GM's OFFICE: 2022 Prognosticating Successes, Part 2

Cheers to a fairly normal baseball season! The past couple of years have presented challenges to making accurate projections. In 2020, the 60-game season limited sample size. While there was a full season in 2021, the new "sticky stuff" rules instituted mid-year caused some consternation. With the 2022 season in the books, it's time to look at some of BaseballHQ's projection successes.

Yesterday, we detailed our many 2022 hits—where our process foretold a spike or dip in performance. Most of these commentaries appeared either on the site in the pre-season or in the 2022 Baseball Forecaster. Each provides a concrete example of how our projection model and the analysis that stems from it continues to put you in a position to win your league.

Hitters were covered yesterday, pitchers are covered here.

Sandy Alcantara: One of only four pitchers to crack 200 IP mark in 2021, he got there with a skills flourish. Pitch mix changes (improved slider, more change-ups/fewer curves) took 2020 skills pop to a new level: K-BB%, GB%, velocity all jumped. Even got a handle on lefty hitters. DOM/DIS% shows how far he has come; 2nd half BPX suggests... UP: Cy Young. (Pyron)
2021: 9 wins, 3.19 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in 206 IP
2022: 14 wins, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP in 229 IP

Tyler Anderson: Had some interesting flashes in 2021. For the season, his strong 11.5% SwK% gave him a 25% xK%, a mark that was six points higher than his actual strikeout rate. He also peppered the strike zone (69% FpK%, 31% ball%). There's a hidden sub-4.00 ERA lurking here. (Nickrand)
2021: 7 wins, 4.53 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 167 IP
2022: 15 wins, 2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in 179 IP

Luis Castillo: 7.22 ERA through May, then 2.73 from June onward. xERA smooths that out, as monthly levels were all between 3.22 and 4.96. The case against him as an ace has long hinged on his weaker WHIP/xWHIP. Higher WHIP=more runners, thus more chances for S% to burn him, as in April/May. Bottom line: he is what his full-season xERA history says he is. (Murphy)
2021: 8 wins, 3.98 ERA, 1.36 WHIP in 188 IP
2022:  8 wins, 2.99 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 150 IP

Dylan Cease: Proof that rebooting a pitcher can take many forms: this skills transformation came without introduction of a new pitch; instead he changed his arm slot, which added some spin and made his entire existing arsenal more effective. Velocity was never a problem, now SwK% is commensurate. Has become a strikeout asset with much less ratio risk. UP: 3.25 ERA (Murphy)
2021:  13 wins, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 166 IP
2022:  14 wins, 2.20 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in 184 IP

Emmanuel Clase: Turns out, throwing 100 with a heavy GB tilt plays pretty well at this level. Was approaching Vintage Eck Territory in 2nd half, where that 2% walk rate represents 3 BB in 36 IP. Add in a healthy dose of HR suppression, and that doesn't leave a lot of ways to beat him. In a desert of reliable closers, he's an emerging oasis. UP: 40 Sv (Murphy)
2021: 24 saves, 1.29 ERA, 0.96 WHIP in 70 IP
2022: 42 saves, 1.36 ERA, 0.73 WHIP in 73 IP

Reid Detmers: 2020 1st-round pick and command-first arm with stuff uptick at AA/AAA (108/19 K/BB, 3.19 ERA over 62 IP). Success didn’t follow on to August MLB debut, where hitters were tougher. COVID bout essentially ended his season. Limiting HR damage will be critical, but killer breaking stuff, age, give him time. He’s close. (Thompson)
2021: 1 win, 7.40 ERA, 2.2 HR/9 in 21 IP
2022: 7 wins, 3.77 ERA, 0.9 HR/9 in 129 IP

Camilo Doval:  Inexperienced flamethrower hit turbulence in both his MLB and high minors debuts in the 1st half. Things began clicking in August, MLB promotion yielded 16 scoreless IP, 24/3 K/BB and closer work in late September. Control still a work in progress, but K%, GB% say he has all of the ninth inning necessities. UP: 25 Sv (Thompson)
2021: 5 wins, 3 saves, 3.00 ERA in 27 IP
2022: 6 wins. 27 saves, 2.53 ERA in 68 IP

