So many things went through my mind for the Joey Lucchesi sleeper.  For the first time in a long time, I actually contemplated not writing this post, because I didn’t want to tip off other sites, i.e., competitors.  The last time I felt that urge it was 2016 and Delino DeShields was still a Jr., and we were pen pals who shared numerous correspondences.  In the end, I realized that I need to be true to you, Dear Reader, and your prematurely balding head and theory about how sweatpants are formal attire.  I also, for longer than I care to admit, searched for talk about how Lucchesi of the Bucatini Crime Family was recovering from shoulder, elbow or arm injuries of any sort.  He’s not, but I assumed I must be overlooking something and that’s why he’s being drafted so late.  He threw 139 IP in 2017, and 136 2/3 IP last year, so there was no overuse of his arm.  There’s no injury.  There’s no news about the Padres moving in their fences 175 feet.  What am I missing?  I have to missing something.  There’s no way Joey Lucchesi is healthy, not overworked, has the numbers he has and is being drafted as low as he has been, right?  Am I a part of a Black Mirror episode that I don’t know about and Joey Lucchesi is Italian for “technology will help you at first then end being your demise?”  No?  Then what gives?  Nothing?  Wow, then, without further ado…Anyway, what can we expect from Joey Lucchesi for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Joey Lucchesi is being drafted as the 61st starter off the board, around that of Forrest Whitley and Kevin Gausman.  Is this a joke?  I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds on Forrest (pun!) or Gausman, so instead let’s just look at Lucchesi.  Last year, he had a 10 K/9 and 3 BB/9 with a 3.45 xFIP.  There’s 15 starters who had a 3.45 xFIP or better with that good of a K/9.  All 15 of those starters, with the exception of Pivetta and Morton, are top 15 starters.  Morton had an injury, and Pivetta was wildly unlucky.  Speaking of unlucky (segue, snitches!), Lucchesi of the Sausage and Rapini Crime Family was unlucky with homers allowed.  You know where there’s a good chance of correcting that?  In Petco, his home park.  In fact, he actually gave up more HR/9 in Petco than away games.  Maybe it was nerves, maybe Curly’s reading and it’s noives.  In Petco, his HR/9 was 1.71.  Yuck.  Or if Curly’s still skimming, nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.  There’s no way that number repeats.  So, immediately, shave .30 off his ERA.  How about the K/9?  He had a 10.9 K/9 in the 2nd half, so he wasn’t slowing, he was getting better.  The percent of pitches a batter swung at inside the strike zone was 63.2%, that is extremely low. My guess is he was top third in the league with called strikes.  I could not find that stat.  Is it available?  Serious question, hit me up in the comments, if you know.  I know 20% of his strikes were looking, and Chris Sale was also 20% and Max Scherzer was 17%, but I couldn’t find a way to see if Lucchesi was good compared to everyone, only specific names I programmed in.  Any hoo!  Lucchesi of the Cannoli and Spumoni Crime Family jumped from Double-A to the majors, but he’s 25 years old because he played college, and he doesn’t throw hard (90), which I think might be why more people are not interested in him.  I love hard throwers too, but Petco and strikeouts Calamines those burns and his age actually works better for me.  You want the three-year learning curve of, say, Forrest Whitley or a guy who has already pitched well in the majors?  I mean, c’mon.  For 2019, I’ll give Joey Lucchesi projections of 12-9/3.62/1.27/174 in 163 IP with a chance for more.

  1. Pochucker says:
    (link)

    After handing me Corbin on a silver platter last year ill be all in on lUCCHESI ! (ill forgive Castillo in fact might try him again)

  2. Harley Earl says:
    (link)

    No reference to the Soparno’s Crime Family???? I’m so disappointed you couldn’t work them into this piece!

    Well done Master Grey. Another guy I might have to target a trade for. Happy New Year!

    • Harley Earl says:
      (link)

      @Harley Earl: Soprano’s … not Soparnos LOL

  3. Ante Galic says:
    (link)

    Grey!!!!!

