You know what makes me upright? Ew, gross! I’m talking about sitting up in my chair and taking notice! Anyway, I get upright, when a guy ups his K/9 and lowers his walk rate. To make me even more erect — Again, in my seat! Geez. — a guy who had an already elite K-rate and wasn’t that miserable with his command. Eduardo Rodriguez had a 9.8 K/9 and 3.3 in 2017, and bested both numbers last year with a 10.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. That makes me pitch a tent! A tent in my backyard that I’ve labeled “Pitchers I like.” C’mon, you perv! Eduardo Rodriguez had the 20th best K/9 last year. Wow, I am so horny! Horny as in bullish on Eduardo Rodriguez! What is wrong with you? Anyway, what can we expect from Eduardo Rodriguez for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
When everyone and their mother is striking out guys, being top twenty is impressive. That’s everyone and their mother, except Wisler. His mother just paints the corner. In that top twenty of starters, only one guy had a 4+ ERA, and that was Nick Pivetta, who was an enigma wrapped in an antacid. It goes without saying, which is what I say right before saying it, that if a guy strikes out hitters, it’s a lot harder to score on them. I’m seeing people draft Mike Foltynewicz like he’s the best thing since a slice of bread from a rustic loaf, when last year everyone thought he was a rustic loaf as defined prior to 2000, when it was just five-day-old poop. No knock on Foltynewicz, but Rodriguez’s K/9 and BB/9 were much better, and his xFIP was practically the same. From 2017 to 2018, his cutter usage went from 5.4% to 18.4%. That’s a big difference, and mostly from just throwing his fastball less. This resulted in his fastball becoming a slightly more valuable pitch (39th best in majors), and his cutter became much more valuable, going from a negative to the 12th best cutter in the majors. Normally, snooze. Or maybe still snooze, depending on your levels of tryptophan, but a young pitcher (only 25) who figures out how to mix his pitches can be the difference in forgotten number four to five fantasy starter and an ace. His Swinging Strike % was 11.1%, which was right above Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. I get it, the AL East and Fenway suck. Also, no one wants to see an already stacked Red Sox team get better without spending any more money, but Rodriguez is going into his third season in the majors, the time I love to jump in on starters, and is right on the precipice of breaking out. If he builds on next year and gets even better, he could be a top 15 starter. A 25-year-old pitcher getting better is unheard of? Maybe, if you’ve never followed baseball and you read this far only because you Googled “pitch a tent + what makes me upright + even more erect + horny,” and were looking for something else entirely. The only drawback for Rodriguez is his health, but he has been sidelined with mostly problems originating from below his waist. Hmm, maybe he was the one Googling all of those things. For 2019, I’ll give Eduardo Rodriguez the projections of 13-7/3.58/1.24/168 in 158 IP with a chance for more.