Anthony DeSclafani is exactly average. Some may hold him in high regard, citing his 2015-16 as a sign he can be great. Others dismiss him, pointing to the amount of home runs he allows as a sign he needs to be faded out. Both takes are wrong.
After an uninspiring performance on Monday night, Disco as he’s known, hate is alive and well on the wonderful Twitter dot com. Granted, when fans are thinking the Reds can #SneakOnIn, an outing in which DeSclafani allowed six earned runs doesn’t really sit too well. Some of that can also come from increased expectations for Reds pitching as a whole, so reasonable expectations need to be set.
Why Anthony DeSclafani’s not great
DeSclafani has been getting killed by opposing hitters early in the count. The man with the bat has amassed a .397 batting average upon swinging at his first pitch, and has an OPS of 1.159. Not surprisingly, DeSclafani has allowed twice as many homers (12) the first time through the lineup as opposed to the second time through.
He’s also had issues finishing off innings. Opposing hitters have a .297 average and .939 OPS with two outs in the inning. That is the biggest problem he had Monday night, as all six runs he allowed came with two outs on the board.
A large part of that can be attributed to his inconsistency with his breaking pitches. Monday night he continually left them spinning out over the plate. Matt Adams two-run shot to straight-away center field came off a slow-moving, barely breaking curveball. It was placed low in the zone, but the rotation was not deceptive and the speed was manageable.
Why Anthony DeSclafani’s not bad
For starters, he’s a bit better at keeping the walks down than your average pitcher. In a league where there are three true outcomes to an at-bat, the league average walks allowed per nine innings is 3.3. DeSclafani checks in at 2.75 BB/9.
His ERA+ currently sits at just above average (102) and his 4.39 xFIP shows he’s getting ever so slightly unlucky with his 4.51 ERA. He’s provided the season-long equivalent of a quality start, which leads me to the following conclusion:
Anthony DeSclafani is exactly average
DeSclafani is the kind of guy that, if the offseason plays out to be an all-out blitz on adding bats, the Reds will be fine with slotting him in as their fifth starter. He’s not a pitcher an opposing team will lose sleep over, but he’s also not one to sleep on.
He’s due a raise through arbitration this offseason. On a team that is looking to fill a few holes in the lineup, this offseason, having a cost-effective, average fifth starter is a good value.
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