Go big or go home. That’s not just what a casting agent says to men trying to break into porn, but it’s also how we have to attack these overrated for fantasy baseball posts. I could’ve went Jacob deGrom, but he’s too easy to ignore. He had kelp noodles implanted in his elbow this offseason for tendons, but can any man subsist on sea greens? Nope, so you know a diet of meatballs is coming this summer. You can’t only go kelp noodles; you’re setting yourself up to yo-yo; Oprah would’ve told him that; semi-colons are fun. Jake Arrieta feels far less obvious of a CTRL-ALT-DELETE from draft sheets. At least according to ESPN, where they have him ranked in the top 30 overall. Coincidentally, as of the writing of this post, ESPN has Arrieta ranked right next to our other favorite battering ram boy (he’d love that nickname), Daniel Murphy. But this isn’t about deGrom or Murphy or deGromurphy. This is about Arrieta. Oh, double negatives be damned, this isn’t about not drafting any starter as early as Arrieta is going. I would not draft a pitcher in the top 30, but this is about Jake Arrieta. Anyway, why is Jake Arrieta overrated for 2017 fantasy baseball?
He’s a guy that can throw a no hitter this year, that’s right, I said it. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has some outrageously great games in 2017, but we’re not looking for some great games if we’re drafting him top 30 overall. We’re looking for a top five starter. That he won’t be. Last year his stats were: 18-8/3.10/1.08/190 in 197 1/3 IP. To lay the cards on the table, that was the 12th best starter last year or 50th overall, and, because I’m feeling especially fair, if he were to finish that high again this year, I’d consider this post a bust for recognizing a bust. Other than pointing out his postseason stats: 3.63 ERA in 22 1/3 IP, I won’t dwell on those either, other than saying extra innings and an extra month of pitching is never a good thing. What I want to drill down to like Boyd Crowder looking for coal, Arrieta threw his fastball 65.4% of the time last year and lost a full mile off the velocity. I.e., Velocity is not at full capacity without the electricity, and this sentence is citywide. His fastball is mostly a sinker, and it’s a pitch that still works for him and why he’s a top starter. Unfortunately, a lot of what made him one of the best pitchers in the game abandoned him last year: the slider that Arrieta calls a cutter (a slutter?). He stopped throwing it at one point, saying he lost the feel for it. That would account for why he upped his fastball usage from 50.7% to 65.4% last year, which was 11th most in the majors. When you throw one pitch that much, you get into a situation where hitters know what to expect. Is it a good enough pitch that hitters can expect it but still not hit it? I’d say a 3.69 ERA in the 2nd half with a 7.5 K/9 would say otherwise. For those wondering about luck, he had a .219 BABIP in the 2nd half with a 4.11 xFIP. He was getting hit hard and it wasn’t a matter of a few donks and a blast, which I believe is an Insane Clown Posse song too. If you throw out his April of last year, his season ERA was 3.57. NRA may like that ERA, but I don’t. Peripheral-wise, I see comparisons to Kevin Gausman, Aaron Sanchez and teammate, John Lackey. All solid pitchers, but not top five pitchers, just as Arrieta isn’t either. In summation, Arrietain’ta.