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- James Paxton has been plagued by injuries in 2017, but don’t let that detract from the breakout season he has had. His 2.98 ERA marks a almost 1.00 improvement over 2016. His strikeout rate has reached above 10 per 9 this year and he has 12 wins on a decent Mariners team. If 2017 is any indication, Paxton will be considered a #1 ace going into 2018.
- Robbie Ray always had the strikeouts, but this year he has added everything else. On a surprisingly good Diamondbacks team, Ray is 14 and 5 with a 2.74 ERA. His 11.3 per 9 strikeout rate in 2016 has been surpassed by a 12.3 per 9 this year, which is insane. With a low WHIP and a XFIP that supports his rise to dominance, Ray should be a popular target for fantasy owners in 2018.
- Sean Manaea could have been in the great section if not for a second half fade this year.
Manaea maintained a ERA under 4 in the first half of the season with hitters only batting .228 off him. His second half has not been as kind, with an ERA over 6 and a batting average against over .330, Manaea has seemed to fatigue. This is not unexpected for a young pitcher like Manaea and he should still be coveted by fantasy owners in 2018.
- Jon Gray is another injury case much like Paxton, but when he’s right, he’s as good as any pitcher out there on the mound. His 3.95 ERA is very impressive considering his home ballpark of Coors Field. That is in part due to his low 0.9 home run rate per 9 given up this season.
- Alex Colome could have been in the great section if not for a “rough” first half, where he had an ERA just under 4, but since the All-Star he has a sparkling 2.28 era in 23.2 innings. Despite his struggles, he managed to keep the job all year and provided fantasy owners with a decent number of saves, which puts him firmly in the good section of 2017.
- Dylan Bundy had a hot start to 2017, and while he wasn’t able to maintain such a hot streak, he has been pretty decent all year. A 4.03 ERA isn’t that bad in the hitters era we currently find ourselves in. He has had an eerily similar season to 2016 (where he had a 4.02 era), but this year he seems to have more notice and should be another popular pitcher on the draft boards in 2018.
- Jose De Leon, there isn’t much to say about him. He didn’t even see the light of day when it comes to the majors, and in the rare start that he did, he blew up, having a 10.12 ERA on the season, here is one pitcher I hope you dropped early.
- Blake Snell may have improved his walk rate in the second half, but it doesn’t save him from making an F on this list. He just did not develop like he should have. The low K rate and high walk rate doesn’t help his case, even with the 4.25 ERA. He definitely improved over 2016, but we will need to see much more from Snell in 2018 to make us trust him.
- Jerad Eickhoff is partly on this list due to the injuries he sustained during the 2017 season, but he also simply could not replicate what he did in 2015-2016. His K rate was always to low to just rely in getting strikeouts from him fantasy wise, it was always the WHIP and ERA, which he did not deliver this season. Eickhoff currently stands with a 4.71 ERA and a WHIP over 1.5, a failure indeed.
- Carlos Rodon could have had his swan song breakout season in 2017, instead it was another mediocre year mixed with injuries. Rodon only has started 12 games up to this point and has a pedestrian 4.15 ERA to show for it. The lack of starts and the high walk rate solidify his spot on the ugly list this year.
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