Heading into the season, the Red Sox had high hopes and expectations.
After adding Chris Sale, their pitching staff was set to be one of the best in baseball. Many different things, both positive and negative have been surprising for the Boston Red Sox this season. Here are a few of them.
Let’s start off positive. Brandon Workman had Tommy John surgery just a season ago and has been one of the more reliable arms out of the bullpen.
He is sitting at a 2.41 ERA and very few expected him to be both this consistent and this effective.
Workman will be a late inning pitcher heading into the postseason and can really contribute to this team.
Imagine at the beginning of this season if you said that Drew Pomeranz would be the probable game 2 starter in a Red Sox playoff series. He would be ahead of David Price and Rick Porcello? Yeah, most people probably didn’t say that.
Pomeranz has been fantastic this season. With Price’s injuries and Porcello’s shaky start to the season, it has been much needed for the Boston Red Sox.
Pomeranz is 16-5 with a 3.15 ERA and has given up 13 runs in his last eight starts. He is putting up career numbers and is helping catapult this Red Sox team into the postseason.
Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel
I felt like I needed to put these two together. Everyone knew these two would be good, but no one thought this good.
Kimbrel has been unbelievably automatic when slamming the door. In his 66 innings pitched, he has a 1.36 ERA and a 5-0 record.
His 5-0 record means that not only is he pitching in save situations, but he’s coming in when the games tied and giving the Red Sox late chances to win games.
In the 198 outs he’s recorded, 121 of them have been strikeouts. Seriously, read that again. That means 61 percent of his outs are strikeouts.
Now we will talk about Mr. 300. Chris Sale has a 2.75 ERA, 17-7 record and 6.2 WAR. He has been everything the Red Sox have been looking for and more. He also has struck out 1.44 batters per inning, which is high for a starting pitcher.
I did not think that Price would be bullpen bound come playoffs. In reality it probably fits him best.
The pressure of his postseason woes is now lifted. He also provides a long relief arm in a pen that doesn’t necessarily have one.
In Price’s defense, he has been hurt for a good portion of the year and has a 3.57 ERA. The bullpen decision is solely because the rotation is clicking right now, and Price could come back rusty.
Well this is the biggest surprise. The third base position and nine hole in the lineup looked like it was going to stay vacant the whole season. Rafael Devers took full control of that spot and has found a hot bat in the process.
Most teams wait a season or two to call up a prospect, but Devers hit the ground running with the Red Sox and has torched pitchers.
The Boston Red Sox are looking to win the American League East in two weeks, and all of these players mentioned are key pieces in that race.
Despite the Red Sox not having a legitimate power threat in their lineup, they have benefited from strong pitching and timely hitting.
With the postseason being all about consistent pitching, the Red Sox look to make some noise when the calendar flips and October starts.
Featured Image Courtesy of Nesn.com.
“From Our Haus to Yours”
2017 has been an exciting year in the world of baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers may have one of the best teams of all time, while Aaron Judge is putting together an incredible rookie campaign in New York.
We are now reaching the point in the season where award contenders have separated themselves from the rest of the field. There is now a good idea for what names are going to make that final push for some of the most prestigious accolades in the game.
American League MVP: Jose Altuve
Jose Altuve is proving to be one of the most productive hitters in the major leagues. He also highlights a stellar lineup that consists of Carlos Correa and George Springer as well.
Despite his stature, Altuve has been able to belt 16 home runs this season. Those aren’t Aaron Judge numbers, but it is especially impressive considering he is leading the league in hitting with a .364/.424/.570 slash line. On top of that, he has the best WAR in the MLB with a 6.3.
With how Aaron Judge has been performing, it is hard to see him now win the MVP. However, he has been showing signs of his humanity since the start of July. Sine the All-Star break, he has only hit 5 home runs and has a batting average floating around the Mendoza line. Judge also does not have a multi-hit game since July 18th.
If Judge had kept up the rate he was going at then there would be no doubt he would be the favorite for MVP. Jose Altuve has just been more consistent and is overall a more valuable player to the team. He is stable and can do everything.
Honorable Mentions: Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, George Springer
National League MVP: Paul Goldschmidt
This one is a real toss up. Harper, Goldschmidt, Votto and Arenado all have very similar stats, and they aren’t even all of the guys that deserve to be in the discussion. It was hard not to pick Harper or Arenado for this especially just because of how spectacular their seasons have been. The last 6 weeks of the season should help the voters come to a decision for who truly deserves it. Either way, you can’t go wrong on this one.
The reason Paul Goldschmidt was the decision in this case is that he adds the most value to his team. Now, there Bryce Harper shouldn’t take a hit because he has a stellar team around him. However, the Diamondbacks would be worse off without Goldy than the Nationals would without Harper. That is why he is the most valuable player in the National League.
Goldschmidt leads the National League with a 5.5 WAR as of August 8th. He also is second in OBP, second in RBIs, and fifth in batting average. Goldschmidt also has a great eye as he has racked up 75 walks which is tied for second in the league. Either way though, this award can go to several different people.
Honorable Mentions: Bryce Harper, Joey Votto, Nolan Arenado
American League Cy Young: Chris Sale
Unlike the NL MVP, this award should be a lock. Chris Sale has been so dominant this year as he is vying for the pitching triple crown in the American League.
The trade that Boston made with the White Sox where they gave up Yoan Mocada for Chris Sale seems to be panning out so far. Ultimately it may be a big win for both teams. Sale has had a striking presence on the mound, and the Red Sox feel good about winning every game he starts as they have only lost six games when he starts.
The only blemish that Sale has on his resume this season is from earlier in August against the Cleveland Indians. The game turned out to be a real thriller but Sale gave up seven runs in five innings. This shot up his ERA from a 2.37 to a 2.70. He should get the ERA back down so he can solidify his spot with the best ERA in baseball.
Honorable Mentions: Marcus Stroman, Luis Severino, Corey Kluber
National League Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer has begun to separate himself from Kershaw as the favorite for Cy Young. Scherzer leads the National League in strikeouts and is second behind Kershaw. The Dodgers ace however has been on the DL since July 23rd and may be out until mid-September.
