Buyer’s Market: Josh Tomlin
As the MLB season heads into June, most fantasy leagues are nearing their halfway point. For fantasy GMs, this is a period of self-evaluation. Owners must take an honest look at their team and their competition, deciding which direction to steer their imaginary franchise. Contenders need to start taking action to improve their teams where they can, shoring up weak spots and filling holes, while teams falling behind must weigh the possibility of kicking off a rebuild,.
After two months’ worth of games, pictures are starting to develop of what kind of performance we can expect from players the rest of the way. We can tell if breakouts are sustainable and have already seen some early risers rapidly deflate. Perhaps more importantly, players that had slow starts are at risk of turning in the dreaded “down year”. Many once optimistic owners begin to ponder whether they should try to salvage some sort of value for players who are quickly shedding it. This presents a great opportunity for potential contenders to get solid contributors at a bargain that will make the difference down the stretch … if they can correctly predict a turn-around. Luckily, there are signposts that help make that prediction easier. One of these players is Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin.
If there is one player that every contending team should look to acquire right now, it’s Tomlin. I mean, just look at these numbers:
|Innings Pitched||Wins||Losses||Strikeouts||Earned Run Avg||Walks/Hits per Inning Pitched|
Ok, those numbers aren’t too hot. But that is what makes him such a great buying opportunity. First, that unsightly ERA and WHIP are being buoyed by a massive .364 BABIP. But his batted ball metrics show that even though he is giving up hits, he is inducing ground balls at a career high 44.3 percent rate. The fly balls that are hit against him are by and large staying in the yard as his 14 percent HR/FB rate is his lowest since 2013. Tomlin is also sporting a microscopic 0.77 BB/9 so it’s not like he is handing out free passes either. All of this points to the fact that his fantasy numbers aren’t necessarily reflective of his performance thus far. According to his 3.76 FIP and 3.68 xFIP, Tomlin has just been really, really unlucky. The defense behind him has been slightly above average thus far. So if he just continues to pitch the way he has been, his numbers will improve. When that happens, you are looking at solid mid-rotation starter on a championship caliber team.
Of course Tomlin will never be a fantasy ace. The strikeout numbers will be pedestrian, and his ratios will never be sexy. But once his luck changes, he will be a savvy addition coming off the bench. And right now, there is a good chance you could get him off a less astute owner for nearly nothing. So for those in need of pitching, buy in now! A solid contributor is especially crucial down the stretch when a good start can mean the difference between a playoff berth or planning for the offseason.