Over the past year, I’ve become friends with a Canadian couple, as both of our children attend the same school. #Parentlife. After going through all the pleasantries and confirming/denying all the stereotypes….yes, they are super nice, but get road rage like normal people who live in LA, there were two events that made me realize how desensitized I’ve become. Fellow Canadian man: Holy shit! The school got locked down because of a shooting a few blocks away. Me: Welcome to LA. Fellow Canadian man: Damn! Did you feel that earthquake yesterday? Me: Welcome to LA. Then I went into deep thought and began pondering the meaning of life. Have I become an emotionless robot? Thank goodness for fantasy baseball, as I remember the anxiety of waiting for my pick during the draft, the feeling of wanting to tilt my face off when I got sniped, and the exhilaration of successfully streaming a no-name off the wire. Well, Aaron Civale of the Cleveland Indians has given me that tingly feeling recently. As a result, he’s been added in 16.4% of ESPN leagues. Trash or treasure?
Civale is 6′ 2″ 215 pounds and throws from the right side. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians back in 2016 and has an arsenal consisting of a 92 mph fastball, slider, cutter, curveball, and change. In Triple-A (42.1 innings) this year, Civale had a 9.78 K/9, 1.91 BB/9, and 0.85 HR/9. The ERA was 2.13 while the xFIP was 4.16. In 3 starts with the big club (18 innings), he’s produced a K/9 of 9, a BB/9 of 2, and an ERA of 1 with an xFIP of 3.97. While he had two favorable matchups to begin his major league career in Detroit and Texas, the most recent start was against Minnesota, so that lends some credibility to his holy moly start. Let’s dig into the numbers.
The discrepancy between ERA and xFIP show that the good times may not last. The .205 BABIP supports that claim. In addition, he hasn’t given up a home run yet, but the fly ball rate is 43.2% while the hard hit percentage has been 43.2%.
When I look at the plate discipline numbers, that tingly sensation has gone and is looking for a new host. The swinging strike rate is only 8.1% while the chase rate is only 25.2%. The contact rates are in the 80% range. The stuff doesn’t look to be dominant.
Pulling up the splits data, Civale has faced 36 righties and 30 lefties. He is destroying lefties. The strikeout rate is 36.7% and the walk rate is only 3.3%. While the BABIP is only .167, the xFIP is 3.08. Hmmm, maybe the stuff is dominant. Against righties, the strikeout rate shrinks to 19.4% while the walk rate spikes to 8.3%. The BABIP is .231 while the xFIP is a whopping 4.8. Granted, the sample size is small but we have a general view of the landscape. Oh, and about that dominant stuff? Maybe not so much.
So, where does that leave us?
The numbers point to regression. Maybe, just possibly, in a matchup against a lefty-heavy lineup could we utilize Civale’s services, but you know what? He faces the New York Yankees in his next outing. No further analysis needed. TRASH