Diamondbacks Zack Godley: Was his 2017 breakout legitimate?

Zack Godley had a breakout season for the Diamondbacks in 2017. But, is his success a fluke or legitimate heading into next season?

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a tremendous 2017 campaign, winning the NL WIldcard in what was a successful season all in all. While the D’Backs are well-known for the offensive exploits, Arizona’s pitching staff was solid as well this season, and Zack Godley’s breakout was a big reason why.

But, is the success legitimate heading into 2018?

To say that Godley’s breakout came from nowhere would be accurate. He posted a 6.39 ERA mostly out of the D’Backs bullpen in 2016 and had only six starts with Arizona the season before. He was well off the fantasy radar, did not make the starting staff out of spring training, and did not appear destined to make an impact this season.

But, the Diamondbacks inserted him into their staff in May, and Godley took off. He finished that month with a 2.20 ERA over five starts and wound up finishing the season with an 8 W/3.37 ERA/1.14 WHIP/165 K line over a career-high 25 starts.

Looking at his splits, Godley was consistent over his five months of action as he posted no higher than a 4.07 ERA over any month. He struck out at least 26 per month and saw his K rise incrementally as the season went along.

Godley was never lauded as a top prospect out of the University of Tennessee. He features a four-pitch mix, fastball, cutter, curveball, and a changeup. His fastball tops out at 92 mph, but his bread and butter are his cutter/curve combo.

Both pitches have great late break, leading Godley to post a solid 13% Swinging Strike and 70% Contact rates. His pitches all seem to play off his fastball, making him a tough at-bat both versus lefties and righties.

He also further excels in generating GB thanks to his cutter. While batters flail at his curveball, Godley also forced a 55% GB rate to only a 26% FB rate. It is no secret that Diamondbacks’ pitching staff has to keep the ball down at Chase Field, and that is just what he does.

Zach Godley will by no means wow fantasy owners with his stuff, but he finds great results thanks to his pitch mix and committing to a more effective pitch mix this season. His cutter gets pounded into the ground and his curveball puts batters away. The command is there as well, 8.5% BB rate last season, so it looks as though his 9.6 SO/9 can be sustained.

Fantasy owners should make Godley a prime middle-round selection as he shapes up to be a solid SP3 or SP4. Believe in Zack Godley’s breakout.