Contract Crowdsourcing 2018-19: Ballot 4 of 7

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2018-19 free-agent market.

Below are links to ballots for eight of this year’s free agents — all of them starting pitchers, in this case. Numbers are prorated to full season where noted. Projected WAR figures from final update of 2018 Steamer forecast.





Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

I like the 2nd-tier options in the SP market this year collectively (Eovaldi, Gonzalez, Cahill, Miley, Hamels, Ryu, Harvey, maybe Pomeranz if you’re being charitable). But I don’t really know what to expect from any of them in terms of performance. Eovaldi and Ryu pitched like bosses this year but it could just be a blip, Gonzalez and Hamels have longer track records but were up and down this year and are older, Cahill and Miley were on their way out of the league before turning in nice performances, and Harvey is something else entirely. A team like the A’s or Brewers, with a lot of question marks in the rotation but probably not in the market for Corbin or Keuchel, would do well to sign a set of them (and maybe look at Happ and Morton too) and hope some pan out.

Slappytheclown
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Slappytheclown

Great point, and for some of these guys it may become…what happens in year 2 (or 3) if some of them like Eovaldi manage to get a 2 year with an option or 3 year deal. I don’t know how you handicapp that it’s a tough market.

bosoxforlife
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bosoxforlife

Eovaldi is building a very strong case to be considered among the best starting pitcher options in this year’s free agent market. I would be surprised if he doesn’t get 4 years between 14-18M

oozyalbies1
Member
oozyalbies1

Disagree on Eovaldi. Might be some recency (and other) bias at play.

Still a ton of injury concern and he’s a guy who’s only surpassed 150 IP twice in his career, and over 154.1 just once all the way back in 2014 when he pitched 199.2 for the Marlins.

I agree he’s made improvements this year, particularly with the K%, but still looks to me like a guy with a ceiling of 3.75ish ERA / 180 IP with bad contact management and a floor a lot lower.

Can’t see him getting even more than three years straight up (maybe team or mutual options can get him to 3-4 years). I’d also take the AAV down. $14mil per year max depending on length and options.

bosoxforlife
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bosoxforlife

I see the recency bias a little differently than you do. It is not unreasonable to see him as quite a different pitcher than before, a much ,much better one. He has added a cutter that, from most reports, is a terrific addition to his awesome heater. Injury, is he a greater risk than Clayton Kershaw who has missed medium duration stretches each of the past 2 seasons? In today’s game contracts are seldom clear-cut and you may be right in thinking that something creative is required but I know I would rather see the Red Sox sign him than Kimbrel.

oozyalbies1
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oozyalbies1

While I agree he’s shown improvements, I still don’t know that he’s much, much better than what we’d seen pre-2018.

The K% rate is up to a career high 22.2%, which is certainly an improvement on his career 17.6%, but it is hardly elite. His splits between TB and BOS are rather extreme, which helps to display his inconsistency even in a bounceback, career-type year. If you’re giving him that length and AAV, you’re really buying into 54.0 IP in the second half with Boston which he’s carried into the playoffs, hence the reason I noted a potential recency bias.

Yes, he’s using the cutter much more frequently this year, and that’s allowed his slider and fastball to play up a ton, but I’d still like to see another year of results before I buy into the sustainability of the gains he’s showed this year in K%.

He still looks like a pitch-to-contact type who’s meh in regards to contact management. Sub 20% Soft Contact, 45.6% GB% and a crazy unsustainable 15.7% IFFB%. He looks to me more like 1.25 WHIP type, than the 1.13 he put up this year, and he’d need to maintain that type of WHIP to keep his ERA in the low-to-mid 3’s.

And, this is still a guy who’s dealt with recurring elbow issues, pre and post TJ surgery, who needed arthroscopic surgery this March. You note Clayton Kershaw’s injury risk, but even he has averaged 161.2 IP per season over his last three injury shortened campaigns, which is a threshold Eovaldi has only passed once in his entire career himself.

He wouldn’t get a guaranteed third year from me, and even though I may be hard on him, I can’t see anyone going as far as four (not including options, I think he’s a prime third/fourth year team option candidate). I’d rather take JA Happ at his price.

sadtrombone
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Member
sadtrombone

That injury history, though…sheesh. I think it’s more like 3/$40m.