clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Over/Under 2023 Preview: Triston McKenzie

Will Triston McKenzie be worth more or less than 2.7 fWAR in 2023?

Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Triston McKenzie is expected to finish 2023 with the following stats:

26 G, 25 GS, 162.0 IP, 24.6% K%, 5.5% BB%, 3.61 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 2.7 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.

Chris D. Davies’s prediction: OVER

After years of hype outpacing health, Triston McKenzie crossing the 190-innings pitched mark last season was like a promise fulfilled. I’ve been a fan of the lanky righty since Cleveland drafted him in 2015. Something about the way he could use that thin frame to generate such incredible velocity stood out, then to see his remarkable sense of charity and the way he commits himself to the community — well, I was well and truly in the bag for this kid.

As clear-eyed as I’d like to think I am, I’m taking the over for 2023 and I’d be lying if I didn’t say emotion played a role in my choice.

On a rational level, though, I think over is justifiable. As Leo Morgenstern wrote at FanGraphs, the only pitchers to record at least 12 strikeouts in three separate appearances last year were McKenzie, Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani, Carlos Rodón, and Spencer Strider. In his other starts, he didn’t quite maintain company with those elite pitchers, but he was also in just his second full season of action, clearing that 160 IP bar for the first time. And that second season was one of adjustments.

McKenzie reaped the benefits as he continued to make changes and improve. His FIP improved nearly a run and a half, from 4.22 to 2.89, from the first to second half, respectively; likewise, Sticks decreased his walk percentage (6.8 to 4.9%) and wOBA against (.282 to .251) while increasing his strikeout (24.2 to 27.2%) and swinging strike rates (13.2 to 14.3%).

The 2023 season promises another season of adjustment, if only because of rule changes, but I don’t expect the pitch clock to affect McKenzie as much. In 2022, McKenzie was 60th among qualified pitchers on Baseball Savant’s pitcher pace leaderboard, averaging a median time between pitches (pitch release to pitch release) of 15.9 seconds. And yet! As rapid as that number was, it was only seventh among Guardians pitchers, which tells me he has peers and coaches that he can rely on to help him increase pace as needed.

Even if picking over for McKenzie is an emotional decision, I feel it is pretty well justified by his stats as well, and I can’t wait to see how far over the projections he can go.


Will Triston McKenzie finish with an fWAR over or under 2.7?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    (119 votes)
  • 16%
    (23 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now

Tomorrow’s player: James Karinchak