Top 5 2015 Sophomore Pitchers Projections

Sep 15, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago, I talked about the 2015 sophomore hitters and what their season could look like. Today, it’s about the pitchers. There were a lot of pitchers with good seasons that gave fantasy owners great value. Whether it’s a starting or relief pitcher, there is always someone to find on the waiver wire. Here are the top five sophomore pitchers and their projections for this season.

Dellin Betances, RP, New York Yankees

Betances was a strikeout machine for the Yankees last season. He had 16 outings with three or more strikeouts and five outings with four or more. His 100 MPH fastball is to be credited for his 135 strikeouts in 90 innings.

The Yankees have a spot to fill at the closer position. Betances and Andrew Miller will be competing for that role. Regardless of where Betances pitches, he will be a top-10 relief pitcher. Betances will provide owners with a low ERA and WHIP and a high strikeout total. If he does win the closer spot, he could record 30 saves as well.

Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets

In 22 starts, deGrom went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140.1 innings. The first half of his season was a struggle. He went 2-7 with a 3.62 ERA in the months of May and June. From July to September, he turned things around. deGrom went 9-4 with a 2.10 ERA and 99 strikeouts.

Despite the subpar first half of 2014, deGrom was a consistent and dominant player in the second half. Fantasy owners now have two different players to look at. Which deGrom should you expect? With more spin on his fastball and movement on his slider, deGrom will be a top-30 starting pitcher in 2015.

Collin McHugh, SP, Houston Astros

The Astros had one of the youngest rosters in all of baseball. McHugh was one of those pieces. He struggled for a couple of seasons with the Mets and Colorado Rockies before landing a starting job in Houston. He went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 154.2 innings.

McHugh is a strikeout pitcher with a lot of control. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to replicate his 2014 numbers. The .213 opposing batting average will be a career high. His ERA and WHIP are expected to rise, as well. McHugh is worth a mid-draft pick as an SP4. 

Jake Odorizzi, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

If you owned Odorizzi last season, you knew when to start him and when to sit him. There was a huge difference in his home/road splits in the 2014 season. At home, Odorizzi had a 2.62 ERA and 1.04 WHIP at Tropicana Field and a 6.32 ERA and 1.62 WHIP on the road.

Odorizzi is not the most efficient pitcher in the league. He pitched just 168 innings in 31 starts, an average of 5.4 innings per start. Odorizzi is also prone to giving up his fair share of home runs, 20 last season. If he makes improvements on his flyball rate, Odorizzi could be a nice late-round pick.

Yordano Ventura, SP, Kansas City Royals

The Royals took a lot of steps to become a competitor in the AL Central. Rookie sensation Ventura helped a lot. He recorded 14 wins with a 3.20 ERA and 159 strikeouts. As a high-velocity pitcher, he was able to get batters swinging at a high percentage (11 percent). However, he was unable to strike out most of them. He posted a 7.8 K/9 ratio, 34th in the league.

While he won’t be held to an innings limit, so the possibility of 200 innings is very likely. In order for Ventura to jump up to the top-30, he needs to improve his strikeout and walk rates. There is a lot of upside, though, so he is worth a late-round flyer.