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.