    Fantastic SleeperS report!

    a. After reading this, all I can say is Wow!! If you’re successful on getting all of these sleepers late and all of them succeed, well that’s a lot of success. But even if you go 75/90 or something, that will win your league almost for sure!!! Add in some in-season seasoning with the Friday Buy/Sell columns or anticipate like me on Wednesday and you can easily take your league by storm.

    b. Can’t wait for your rankings to come out. It’s like Christmas all over again!

    c. Fun fact about the handy man for January 3

    This may be the only installment of this fun fact, so pace yourself. Last week, the handy man that my wife knows from like 25 years ago came over finally to install something. Basically, it was a lamp shade and its base. The base gets screwed into the wall with his power drill, the lamp shade gets hooked on somehow. About 2 minutes of work. She also asked him to install a light bulb (I sh*t you not!!) into this special wall lamp shade. On his previous assignment he installed the light bulb that was really too hot for the lamp shade, so much so that it would heat up the entire area of our living room/dining room (about 200 sq feet). So of course being the handy man he is, he said don’t use this bulb get this bulb. So my wife acquired said bulb and amazingly the bulb was the wrong size. So now we have to get the right size bulb, he offered to get it himself on his way to the next service center but I digress.

    The big news?? He somehow managed to blow a fuse as only a handy man can do. The response from our family.

    1. The immediate response from our son Jan (14) was like…hey, what happened to the internet and now my FIFA ’19 tournament is ruined and I’m going to back from gold to silver. Also, the download for the upgrade to Fortnite was also stopped so I have to re-boot that! Why??

    2. My wife was like, it’s nothing special. It probably just popped and needs to be switched on. And. of course, she was right.

    3. Our daughter Hannah (18) was like, who cares?

    4. And me? I’m like welcome to Africa, bitches! This is what it will be like when the power goes off finally one fine day and we’ll have to increase the number of hours per day without screens from 4 hours to 24 hours!!

    Stupid handy man!

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @Ante Galic: A. biwq82–Fingers crossed B. Soon! C. a. Haha 2. She’s always right! 3. So typical! 4. Haha

      • Ante Galic says:
        (link)

        @Grey: Grey!!

        Always man. Even when she’s wrong and she knows it.

        What is biwq82?? Some high flyin’ ratio shit?

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Fingers crossed!

  4. Thorbs says:
    (link)

    Nice write up, esp good as a Joey owner! I think he’s not great for QS as he’s mostly a two-pitch guy, but if he adds a third pitch he’ll be filth with that bizarre arm action.

    In the same dynasty league, been offered Bellinger and Marte for my Yelich or Betts. I’ve just got Votto at 1B and think it’s a bit of a sell-high on Yelich. Would need to make some further deals, but which side do you like?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @Thorbs: Yeah, true on 2 pitches — Don’t love either

  5. bbboston says:
    (link)

    Off topic question: Thoughts on Tulo?

    • The Great Knoche says:
      (link)

      @bbboston: He’s Old.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @bbboston: He hasn’t stayed healthy in like 5 years, and the Yanks have Didi returning in June/July

  6. Fanciful Basesball says:
    (link)

    Oh, Grey, why? Your sleepers are so painful, but I know you’re probably right. Ugh, you’re like the mom telling their kid why it doesn’t matter if the other kids make fun of you of fantasy baseball.

  7. VonHayes says:
    (link)

    I have
    Trout- Betts-Harper-Machado-Trea Turner

    Would
    U keep Encarnacion or David Peralta?

    5×5 league

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @VonHayes: Neither are great options, I’d likely keep Edwin

  8. DozierTheDozierian says:
    (link)

    Lucchesi is a dude I’ve had my monocle on after rostering him last year. Petco: good! xFIP under 3.50: good! Almost 41% hard contact: bad!

    I think the trick for him will be command of his repertoire, because on balance, no one pitch produced a positive value. His four-seamer wasn’t great, and his secondary offerings are a decent curve and a solid change-up (his 2nd most used pitch). The splits tell us his change-up delivered a .278 wOBA, a 19.4% SwStr and a 58.7% contact rate (!) but all this somehow led to a .366 BABIP. If that last number regresses to the norm and his change-up remains as effective as it should be, Lucchesi is gonna be a good get on draft day for some owners. Me likey Lucchesi! And I don’t care who knows it.

