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Thursday, June 21, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MICHAEL WACHA SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Anyone who has been a religious follower of this space over the last few seasons would know I have no love for St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha.  While I was originally a big fan of Wacha when he first came up as a top prospect for the team and through his excellent initial foray into the majors, the giant red flag that is shoulder trouble for a pitcher showed up for the guy in late 2015.  I know for myself personally, any pitcher who comes down with shoulder trouble at a young age becomes persona non grata to me as I watched similarly skilled guys like Josh Johnson and the late Tommy Hanson have their careers ruined through the same ailment.  It certainly did look like Wacha was headed down the same path as he pitched to a horrid 5.09 ERA in 2016 and then a 4.13 mark a year ago.  With that said, Wacha began the 2018 season on a nice run and he took that into May and June as well as shown by the following numbers:

3.20 ERA
1.23 WHIP
7.58 K/9
3.84 BB/9
0.96 HR/9
.249 BABIP

On the surface the numbers look nice and tidy but my criticism of Wacha extends into this season as well due to the fact the under-the-hood indicators are not very positive.  For one thing, Wacha has pitched worse than his surface numbers show as his .249 BABIP is very lucky and when adjusted, it comes out to a FIP of .4.15 and XFIP of 4.04.  Wacha's strikeouts are also down sharply as his 8.58 mark a year ago dipped to 7.58 this season.  Add in some trouble with walks and it is likely Wacha would have faced some deep regression if he did not hit the DL Thursday with a strained oblique.  It is likely Wacha will be out 2-3 weeks due to the fickle injury but at least we are not talking about a shoulder here.  Be that as it may, try selling high on Wacha when he does return. 


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