3 Players Set For Big Regression In 2015
With the offseason coming to a bit of a lull (although top names like Max Scherzer and James Shields are still available) it’s safe to say that we can start looking towards next season already. Last year, we saw some surprising names jump onto the scene, but we may see some of those fade away as quickly as they came.
Alfredo Simon – SP – Detroit Tigers
After looking at last season’s basic statistics for Simon, 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA, many lauded the Tigers for their acquisition. He’s coming off of his first All-Star season at the age of 33, but it appears that last year might have been a case of fool’s gold.
Throughout the first half of last year, Simon pitched to a 12-3 record with an impressive 2.70 ERA, so you can easily say that his All-Star appearance was well earned. With that being said, his numbers fell off of a cliff during the second half, as he went 3-7 with a pedestrian 4.52 ERA.
If you look into the advanced statistics, the picture becomes even clearer. He was the beneficiary of the league’s 10th lowest Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) at .265, a number that is typically around the .285-.295 mark for most pitchers. Along with that, he managed to strike out just 5.82 batters per nine innings, which was the lowest for a full season in his career.
His 3.44 ERA looks impressive on the surface, but his 4.33 FIP tells a much different story. That number placed him 10th worst among qualified starting pitchers and is definitely not indicative of someone who will maintain success in the future. Making the move to Comerica Park will help, but I don’t see any situation in which Simon replicates his 2014 success.
Casey McGehee – 3B – San Francisco Giants
Last season, McGehee came out of nowhere to steadily produce for a Miami Marlins team that was barren on offense. This was his first truly productive season since the 2010 campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Since then, he had spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.
While his surprising comeback was certainly a feel-good story for fans around the league, his resume from last year has some holes in it that are just too glaring to overlook going into 2015.
After being slugging his way to a .319/.386/.391 slash line during the first half of the season (assisted by an astronomical .369 BABIP), McGehee started to fall off the table in the second half, with his numbers dropping all the way down to a paltry .243/.310/.310. Along with the drop to a regular BABIP in the second half (.284) McGehee saw his strikeout numbers jump from 55 in 93 games to 47 in just 67.
The second half that McGehee produced is more than likely what we are going to see out of him for the entirety of the 2015 season. He’ll be a passable option for the Giants at third until they can find a long-term solution, but we likely won’t see a repeat of his .287/.355/.357 line that he posted in 2014.
Josh Harrison – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates
In talking about breakout players from the 2014 season, there aren’t many guys that burst onto the scene quite like Harrison. After spending his first three years with the Pittsburgh Pirates going up and down between the majors and the minors and largely being considered a role player, Harrison exploded and wound up finishing 9th in MVP voting.
His versatility in the field was incredible, as was his bat. He anchored the leadoff spot for the Pirates and slashed .315/.347/.490 line for the season with 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases and wound up posting 4.9 WAR, which was good for 25th in all of baseball.
At just 27 years old, many consider Harrison to be an important piece of the team moving forward, but that may not be the case upon closer consideration. His numbers at the plate were impressive, but they were aided by a .353 BABIP (9th in baseball) and while that alone doesn’t equal regression, it can be a telling sign especially considering his career number of .313.
Harrison’s success last season was almost completely predicated off of murdering fastballs, but beyond four-seamers he was a very average hitter. With pitchers likely to notice these trends, you can guarantee that he’ll be seeing a lot more off-speed stuff in the 2015 season. While he won’t completely fall off the table, a WAR of in the 2.0-2.5 range (still solid) should be expected.
What other players do you expect to come down to earth next season?