For the second pitching comparison (which is a bittersweet thing for me but more on that later), we’re going to do something a little different and focus on two teammates’ Steamer projections. As with the previous editions, we’re still focusing on their NFBC ADPs and how the two players could offer up similar value despite the different ADPs. In the interests of consistency, here are their 2019 numbers;
Despite having a clear edge in strikeouts, Soroka’s numbers fully support him going 3-4 rounds earlier than his teammate. But what does Steamer say? Here are their 2020 projections;
Given it was both pitchers’ rookie season (both had 5 starts for the Braves the year before), it seems harsh to believe Soroka will put up his worst season statistically in 2020. Its likely Steamer doesn’t believe he can sustain some of his numbers from 2019, such as his batting average allowed (BAA) the third time through the order. That was a miserly .220 last year which is remarkable given his BAA was .242 first time through the order and .246 second time.
Steamer is also taking back some of that ERA which when compared to his FIP, was on the lucky side. Soroka also had some home run luck in that he ranked 9th in HR/FB rate (11.1%) among 61 qualified pitchers (163+ innings pitched). Soroka does induce weak contact regularly however and among those 61 qualified pitchers, he ranked 6th in ground ball rate (51.2 GB%) and 20th in soft contact (18.8 soft%). Soroka, therefore, seems to be somewhat victimized by his profile and whilst I don’t believe his 2.68 ERA will be repeated, I don’t think it jumps above 4.00 in 2020. You can play it safe and put it in the middle.
While Soroka’s groundball rate is impressive, the pitcher one spot ahead of him on that list in 5th place is Max Fried (53.6 GB%). And while Soroka seemed to be a bit fortunate in the home runs he gave up, Fried was the complete opposite and ranked 60th out of the 61 qualified pitchers with a 20.2 HR/FB%. The fact that Fried ranked 2nd in that list in flyball rate (22.2 FB%) and was a middling 37th in hard-hit rate (38.2 hard%) all points to some bad luck with homers.
If Steamer is correct and Fried’s ERA does come down a bit with a change of fortune, both he and Soroka should put up similar ERAs. Given Fried does have the advantage in strikeouts, I’ll be more content taking Fried in 12th round and passing on Soroka in the 9th round.
The reason why this is a bittersweet article for me is not to do with an affinity for Mike Soroka. But this is going to be my last article for TheFantasyFix.com for at least the foreseeable future. The team here has been amazing to me and will continue to be amazing going forward and I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me this opportunity to write about a silly little game we play and love so much.