 72.6%. Jason Marquis has a 70.6% LOB. Randy Wells is 73.2%. In the last three years, offense has gone down around the league and LOB% has gone from 71.4% to 72.5%. It’s a very steady stat.

      But sure, some elite pitchers like Jered Weaver, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Tim Lincecum, Warren Spahn and the like have managed LOB%s in the 75-77% level. You’re ready, after a good half season, to put Worley in that group? After he got, like, zero buzz from scouts on the way up? (He didn’t get into the Phillies’ top 10 by Baseball America, a decidedly non-saber-cultist organization.)

      The Worley Bird Shirt and the Vanimal nicknames are awesome. He’s a fun character. Love the goggles. Won’t be drafting him any leagues next year…

      unless I’m in a deep league with a bunch of saber guys and he falls too far. I do that sometimes.

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    • Dave S says:

      I’m a Phils fan, and it’s been fun watching Worley pitch. He’s gotten great results this year, no doubt. But he’s pretty clearly not elite.

      He’s Brandon Beachy… with less upside.

      And I don’t see too many people calling Beachy elite.

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  4. James Campbell says:

    P.S. As of this post he has K’d 9 Mets in 7 IP after stranding any runner on base.

    Maybe you should look at his LOB%

    In my articles, I will be doing a story on how LOB is the only stat that can show a bit of a pitchers personality.

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  5. Dean says:


    Any reassessment on Moscoso? Not that he’s great, but he had a decent run there before BOS got him.

    Is he usable at home vs DET and LAA next week?

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