Based on ZiPS projections, Zach Plesac is expected to finish 2021 with the following stats:
27 GS, 148.7 IP, 7.99 K/9, 2.66 BB/9, 1.39 HR/9, 4.48 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 2.3 fWAR
Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Let’s Go Tribe Discord.
Matt Lyons’s Prediction: OVER
Call this one another close over. I do believe that Zach Plesac and the Cleveland pitching machine have unlocked something that will help him outperform conservative projections, but I don’t think he’s exactly the next Shane Bieber.
ZiPS projects Plesac’s 0.98 BB/9 to rise back to 2.66 — a little less than he had in his rookie year, but a little more than he had in his minor-league career. A spot-on representation of how projections operate, and I don’t think that’s terribly wrong. Like I have said in just about every pitcher over/under I have done, however, I think he will have a higher-than-expected strikeout rate. ZiPS has him at 7.63, which would be one of his lowest ever at any level.
Plesac is never going to be a “stuff” pitcher — none of his pitches, on their own, play as elite. But as Merritt Rohlfing wrote about last year, all four of his pitches have tight release points and he tunnels his fastball, slider, and curveball combination well. Those seem like tools that projections, as they are now, are likely to miss.
Depending on the effects of the deadened ball, Plesac may also see fewer fly balls leave the park. ZiPS doesn’t do projections for HR/FB rate, but last year he was at 14.0%, and he was at 14.5% in his rookie year. At his best, he’s Josh Tomlin-esque in terms of pounding the zone, and he could run into similar home issues that the Little Cowboy has had throughout his career. But maybe a ball more akin to pre-juiced times helps him out there.
Plesac will be Cleveland’s defacto second or third pitcher, and I believe he has the potential to pitch like one, but wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t.
Will Zach Plesac finish 2021 with an fWAR over or under 2.3?
This poll is closed