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Ubaldo Jimenez, BAL

ERA

FIP

K%

BB%

GB%

BABIP

1st Half

2.81

3.25

23.4%

7.7%

46.6%

.311

2nd Half

7.65

5.67

17.1%

7.8%

53.3%

.318

At the beginning of May, I cautioned against buying into any improvements Jimenez may have shown early in the year. His numbers indicated real progress; however, his career has been plagued with inconsistency. Banking on a small sample of just a couple months from Jimenez always projected to be foolhardy. Sure enough, a couple months later, the right-hander has essentially imploded for the Baltimore Orioles.

Jimenez had the lowest swing percentage of any qualified starter early in the 2015 season, which allowed him to rack up looking strikeouts—which is the largest reason why his strikeout rate jumped significantly without him inducing a high whiff rate. His opponent swing rate has increased back to his career norms. Expectedly, his run-prevention struggles have returned. His stuff has declined significantly, and he’s giving up both lots of home runs and a high batting average.

In short, Jimenez is who we thought he was. Fantasy owners have noticed, too, as his ownership in ESPN leagues has now fallen back under 50 percent.

Kyle Gibson, MIN

ERA

FIP

K%

BB%

GB%

BABIP

1st Half

2.85

4.06

16.7%

7.7%

54.0%

.268

2nd Half

7.22

4.70

16.3%

9.0%

50.4%

.341

Of the quartet of pitchers profiled in this piece, Gibson is the one who has remained relatively steady at the core. He’s the same low-strikeout, ground-ball pitcher he was in the first half, generating the same number of grounders and whiffing the same percentage of batters. The difference is two-fold: (1) he’s issuing more free passes, which is a death sentence for pitchers of Gibson’s ilk; and (2) the BABIP pendulum has swung dramatically in the other direction.

His true talent appears to be somewhere in the middle. If his FIP can serve as a solid barometer, though, it’s nothing about which fantasy owners should get excited. A 4.00 ERA type pitcher without ample strikeouts is worthless in fantasy.

I remain interested in his slight uptick in swinging-strike rate, which currently stands at 9.4 percent. It’s the second-consecutive season in which it has increased. It seems to be paired with a decreased reliance on his fastball. He’s only throwing it 58.4 percent of the time—a career-low by over four percentage points. That has caused him to throw way more changeups than ever before. Perhaps the more frequent usage of his offspeed stuff has caused the increased swinging-strike rate. Until it results in actual strikeouts, though, it’s hard to justify owning Gibson in standard leagues, which is why only 15.8 percent of ESPN owners do.

Jeff Samardzija, CHW

ERA

FIP

K%

BB%

GB%

BABIP

1st Half

4.02

3.46

19.6%

4.4%

40.3%

.313

2nd Half

6.53

5.53

14.2%

6.2%

40.7%

.287

Shark continues to be one of the most frustrating near-aces in Major League Baseball. Touching 95 mph with his fastball and with a splitter/slider combination that can be overwhelming at times, his career 4.02 ERA seems out of place. Even since he’s moved to the starting rotation on a full-time basis, he’s posted an earned-run average north of 4.00 He has never been able to make it click for more than a season at a time, much to the chagrin of fantasy owners.

The paucity of strikeouts in the second half has hurt Samardzija, but his biggest problem is limiting extra-base damage from left-handed hitters. His 1.48 HR/9 against lefties is unworkable. He has historically struggled more against lefties; however, he had seemingly figured it out in 2014. Upon moving to the South Side, his increased home-run rate has resulted in an underwhelming performance yet again. And as a guy who’s about to turn 31 years old, it hardly seems bright to bet on long-term improvements in that area now.

Yovani Gallardo, TEX

ERA

FIP

K%

BB%

GB%

BABIP

1st Half

2.62

3.59

16.8%

8.5%

51.1%

.267

2nd Half

5.25

4.90

10.7%

8.9%

46.6%

.339

The magic Gallardo displayed in the first half has finally worn off. His BABIP has regressed and his strikeout rate has plummeted. The biggest issue for Gallardo has been that he’s never presented hitters with three separate velocity bands about which to worry. It’s always been 85-91 mph with his fastball and slider, and the mid-to-high 70s with his curveball. He never had separation enough between his fastball and slider.

As such, I’ve long suggested that Gallardo would experience significant troubles as his offspeed deliveries became less effective. In other words, it was becoming easier to isolate his fastball from his other pitches. This trend can be seen in his swinging-strike rate on his slider and curveball, both of which have fallen below 10 percent for the first time since 2008, which was an injury-shortened campaign. He’s become a guy who relies on the effectiveness of his fastball and the number of ground balls, and thus his BABIP drives many of his statistics. Nothing has been good in the second half, and the fact that Gallardo struggles with his command only exacerbates the BABIP-reliance problem.

In short, it’s not a good time to own stock in Yovani Gallardo, either for long- or short-term prospects. Too bad that it’s also not a productive time to sell that stock.

Thank you for reading

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digiderek
8/26
I thought that Trevor Bauer would be listed here. Any thoughts on him? Is it possible that some injury is playing a role in his performance (or lack of same)?
flalaw
8/26
Felix Hernandez should be on here as well, first half ERA 2.84, second half 6.26. Still though, his K/BB ratio has been better in the second half so I'm guessing his FIP is still pretty good, but oh man his BABIP.