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Cleveland Indians second-half projections: Cody Anderson and the starting pitchers

Sorry, Mr. Anderson...

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Throughout all the hitting struggles, the defensive struggles and the general struggle to win games, the starting pitching has remained mostly consistent so far in the first half of 2015. Some have remained more consistent than others have, but every five days the Cleveland Indians can count on three or more great outings from their starters.

How will they fair in the second half of the season? ZiPS and Steamer agreed on pretty much everything regarding position players, but that is less of the case for pitchers, who are all over the place in terms of the two models agreeing with each other.

Happy baseball-is-back day, everyone!

Trevor Bauer, SP
ZiPS 14 79.0 8.89 3.87 4.40 3.99 1.0
Steamer 13 78.0 8.41 3.78 4.23 4.23 0.7
Neither projection model has much faith in Trevor Bauer. Up to the All-Star break, Bauer has put up a 3.76 ERA and a 3.90 FIP, mostly hampered by his 3.67 BB/9. ZiPS and Steamer see all of these factors getting worse, and the former sees his K/9 improving over its current 8.72 rate.

Even if Bauer’s second half goes as far south as these projections would say (which I don’t think it will), this is still going to be the best season of his career. Even 0.7 WAR would bring his season total to 2.1 WAR, which is a full 0.8 WAR above his career best last year. I would not be surprised to see him do even better with Francisco Lindor and Giovanny Urshela settling him in behind him, assuming he can get his walk rate down even further.

Corey Kluber, SP

ZiPS 15 99.0 10.04 1.91 2.99 2.58 2.7
Steamer 15 97.0 9.76 2.07 2.97 2.81 2.4

No surprise here. ZiPS and Steamer realize that Kluber has been phenomenally unlucky in the first half of 2015, and they are adjusting his second-half outcome accordingly. They both have his K/9 coming down from 10.40 and his walks going up from 1.89, but they both also have his ERA finally getting closer his fantastic 2.51 FIP. This is most likely a result of the models adjusting to his previous season (wherein he finished with a 2.44 ERA), but it could happen in large part because of – again – Lindor and Urshela.

A 6.6 WAR season would be worse than his 7.2 WAR 2014 Cy Young winning campaign, but only slightly. Moreover, that is with a few disappointing starts to begin the year. If the Indians are going to make a playoff push, it is going to require this kind of second half from Kluber.

Carlos Carrasco, SP

ZiPS 16 65.0 9.04 2.30 3.58 3.06 1.3
Steamer 15 89.0 9.28 2.27 3.22 2.99 1.9

According to ZiPS, Carrasco will improve his ERA (down from 4.07) but he… won’t… start? Oddly enough, ZiPS has him coming in from the pen in six games, which could easily be some left over weirdness from the fact that he started only 14 games last year out of 40 appearances. At least Steamer realizes that probably will not happen, and still has his ERA improving. Each model has his FIP as worse compared to his first-half 2.74 FIP.

Carrasco’s best season was last year when he was worth 3.1 WAR and his 2.7 WAR this year already has him on pace to beat it.

Danny Salazar, SP

ZiPS 13 74.0 10.39 2.82 3.87 3.41 1.2
Steamer 14 83.0 9.89 2.66 3.31 3.25 1.5

ZiPS and Steamer seem to disagree on what Danny Salazar will do with the second half of the season. On the one hand, ZiPS sees some regression in order, to the tune of his K/9 rate dropping from 10.58 and his BB/9 rising from 2.37.  Steamer, meanwhile, has him taking off and allowing less runners, despite a decreased K/9. Either way, he’s on pace to have the best season of his career – his previous best was last year with a 1.8 WAR and he currently has 1.7 WAR in the first half of 2015.

Cody Anderson, SP

ZiPS 9 44.0 5.48 3.26 6.15 5.48 -0.3
Steamer 9 53.0 5.65 2.70 4.56 4.49 0.2

Cody Anderson regressing would not be a surprise, but wow, these projection models are harsh.  Over his first four starts as the Tribe’s fifth rotation member, he has held an absurd 0.89 ERA and more realistic 3.51 FIP. The high FIP comes from the fact that he has not struck out lot of batters (3.26 K/9 in first half), but he has not walked many either (0.89 BB/9). ZiPS and Steamer both have him crashing back down to earth, with ZiPS being especially harsh.

Neither model has any other previous seasons worth major league data to work with, and only four starts this year, so it is mostly a shot in the dark – as the varied projections would suggest. Both models have his K/9 rising to what I consider a realistic mark of around 5.50. Anderson has already been worth 0.5 WAR in his four starts, but neither projection model has him reaching 1.0 WAR, with ZiPS actually dragging him back down to 0.2 wins.

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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.