The Dodgers have no reason to rush Kershaw back before the postseason other than to get him to settle in. That alone may give Scherzer the advantage over Kershaw in the final voting. Even before Kershaw went on the disabled list, many thought that Scherzer was overtaking him for pitching dominance in the NL.
Both of these pitchers are going to be key in the postseason. It would be very interesting to see if they match up in the NLCS how that would play out. However, the voting takes place right after the regular season. Because of that, Scherzer should have the award locked up at that point.
Honorable Mentions: Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, Gio Gonzalez
American League Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge
This is a no-brainer. Aaron Judge may be having the most dominant rookie season since Albert Pujols and Ichiro came onto the scene in 2001. One could argue that it has been even better than Trout’s rookie year, where he led the AL in stolen bases and runs despite being called up in late-April.
Aaron Judge leads the American League in home runs with 35 and also has the third best WAR with a 5.3. That is ranked against everyone in the AL and not just rookies. Judge’s year has been overshadowing Trey Mancini’s rookie season, where he has 18 home runs and a .297 batting average. In most other seasons that may be enough to win rookie of the year. However, his name has hardly even come up on account of the Judge being in session.
Judge has led a Yankees lineup that is vying for supremacy in the AL East. The Astros didn’t make any notable moves at the trade deadline and seem to be limping a bit. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees close in on Houston at all. If Judge is able to help the Yankees do that, then he may even have a shot at MVP. However, Judge has been slumping since the All-Star break. He will need to turn it around soon if he wants a shot to beat out Jose Altuve for MVP.
Honorable Mentions: Trey Mancini, Andrew Benintendi
National League Rookie of the Year: Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger has been a huge surprise for the Dodgers this season. Corey Seager was highlighting the Dodgers young core but Bellinger is giving him a run for his money as the star of the team. Despite the fact that Bellinger was called up in late-April, he second in the NL in home runs with 32. While his average is at a pedestrian .264, Bellinger provides a fearful pop in the middle of the lineup.
Paul DeJong has also been a nice surprise for St. Louis. He has 16 home runs and a .283 batting average despite only playing in 59 games this season. He provides the best pop in the lineup for the Cardinals who are still looking for that key middle of the order guy, as he is now typically batting in the three spot.
There really is not much competition for Bellinger this season however. He has pretty much locked up the Rookie of the Year award much like Judge in the AL. What would be fascinating is if Judge and Bellinger were competing for the same award, who would deserve it more. Luckily, the writers do not have to make that tough decision though. Thus, both of them should receive the prestigious award.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Bell, Paul DeJong, Kyle Freeland
In the beginning of June, we looked over some players who were on fire and analyzed if they should be sold. In this heat check, we will identify and analyze some more of the hottest players in baseball right before the deadline.
They are who we thought they were!
These players were drafted early, although they have reached or exceeded expectations. All players were selected within the top 25 overall picks, and are ranked within the top six at their respected position in ESPN standard scoring formats.
Jose Altuve, Second Baseman, Houston Astros
ADP (average draft position): 3.5
Position Rank: 1
2017 Season: .369 AVG, 74 R, 15 HR, 59 RBI & 21 SB
Last seven: .615 AVG, 8 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI & 1 SB
Altuve is having a career year. The 5-foot-6 phenom is legitimately chasing .400 and is nearly a lock to earn his third batting title in four years.
He is currently on a 19-game hitting streak where he has tallied four home runs and 10 doubles, while driving in 19 and scoring 21 runs. Altuve is, and will remain, an elite fantasy asset for the long-term future.
Chris Sale, Starting Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Position Rank: 1
2017 Season: 148.1 IP, 13-4 W-L, 211 K, 2.37 ERA & 0.88 WHIP
Last three: 20.2 IP, 2-0 W-L, 33 K, 0.00 ERA & 0.73 WHIP
Sale’s expectations heading into 2017 were enormous, as for the first time in his career he found himself on a contending team. He is currently on pace to set career highs in wins and strikeouts, and career lows in WHIP and hits per nine.
After finishing as the ninth-best fantasy pitcher in 2016, it is safe to say that Sale has exceedingly outperformed his expectations. He is now firmly entrenched in the elite tier of fantasy pitching along with Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw.
Bryce Harper, Outfielder, Washington Nationals
Position Rank: 2
2017 Season: .338 AVG, 86 R, 27 HR, 79 RBI & 2 SB
Last seven: .348 AVG, 6 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI & 0 SB
The first-overall pick in 2010 is healthy and performing like his former MVP self. Harper is on pace to hit 47 bombs, score 151 runs and drive in 139 runners, which would all be career highs.
He is leading the National League in OPS as well as OPS+ and is arguably the favorite to win the NL MVP award. His fantasy value moving forward is just a hair below Mike Trout’s, who is the undisputed number one fantasy player in baseball.
Corey Kluber, Starting Pitcher, Cleveland Indians
Position Rank: 6
2017 Season: 108.1 IP, 8-3 W-L, 149 K, 2.74 ERA & 0.96 WHIP
Last three: 20.0 IP, 1-0 W-L, 33 K, 2.25 ERA & 0.90 WHIP
Kluber missed almost all of May with a back injury, although he still manages to be ranked a top-10 starter in 2017. He has struck out double digit batters in eight of his last 10 starts and is on pace to set career lows in ERA and WHIP.
If he can stay healthy, the 31-year-old will be a Cy Young candidate for a fourth straight year and possibly an MVP candidate for a third time.
Nolan Arenado, Third Baseman, Colorado Rockies
Position Rank: 1
2017 Season: .313 AVG, 69 R, 23 HR, 89 RBI & 2 SB
Last seven: .350 AVG, 4 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI & 0 SB
Arenado is arguably the best third baseman in the game today. Many overlook his greatness, or dismiss it due to his home and away splits, although he will have the opportunity to go down as the greatest third baseman of all time.
Arenado is on pace to have 148 career home runs and 520 RBIs at the end of this his 26-year-old season, which puts him on pace to be more productive than Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett (74 HR & 461 RBIs at age 26) and Mike Schmidt (131 HR & 373 RBIs at age 26).
Kansas City Resurgence
The Kansas City Royals struggled mightily to begin 2017, as they sported a record of 7-16 through April. In the next three months, the club went 47-31 and now are in second place in AL Central behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Royals’ recent success is due to their red-hot bats, as within the last 14 days, the team is on a nine-game winning streak, in which they are batting .302 with 21 home runs, 76 runs scored and 70 RBIs.
