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2 To Watch: Eddie Butler and Jose Iglesias

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Each week during the season, I will profile two players that are interesting either because they are in the midst of a breakout, are performing way above their heads, or are widely available and useful. This week, it's Eddie Butler and Jose Iglesias.

Jose Iglesias cannot escape from the mighty CC or from regression
Jose Iglesias cannot escape from the mighty CC or from regression
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to 2 To Watch! Yes, that's three to's or two's in a row. Before I dive into this week's players, let's take a quick look at the season lines for last week's duo.

Note: these stats were updated on Tuesday night and don't include Karns' rough outing against the Red Sox.

  • Nate Karns: 17.2 innings, 8.66 K/9, 5.09 BB/9, .146 BABIP, 53.5% GB%, 4.58 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 4.34 xFIP
  • Chris Coghlan: 0.216/0.293/0.459, 9.5% BB rate, 19% K rate, 2 HR, 1 SB, 4 R, 3 RBI, 0.222 BABIP, 0.243 ISO

I told you to watch Karns' fastball whiff rate and change up usage. In his start against the Yankees, he did boost his changeup usage to 20%, which is very good and it did result in 7 Ks in 5 innings. However, his fastball still didn't get swings and misses like we hope and his control was poor with four walks. He didn't allow a hit that wasn't a homerun, though but he was lucky that both were solo shots. I'm still interested, but he needs much better control to have a chance. I like the changeup usage and hope he keeps it up.

Update: Karns struggled again with homers and walks against Boston on Wednesday, so it's safe to stay away for a while until he shows growth.

Coghlan is struggling with a poor BABIP that should rebound nicely, since his career average BABIP is above 0.300. That ISO is incredible and is way above his career mark. Part of that is a flukey 15.4% HR/FB ratio, but part of that is the change in approach I mentioned, where he is continuing to hit flyballs like never before. He seems to be targeting more power this year. Nothing has changed my thoughts on him. He is still a sneaky source of power and his average should be heading up soon. Combined with his good walk rate, he will be useful in OBP leagues too.

Now, on to this week's victims players to watch!

Eddie Butler

This tall and lanky Rockies starter has had an odd start to the season. To demonstrate this oddity, I'm going to show you his stats a little at a time, so don't cheat and read ahead. I mean it, Steve!

  • His ERA: 2.25, so far so good
  • His BABIP: 0.292, close to league average, nothing to see here
  • His GB%: 52.1%, pretty good
  • His K/9: 5.63, not very good, but some guys can make it work
  • His BB/9: 6.19, now we are quickly getting into rough waters. Hang onto the sides of the boat...
  • His FIP: 4.83, His xFIP: 5.12, His K%-BB%: -1.4%!!

And there we are. That ERA looks like a distant mirage now. Looking at his individual pitches and their whiff rates, he is getting terrible whiffs on his changeup (4.8%), fantastic whiffs on his slider (19.2%) and about average whiffs on his two fastballs. That isn't enough to get it done and is why his K/9 is so low. His groundball rate is driven mostly by his slider (75% GB%), with his fastballs getting about 50% and his changeup trailing at 40%.

With poor control, only two useful pitches really (fastball and slider) and no strikeouts, he should be avoided until further notice. He has a strong prospect pedigree, but it doesn't seem like he is ready to pitch in Colorado just yet. Leave him on the waiver wire. It may be a while before he turns into something useful. Don't be fooled by that shiny ERA.

Jose Iglesias

I guess it's "guys on hot streaks that won't last" week, because here is another one. Iglesias is a defensive master at shortstop in Detroit, but he has never demonstrated to me that he can be a reliable offensive force. Let's take a look at his numbers from 2013, this year, and his minor league numbers.

AVG OBP SLG R RBI HR SB PA
2015 0.400 0.449 0.489 5 2 0 4 50
2013 0.303 0.349 0.386 39 29 3 5 382
Minor Leagues 0.250 0.300 0.306 38/year 25/year 2/year 12/year 1364

BABIP K% BB% League Avg BABIP
2015 0.429 6% 8% 0.300
2013 0.356 15.70% 3.90% 0.300
Minor Leagues 0.291 15% 5.80%

Compare his 1364-plate-appearance minor league sample with his very short 432-plate-appearance major league sample. He never looked like a guy who could sustain a .350 BABIP, slug over .350, or steal more than 10-15 bases per year.

I ran his 2015 stats through the xBABIP calculator to determine what his BABIP should really be and it spat out .301, which matches both the league average and his own minor league track record very well.  His 2013 line produced an xBABIP of .315. This all screams regression to me. Once that BABIP comes back down to earth, his slugging, OBP, and steals will also see significant drops. His steals should drop off simply because he has never stolen more than 13 bases in a season, so it is unlikely he will maintain this 52-steal pace for much longer.

His strikeouts should also see a bump up closer to his previous marks of 15%. These are all very negative trends for a guy with no power and little speed to begin with. He is really only valuable if he has a .350 BABIP or more. Unless you play in an AL-only league, I guess.

Here's Steamer's projection for his slash line the rest of the way: .265/.311/.348 with 12 more steals and four homers. That seems like a really good estimate of his true talent and that's what you should be expecting. I don't know who this .400-hitting Ted Williams wannabe is, but it sure isn't Jose Iglesias. Step aside and let someone else have his fall back to earth. Tschus!