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Over/Under 2021 Preview: Nick Wittgren

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Will Nick Wittgren be worth more or less than 0.3 fWAR in 2021?

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Based on ZiPS projections, Nick Wittgren is expected to finish 2021 with the following stats:

4.11 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 9.63 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, 57 G, 57.0 IP

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

If Nick Wittgren performs to ZiPS’ projections, he would finish 0.2 innings behind his career-high for a season, and he would also have his highest ERA since 2017. I believe one of these things will happen.

In the shortened 2020 season, managers Terry Francona and Sandy Alomar Jr. leaned on him in a lot of clutch situations. Wittgren finished the year 11th among relievers in FanGraphs’ leverage index, which measures the average leverage of a game when a reliever enters the game.

Despite frequently coming into the game with runners on base in perilous situations — admittedly more than he probably should, given his middle-of-the-road measurements as a pitcher — he has rarely imploded since joining Cleveland in 2019.

If there is one knock on Wittgren’s game, it’s that he gives up too many hard-hits and finds too many barrels. Keep doing that and being put in tense situations, and maybe the runs start to pour in.

But with James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase both on staff, I would imagine Wittgren will not need to be the team’s “fireman” anymore and may get some more low-leverage looks — perhaps against some easier opponents who he can play his middling stuff up against.

ZiPS and Steamer both see his strikeout rate staying near where it has been in his time in Cleveland, at 9.01 and 9.63 K/9, respectively. But they both also see his walk rate regressing closer to his days with the Miami Marlins. Call me an optimist, but again, I would bet on the good happening here and not the bad.

This is an easy over for me because I believe Wittgren may get more than 57.0 innings and will finish with an ERA under 4.11.

Poll

Will Nick Wittgren finish with an fWAR over or under 0.3.

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Over
    (91 votes)
  • 20%
    Under
    (23 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now