Fantasy managers noticed his late-season breakthrough, but in the end his seasonal ERA was just 4.23.
Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox: His slight drop in average fastball velocity probably had a lot to do with his strikeout rate declining to a frighteningly low 19.0 percent in his seven big league starts in 2017, but bear in mind that he also had a well-better-than-league-average 11.4 percent swinging-strike rate that suggests he has considerable room for growth in the strikeout category in 2018.
A.J. Minter, Atlanta Braves: Granted, it occurred in only 60 total batters faced, but Minter’s 19.4 percent swinging-strike rate was the fourth highest of anyone in baseball last season who faced at least that many batters. Injuries, including a 2015 Tommy John surgery, have kept him from tallying a lot of innings as a pro, but he already might have the most natural talent of anyone in the Braves’ bullpen.
Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals: Weaver’s underlying metrics suggested he pitched way better than that — his strikeout-to-walk rate alone was 4.93-1 — and he had one of the higher ground ball rates (51.7 percent) of any pitcher to meet all of the non-TBF command criteria.
We’re back to everything I’ve been talking about over the last few years. It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying has been correct for her to be having that type of reaction. We will definitely NOT shut up and dribble. I’m definitely not going to do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to the kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need somebody to lead them out of the situation they’re in.
It’s more about maintaining his skills gains than actually improving, but a push to capture the third-in-line role (behind David Robertson) would help him better fill the holds column, and if he can somehow work his way into next-in-line status, he’d be an Aroldis Chapman injury away from regular saves and potential top-10 fantasy closer value.
Fast-forward to 2017, and noted physicist Alan Nathan wrote A Humidor at Chase Field: What’s Up With That? after the Diamondbacks announced their intentions. In this, Nathan revisited previous work published in 2011, corroborating those findings using Statcast data. Speaking in current parlance, Nathan determined using humidor-stored balls drops the mean exit velocity 2 mph. Further, he concluded homers should decline 25 to 50 percent in Chase Field.
Such a huge drop sent shock waves throughout fantasy baseball. How will this affect Arizona hitters and pitchers? Where should they be ranked?
A reduction in home runs is only part of the puzzle. Lowered exit velocity influences all batted balls. The better grip could lead to more whiffs and fewer walks. With respect to pitching, the challenge is deciphering how Chase Field will play in terms of runs.