Eric Hosmer, First Baseman, Kansas City Royals
Position Rank: 6
2017 Season: .320 AVG, 63 R, 16 HR, 54 RBI & 6 SB
Last seven: .400 AVG, 8 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI & 2 SB
Hosmer began the year slow, batting only .225 with one home run, five runs scored and six RBIs in his first 23 games. On the contrary, in his last 23 games, he is batting .374 with 6 home runs, 21 runs scored and 19 RBIs.
Hosmer is beginning to prove his true value and is likely to return to the AL MVP conversation, which he has been absent from since 2015.
Mike Moustakas, Third Baseman, Kansas City Royals
Position Rank: 8
2017 Season: .279 AVG, 53 R, 30 HR, 69 RBI & 0 SB
Last seven: .333 AVG, 6 R, 4 HR, 9 RBI & 0 SB
Moustakas is on the final year of his contact, although he is expected to remain a Royal for the remainder of the year, as the Royals have recently became a contender. His team-high 30 home runs and 69 RBIs have helped carry the load, as he has accounted for over 12 percent of the team’s runs scored and 16 percent of their runs batted in.
The 28-year-old has been, and will continue to be, a great contributor in real life and in fantasy, as he offers well above average power and production in the heart of a red-hot lineup.
Salvador Perez, Catcher, Kansas City Royals
Position Rank: 1
2017 Season: .284 AVG, 44 R, 21 HR, 63 RBI & 1 SB
Last seven: .278 AVG, 3 R, 3 HR, 4 RBI & 0 SB
Perez is the most important piece to the Royals’ puzzle due to his ability behind the plate. The fact that his bat is producing at its current levels is simply a plus.
The 27-year-old is currently ranked as the top catcher in fantasy due to his position-high 21 home runs and 63 RBIs. He is on pace to set career highs in almost every major hitting category and should treated as one of the MLB’s elite at his position.
Whit Merrifield, Second Baseman/Outfielder, Kansas City Royals
Position Rank: 6
2017 Season: .294 AVG, 42 R, 11 HR, 43 RBI & 16 SB
Last seven: .360 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI & 0 SB
Merrifield went undrafted in almost all formats, although he has managed to become a top-10 player at his position in 2017. He has found a home in the leadoff spot, as he has played 54 out of his 68 games in that position, which gives him a better chance to produce than if he were batting in the bottom third of the lineup.
Merrifield’s ceiling isn’t miraculously high, although a 15 home run and 30 steal campaign isn’t out of the question. The 28-year-old is taking full advantage of receiving everyday playing time and is sure to continue his production moving forward.
Jorge Bonifacio, Outfielder, Kansas City Royals
Position Rank: 64
2017 Season: .265 AVG, 44 R, 14 HR, 32 RBI & 1 SB
Last seven: .400 AVG, 7 R, 3 HR, 4 RBI & 0 SB
Bonafacio is having a very solid rookie year. He was called up in late April and has been particularly impressive, as his 162-game average would predict him to hit 29 home runs, score 90 runs and produce 66 RBIs.
The 24-year-old has batted primarily in the two-hole for Kansas City, which is a pivotal spot in the lineup for production purposes. His value is low right now, but it should increase as the Royals continue to find success.
Featured Image by ESPN.com
“From Our Haus to Yours”
Coming into this season, The Red Sox’ pitching was ranked at the top, if not the best. The Red Sox acquired Chris Sale from the White Sox. Rick Porcello was coming off a Cy Young-caliber year. David Price was back, and hopefully healthy. Craig Kimbrel was coming off a 31-save year.
Although Boston sits in first place in the American League East, the pitching has taken a rocky path so far. Lets take a look.
Success: Chris sale
The American League All Star Game starting pitcher is on pace to winning his first Cy Young Award. The 28-year-old was traded in an offseason deal with the Chicago White Sox, involving four minor league prospects including Yoan Moncada.
Sale is cruising with a 13-4 record and the most wins in the American League. He has tallied a whopping total of 211 strikeouts, the most strikeouts in all Major League Baseball.
Sale is on track to tally 300-plus strikeouts. He reached 200 strikeouts in his start this past Friday against the Angels, making him the fastest pitcher in American League history to obtain 200 strikeouts in a season. Sale did this in 141 1/3 innings.
He joins Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan in reaching 200 strikeouts in less than 20 starts. Keep in mind, Pedro did this in close to 150 innings, also known as one of the best pitchers to wear the Boston uniform.
The Red Sox are coming off a 2-4 road stretch. Sale recorded both wins. In a 6-2 win against the Angels, Sale went 6 innings on four hits with nine strikeouts. On Wednesday, he recorded a 4-0 win against the Mariners, going seven innings with three hits with 11 strikeouts.
Sale is dealing for this team. Even in his four losses, he’s been completely dominant. He’s tallied a total of 45 strikeouts in his four losses. Truly, the Sox did not produce runs for him.
Sale is the best pitcher in the American League, if not Major League Baseball. He will continue to dominate.
Success: Drew Pomeranz
For a guy who went 3-5 last season with a 4.59 ERA, Drew Pomeranz has made a complete turnaround for the first place Boston Red Sox.
Pomeranz has turned his record to an impressive 10-4 year. Yes, three wins shy of Chris Sale’s record, the American League Cy Young contender. Pomeranz has tallied 115 strikeouts on a 3.59 ERA.
Quite frankly, whatever Pomeranz did for change, its working. He’s defeated second-place rival New York Yankees twice this season, recording 14 strikeouts against them. He tossed 6 1/3 innings and only allowed four hits in the win against the best team in Major League Baseball, Houston Astros.
The Red Sox expected this from the lefty pitcher when they acquired him through a San Diego transaction. Pomeranz was an All-Star at the time of the transaction, and David Ortiz was one foot out the door to retirement, urging the Red Sox to add another All-Star to the team. They needed to add a starter to join forces with Rick Porcello and David Price.
Pomeranz has taken responsibility for his mistakes on the mound last year, and has transformed himself to a top pitcher on the team.
