This year’s installment of si.com’s Tom Verducci‘s “Year After Effect” (which he’s using as the title instead of the eponymous “Verducci Effect”) was published earlier this month. This is a quick review of the past few years of his work and documentation of his macabre “success rate” in predicting trouble for young arms working on large innings load increases.
Here’s my reviews of his lists on this same topic from year’s past: 2013 year after effect and 2014 year after effect, and 2016’s year after effect (I forgot to do it in 2015). In the 2013 post, there’s some counter-arguments to whether or not his “effect” actually exists, with research on all pitchers who qualified for the thresholds he laid out at the time. I won’t go into the same arguments made there; what I will do is point out the actual results of his predictions:
- 2013: 11 candidates mentioned, 5/11 regressed or got injured the following year (but, it should be noted, that another 3 of the candidates he mentioned have completely fallen off a cliff in subsequent years). 8/11 candidates showed regression: 72% prediction rate.
- 2014: 10 candidates mentioned; 8/10 regressed and more shockingly 6/10 had arm injuries. 80% prediction rate.
- 2015: 14 candidates mentioned (only 5 “main” ones were on his true watch list): 11 of those 14 regressed or got hurt. One of the 14, Marcus Stroman missed the whole season with a knee injury but counts as a non-regression candidate, so frankly its 11 of 13 guys who actually pitched all year. 84% prediction rate.
- 2016: 5 candidates mentioned: 2 regressed badly, one regressed nominally, one missed most of the season with arm injuries. 80% prediction rate.
So in the last four years, he’s identified a total of 40 arms at risk and 31 of them regressed or got hurt. That’s a 77.5% overall “success” rate at predicting regression or injury over multiple years. You can quibble with those who claim this “effect” doesn’t exist but you’can’t argue against Verducci’s research year over year. For me, his analysis is less about running pure numbers to find candidates and more about giving context to the pitchers he selects. Mostly they’re starters (not relievers), mostly they’re young and mostly they’re guys who had to pitch high leverage innings on top of vastly increased workloads. But if you want counter arguments to his observations, see the 2013 post above for links.
So who’s listed this year? A slew of pitchers this year, including a name at the top that we’re quite familiar with. Most of his pitchers this year are very young and nearly all of them only pitched part-time in the majors. In a departure this year, 9 of the 12 guys he lists pitched mostly in the minors in 2016 and mostly struggled in the majors, which is going to make my judgement next year as to whether the player “regressed” more difficult. But here’s the list of 12 guys:
|2017 Candidate Name/Team||Age as of Jan 2017||2016 IP||2016 IP delta increase||2016 ERA||2016 FIP||2016 xFIP||2016 SIERA|
|Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox||22||155.3||56.3||4.91||3.92||4.52||4.55|
|Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays||23||203.6||70.3||3||3.55||3.75||4.01|
|Rob Whalen, Mariners||22||144.6||48||6.57||5.05||4.77||4.47|
|Brock Stewart, Dodgers||24||149||48||5.79||5.9||5.03||4.62|
|Joe Musgrove, Astros||23||147.3||46.6||4.06||4.18||4.04||3.98|
|Julio Urias, Dodgers||19||127.6||40||3.39||3.17||3.69||3.88|
|Jeff Hoffman, Rockies||23||150||46||4.88||6.27||4.96||5.22|
|Michael Fulmer, Tigers||23||174.3||49.6||3.06||3.76||3.95||4.03|
|Sean Manaea, A's||24||166.3||44.6||3.86||4.08||3.96||4.04|
|German Marquez, Rockies||21||187.3||48.3||5.23||4.26||3.89||3.97|
|Jake Thompson, Phillies||22||183.6||43.6||5.7||6.16||5.64||5.68|
|Daniel Mengden, A's||23||170.3||39.6||6.5||4.34||4.57||4.5|
Click here for my full Verducci effect worksheet with detailed stats pre- and post-season.
The guys i’m most intrigued by include:
- Reynaldo Lopez, who I suspect will start in AAA for the White Sox while they try to figure out if he’s a starter long-term or perhaps a future 100-mph closer.
- Aaron Sanchez and Michael Fulmer were two awesome rookies last year (Fulmer won the AL Rookie of the Year and Sanchez was the best pitcher on a good Toronto team).
- Sean Manaea is an interesting younger arm who I’ve often mentioned here because he would have been an option with the 1st round pick we gave up in the 2013 draft so that we could sign Rafael Soriano.
- Julio Urias projects to be the Dodger’s 3rd or 4th starter and is incredibly accomplished for his age; he seems like he is a lower-risk guy here despite his workload thanks to effortless mechanics.
- Jeff Hoffman is a rather “famous” name in that he was in talks to go 1-1 in 2014 before blowing out his elbow during his junior year; Toronto drafted him 9th overall despite the injury and then he was a key member of the prospect haul that went to Colorado in the Troy Tulowitzki deal.
Hey, at least there’s no Nats this year