Vance Worley: Buy Or Sell?
Vance Worley was a solid, but unspectacular starting pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies. Injuries derailed his career, but the right-handed hurler righted the ship with the Pirates in 2014. Just 27, fantasy baseball owners want to know if he has staying power. Can Pittsburgh’s reclamation project be counted on as rotation depth in dynasty and keeper leagues?
Before 2014, Worley held career rates of 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.1 walks per nine innings. His ground ball percentage was far from ROTOscouting’s 50% sweet spot, so the Vance Worley of old would have been a pitcher to avoid. However, his 49.4% GB% in 2014 points to a pitcher whose evolved. Even better, his ground ball rate rose from 41.3% in June to 54.9% in September/October. And from August on, his strikeout and walk rates were in line with a pitcher who’s guaranteed success at the MLB level.
During a mid-May start in Gwinnett, Worley flexed his ground ball abilities by throwing a heavy two-seam fastball at 88-91 and mixing in a mid-80’s cutter. He carved up the Triple-A Braves and was back in the big leagues soon after.
In his late twenties, Worley has already survived elbow surgery and has the arsenal to remain healthy for years to come. While his fastball/change-up usage doesn’t surpass the 70% threshold, 69.6% is close enough. Plus, his slider has been reclassified as a cutter. If this is paired with an actual change in arm action, it’s another positive. Vance Worley has the arsenal and pitch usage to be a cheap asset for seasons to come.
Vance Worley Versus Overvalued Fantasy Baseball “Assets”
In 2014, Tyler Skaggs began to find MLB success before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. The 23-year old was once a top-10 prospect in all of baseball and his name still holds value in dynasty leagues. However, his 6.85 K/9, 2.39 BB/9 and 50.1% GB% is eerily similar to Worley.
Yovani Gallardo has long been considered a quality MLB pitcher whose perceived value is more than what he’s worth on draft day. His 2014 peripherals included a 6.83 K/9, 2.53 BB/9 and 50.8% GB%.
Andrew Cashner has been a player fantasy baseball owners have expected greatness from. As a starter, his peripherals have included a strikeout rate below seven per nine innings, walk rate in the low-two’s and ground ball rate slightly above 50%.
Based on the perception Worley reemerged from the ashes, he has no trade value, so looking to cash in on his 2014 success is a fruitless endeavor. This is a blessing in disguise because dealing the right-hander is a bad idea anyway.
For winning fantasy baseball owners, the ability to scoop undervalued talents to round out a starting staff is important. Instead of spending $20-plus at auction for Cashner/Gallardo, Vance Worley for a buck leaves the rest to spend on an impact starter.
9 Oct 2014 / Mike Newman /
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