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Beyond the “W”, Is There Reason To Buy Into Chris Tillman?

Sunday, October 16, 2016 5:49
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

If you simply looked at the “W”, Chris Tillman would be an attractive option.  After all, he did rack up 16 W in ’16.  Of course he also posted a 3.77 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, so it’s not like the overall surface numbers would indicate anything but a viable option.  It’s when you start pulling back the layers that you realize that there is more than meets the eye to his “success”.

Strikeouts – 7.33 K/9
This was actually a spike in production, after posting marks of 6.51 and 6.24 the previous two seasons.  However the underlying numbers simply don’t indicate much upside, with a 27.7% O-Swing% and 8.7% SwStr%.  The latter was a career best, though it’s far from an impressive number.  There also was a notable split:

  • First Half – 9.1%
  • Second Half – 8.0%

He owns a 7.5% career mark, so it’s obvious which one is closer to the truth.  Considering his 6.44 K/9 after the All-Star Break, there’s little reason to get excited.


Groundballs – 41.2%
For his career he owns a 40.0% groundball rate.  While he’s never been one to allow a significant number of home runs, his 0.99 mark seems significantly low given the groundballs and his home ballpark.  Only a 1.07 HR/9 at home last season?  A 0.72 mark in ’15?  You have to think that, sooner or later, the “luck” is going to run out.

Control – 3.45 BB/9
He owns a 3.23 mark for his career, so it’s right on par.  While it’s not a bad number, it also isn’t a strength.

The strikeouts are going to regress (as it did in the second half) and he doesn’t offer much in either groundballs or walks.  Throw in a hitter’s ballpark in the AL East and it’s obvious that there’s nothing to buy here.  The risk far outweighs any potential reward, as his success this past season seems to be nothing more than a mirage.  Move on.

Source – Fangraphs


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