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2020 Projections: Starting Pitchers

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1.) Justin Verlander

2019 - 21-6, 223 IP, 2.58 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 6.4 WAR, 12.11 K/9, 1.70 BB/9

2020 Proj - 7-3.5, 3.46 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 2.35 WAR, 11.7 K/9, 2.05 BB/9

After winning the 2019 Cy Young, Verlander was destined to be a regression candidate from a projection standpoint, as that level of performance generally does not repeat itself. With that said, Verlander is definitely on the older end of the spectrum for a pitcher, and it’s possible that we start to see signs of decline. I do believe the extended recovery time given by the COVID situation will actually help not only allow him to heal fully but remove some of the challenges of a 162 game season.

Poll

Does Verlander beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Yes
    (114 votes)
  • 12%
    No
    (21 votes)
  • 21%
    Seem about right
    (38 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now
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2.) Lance McCullers

Missed 2019 Season with TJ Surgery Recovery

2020 Proj - 11-7, 3.74 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.55 WAR, 9.85 K/9, 3.45 BB/9

Surprisingly, McCullers overtakes Greinke for the #2 spot in the Astros rotation based on projections. After missing a full season for TJ recovery, the Astros look for McCullers to come back in a big way. After flashing inconsistent success ranging from Ace to #3 starter caliber, it’s tougher to predict what we will get from Lance this year. Hopefully we get to see that glorious curveball demolishing opponents once again and Lance takes a step up as we look at our aging aces.

Poll

Does McCullers beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Yes
    (48 votes)
  • 26%
    No
    (43 votes)
  • 43%
    Seems about right
    (71 votes)
162 votes total Vote Now
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3.) Zack Greinke

2019 - 18-5, 208.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 5.4 WAR, 8.07 K/9, 1.29 BB/9

2020 proj - 14-10, 4.26 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.4 WAR, 8.14 K/9, 2.00 BB/9

I think this was the projection I was most surprised by. Greinke was a Cy young caliber talent last year, with close to 20 wins, an ERA below 3, and 200+ IP. Greinke had the best BB/9 of his career. With that said, much like Verlander, at 36, there’s always the risk of his performance degrading although a shortened season should help keep his numbers stronger than they may otherwise be.

Poll

Does Greinke beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Yes
    (126 votes)
  • 9%
    No
    (16 votes)
  • 11%
    Seems about right
    (19 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now

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4.) Jose Urquidy

2019 - 2-1, 41 IP, 3.95 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 0.9 WAR, 8.78 K/9, 1.54 BB/9

2020 proj - 10-8, 4.45 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 1.05 WAR, 8.91 K/9, 2.36 BB/9

Not many people had heard of Urquidy before the late season and post season performances that thrust his name into the lights. In fairness, Urquidy also recently changed his name, so that definitely played a factor as well. Urquidy did improve significantly in the minors last year, which may have his projections lagging his actual performance. In his short exposure in the MLB, he held his own, providing the team with an exciting option heading into the 2020 season.

Poll

Does Urquidy beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Yes
    (69 votes)
  • 12%
    No
    (20 votes)
  • 42%
    Seems about right
    (65 votes)
154 votes total Vote Now
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5.) Josh James

2019 - 5-1, 61.1 IP, 4.70 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 0.5 WAR, 14.67 K/9, 5.14 BB/9

2020 - 8-6, 4.06 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 0.9 WAR, 11.19 K/9, 4.29 BB/9

Josh James was an overnight sensation as an interesting story of sleep apnea suddenly had him waking up throwing 100 mph. As he hit the majors, excitement built, especially given his 2.35 ERA across his 23 IP. Unfortunately, he was somewhat derailed by injuries in 2019, ultimately forcing him to the bullpen to start the season. With that said, his 4.70 ERA was largely due to bad luck and the advanced stats point to a significantly better performance. James has an enormous amount of potential given his stuff. The question will be if this is the year he will put it all together.

Poll

Does James beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Yes
    (62 votes)
  • 17%
    No
    (27 votes)
  • 42%
    Seems about right
    (65 votes)
154 votes total Vote Now
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6.) Forrest Whitley -

(Spent in Minors)

2020 proj - 3-3, 46 IP, 5.01 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 9.25 K/9, 4.66 BB/9

Ahh Whitley. Since being named the #1 Pitching Prospect in baseball, he’s had a turbulent path to the majors, having some wonder if he’s a bust already. Whitley still possesses top of the rotation talent, with all of the stuff that had prospect sites believing he had all the pieces of a future ace. It will be interesting to see if this is when Whitley takes his step up and uses all of his potential.

Poll

Does Whitley beat his 2020 projections?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Yes
    (78 votes)
  • 31%
    No
    (49 votes)
  • 19%
    Seems about right
    (30 votes)
157 votes total Vote Now