This is exactly what Boston needs, especially when the playoffs come around. The Sox will need their rotation to belly up and give it their all. Look at the 2013 World Series team. Clay Buchholz went 12-1, Jon Lester went 15-8 and John Lackey recorded 10 wins. You need depth to go deep in the playoffs. The facts show it.
success: Craig Kimbrel
The Red Sox closer has been the reliable factor for manager John Farrell. Kimbrel has tallied 25 saves with nearly 80 strikeouts.
Kimbrel reminds the Boston fans of Jonathan Pabelbon and his dominance he had coming out in the bullpen in late save opportunities.
Kimbrel currently sits in fourth in the American League in saves, however many believe he is the best closer in the American League. He holds a 1.27 ERA, as well as a 2-0 record.
Boston looks to have Kimbrel keep his dominant self throughout the last two months of baseball.
failure: rick porcello
Red Sox Nation had big expectations for right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello this season. He was coming off a 22-4 year last season, capturing the American League Cy Young award.
Porcello was the Red Sox go-to guy, last season and this season. Yeah, they brought in Chris Sale, a guy who finished in the top five for the Cy Young race last season, but they were still depending on Porcello to be their number one guy this season.
Last year, he finished with a 3.15 ERA in 223 innings pitched, finishing an impressive 22-4 year. He tallied nearly 200 strikeouts and was completely dominant the whole way through.
This year, he has a 4-13 record with a sub-5 ERA through 133 innings pitched. He’s currently tied in six place for the most home runs allowed (23). Porcello has let up a total of nearly 80 runs, the most on the team, with the second most having 48.
Truly nothing what Boston had wished for.
However, this can all be forgotten if change starts here. We are only two months shy of October. Boston is on track to winning the American League East, and the Red Sox will need Porcello to do his job to get far.
Failure: David Price
Here come the true opinions. As we all know, David Price has been a dominant pitcher in this league for as long as we can remember.
He signed with Boston in late 2015, agreeing to a record-setting contract of seven years, $2.17 million. That said, Boston is writing a check for $31 million a year for Price.
Price recorded a 17-9 record last season for the Red Sox, making his Fenway career record a whopping 15-4. Pretty good, right?
Until, this season happened.
Price started off the 2017 season after missing two whole months with elbow pain. Not to mention at the time, Porcello was already starting his current cold streak that he has not broken out of.
Since he has formally recovered, he is 5-3 with a sub-4 ERA. Yeah, he’s pitched 11 games, but throughout those 11 starts, they have not been pretty. He has let up 62 hits with 28 earned runs, allowing eight homers and 22 total walks.
However, we know Price can tend to find himself with off-the-field situations as well. The Price/Eckersley altercation has stirred up in the media, finding yourself to have a new look on left-handed pitcher. For those who aren’t aware, Eckerlsey made a comment regarding Eduardo Rodriguez, which led to Price calling Eckersley out completely on the plane back home from Toronto.
Price, like Porcello, needs to find his old self back. We know what he’s capable of doing. If we didn’t, he wouldn’t be the big talk this season.
“From Our Haus to Yours”
Featured Image Courtesy of overthemoster.com
Week three has come and gone and things have begun to normalize around the league. The divisional records remain close with only a few games separating the pack. That is, every division except for the East and Toronto. Sorry Blue Jay’s fans, we feel for you.
Other than the anomaly up north, teams are clearly settling into the regular season groove. This has netted baseball fans some extremely impressive performance so far this season, and that’s what we’ll be highlighting today.
Today we look at the statistical leaders from around the AL and decide if we’re buying or selling that performance over 162 games.
Buy or Sell: Statistical Standouts
Average: Avisaíl García
Besides having one of the most fun names to say in baseball, Avisaíl García has been on a torrid hitting spree to start the season. As a top 100 prospect back in 2013, the White Sox organization has been patient with Garcia’s development. That patience has certainly paid off as the 25-year-old is slashing .371/.426/.581 with three home runs to start the season.
Season Long Statistical Standout: Sell
What I will buy is that Garcia will end the season as the White Sox best hitter. Given the make-up of the White Sox roster, that isn’t a glowing endorsement, but it’s something.
There’s no reason not to believe Garcia will be a significant part of the Chicago rebuild and a solid ball player for this club. That said, Garcia has hit a .250 average over the last three seasons, so handing him the batting title now may be a bit premature.
Power: Khris Davis / George Springer
Both Davis and Springer are off to excellent starts and currently are tied with an AL leading seven home runs apiece. Both sluggers are in their prime at age 29 and 27 and displayed breakout power in 2016.
Springer is the better-rounded player of the two, but Davis actually appears to have more power upside. Granted there is a small sample size in this department for both, but both have excellent power potential.
Season Long Statistical Standout: Davis – Buy / Springer – Sell
As previously mentioned, this is not a comment on who I believe is the better overall player. That award currently belongs to Springer. Given the current state of the MLB, it is going to take over 40 homers to win this category. Davis has already shown that type of power in 2016, and it’s clear that pace hasn’t slowed.
Unfortunately it appears Springer is dealing with some early-season injury issues, which will clearly impact overall totals. Even so, when it comes to the pure power department, it will be no surprise if Davis is leading at the end of the season.
ERA: Jason Vargas
Alright let’s be honest, no one saw this coming. Not to say Vargas hasn’t been a solid pitcher over the course of his career, but this was unexpected. A 34-year-old who had Tommy John surgery and sporting a career 4.11 ERA isn’t supposed to lead the entire MLB in this category.
Vargas has been masterful in his first three starts at a time when the Royals desperately need an ace. The question facing this veteran is how long can this continue?
Season Long Statistical Standout: Sell
Vargas is very much the Kyle Hendricks or Rich Hill type of story we saw in 2016. He’s a pitcher who relies on mixing it up and keeping hitters off balance more than overpowering them. It may take the MLB awhile to adjust, but given Vargas’ stuff, it’s likely only a matter of time.
There’s still plenty of reason for optimism, and pitchers like Vargas have experienced increasing success in recent years. However, the next name on the list isn’t going to make it easy for other pitchers to lead in many categories.
Strike Outs: Chris Sale
You knew this guy would show up somewhere. Currently leading the league with 42 strikeouts in four games, Sale has certainly found his groove in Boston. Sale has wasted little time in establishing himself as the undisputed ace in a rotation featuring Rick Porcello and David Price. It was hard to visualize Sale being much more dominant than he has been in years past, but here we are.