Max Fried: Hit the Goldilocks "just right" level this past season after bad fortune of 2019 swung to good in 2020. Hamstring and finger injuries prevented new IP high, but the career high BF/G is promising. Career bests in velocity and BB% along with a full year of 2020's vR dominance suggesto there could be another level here. UP: 200 Ks and Cy Young consideration. (Sporer)
2021: 14 wins, 3.04 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 166 IP
2022: 14 wins, 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP in 185 IP

Zac Gallen: April injury (forearm) was a 1st half harbinger as two more followed (elbow, hamstring) and bred volatility. SwK dip didn't hurt K% much. Rally down the stretch (3.19 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 48 IP) salvaged his season. Still a bright future thanks to a deep arsenal, neutral platoon, and a GB lean that lays a steady foundation. With health... UP: 200 Ks (Sporer)
2021: 4 wins, 139 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.29 WHIP in 21 IP
2022: 12 wins, 192 K, 2.54 ERA, 0.91 WHIP in 184 IP

Luis Garcia: Won a rotation spot in the spring and made 28 starts in eye-opening rookie campaign. Good command of five pitches highlighted by cutter, with room for K% improvement per excellent SwK%. Favorable strand rate held down ERA a bit, but strong overall skills paint encouraging picture for a repeat. (de Leonardis)
2021: 11 wins, 3.30 ERA, 1.17 WHIP in 155 IP
2022: 15 wins, 3.72 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 157 IP

Logan Gilbert:  Much heralded prospect made his MLB debut and mostly held his own as SEA carefully managed workload. Broad skills foundation, with K-BB%, SwK, velocity all comfortably above average. Extreme fly ball tendencies can be nerve-racking, but he does many things well enough. Solid growth potential. (de Leonardis)
2021: 6 wins, 4.68 ERA in 119 IP
2022: 13 wins, 3.20 ERA in 186 IP

Clay Holmes: The 1st half/2nd half splits don’t do this transformation justice… more sinkers, fewer curves seemed to do the trick. Still need to see it again, but by adding command to his rising velocity and GB rate, there’s suddenly a potential impact reliever here. (Hershey)
2021: 78 K, 0 saves, 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP in 70 IP
2022: 65 K, 20 saves, 2.54 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in 64 IP

Cristian Javier: Has a high ceiling, but it was held back in 2021 due to a lethal combination of walks, flyballs, and homers. He could emerge as a weapon if he shows signs of addressing these risks in spring training. (Nickrand)
2021: 4 wins, 3.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 101 IP
2022: 11 wins, 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP in 149 IP

Clayton Kershaw: He was his usual self in 2021, though a touch of bad luck bumped his ERA up by half a run. His 30%/4% K%/BB% is among the elite—when he pitches, he's still one of the best in the game. The rub, though, is that he's now had at least one IL trip in each of the past six seasons… he's an F health regardless… even if he gets 120 innings with his usual skills, he's worth a 12th-round pick or better. (Cederholm)
2021: 10 wins, 3.55 ERA in 122 IP
2022: 12 wins, 2.28 ERA in 126 IP (#90 season rank)

Jesús Luzardo: Has the pedigree of an elite pitching prospect, but some of that shine has worn off (293 ADP). Nonetheless, Luzardo's stuff in 2021 was fantastic (13.1% SwK%). He struggled to keep the ball over the plate (39% ball%), but he did show pinpoint control at times in the minors. He's a post-hype target who could emerge quickly. (Nickrand)
2021: 6 wins, 6.61 ERA, 1.62 WHIP in 95 IP
2022: 4 wins, 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP in 100 IP

Triston McKenzie: He's another young pitcher whose overall surface stats (4.67 ERA) are masking some reasons for promise. McKenzie's skills turned elite when the calendar turned to July (134 BPV), and his stats followed suit (3.66 ERA, 0.83 WHIP in 2H). He'll be a premium breakout target in 2022 drafts. (Nickrand)
2021: 5 wins, 4.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 120 IP
2022: 11 wins, 2.96 ERA, 0.95 WHIP in 191 IP

