Based on ZiPS projections, Trevor Stephan is expected to finish 2023 with the following stats:
50 G, 3 GS, 63.3 IP, 28.3% K%, 9.3% BB%, 3.98 ERA, 3.73, 0.4 fWAR
Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Covering the Corner Discord.
Matt Lyons’s prediction: OVER
Obligatory “using WAR to judge relievers is kind of dumb” warning aside — yeah, he’s gotta be better than this, right?
Trevor Stephan was a force on the mound last year, finishing with a 2.69 ERA and 1.7 fWAR while striking out almost a third of the batters he faced. The formula for making the jump from his 4.41 ERA in his rookie season to the wizard we saw on the mound last year was simple: he struck out more batters and walked fewer. Easier said than done, of course, but he became absolutely unhittable on the mound as one of Terry Francona’s most trusted arms in clutch situations.
I can understand projections not believing in the breakout. They can’t see that he developed and mastered a splitter that helped him get more groundballs, miss bats, and break out into the star that he was. To projections, he’s just a guy who inflated his numbers last year and will probably come back down to earth next season. If they could speak it would be something along the lines of “beep boop there’s no way his walk rate is under 7% again beep boop. Zeep zorp he’s going to give up more home runs again zeep zorp.”
You can ignore the fact that raw ZiPS has him starting three random games (that’s only because he was a former starter), but all systems have him pitching in 60-plus innings again, just as he did in his first two years. Without a major regression, that seems perfectly reasonable.
This is an easy over, and by a lot.
Will Trevor Stephan finish with an fWAR over or under 0.4?