Season Long Statistical Standout: Buy
Sale went for eight innings in his last star and didn’t allow a single run while throwing nearly 80 percent of his pitches for strikes. It’s been that kind of command we’ve seen throughout his career, but it has been even more impressive to start the season. There’s little more to say, other than Chris Sale is dominant and the odds-on favorite for AL Cy Young in 2017.
“From Our Haus to Yours”
With only a week until opening day, it is time to revisit my starting pitcher rankings for 2017. My original rankings can be found at Thegamehaus.com, which were done on January 27th, 2017.
The top 120 starting pitchers have been grouped into eight tiers. The average draft position, (ADP), of each player according to FantasyDraftPros.com, are listed adjacent to the player.
Exceptions include: Rasiel Iglesias (CIN) and David Phelps (MIA) who both will be primarily relievers in 2017.
- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, (5)
- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, (13)
- Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants (14)
- Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets, (18)
- Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox, (19)
- Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians, (22)
- Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers, (39)
- Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, (50)
- Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs, (34)
- Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers, (39)
- Jake Arrieta, Chicago Chicago, (29)
- Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants, (41)
- Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, (52)
- Jacob deGrom, New York Mets, (58)
- Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals, (66)
- Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians, (59)
- Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs, (64)
- Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees, (73)
- Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers, (79)
- David Price, Boston Red Sox, (73)
- Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox, (88)
- Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox, (91)
- Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, (99)
- Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians, (111)
- Felix Hernandez, Seattle Marines, (115)
- Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays, (106)
- Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals, (97)
- Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates, (91)
- Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers, (98)
- Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks, (89)
- Lance McCullers, Houston Astros, (146)
- Michael Fullmer, Detroit Tigers, (123)
- Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays, (124)
- Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers, (114)
- Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals (139)
- Steven Matz, New York Mets, (142)
- Dallas Kuechel, Houston Astros, (122)
- Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles, (130)
- John Lackey, St. Louis Cardinals, (136)
- Jared Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies, (217)
- Matt Harvey, New York Mets, (134)
- Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates, (150)
- Jonathan Gray, Colorado Rockies, (176)
- Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox, (177)
- Vincent Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies, (179)
- Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics, (167)
- Julio Jurias, Los Angeles Dodgers, (180)
- Jake Ordorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays, (171)
- Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels, (211)
- Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals, (195)
- Drew Smyly, Seattle Mariners, (185)
- Michael Pineda, New York Yankees, (183)
- Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks, (204)
- Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels, (186)
- James Paxton, Seattle Mariners, (153)
- Aaron Nola, Philadelphi Phillies, (162)
- Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants (164)
- J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays, (168)
- Matt Moore, San Francisco Giants, (181)
- Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays, (191)
- Drew Pomeranz, Boston Red Sox, (208)
- Taijuan Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks, (211)
- Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics, (212)
- Anthony Desclafani, Cincinnati Reds, (242)
- Junior Guerra, Milwaukee Brewers, (249)
- Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals, (263)
- Collin McHugh, Houston Astros, (253)
- Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals, (256)
- Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians, (274)
- Robert Gsellman, New York Mets, (267)
- Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh Pirates, (268)
- Joe Ross, Washington Nationals, (224)
- Jharel Cotton, Oakland Athletics, (240)
- Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins, (256)
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays, (220)
- Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers, (272)
- Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays, (277)
- Francisco Liriano, Toronto Blue Jays, (282)
- Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers, (285)
- Mike Montgomery, Chicago Cubs, (274)
- Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals, (278)
- Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners, (235)
- Jordan Zimmerman, Detroit Tigers, (278)
- Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Pirates, (254)
- Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins, (266)
- Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals, (266)
- Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles, (268)
- Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox, (295)
- Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels, (303)
- Joe Musgrove, Houston Astros, (300)
- Tyler Anderson, Colorado Rockies, (310)
- Dan Straily, Miami Marlins, (312)
- Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds, (336)
- Shelby Miller, Arizona Diamondbacks, (376)
- Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Dodgers, (350)
- Tyler Chatwood, Colorado Rockies, (361)
- Adam Conely, Miami Marlins, (321)
Tier 8 (The Rest)
- Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles, (308)
- Mike Leake, St. Louis Cardinals, (341)
- Edinson Volquez, Miami Marlins, (390)
- Michael Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves, (298)
- Jamie Garcia, Atlanta Braves, (338)
- Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox, (321)
- Wie-Yin Chen, Miami Marlins, (332)
- C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees, (361)
- Clay Buchholz, Philadelphia Phillies, (355)
- Charlie Morton, Houston Astros, (386)
- Tyson Ross, Texas Rangers, (314)
- Andrew Triggs, Oakland Athletics, (358)
- Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox, (331)
- Chris Devenski, Houston Astros, (336)
- Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals, (341)
- Luis Severino, New York Yankees, (344)
- Jose De Leon, Tampa Bay Rays, (350)
- Zack Wheeler, New York Mets, (361)
- Mike Fiers, Houston Astros, (384)
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, (414)
- Nathan Karns, Kansas City Royals, (420)
- Ricky Nolasco, Minnesota Twins, (432)
- Seth Lugo, New York Mets, (412)
“From Our Haus to Yours”
Major League Baseball is unique compared to the NBA and NFL. Neither allows players to go straight from high school to their respective drafts. The NBA requires at least one year removed from high school and the NFL at least three years. But with baseball, you can go straight from high school to the draft. But is this the best way for a player to make it to the majors? With college being an option for most, many have to decide what path to take to the majors. We will crunch some numbers and see which path has the best track record.
From College to the Draft
Players that choose to go to college out of high school and enter the MLB draft later on are on the rise in recent years. The low point of college players being drafted in recent years came in 2012. A mere 44 percent of players drafted in the first four rounds of the 2012 MLB Draft were from four year universities. But that has been steadily changing. The percentage of college players drafted in the first four rounds hit 58 percent from four year universities in the 2016 MLB Draft. With this rise, does it prove that college is the best route to the majors?
According to the numbers, the answer might be yes. Only 15 percent of the players drafted in the first round since 2013 have played in the majors. But that 15 percent is solely comprised of college players. College players are more developed than their high school counterparts, and can make it to the big leagues faster. Even those high school players who are determined to have first round talent still have a few years before they make it to the majors.
