November 28, 2016
Fantasy Categorical Breakdowns
ERA: A Deeper Dive
No time for wasted words as we collectively crawl out of our Thanksgiving stupor. George Bissell wrote about the ERA landscape, Wilson Karaman wrote about some over- and under-achievers, and here’s the ERA deep dive:
The centerpiece of 2015’s Yoenis Cespedes trade won the Rookie of the Year award on the strength of his 3.06 ERA, third-best in the junior circuit among starters with 100 or more innings. The accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider Fulmer opened 2015 in the Florida State League and only pitched 15.1 innings above Double-A by the time he arrived in Motown. There are reasons to discount that shiny ERA for projection’s sake, like a deflated BABIP despite playing in front of one of the league’s worst defenses, or the inability to whiff his way out of trouble. Still, there are reasons to curb your regression expectations.
The 43-point difference between his 3.49 DRA and 3.06 is not nothing, but it’s no more severe than the splits registered by Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom, for example. Fulmer’s 90 DRA- suggests he was solidly better than a league-average pitcher with room to back up some and still return value. Led by one of the best changeups in the game (.167 TAv against), his repertoire is solid across the board. Don’t expect a repeat of his fantastic 2016, but don’t fade him too hard either. He’s a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter without the upside to reach the upper tiers or the downside to recede from standard depth relevance.