Aaron Nola: Yes, ERA/WHIP have been frustratingly inconsistent, but he maintained career-best K-BB% from 2020, and sudden shifts in GB%, FB% were very out of character. And just like 2018 was far enough outside skill parameters to leave him overvalued, 2021 has done the same at other end of spectrum. Career 3.45 xERA makes this a terrific buy-low opportunity. (Kruse)
2021: 9 wins, 4.63 ERA in 181 IP
2022: 11 wins, 3.25 ERA in 205 IP

Shohei Ohtani: Totally dominant once the calendar turned to July (see DOM/DIS%). Was driven by pinpoint control, and even if his 2nd-half walk rate was favorable given ball/strike mix, command gains were legit. Addition of groundball tilt is the cherry on top. Normally, we'd project further upside with this profile (UP: 180 IP, 220 K), but these are truly uncharted waters. (Nickrand)
2021: 9 wins, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 156 K in 21 IP
2022: 15 wins, 2.33 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 219 K in 166 IP

David Peterson: Former 20th overall pick in 2017 draft with some sneaky gains in spite of ugly stats. Surge in command backed by SwK% and xBB% combo, so there's more of that on the horizon. Most won't see this growth, especially since broken foot wiped away his 2nd half. You'll bid a buck and net some nice profit... UP: 3.75 ERA, 180 K (Nickrand)
2021: 2 wins, 5.54 ERA, 1.40 WHIP in 67 IP
2022: 7 wins, 3.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in 106 IP

José Quintana: Injuries (thumb, shoulder) limited him to just 73 IP over 2020-21. Combined with his poor 2021 numbers, vanishing from the fantasy radar is understandable. But there is a glimmer of hope beneath the surface. Quintana owns a putrid 5.13 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 244 IP from 2019-21, but his solid underlying skills suggest he has deserved better. Quintana’s SwK% spike is intriguing, as his change-up and curve drew swings-and-misses at a much higher clip than ever before and he threw them 15% and 27% of the time, respectively. It appears he could be an adjustment away from being a useful option and is worth a flyer in deeper leagues (616 ADP). (Pyron)
2021: 0 wins, 6.43 ERA, 1.73 WHIP in 63 IP
2022: 6 wins, 2.93 ERA, 1.21 WHIP in 166 IP

Tanner Rainey: Injury-marred season (COVID, broken leg) made it a dud. Pre-2021 skills showed some real reasons for optimism, including a surge backed by a SwK turned filthy in 2020 (2nd highest in game among relievers). You'll be able to get him for nothing now, and often the best speculations are last year's failed ones. UP: 20 Sv (Nickrand)
2021: 3 saves, 7.39 ERA, 1.71 WHIP in 42 IP
2022: 12 saves, 3.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 30 IP

Taylor Rogers: Missed the last two months with a finger sprain. Before that, skills had rebounded to vintage 2019 level—and beyond—with slight upticks in velocity and whiffs leading the way. And he wasn't chopped liver in "down" 2020. As a lefty, his grasp on the closer's job has always been a bit tenuous, but he's got the goods. With opportunity... UP: 30+ Saves (Truesdell)
2021: 9 saves, 3.35 ERA, 2.59 xERA, 1.14 WHIP in 40 IP
2022: 31 saves, 4.76 ERA, 3.02 xERA, 1.17 WHIP in 64 IP

Joe Ryan: Rookie made quite the September splash after a successful stint with Team USA in the Olympics, notching a dazzling 30/5 K-to-BB ratio and four straight PQS 3 or 4 starts before a tough final outing. His only issue at higher levels has been the long ball, but a high K-BB% keeps that damage minimal. He seems ready now. (Truesdell)
2021: 2 wins, 4.05 ERA in 27 IP
2022: 13 wins, 3.55 ERA in 147 IP

Patrick Sandoval: A big step up in strikeout rate while maintaining his groundball tilt is very encouraging. Prospect growth can be uneven, but if he builds on this... UP 3.20 ERA, 180 K (Truesdell)
2021: 3 wins, 94 K, 3.62 ERA in 87 IP
2022: 6 wins, 151 K, 2.91 ERA in 149 IP