Granted, the benefits of going the college route to the majors may get you there faster. It also provides more opportunities for those players who may not be top prospects to prove their worth in college. But for some, the opportunity to become professionally employed to play baseball is just too good to wait on.
From High School to the Draft
When these players are in high school, they are approached by MLB scouts. These scouts will try to dissuade them from college with signing bonuses. These bonuses are provided to a player when they sign with a respective team’s agent. These signing bonuses are where players earn their money. The first overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Mickey Moniak, had a $6.1 million signing bonus. But that is certainly not the case for all drafted players.
The salary of an average minor league player can be less than what is considered poverty level in the United States ($11,490 a year for a single person). That is staggering to see, given that minor league players have to provide their own lodging, food and necessary daily items. But even so, if you can earn a good signing bonus, it definitely makes up for it.
To make it to the majors, much more is required than just talent. While that is the basis of a player, it may be necessary to supplement that talent with specialized instruction and equipment. Baseball is one of the most expensive sports to play. With the costs of equipment and training, some players give up the game due to lack of funds. That can make the jump from high school to the MLB Draft even more enticing. After spending countless hours and dollars on their game, some players are ready to get paid. And that may be the best option, given some of my findings.
Which Transition Provides the Most Success?
Using our same sample size from earlier (2009-2016) and using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to determine success, there is a surprising discovery. High school players have an advantage in career success over their college counterparts. From 2009-2012, only the 2010 draft has produced a college player with a higher WAR than a high school player. Chris Sale entered the draft from college and has a 31.1 WAR, while Manny Machado came straight from high school and has a 24.4 WAR. That is the lone year in our sample size where a high school player has been bested by a college player in terms of WAR.
In terms of short term success, the route from college to the draft is the best choice. Players who gain those few years in college are able to mature physically and have a shorter path to the majors. The 2009 MLB Draft is an excellent example. Even supported by high school phenom Mike Trout’s incredible 48.5 WAR, first found high schoolers have only amassed 72.5 WAR. That does not compared to the 90 WAR put up by college players in that year’s first round draft.
Every year, players across the country are faced with a difficult decision. Whether to play in college or go straight to the MLB Draft. There is a solid argument to be made for both choices, but one of the biggest determining factors is the player himself. Each player is unique. With different circumstances, skills and abilities, there is no definitive answer.
“From Our Haus to Yours”
The MLB season is closing in! With only sixty-six days of preparation left, it’s time to tackle our early 2017 fantasy baseball pitcher rankings.
I have categorized the top 100 pitchers into twelve different tiers. Creating tiers allow owners to separate and compare players based on their projected value and cost. Players at the bottom of a tier present more value, as they project to have similar stats as a player at the top of a tier, with less of a cost.
Tiers below are given a star rating. A five-star rating is given to the best of the best, where a zero-star rating is given to an average, waiver wire pickup type player.
The top and bottom pitcher in each tier will be profiled below.
Tier 1 – 5 StarS
To qualify as a five-star pitcher, a player must consistently have seasons with a sub three ERA (earned run average), sub one WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched), and over 200 strikeouts.
- Clayton Kershaw
- Max Scherzer
- Madison Bumgarner
Clayton Kershaw remains the golden standard of major league pitching. He has eight consecutive seasons with an ERA in the twos and a career strike outs per nine innings (K/9) of 9.8. If the 28-year-old retired today, he would be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Kershaw looks to recover from his back ailments and return to his godly form in 2017.
Madison Bumgarner emerges as a five-star pitcher in 2017. Last season was his sixth straight with 200 innings pitched. He has averaged 214 strikeouts per year over the last six seasons, and continues to improve those totals every year. The great playoff performer sports a career 2.99 ERA, and 1.09 WHIP. Bumgarner, at only twenty-seven years old, will remain in Cy Young talks for years to come.
Tier 2 – 4.5 StarS
This tier is home to the man that will one day overtake Clayton Kershaw for the number one ranked pitcher spot in baseball.
- Noah Syndergaard
Thor looks to continue his dominance heading into 2017. The Mets ace enters his third season with hopes of being a top 20 MVP candidate for the second year straight. With a career K/9 of 10.4, Syndergaard will be fanning batters into oblivion for the next decade. A lack of experience is the only reason he is left out of the five-star tier, as he is yet to log 200 innings in a season. He has the potential to be a top 3 fantasy pitcher in 2017.
Tier 3 – 4 StarS
To be considered for tier three, one must have multiple seasons with 200 innings pitched, 200 strike outs, and an ERA in the low threes.
- Chris Sale
- Corey Kluber
- Johnny Cueto
- Jon Lester
- David Price
- Justin Verlander
- Jake Arrieta
Confident Chris Sale enters 2017 with adversity, will he perform in his first season with Boston? The answer is uncertain, but the numbers suggest he will. Sale has a career 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9. He joins a talented and seasoned pitching staff that will relieve him of pressure, as he no longer the lone ace in the rotation. There is no reason Sale can’t finish as a top five Cy Young finisher for a fourth straight season.
Jake Arrieta schemes his way into the four-star category in 2017. The 31-year-old is coming off of two consecutive seasons of 197 plus innings, 190 strike outs, with an average ERA of 2.44. Arrieta signed a one year, $15.6 million contract for 2017, and looks to impress in order to receive a pay day in 2018. With the Cubs lineup currently projected as the top offense, a fourth consecutive top ten Cy Young finish for Arrieta is more than likely.
Tier 4 – 4 StarS
To qualify for this tier, player must have a high floor and high ceiling. They must show a strong potential to reach 200 innings pitched, 200 strike outs, and a low three ERA. Players in this tier may or may not have reached these marks before, but will do so in 2017.
- Yu Darvish
- Stephan Strasburg
- Jacob deGrom
- Cole Hamels
- Chris Archer
- Carlos Martinez
Yu Darvish looks to return to super star form in 2017. He is coming an injury ridden season where he was limited to a mere seventeen starts. When healthy, Darvish is a menace. His career K/9 is 11.3, showing that he has the potential to strike out 260 plus batters. Also, his career ERA sits just below 3.30. Darvish’s extremely high upside is accompanied by injury concerns, but name a player that isn’t.
