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Thursday, March 24, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: LEAKING VELOCITY CONTINUES FOR MASAHIRO TANAKA, LOOMING FOR JACOB DeGROM

Velocity.  For a staring pitcher or even a reliever, any drop-off in that area always sets off alarms when it comes to a fantasy baseball stock.  So far this spring training, we have seen a few big-name pitchers lacking in that department.  Two them reside in New York in the form of the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka and the Mets' Jacob DeGrom.  As far as Tanaka is concerned, this is sort of old news as he began showing decreased velocity prior to last season as he began the process of pitching with a slight tear in his UCL.  Instead of the 95-97 Tanaka showed as a rookie before the tear, he instead sank to the 90-92 range for almost all of 2015.  We have seen those numbers get even worse this spring as Tanaka's fastball has sank to an average of 87-89 which makes the guy even more of a red flag.  As a result of the dip in velocity last season, Tanaka started giving up home runs at a very high clip which inflated his ERA.  Another dip like he is showing this spring will make Tanaka even more susceptible to the home run ball and thus make his ERA shoot up again.  We have been on record way too many times going back to 2015 in terms of telling you all to avoid the headache that is Tanaka and that is even more so now. 

In terms of DeGrom, he too has seen a drop in his velocity this spring which is something that first started showing up in the postseason last year.  DeGrom reached new heights in innings last season for the Mets as they made the World Series and his fastball habitually sat in the 95-97 range.  However once the World Series arrives, DeGrom was down to 92-94 as he had some difficulty with the Kansas City Royals.  So far this spring, we have seen DeGrom stay in that 92-94 range which has made him somewhat more hittable.  Now his drop in velocity is not extreme and DeGrom is very young which means he could ramp up that number soon enough.  However it is something to watch as DeGrom did have a very heavy workload at a young age last season and he could be paying for it in the short-term now.  It could push him from ace level to SP 2 if the home runs fly out at a higher rate.  Already a bit homer prone, this is something to keep an eye on here when it comes to DeGrom's outlook this season. 

 

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