One of the more accurate assessments we made on a big-name players going into 2016 fantasy baseball was informing anyone who would listen to avoid reigning AL Cy Young award winning pitcher Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros. Surely Keuchel deserved the honor as he pitched to a 2.48 ERA and racked up a by far career-best 216 strikeouts while winning 20 games. Impressive numbers for sure but we were not buying for a numbers of reasons going into 2016. The first issue we had was the fact that we always suggest NEVER paying for a career year, especially when it comes out of the blue like it did with Keuchel in 2015. In addition, Keuchel's .269 BABIP was in the very lucky range and when that luck was adjusted, came out to a higher 2.91 FIP ERA. Finally, Keuchel tossed 232 innings in 2015 which was a huge amount of any pitcher and often poor health and a drop in velocity follow the very next season. All of this combined together is why we said to avoid Keuchel like the plague.
Fast forward to the end of 2016 as Keuchel finished with a nasty 4.55 ERA and got the know the DL well as expected as he dealt with shoulder ailments which no doubt can be pointed to all those innings the previous season. In addition, Keuchel leaked velocity and saw his K/9 rate go from 2015's 8.38 to last year's 7.71 which is very average. The end result was that Keuchel was as big a fantasy baseball bust as there was last season and gave us the chance to say we told you so.
As we moved toward 2017 fantasy baseball however, Keuchel's ADP dropped so low that we now considered him a value play. As much as we hated Keuchel for 2015, any player has value to yours truly if his draft price falls far enough. This was Keuchel in 2017 drafts and with good health going into the year, the outlook was somewhat bright. So it went that Keuchel was money Friday night as he threw 7 innings of 1-run ball on 4 hits with 7 K's. That brought Keuchel's ERA through three starts to a sparkling 0.86 as he is making good on my pronouncement that he was now a value play. The K/9 rate is still in pre-2015 form with 15 in 21 innings but overall Keuchel has been a nice asset. Whether he can keep it up or not is key but for now Keuchel looks back to being a sizable fantasy baseball impact player.