St. Louis Cardinals Ace, Carlos Martinez, looks to build on his early Major League success heading the upcoming season. With two consecutive seasons of 180 innings, and a career K/9 of 8.5, Martinez provides a high floor with a potential to continue to improve. The 25-year-old hurler provided a 9.2 K/9 in the minors, which shows that his strike out totals can continue to improve as he adjusts to life in the big leagues.
Tier 5 – 4 Stars
Players in this tier WILL contend for a Cy Young, although are being over looked as they have less of a track record.
- Rick Porcello
- Aaron Sanchez
- Michael Fulmer
Rick Porcello was a completely different pitcher in 2016 than in any of his previous campaigns. He started to make better in game adjustments, allowing him to get through lineups multiple times over. Also, he has done a great job eating innings, as he managed to finish sixth in innings pitched in 2016. Pretty Ricky has the potential to win another twenty games, and compete for back-to-back Cy Young awards.
2016 Rookie of the year award winner, Michael Fulmer, shows promise of being a future Cy Young candidate. With a career K/9 of 8.4 and an ERA of 3.17, his potential is through the roof. The 23-year-old former first-round pick will look to record 200 innings for the first time in 2017.
Tier 6 – 4 StarS
These players are proven inning eaters, have great ratios, but lack the strikeout upside that makes a top ten pitcher. These players are lower risk than the comeback candidates, but have a lower ceiling as well.
- Kyle Hendricks
- Masahiro Tanaka
- Kenta Maeda
- Jose Quintana
- Julio Teheran
Top three Cy Young finisher in 2016, Kyle Hendricks looks to continue his dominance heading into 2017. He managed to finish with a 2.13 ERA, .979 WHIP, 170 strikeouts in 190 innings. Even if Hendricks adds an entire point to his ERA, he will still be under 3.2. His dominant sinker and change up will continue to keep hitters off balance in 2017.
Two time all-star Julio Teheran looks to help a young Braves team reach new heights this upcoming season. With a career ERA of 3.39 and K/9 of 7.8, Teheran has continued to impress on a lack luster Braves team. The Braves offense started off 2016 at a historically bad pace, but managed to be a top five offense in the second half. This gives Teheran hope improve his career high win total of fourteen.
Tier 7 – 3.5 StarS
This tier includes players who look to recover from sub-par or shortened 2016 campaigns. These players are higher risk draft picks, with higher ceilings.
- Gerrit Cole
- Danny Salazar
- Carlos Carrasco
- Zack Greinke
- Matt Harvey
- Felix Hernandez
- Dallas Kuechel
- Sonny Gray
- Garrett Richards
Gerrit Cole finished 2015 as a top five Cy Young finisher and top twenty MVP candidate. He endured a tough 2016 campaign where he made twenty-one starts with his career worst ERA, WHIP, and K/9. A lingering rib injury, which is gone by the way side, was the cause of his 2016 struggles. The twenty-six-year-old will return to form in 2017, rejoining the Cy Young conversation.
Garrett Richards elected to skip surgery to repair a UCL tear in his throwing elbow in 2016, and instead received a plasma injection to repair the injury. Before the injury, Richards started six games, nursing a 2.34 ERA and 8.8 K/9. Richards will be the ace for the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, and hopes to return to his 2014 or 2015 form, where he averaged a 2.82 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 170 strikeouts.
Tier 8 – 3.5 StarS
This tier may be small, but is important none the less. These players have proven to show top-twenty pitcher upside, but don’t have the names to match. They tend to fall in drafts but have tremendous value.
- Danny Duffy
- J.A. Happ
- Tanner Roark
Danny Duffy is expected to be the number one starter for the Royals heading into 2017. He just received a five year, $65 million deal. The twenty-eight-year-old made the transition from the bullpen to the rotation look easy last season. Duffy struck out 188 in 179.2 innings, resulting in a 9.4 K/9. He will reach the 200 innings and 200 strikeout marks in 2017.
Tanner Roark is the most over looked and undervalued players in my opinion. He has two seasons with over thirty starts, over 198 innings, under a 2.85 ERA, while averaging 154 strikeouts. He will slot in behind Max Scherzer and Stephan Strasburg in a very strong Nationals rotation. With the success of the Nationals imminent, Roark’s chances of matching or passing his career win total of sixteen is likely.
Tier 9 – 3 Star
Tier nine consists of young studs who are ready to explode. These players will have the opportunity to be enormous contributors come 2017.
- Lance McCullers
- Kevin Gausman
- Marcus Stroman
- Steven Matz
- Jameson Taillon
- Alex Reyes
- Jared Eickhoff
- Joe Ross
- Sean Manea
- Aaron Nola
- Julio Urias
- Blake Snell
- Carlos Rodon
2012 first round pick, Lance McCullers, looks to continue his tirade on the MLB. He has started a total of 26 games, resulting in a career 3.22 ERA and 10.2 K/9. McCullers will slot in as Houston’s number two starter in 2017. He will start over thirty games and log over 200 innings for the first time in his career next season.
Carlos Rodon, former third overall pick in 2014, looks to finally reach his potential in 2017. He has struggled early in his career, with an ERA of 3.9 and WHIP of 1.4. Although the bright spot in Rodon’s game is his devastating slider, which helps him strikeout 9.1 batters per nine. Rodon will begin to figure things out in 2017.
Tier 10 – 2 Star
The tenth tier of pitchers is loaded with upside. These players show high K/9 potential, along with being young enough to continue to improve their ratios.
- Colin McHugh
- Drew Pomeranz
- Jake Odorizzi
- Matt Moore
- Jon Gray
- Robbie Ray
- Drew Smyly
- Michael Pineda
- James Paxton
Colin McHugh finished 2016 with his worst ERA and WHIP in his three seasons as a starter, although he had a career high in strikeouts. McHugh looks to rebound to his 2015 Cy Young candidate form where he won nineteen games, with 171 strikeouts. The Astro’s look to impress in 2017, and McHugh will be a huge part of that.
James Paxton is ready to break out. The six foot four lefty managed 8.7 K/9 in 2016, along with a career high in innings pitched and games started. Paxton will be a heavy contributor for the Mariners this upcoming season where he will log a career high in innings pitcher, strikeouts and wins.