Paul Sewald: Not just a late bloom, this is a late explosion. Lowering arm angle and working up in zone with the fastball turned it into a lethal pitch, and paired with wipe-out slider resulted in the fifth-best K rate among pitchers with at least 50 IP. It also meant the occasional gopherball—which was about all that hurt him. Assuming this all sticks... UP: 30 Sv (Truesdell)
2021: 10 wins, 11 saves, 3.06 ERA in 65 IP
2022: 4 wins, 20 saves, 2.67 ERA in 64 IP

Brady Singer: There's room for more here: gets his share of GB and whiffs with a small platoon split. Without elite stuff, watch walk rate: If he can keep it around 8% as in 2nd half, ERA could dip below 4.00. (Truesdell)
2021: 5 wins, 9% BB%, 4.91 ERA, 1.55 WHIP in 128 IP
2022: 10 wins, 6% BB%, 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP in 153 IP

Tarik Skubal: Made a lot of under-the-table gains in 2021 in terms of commanding his stuff and reducing his extreme flyball rate. His skills in the second half spiked (141 BPV). In fact, he had a 130+ BPV in each of the season's final three months. Breakout targets don't get much better than Skubal. (Nickrand)
2021: 4.34 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 149 IP
2022: 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 118 IP

Gregory Soto: Held at least a share of closer role for much of the season, and though K% dipped slightly, increased slider usage led to SwK surge. High BB% is the major weakness, one he'll need to improve upon to take step from just dominant vL to reliable closer. Not the safest option, but one with velocity and upside, and if 2nd half xBB% is any indication... UP: 30 Sv (Rudd)
2021: 18 saves, 3.39 ERA in 64 IP
2022: 30 saves, 3.28 ERA in 60 IP

Spencer Strider: Strider showed some dominant stuff in ATL camp this spring (10 K in 6 IP). This after he dominated hitters at Double-A in 2021 (94/29 K/BB in 63 IP). He put up a 5/0 K/BB in 2 IP during his first appearance of the season. Stashing Strider makes a lot of sense, especially with the injury history of the current ATL rotation incumbents. (Nickrand)
2022: 11 wins, 2.67 ERA, 202 K in 132 IP

Justin Verlander: Will be 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery by Opening Day—well past the typical rehab window. A quick look at 2018-19 BPX, R$ shows the upside that's possible here, but concerns over volume and post-injury skills at his age are well-warranted. The ultimate risk/reward play; just don't rule out a Hall of Fame player doing Hall of Fame things. (Bloomfield)
2020-21: 6 IP
2022: 18 wins, 1.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP in 175 IP

Michael Wacha: Bid to become latest TAM reclamation project didn't come to fruition, but some promising 2nd half signs if we squint: upticks in velocity, SwK spurred late K% growth; he did so with excellent control and xBB% support; BPX/xERA took off. Health and track record say it's a long shot, but if HR/F ever comes back to earth, he's a potentially lucrative dart throw. (Bloomfield)
2021: 3 wins, 5.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP in 125 IP
2022: 11 wins, 3.32 ERA, 1.12 WHIP in 127 IP

Zack Wheeler: Led majors in IP, 2nd in Ks as he delivered league-winning type of breakout. Repeat odds are mixed: he's never shown this level of skill before, yet everything in 2021—from the uptick in whiffs and climbing velocity to the pinpoint BB% and GB% lean—give this plenty of support. Hard to pay up coming off career year, but it just might be worth it. (Bloomfield)
2021: 14 wins, 2.78 ERA in 213 IP
2022: 12 wins, 2.82 ERA in 153 IP

Kyle Wright: Didn't get much attention in 2022 drafts (670 ADP), but his first start of the season went very well. He threw a higher volume of strikes than any other SP (26% ball%), attacked hitters (76% FpK%), and was really hard to make contact against (15.8% SwK%). As a former 8C prospect, Wright has become a good post-hype speculation, especially in deep leagues. (Nickrand)
2022: 21 wins, 3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 180 IP

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.