Ricky Nolasco used to be the lovebird of all fantasy analysts. He had had the perfect storm of bad luck in 2009 and because of that nearly everyone in the industry projected him for a major improvement in 2010. Despite posting an ERA over 5 in 2009, Nolasco went in the same group as Wandy Rodriguez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Cole Hamels in drafts.
Now, things are not looking good. Nolasco’s fantasy numbers are better than last season (5-4, 4.60 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 54 Ks) but aren’t exactly what everyone expected. And then it gets worse. Because every area where Nolasco was unfortunate last year has regressed to the mean, or past the mean, and he hasn’t really improved to justify these changes.
Nolasco’s LOB% went up from a low 61.0 percent to 70.7. His BABIP is down from .336 to .310. HR/FB decreased from 11.0% to 10.5. LD% down from 21.8% to 16.5%. Everywhere is back to normal or better than normal.
And to make matters worse, Nolasco’s strikeouts are down. Way down. His K/9 has gone from 9.49 to 6.54, and that’s a pretty big jump.
It looks like Nolasco is quite simply pitching worse. His opponents’ contact percentage against pitches outside the zone is at 70.1%, up from 55.1% in 2009.
His FIP and xFIP suggest improvement may come, but not a lot.
So where exactly is Ricky Nolasco? Would I rather have him or Mike Pelfrey?
Give me the Met please.