  9. Dave D says:
    (link)

    Great read as always, Grey! In my previously completed NFBC DC draft my greatest regret is having Lucchesi in the queue ready to pick him at 219 overall and he gers snagged at 217. Overall I feel pretty happy having got Pivetta at 159 and Glasnow 189, so I can’t complain. But I do like Lucchesi a ton.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @Dave D: Crazy value after 200 if you can get Lucchesi

  10. J says:
    (link)

    26 games started, 6 QSs, there… that’ll keep em away.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @J: Ha

    • Tommy Herr says:
      (link)

      @J:
      I watched a decent amount of lucchesi last year as i have him in my nl only keeper. They did a good job of protecting him as a rookie, he had a bunch of outings in the 5+ inning range. Hes earned a longer leash this year, he will have in the range of 12-15 qs this season if he pitches the 160+ innings gray predicted here.

  11. Dubs23 says:
    (link)

    I certainly will be keeping an eye on him at the draft. Freeland or Castillo this coming year?

  12. Gator says:
    (link)

    For 2019 only, who do you like better Bryant or Bellinger?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @Gator: Rankings start soon

  13. knucks says:
    (link)

    If I may nitpick a bit… it looks like he is going at about the 60ish SP off the board right now in NFBC. They don’t separate the RPs and I counted around 20 of them going before him. And that ESPN joker has him as the 58th SP in his top 300.

    Looking forward to them ranks in a few weeks. Happy 2019!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @knucks: As Dave said above, he’s going after 200 overall, that’s solid value — 2019!

      • knucks says:
        (link)

        @Grey: Agreed. I guess I’m just wondering where you pulled the number 81 from in the writeup. I think you meant 61? Or your not using NFBC ADP?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Oh! I see what you mean, I meant 61

          • Grey

            Grey says:
            (link)

            Fixing

  14. Jeff Jaffee says:
    (link)

    Is Lucchesi worth the 10 luccas I got him on reserve last season?

  15. John says:
    (link)

    Hey Grey I think i found the stat your looking for….% that batters swung on pitches inside the zone for said pitcher…..Fangraphs has it if you search for a player on their site scroll down to Plate Info Plate Discipline section they have Z Swing % and if you go to leaders you can create a custom table to show any random stat such as this. I’ve pasted the link below showing the leaders sorted from lowest % to highest.

    Hope this helps…seems like a very useful stat actually

    https://bit.ly/2F6FXgq

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @John: Hmm… I was looking for strikes looking, is that this? Cause I didn’t see it at FanGraphs at all, only coming close at Baseball-Reference

      • John says:
        (link)

        @Grey: gotcha…my bad but if you take the stat i sent you….swinging perecentage in zone for said pitcher wouldn’t the percentage left from this statistic represent when the pitcher was in the zone and the batter wasn’t swinging? If ii’m correct that’s what your looking for?

        So for instance you mentioned Joey Buttafucko…Joey L had a Z-swing % was 63.2% so wouldn’t that mean his Z-non-swing % was 36.8?

        Makes sense to me but maybe i’m not reading your inquiry correctly.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          The Dude found it below… It needs further sorting though bc right now it’s just all looking strikes…

      • DozierTheDozierian says:
        (link)

        @Grey: Wouldn’t it be overall K% minus SwStr%? I think that would leave you with a called-strike rate you could use for whatever evaluative purposes. (Obviously not as good as FanGraphs providing the number directly, but you can use other data to back your way into it.)

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Dude below found the called strike leaders, but it needs pruning of guys who just threw a bunch of ineffective strikes

  16. Dubs23 says:
    (link)

    I thought I commented early this am and if this comes up twice I apologize. I will certainly keep at eye on him at the draft. Had him last year. Freeland or Castillo this year?

