Young Gun Pitchers on Regression Watch in 2014


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We previously went over the recent history of young gun pitchers showing second half regression. That leads us to here, looking at some possible late-season regression candidates for 2014.

Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals

  • Major League innings pitched in 2013: 15.1 (3 GS)
  • Major League innings pitched in 2014: 57.1 (10 GS)

Ventura probably scares me the most on this year’s list because he throws the hardest and has the smallest frame at 5’11’’. The fact that he has all ready had an MRI on his elbow this season only increases my Yordano Ventura anxiety.

My advice: Sell, and sell now.

Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics

  • Major League innings pitched in 2013: 64.0
  • Major League innings pitched in 2014: 80.2

Gray’s ERA, BB/9, and xFIP are all on an upward slope month to month so far. I like Sonny Gray in keeper leagues and would not trade him under those rules.

However, in redraft leagues, I think Gray has been a little bit of an over-achiever as is so far this season and will soon experience some regression. I would sell by the break in redraft leagues.

Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals

  • Major League innings pitched in 2013: 64.2
  • Major League innings pitched in 2014: 73.1

I have had a man crush on Michael Wacha since spring training of 2013. To hear the coaches, scouts, current players, and former players talk about his stuff, well Wacha was a late round target for me in most my drafts in 2013. Which makes this hard for me to say, but Wacha belongs on this list young aces you want to dangle on your trade block.

He is on pace to pitch over 175 innings this year and it would be understanding if he tires a bit in the 2nd half, especially in the stifling heat and humidity here in the Lou.

In keeper leagues, you could not pry Wacha away from my team, but in redraft leagues, this year, and this year only, if I can get a battled tested arm, or address a hole elsewhere in my lineup, I am making that move.

This is not an exact science, and all men are not created equal. There is no way to tell what the future holds for Ventura, Gray, or Wacha in the 2nd half. They could pull a Fernandez and take their game to the next level, or they could fall off a cliff and die on impact.

To me though, it makes sense that the first time through the full season grind at the major league level, the (All-Star) break in their routine followed by the dog days of summer, would naturally take a toll on any young arm. In the playoffs of re-draft leagues, I want guys on my team that have been there and done that, even if it means parting ways with a guy that played a major role in helping my team get to playoffs.

See if you can use these young guys to make your team better by trading them now before they fade, and you can yet again leave the other managers in the league wondering, “how’d he know?”.