Tier 11 – 1 Star
We have to respect our veterans! These veterans provide above average value as they are reliable inning eaters with proven track records. They provide value later in drafts because as they tend to fall in draft position due to age concerns.
- Rich Hill
- Ian Kennedy
- John Lackey
- Gio Gonzalez
- Marco Estrada
- Francisco Liriano
- Jeff Samardzija
- Jason Hammel
- Chris Tillman
- Adam Wainwright
- Lance Lynn
- Hisashi Iwakuma
- Jeremy Hellickson
- Mike Leake
- Jordan Zimmerman
The anomaly Rich Hill just received a three year, $45 million contract as a thirty-six-year-old pitcher. The age may affect people’s desire to select Hill, but his skill set says otherwise. He has a demoralizing 12-6 curveball, which helped him reach a career high in K/9 as a starter, with 10.5. He will be an integral part to the Dodgers rotation in 2017, and should be drafted in all leagues.
I’m not sure who showed up in Jordan Zimmerman’s uniform last season, but it wasn’t him. The imposter registered career worsts across the board, with a 4.87 ERA, 1.367 WHIP, and 5.6 K/9. No one was more frustrated with Zimmerman’s 2016 than himself, which leads me to believe he will not stand for another disappointing season. If the Tigers have any hope of making the playoffs, Zimmerman will have to step up and return to his form, as his career averages are 3.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 7.3 K/9.
Tier 12 – 0 Star
Players in this final tier will commonly go undrafted in standard ten team leagues, and are worth the low risk investment. They have had hype in the past, and show potential to be successful in 2017.
- Dylan Bundy
- Joe Musgrove
- Tyler Glasnow
- Anthony Desclafani
- Eduardo Rodriguez
- Trevor Bauer
- Taijuan Walker
- Dan Straily
- Mike Foltynewicz
- Matt Shoemaker
- Wei-Yin Chen
- Ervin Santana
- Mike Leake
- Mike Montgomery
- Robert Gsellman
- Brandon Finnegan
- Patrick Corbin
- Zach Davies
- Ivan Nova
- Tyler Anderson
- Andrew Triggs
- Jharel Cotton
- Tyler Skaggs
- Daniel Norris
- Alex Cobb
- Adam Conely
Former fourth overall pick Dylan Bundy looks to gain more major league experience in 2017. He has battled adversity throughout his short career as he underwent reconstructive Tommy John surgery in 2013. Bundy will be an important part of the Orioles fragile rotation come next season. He will continue to improve on his career highs by staying healthy and striking out batters. His career 8.4 K/9 bodes well as Bundy has shown above average strikeout ability at all levels. Whether or not the ratio stats are there, the K’s will be.
Adam Conely is will end up on all of my teams this season. He has struggled mightily in the Majors, displaying a career ERA of 3.82, WHIP of 1.36, and 3.7 walks per nine (BB/9). I understand this is disconcerting, but his K/9 keep me believing. The twenty-six-year-old has averaged 8.2 K/9 through all levels, which gives me hope that he can continue to improve and possibly break out in 2017.
In case you had been living under a rock, Chris Sale has been a major trade target ever since he had his major outburst and cut up a bunch of jerseys. This made him by far and away the most attractive trade or free agent target for teams looking to contend. He is a true ace in a league that no question lacks number ones.
With the Winter Meetings in full swing and trades and signings happening left and right, this is probably the most notable deal. Honestly, this is probably the biggest deal in the last 365 days and probably will be until the next trade deadline.
Most rumors had been that up until this morning the clear front-runner was the Washington Nationals, but today the Red Sox came in and gave the White Sox an offer they could not pass up.
In return for the illustrious but troubled ace, the White Sox got arguably the best prospect in baseball, 2B/3B Yoan Moncada. With him they also got the Red Sox’ number five prospect, RHP Michael Kopech, the number eight prospect OF Luis Alexander Basabe, and their number 29 prospect in Victor Diaz. All ranking and stats below are courtesy of MLB.com.
This deal works out well for both teams. Let me break it down for you.
For the White Sox, this is probably the best deal that they could have hoped for. Moncada is an absolute stud who can either play 2nd, 3rd, or DH. It will depend on if they feel he is a better fielder than either Todd Frazier or Brett Lawrie. Frazier has always had a solid glove so I doubt they move him. My bet is Moncada either plays 2nd or DH and bats in the 2 or 6 hole in the lineup. Either way they will make sure his bat is in that lineup everyday.
But Moncada is not the only player in this deal. Yes, he is possibly the best prospect, but the White Sox also get Michael Kopech with him. He was drafted in the first round in 2014, has great size at 6’3”, and can hit the upper 90’s with a developing slider. The hope is that he becomes a top of the rotation guy as he gets older. I imagine he will realistically be looking at a 2018-2019 call-up time.
Basabe is also a very interesting piece. He is someone who can hit from both sides and is starting to show some power. If he can keep hitting well as he moves up and gets those strikeout numbers down he could be a middle of the order bat. This is not something that you see very often in young played anymore as they are encouraged at a young age to focus on one side of the plate.
Lastly, the White Sox get Victor Diaz. This kid has a cannon for an arm. His only problem is that it is taking him a little while to learn to be a pitcher instead of a thrower. With time this guy could develop into a top-end closer if he can continue to learn his slider and splitter in tandem with the fastball.
What this signifies is that the White Sox are probably renewing the farm and will soon start to sell off other players. I imagine this will not be the last deal they make this winter.
For the Red Sox, they are getting a bonafied major league ace. The lanky lefty had a league high six complete games, 226.2 innings pitched, and 233 strikeouts. He’s also a perennial All-Star, Cy Young candidate, and someone who even garners MVP votes.
They are adding him to a rotation of this year’s surprising Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello, previous Cy Young winner David Price, knuckleballer Steve Wright, and Padres Former ace Drew Pomeranz. This is easily a top 5 pitching rotation next season if everyone stays healthy.
Along with the high powered offense the Red Sox have, this team is easily a top early World Series contender.
Overall it seems as though both teams got exactly what they are looking for. With starting pitching at such a high demand, it is no surprise that the Red Sox had to give up this much in order to grab Sale.