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2/4/1984 (33 y, 1 m, 25 d)
2006 June Amateur Draft - Round: 7, Pick: 5, Overall: 201, Team: Seattle Mariners
$7M / 1 Years (2016)
Fister was not extended a qualifying offer by the Astros on Monday, making him a free agent, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. (11/7/2016)
The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 349 – You’re the»
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
The Change: The Bad Fastball Bucket
Eno Sarris (RotoGraphs)
The Nationals' Changing Fastballs
August Fagerstrom (FanGraphs)
One Early-Spring Change to Believe In
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
The Case For Doug Fister
Scott Spratt (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Fister is yet another member of the tall, skinny, no velocity club, who expose the myth that height is the key to throwing hard. Despite standing 6’8, his fastball averages just 88 MPH, and so he’s relegated to being a pitch-to-contact strike-thrower. Luckily, he’s gotten good enough at pounding the strike zone to make it work, as he has a career walk rate of just 1.82 walks per nine innings in the big leagues. His refusal to put runners on base has led to more success than the pedestrian stuff would have otherwise indicated, and with the Mariners planning on running out a roster of premium defenders again, Fister’s make-them-hit-it approach could continue to work. He won’t get you strikeouts, and he probably won’t do much in the way of winning on a Seattle squad that won’t score all that often, but he could provide a cheap source of quality ERA and WHIP. Given the Mariners lack of rotation depth, he’s basically guaranteed a job out of spring training. (Dave Cameron)
The Quick Opinion:
Does enough well to get hitters out with regularity, throws soft enough to remain a pretty decent sleeper.
The Tigers appeared to hit the trade deadline lottery last season, as Fister pitched to a 1.79 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP in ten starts (and one relief appearance) after coming over from the Mariners. That isn't a sustainable level of performance for anyone really, and it's worth noting that half of those ten starts came against the fading Twins and Indians. Fister will continue to keep his WHIP down because he doesn't walk many (career 1.69 BB/9), but he also doesn't strikeout many batters (career 5.52 K/9) or do an exceptionally good job of keeping the ball on the ground (career 46.5% grounders). Fortunately for him, he's played in some big ballparks. Fister is almost guaranteed to be overvalued come draft day, and now the infield defense behind him might be legendarily bad, but he's still a quality arm that should provide a solid ERA and WHIP to go along with a nice wins total for a good team. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
There's a good chance Fister will be overvalued on draft day, but he's still a safe bet for wins with solid ERA and WHIP numbers. Just don't expect a ton of strikeouts or a repeat of his second half showing with the Tigers. That was pretty close to an unsustainable performance.
Doug Fister's first three major league seasons showed him to be a control artist who stayed in the zone, avoided walks, and pitched to contact. A solid ground-ball rate helped to keep his ERA down. Last year, though, Fister appeared to turn a corner, missing bats at a much higher rate and increasing his strikeouts by more than 1.5 per nine. At the same time, he bumped up his GB%, and yet the end results were not all that different. The primary reason seems to be a boost in his home runs per fly ball. If Fister can keep the strikeout rate up and bring down the HR/FB a bit, 2013 could be an improvement on 2012. A return to the lower K% is probably the better bet, but he will still be good for a mid-3.00's ERA and, thanks to the Tigers lineup, a good chunk of wins, which helps to make up for the modest strikeout numbers. (
The Quick Opinion:
If the increase in missed bats and strikeouts can stick, Fister could be in line for his best fantasy season yet. And if not, he is still a useful pitcher, with solid rates.
After spending about two and a half seasons on both the Mariners and then the Tigers, Fister was shipped off to the nation's capital to don a Nationals cap this offseason. A move to the National League is typically a positive for a starting pitcher's fantasy value and Fister also benefits from moving to a slightly more pitcher-friendly ballpark according to the 2013 park factors. Already possessing excellent control and a strong ground-ball tendency, he should enjoy a boost in strikeout rate now as well. Unfortunately, his run support could suffer, but he should be a strong contributor in the ratio categories and make a greater impact on fantasy teams' strikeout totals. Fister will also benefit from better defensive support than he had last season, a problem that led to an inflated .332 batting average on balls in play. (
The Quick Opinion:
A move to the National League is always welcomed by fantasy owners. Fister will take his pinpoint control and ground-ball ways to Washington, D.C. A porous infield defense in Detroit hampered his ratios, which could make him undervalued in 2014 drafts.
In both real and fantasy life, Doug Fister has largely been underrated throughout his career. He is likely the fifth starter on the Nationals, but don’t let that sway you come draft day as he still is a valuable commodity. However, there are still some troubling signs. Fister’s 2.41 ERA is less impressive when you see his 3.93 FIP and 3.85 xFIP. Additionally, while Fister was never known as a strikeout artist, he at least posted strikeout percentages near league average in 2012 and 2013. Last year his K% of 14.8% was well below the league average 20.4%, and his swinging strike percentage (6.1%) was his lowest since 2010. He never worked with speed to begin with but Fister’s average fastball velocity dropped from 88.8 to 87.9 mph. He missed the start of last season due to elbow inflammation and a strained lat muscle in his shoulder. It’s likely that Fister will still help your team with ratios in 2014 but decreased velocity, swinging strikes and a few issues with his elbow and shoulder aren’t signs you like to see out of 31 year old starting pitchers. I wouldn’t let all these issues preclude you from drafting Fister entirely, as Fister has always remained undervalued due to his un-flashy appeal, but I would tread water carefully. (Ben Pasinkoff)
The Quick Opinion:
The warning signs are there for the 31-year-old Fister, but he has also been perennially underrated through his career. Your draft position will tell you which side of that argument is more compelling.
After posting years of ground ball rate around 50%, Fister showed his lowest rate since his rookie year in Seattle last year for the Nationals. He was a great asset from 2010-2013, putting up 15.6 wins above replacement over that time, generating grounder after grounder. His strikeout minus walk rate shrunk to single digits for the first time since 2010, with 8.7%. He was hit pretty hard, allowing a 29.5% hard-hit rate. The sinker barely topped 87 mph in 2015, and generated fewer ground balls than he needs to generate when you factor in his inability to miss bats with high frequency. He will be available late in drafts, but you shouldn’t expect much more than 150 innings out of him, nor would 100 strikeouts be a guarantee. Whether or not he reaches double digits in wins will be a function of the luck of the score in his games. (Darren Schienbein)
The Quick Opinion:
After winning 16 games for the Nationals in 2014, Fister was bounced between the bullpen and rotation last year. The Astros should be lucky enough to get 25 starts or so of a league-average variety from their cheap, one-year deal. Nothing special here to put on your fantasy team, but he’s a useful real-life player.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:37 AM ET
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