Nolasco Demoted

Ricky Nolasco is not having the season expected of him. Nolasco’s ninth start occurred last night, and it might be his last in a Florida uniform for a while. After the game he was optioned to Triple-A. That suggests how he fared. Sort by ERA descending on the leaderboards and you get the following grouping as the only qualified pitchers with ERA over 7:

Ricky Nolasco 9.07
Scott Kazmir 7.69
Jamie Moyer 7.62
Joe Blanton 7.11

Sort by FIP and you get Moyer at the top, Kazmir, Blanton, yet Nolasco is nowhere to be found.In fact, he’s far down the page, grouped with Roy Oswalt, Matt Cain, and John Maine. Those three have ERAs of 4.47, 2.65, and 4.53, giving you an idea of where Nolasco’s walk, strikeout, and homerun rates would theoretically place him. So if Nolasco’s peripherals are decent, what’s the problem with his ERA?

After last night, about 40% of the balls being put into place against Nolasco are resulting in non-homerun hits. To say that’s a bit on the high side is like saying a flood resulted from a little rain. Nolasco’s line drive rate is up to 26%, which hardly falls in line with his prior performances. Nolasco’s pitches are finding the zone slightly less while still maintaining similar break and velocity as in prior years. The excess hits are leading to an awful strand rate of 49.4%, Nolasco’s career strand rate is 68.1%.

Maybe Nolasco does have something to work on in Triple-A, but this move seems more like a space-clearer than anything else. The Marlins are in dire need of fresh arms for a pen overworked this week. If you have the room on your fantasy bench, stash Nolasco or if you see him waived, see if you can’t pick him up after he clears waivers. It’s not like his fantasy value can drop any further.

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The LD% against is basically the telling thing. He isn’t pitching well at the moment because he is not throwing quality strikes with his fast ball. His putting it over the plate and getting crushed for it. His BABIP isn’t unlucky because it’s online with his LD%. His LOB% isn’t unlucky because you’re not going to leave many on base when you give up a ton of hits, as you point out.

The whole theory behind FIP, BABIP, ect is that there isn’t much of a difference in skill set of major league talent players. Nolasco should do a lot better later, because he does have major league talent. He’s not pitching like it right now though.

The move really isn’t a space clearer because the Marlins are really short on starting options. They’re optioning/dfaing relievers and position players that are interchangeable, but they’re already have trouble filling the spot left by Anibal Sanchez’s injury. Now adding another hole in the rotation means having yet more starting pitching problems. It’s to hopefully right Nolasco’s ship, get him to throw quality strikes again.


I don’t really disagree. However, if his fastball is so much more hittable right now, why is that only showing up in BABIP? Why is he still striking out as many batters and why isn’t he giving up a ton more HRs? His BB rate is up a bit, perhaps showing he’s nibbling a bit more, but it’s still a good BB rate.