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Buy/Sell: Jose Berrios, Zack Godley, and more early season pitching surprises

Jose Berrios has been very good this season, but will it continue on into June?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins

When Berrios first came up to the majors in 2016, his command was horrendous as he had a 5.40 BB/9. This season he has cut that in half by posting a 2.70 BB/9. He has not only cut down his walk rate, but has cut his HR/9 from 1.85 last season to 1.01 this season. His GB/FB has pretty much remained the same however, but opposing batters are producing hard contact against him 9.5% less than they did last year. This season we should see a rise in strikeouts from the young star as his SwStr is also up 2.3% from last season. We are also seeing batters swing at more pitches, as their swing percentage is also up 4.7% from last season. Most importantly, he is throwing inside the strike zone 8.9% more than he was in 2016. This is most likely the reason his BB/9 is so much better than it was last season, and will be the main reason for his success at the big league level going forawrd.

Zack Godley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Godley was optioned down to AAA Reno last Sunday, but it is only temporary as they needed one extra bullpen arm going into the week. He will most likely be called back up to the majors after his mandatory ten days is spent at Reno. He has been excellent in 2017, posting a 2.39 ERA in 37.2 IP. One of the reasons for his success this season is because he has held batters to a minuscule .216 AVG, but I would expect that number to rise a little bit as the season continues. Another reason for his success so this season can be attributed to the 22.5% soft contact opposing batters are hitting against him. Something I was surprised to see from Godley was his 13.4% SwStr he has this season. He is only averaging 7.65 K/9, but this is mostly because opposing batters are very patient against the Diamondbacks right-hander. He has a very low 35.6 O-Swing%, which is the driving factor for his K/9 being below 8. Godley is a low risk high reward type player for your fantasy team in 2017, as he has not had much experience pitching at the big league level.

Trevor Cahill, RHP, San Diego Padres

After a couple of poor seasons as a starter, Cahill reinvented himself as a quality bullpen arm. This season however, he is back on the mound as a starter for the San Diego Padres and he has not disappointed. He has been one of the only positive things coming from a struggling Padres team. He has a 2.89 FIP in 2017 all while averaging a career high 11.10 K/9. Since 2015, Cahill has held opposing batters to an impressive 22.0% soft contact on batted balls, and he has also been great at producing ground balls. Everything seems to be going right for the Padres’ right-hander this season as batters are swinging more at pitches outside zone and watching more pitches inside the zone. When they do they decide to swing at a ball in the zone, be aware of Cahill’s impressive 13.7 SwStr%. I was expecting his strong start the 2017 season to be a fluke, but if he continues on the path he is on he could be a top 50 pitcher by the end of the season.

Ivan Nova, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Nova has been spectacular for the Pirates in 2017. He has posted a 2.92 ERA while averaging a spectacular 0.70 BB/9. He has been very good at producing ground balls this season as he has posted a very good 1.87 GB/FB. The reason for Nova’s excellent walk rate is due to his 50.9 Zone%, but batters do not chase that many of Nova’s pitches outside the zone so expect for his BB/9 to go up a little bit in June. It is also worth noting that his SwStr is lowest it has ever been since 2011, so do not expect a lot of strikeouts to come from the Pirates right-hander in 2017. When pitching at PNC Park Nova has been exceptional. He holds a .667 win percentage with a 2.57 ERA over his career, so make sure to at least give him a start when he is pitching at home. With Nova’s control and ability to produce ground balls, he could continue to be a quality starter in 2017.

Andrew Triggs, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Triggs has quietly been one of the most reliable starting pitchers the past two seasons. With his low BB/9 and a superb HR/9, his 3.81 career ERA does not give him enough credit for what he is capable of. In 2016, Triggs had a 2.00 GB/FB which added to his low 26.9 Hard% made him a force on the mound. This season those numbers have actually dropped to a 1.51 GB/FB and a 25.5 Hard%, but do not let that worry you too much. He has shown swing and miss stuff as he owns a career SwStr of 10.5%. The reason for his mediocre K/9 is mostly to due with his career 29.8 O-Swing%. If he can catch more batters chasing pitches outside the zone, he could be one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. Look for Triggs on your free agent market as he is only 57.6% owned in ESPN leagues as he looks to continue his strong 2017 campaign.

Poll

Who do you think will have the most success in 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins
    (150 votes)
  • 9%
    Zack Godley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
    (26 votes)
  • 7%
    Trevor Cahill, RHP, San Diego Padres
    (19 votes)
  • 23%
    Ivan Nova, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
    (63 votes)
  • 3%
    Andrew Triggs, RHP, Oakland Athletics
    (9 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now