This Joe Musgrove sleeper is admittedly a bit of a stretch where some things just have to go right. Or rather, some things that have gone right in the past need to go right again in succession and just go ahead and name Shiv, you know you want to, Logan Roy. That’s not a spoiler, because after a show ends, my brain wipes clean of everything that happened during a season like a specialized Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if that’s what it was and I haven’t forgot that, as well. Just a cursory view of Joe Musgrove and you’ll see a less than impressive starter — 11-12/4.44/1.22/157 in 170 1/3 IP, and now that I spell it out like that, why again was I interested in Joe Musgrove? Now I’m having some Musgrovings about his ability to do the job. My first inclination was to write a Mitch Keller sleeper (and maybe I still will), but we’re 150 words in and I’ll be damned if I’m backtracking now. The Pirates got rid of Ray Searage and his special brand of coaching that managed to make every starter terrible. Don’t worry about Searage; he quickly was hired by the SETI Institute. He will teach a whole new group of people on the best way to elicit contact. So, what can we expect from Joe Musgrove for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Immediately felt like I was in the right direction when I thought about how Joe Musgrove was a popular sleeper candidate going into last year. Not by me, but by others. That means he had something that was of interest to people at some point. The real thing that stuck out to me as Musgrove struck out as a strikeout pitcher last year (8.3 K/9) was maybe he didn’t strike out as a strikeout pitcher. *Looks up for balloons to fall from ceiling for the most times ‘strikeout’ was used in one sentence* Damn, guess I struck out too. Musgrove’s pitch chart is crazy like Krazy Bone — RIP, Uncle Jo-Jo — because he throws so many pitches. The problem is he throws too many pitches. He has six pitches: four-seamer (37.5%), slider (22.2%), sinker (11.9%), change (10.5%), curve (9.5%) and cutter (8.4%). Whew, I got carpal tunnel just typing that. So, the problem derives from his inability to not throw some of these junkie pitches. Musgrove needs to abandon a few of these. His slider? 14th best in the majors. His four-seamer? Goofy bad. How’sever, it wasn’t in September. In September, 14.4 whiff percentage on the four-seamer vs. 5.5 just the month before. Of course, it was only 16 IP, so can’t say he fixed everything. If he did fix his four-seamer, then great. If not, he needs to drop the percentage of times he throws that whack pitch. Of course, if it was just me saying this, it wouldn’t mean shizz. But Musgrove himself threw less four-seamers in August too. And, in the 2nd half, his K/9 was up to 9.4 (70 2/3 IP) from 7.5 in the 1st half (99 2/3 IP). To recap just in case Musgrove is reading this, he needs to either have an effective four-seamer or throw it a lot less and just use it to setup the slider. His command (2.1 BB/9) last year and the year before (1.8) shows he just needs to up his strikeout rate just a tad to be extremely effective. An outside chance for 9.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 is well worth the flyer on a sleeper for his current ADP, which is nearly free in some leagues. For 2020, I’ll give Joe Musgrove projections of 10-12/3.87/1.19/168 in 177 IP with a chance for more.