Jake Arrieta, Phillies Agree to a Deal: Fantasy fallout

The Phillies make another surprising move by signing Jake Arrieta to a multi-year deal. How does this affect his fantasy value for this season?

The Philadelphia Phillies front office surprised a lot of people by signing Carlos Santana. The team made another shocking move by adding rotation depth in the form of Jake Arrieta. The Phillies announced the signing Sunday afternoon.

Arrieta had another good season but nothing close to his Cy Young season in 2015 or even his 2016 season. He finished with a 3.53 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 8.7 K8 and 2.9 BB9 in 30 starts. Arrieta pitched just 168.1 innings in that span.

The numbers looked good for fantasy, but there was a lot going on behind the scenes that hindered Arrieta’s performance. He saw a huge drop off in his groundball rate as he lost over 1.5 MPH on his fastball. He had a 45.1 groundball rate, 34.4 fly ball rate and 14.0 HR/FB rate. Arrieta was getting fewer swinging strikes while opposing batters made more contact against him.

Arrieta will have a tough time getting back to Cy Young value. Outside of the Washington Nationals, the rest of the division doesn’t have a solid one thru nine lineup. However, three of his new division opponents finished sixth or higher in batting average and no worse than 17th in strikeouts.

With the addition of Santana, the Phillies now have the second-best offense in the division. Rhys Hoskins broke out with 18 home runs in 50 games. Nick Williams looked good in spots. Maikel Franco crushed 24 homers. Odubel Herrera hit .281. This gives Arrieta a good offense for run support.

This move also takes some pressure away from the other Phillies starters. Aaron Nola is still listed as the No. 1 starter with Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta rounding out the rotation and pushing Ben Lively to Triple-A.

The Phillies also improved their bullpen with Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek to sure up any chance of blown leads.

Citizens Bank Park finished first in home runs, 14th in hits and ninth in runs according to ESPN Park Factors. Arrieta will need to get batters to hit the ball on the ground if he wants to have any chance of posting an ERA under 3.50 again. There are some power hitters in this division, like Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Bour but if he can manage those hitters, he can get back to top-15 level.

I like Arrieta as an SP3 in standard leagues. He will be drafted before Round 10 in 10-team leagues, 90.0 ADP according to FantasyPros. If he can keep the ball on the ground, this will be his bounce-back season and the season you want to own him.