      • Dubs23 says:
        (link)

        @Grey: Sorry for the double post

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          No problem

  17. Ryan741 says:
    (link)

    Grey, need a trade opinion in a keeper league. I’d trade Miguel Andujar (13th rd keeper) and Greinke (5th) and my 8th round pick for Correa (10th round keeper) and a 17th round pick. My current keepers are Machado, Acuna, Flaherty for sure, and I can have 2 more. I have plenty of options for my 5th. My biggest reason to do the deal is to get back my 5th round pick instead of use it on Greinke. Your thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Sounds fine to me

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Nice! Thanks! That was what I was looking for… So it means nothing really, I think likely need to sort by K/9 over a certain point, so you only have actual strikeout guys and not just guys who threw some strikes looking while hitters waited for their pitch to crush…

      • Grey

        Grey says:
        (link)

        Cause right now you have guys like Bartolo… They can throw strikes, but hitters are just biding their time until they get their pitch… Hitters aren’t striking out on those looking strikes, if you follow…

        • The Dude says:
          (link)

          @Grey: Yeah, totally get it. The interesting thing about Bartolo is sorting by Pitches per PA he was the 3rd most efficient pitcher last year

          • DozierTheDozierian says:
            (link)

            @The Dude: Further over on the right, there’s L/SO and L/SO%. I think that’s what you’re looking for, no? Bartolo was the top beneficiary of called strike-outs at 53%, accounted for more than half of his strikeouts!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Yeah, called strikeouts, bc you have to assume the hitter is looking to swing at that point… Then sort those guys by 8+ K/9s and you should have some decent pitchers… (Or even 7.5 K/9)

          • Grey

            Grey says:
            (link)

            Yeah, you don’t want someone who is so efficient that they throw nothing but strikes and get beat down…

            • The Dude says:
              (link)

              @Grey: The better metric would be Pitches per Out. That’s a true measure of efficiency, as you could give up 5 hits in consecutive pitches and it would appear efficient from a Plate Appearance perspective.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
                (link)

                But if you could single out strikes looking with a two-strike count, then you would know who is striking out guys when hitters are most apt to swing, then just take the guys with 8+ K/9 and you would have the best of the best, and I think Lucchesi would be in that group…

  18. Noah says:
    (link)

    Off topic…what’s your opinion on Trevor Richards? Good for 5th 6th starter in NL only?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Don’t have a high opinion of him… 5th or 6th starter in NL-Only sounds fine

  19. Donkey Teeth

    Donkey Teeth says:
    (link)

    Just to play Devil’s Donkey….

    Lucchesi had one of the worst pitcher barrel %’s in the league and gave up a ton of hard contact. He also wasn’t especially good in the 2nd half.

    Sure, the second half K boost was great, and he decreased the walks as well, but why did the rest of his numbers take such a hit. Just bad luck? Scouting catch up to him? Not fully healthy? Or did the Sausage & Rapini Crime Family have a hit out on him?

    The price is still fair and I don’t often doubt Fantasy Master Lothario, but I’m tempering expectations a bit.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Damn, DT, crushing my hopes and/or dreams… Or I just draft him in a league that you’re in and beat you with the secret sauce recipe I was trying to give you but you would not accept…Hmm…

      • Donkey Teeth

        Donkey Teeth says:
        (link)

        @Grey: You’re always trying to give me your secret sauce “recipe”. This has workplace harassment lawsuit written all over it!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          I’m singing My Pants Are On The Floor right now, but my pants are NOT on the floor.

  20. Basement Artie says:
    (link)

    “Have to missing something.” I see what you did there. Nice.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Hehe, sly

  21. Racehorse says:
    (link)

    Joey Lucchesi is so awesome, he has a dueling scar on his right cheek in the shape of a big “C” …

    That’s “C” for Churve … and Lucchesi’s churve pitch is going to take over the fantasy baseball world.

    And regarding my dynasty team, he’s mine, Mine, MINE !

    Grey, only 40 days until pitchers and catchers report http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/#sthash.fdZGIUlS.dpbs

  22. Johnnyhobbes says:
    (link)

    Getting excited! Had to occupy my time between baseball seasons with fantasy football. Btw razzball helped me win BOTH my football leagues…. So thanks to your bretheren. But on to the season that matters. I’m pumped, my wife is not pumped, but whatevs! Over/under on deGrom wins this year?

  23. Not your average Dope says:
    (link)

    GREY! Appreciate your movie recommendations, the favourite is next on my list. Looking forward to Feb grey!

    AL KEEPER LEAGUE:

    I give Springer who has 1 yr left on contract

    I get Austin meadow and adalberto Mondesi who can be kept for multiple

    Deal?

Comments are closed.