Washington Nationals: Predicting The Statistics Of Starting Pitchers

rjuckett
Oct 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA;(EDITORS NOTE: Time exposure photo) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA;(EDITORS NOTE: Time exposure photo) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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STEPHEN STRASBURG

W/L: 13-8 ERA Range: 3.11-3.20 IP Range: 159.3-177 WAR Estimate: 4.2-4.4

All three models are bullish in Stephen Strasburg’s return.

ZiPS has him at 27 starts while the other two give him 29. Strasburg has not started over 27 since his 34 in 2014. Although all three models suggest he pitches under six innings a start, again he has not averaged over six since 2014.

Where the projections are strongest is with ERA. Two injury-plagued seasons pushed his real-life numbers to 3.46 and 3.60 since 2015. The models have Strasburg back into peak range slightly over three.

To get there, Strasburg must fan his fair share of batters. The models agree, setting his K/9 rate around 10.6. Last year, before the arm trouble kicked it, it was 11.2. Strike outs are his bread and butter.

BAbip is not. When not getting batters to whiff, opponents hit Strasburg hard. His .294 rate last year was his best since 2013. The models have him in his 2014-15 mode, projecting anywhere from .311-315. A precise number.

If he stays healthy, Strasburg will beat his innings estimates and his start projections. Because he pitches well despite a high BAbip rate, he could exceed his WAR estimate of 4.3.

What we want to see is someone who takes the mound every fifth day who can stop a losing streak. Strasburg’s switch to pitching full-time out of the stretch is interesting. If it simplifies everything, could he take stress off his arm and pitch to contact more?

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