REV Free Agent Pitchers

Rob Elzer

*Disclaimer: If you have not read my first blog post called About REV, you might want to before reading this post.

In this post, I will be examining the pitchers who Pre REV thinks are the top three free agents at starting pitcher and relief pitcher, as well as pointing out unsung players that teams should be able to get for cheap.

Some Reminders:

  • Pre REV only includes pitchers with at least 65 innings pitched since 2015.
  • An average starting pitcher has a REV of .590, while relief pitchers average a .420 REV.

SP:

The top three free agent starting pitchers:

Jake Arrieta (8th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Chicago Cubs

Age in 2018: 32

Jake Arrieta

Arrieta dealt with some hamstring problems late in the 2017 season, which caused him to throw his fewest number of innings since 2014. Even with the injury, he has been one of baseball’s most reliable pitchers the past few seasons. His 188 weighted innings per year(weighted towards this past season) places him in the 98th percentile in Durability, 14th among all pitchers. With some of the most consistently good peripherals, 83rd percentile in Strikeout rating, 72nd percentile in Walk rating, and 90th percentile in Home Run rating, Arrieta is one of baseball’s elite pitchers. I would expect him to make the most money this offseason.

Yu Darvish (36th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Age in 2018: 31

Yu Darvish

After undergoing Tommy John Surgery and missing all of 2015 and the first half of 2016, Darvish returned to form and looked like the pitcher that earned a 6 year, $60 million deal out of Japan. Darvish ranks 7th among starting pitchers in Strikeout rating, which lands him in the 93rd percentile among all pitchers. If Darvish has a problem, it would be the home run ball. In his 287 innings over the past two seasons, he has given up 1.2 HR/9, which places him in the 41st percentile in Home Run rating. With his 91st percentile Stamina rating and his arm issues seemingly in the past, Darvish is a safe bet for a multi-year deal.

John Lackey (40th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Chicago Cubs

Age in 2018: 39

John Lackey

Coming off a poor 2017 season in which he posted a 4.59 ERA and a 5.30 FIP, this might seem like a surprise. Lackey’s problem in 2017 seemed to involve the home run ball. After giving up just 1.0 HR/9 in the previous two seasons, Lackey’s HR/9 skyrocketed to 1.9 in 2017. However, his other peripherals fell right in line with his career norms. He has posted above average strikeout numbers over the past few seasons and his 78.80 Walk rating lands him in the 83rd percentile. Despite his age, Lackey ranks in the 97th percentile in Durability and in the 93rd percentile in Stamina. As a dependable, older pitcher, Lackey should expect to get a one year deal for a good amount of money, for a team in a big ballpark.

Unsung starting pitchers:

Jhoulys Chacin (89th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: San Diego Padres

Age in 2018: 30

Jhoulys Chacin

Chacin proved in 2017 that he can be the solid Major League starting pitcher he once was in Colorado. While his Strikeout rating and Walk rating are slightly below average, he has been able to limit the home run ball. His Home Run rating of 72.87 ranks in the 73rd percentile of all pitchers. He is a guy who a team can trust to give five or six solid innings and turn it over to the bullpen. I would expect him to get a two or three year deal, with an AAV around $12 or $13 million.

Honorable Mentions:

Miguel Gonzalez (.609 REV)

Ricky Nolasco (.608 REV)

R.A. Dickey (.600 REV)

Drew Hutchison (.595 REV)

RP:

The top three free agent relief pitchers:

Addison Reed (96th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Boston Red Sox

Age in 2018: 29

Addison Reed

Reed is one of just six relief pitchers to crack the top 100 in Pre Season Pitching REV. He did this by having outstanding peripherals across the board, with a Strikeout rating in the 86th percentile, a Walk rating in the 94th percentile, and a Home Run rating in the 89th percentile. There’s not much Reed can’t do, other than go multiple innings, which is why he is one of the best high leverage relief pitchers in baseball.

Pat Neshek (116th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Colorado Rockies

Age in 2018: 37

Pat Neshek

Neshek has been one of MLB’s best relievers for quite a while now, and this past season may have been his best. The number that jumps out the most with Neshek is his walk total. He walked just 29 batters in the past three seasons combined. That total is good enough to place him in the 98th percentile in Walk rating. As one of the best strike throwers in baseball and a Clutch rating in the 94th percentile, Neshek is a very reliable guy in the late innings.

Tommy Hunter (148th among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Age in 2018: 31

Tommy Hunter

I don’t hear Tommy Hunter come up very often in the national media and I’m not really sure why. There’s not much he can’t do. Sure, he doesn’t get the flashy strikeout numbers like some relievers (70th percentile), but he is right among the game’s elite in Walk rating(92nd percentile) and Home Run rating(85th percentile). He only made $1.4 million last season, so I would expect that number to rise quite a bit this year.

Unsung relief pitchers:

Yusmeiro Petit (193rd among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Los Angeles Angels

Age in 2018: 33

Yusmeiro Petit

I haven’t heard about Petit much since he was an important part of the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series winning pitching staff. I would describe him as a “swing man” type of relief pitcher. He is capable of giving you multiple innings and maybe even making a start every once in a while. An elite strike thrower, Petit has a 96th percentile Walk rating. His major flaw is the home run ball(36th percentile Home Run rating), but his HR/9 came down a little in a bigger ballpark in Anaheim. I would expect his salary to increase a little from last year’s $2.25 million, but he will still be very affordable for any team.

Steve Cishek (223rd among all pitchers)

Previous Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Age in 2018: 32

Steve Cishek

Cishek used to be a 30+ save guy for the Miami Marlins, but lost his closer job and was later traded away because of ineffectiveness. Since then, he has done a pretty great job. He strikes guys out(81st percentile) and limits home runs(85th percentile). Those are pretty much the prerequisites for being a solid relief pitcher. His only problem is that he walks a few too many guys(40th percentile), but his walk numbers have come back to normal since being elevated in 2015. He is reliable guy who any team could use.

Honorable Mentions:

Anthony Swarzak (.501 REV)

Brian Duensing (.493 REV)

Fernando Salas (.486 REV)

Jeff Manship (.464 REV)

There are quite a few perfectly serviceable Major League pitchers available for teams to bid on. Some posts to look forward to in the near future:

  • An examination of the top free agents at each position.
  • The top 100 position players and pitchers according to Pre REV.
  • Analysis on transactions.
  • And a lot more creative stuff!

 

 

 

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