Over the last week, a trio of interesting pitchers joined their respective American League teams’ starting rotations. While two of the three were likely already owned in AL-Only leagues and almost have to blindly be slotted onto a fantasy team’s active roster, the bigger question is whether these guys are worth considering in shallower formats. Let’s dive in.
Pomeranz was a former first round pick by the Indians back in 2010 and quickly vaulted into top prospect status. Then his fantasy prospects crumbled when he was dealt as part of a trade deadline deal to the Rockies the following season. He predictably posted poor results over a small sample for the team that year and then did so again in both 2012 and 2013. After the 2013 season, he was traded once again, as he returned to the American League to the Athletics.
After opening the year in the bullpen, the poor results by Dan Straily prompted the team to make a switch and Pomeranz was the newest addition to a starting staff that has seen great turnover since the start of spring training. Pomeranz possesses about average velocity for a southpaw, but even so, throws that fastball quite a lot. He’s essentially a two-pitch pitcher, complementing the heater with a curve ball. While his fastball has been above average at generating swings and misses, the curve has not been. Instead, it’s used to induce ground balls. And so far this year, he has posted a ridiculous 100% ground ball rate on the pitch.
His control hasn’t been very good during his time in the Majors, as his strike percentage has consistently sat below the league average. So we’re looking at a two-pitch pitcher with a slight ground ball tilt who seemingly doesn’t have great strikeout potential given his limited repetoire. Given his home park and solid supporting cast, I’d certainly be interested in deep mixed or AL-Only leagues, but I’d pass in a shallower format.
Fantasy owners were shocked and annoyed when the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez because that meant that Gausman was without a rotation spot. Now perhaps earlier than expected, the top prospect was given his first shot yesterday. Unfortunately, his first 2014 impression was not good. Reports said his velocity was good, but command was an issue. He struck out just two of 20 batters faced, which is obviously disappointing given his strong strikeout potential.
But one start aside, Gausman also struggled with his control while at Triple-A this year. This was not something we have been accustomed to seeing, as Gausman was known for his pinpoint control, never posting a walk rate above 6.5% at his various minor league stops. It’s slightly concerning, but the sample size remains small. At this point, it’s unclear whether Miguel Gonzalez has been permanently moved to the bullpen, ceding his spot to Gausman, or if this was a one-shot deal until Gausman gets another opportunity later in the season.
If he does indeed stay in the rotation, he’s worth a gamble in shallower leagues, but I’m a little less excited than I was before the season. He’ll be borderline startable for the time being, but probably deserves a roster spot anyway.
Tepesch opened last season in the Rangers rotation and posted solid skills (3.79 SIERA) before going down with an elbow injury. Now with the rash of Rangers injuries in their rotation, he’s back up to take the spot of Martin Perez, who was just diagnosed with a partially torn UCL, which usually leads to the dreaded Tommy John surgery. That means that if Tepesch performs admirably, he could enjoy an extended stay in the rotation.
Tepesch is one of those guys who are kind of blah, but their boringness leads many to underrate them. He possesses good control, is a slight ground ball pitcher and strikes out hitters at a respectable clip. His fastball is nothing to write home about and none of his secondary offerings were anything special in terms of generating whiffs last year. But, they were all acceptable enough that when packaged together, result an above average pitcher when coupled with his control. There’s no wow factor here, but you don’t need to wow to earn some value in deep leagues. In shallower formats though, I’d prefer a higher upside arm.
Print This Post