Wednesday, July 18, 2007
A look at Andrew SonnanstinePosted by Derek Carty at 9:20pm
One win. Four losses. 5.57 ERA. Not exactly the numbers of a superstar. So why is Andrew Sonnanstine getting his own post? Well, because he has been getting very unlucky and deserves a look. First, let's check out the breakdown of his numbers.
|LAST||FIRST||G||GS||IP||ERA||LIPS ERA||WHIP||DIPS WHIP||K/9||BB/9||K/BB||xGB%||LOB%||BABIP||HR/FB||LD%||LIPS ERA - ERA||DIPS WHIP - WHIP|
At the time of our LIPS ERA luck leaders posting, Sonnanstine had only seven starts. The criterion for inclusion was eight starts, so he was left off the list. Had he been on the list (with his eighth start included), he would be one of the 15 unluckiest pitchers in baseball.
A LIPS ERA of 3.57 is very solid for a guy that is available in 99.9% of ESPN leagues (that's not me trying to be cute, that's the actual percentage of leagues in which he is unowned). His 1.28 WHIP is solid, and a 1.18 DIPS WHIP only makes him more valuable. His strikeouts have been a little above average, but his walks have been fantastic.
I think we've established that he's pitched well so far, but eight starts isn't exactly ideal. He is still in small sample size territory. Let's check up on his minor league numbers.
2005 A | 64 IP | 7.95 K/9 | 0.85 BB/9 | 45% GB
2005 A+ | 116.2 IP | 10.55 K/9 | 0.98 BB/9 | 34% GB
2006 AA | 185.3 IP | 7.40 K/9 | 1.65 BB/9 | 45% GB
2007 AAA | 63 IP | 9.29 K/9 | 1.86 BB/9 | 45% GB
Sonnanstine never got much hype because he is a "soft-tosser" whose best pitch is his change-up. Hmm... a guy who doesn't crack 95 MPH and has a good change-up. Remind you of another Devil Rays pitcher? Maybe the one that was ranked No. 6 on our LIPS ERA leader board? In case you're still unsure who I'm talking about, it's Jamie Shields, a favorite of mine even before his impressive start to 2007.
Ignoring for a second that scouts aren't big on Sonnanstine, his numbers are great. He has put up amazing walk rates throughout his ascension to the majors. His 1.22 BB/9 in the majors has to go up, but if it remained a little above 2.00, I wouldn't be surprised; that would still be well above average. His strikeouts also seem legit given that he has shown an ability to rack them up in the minors. His 32% xGB% in the majors is worse than his GB% at any level in the minors, so this actually has a great chance of improving.
I'd say that Sonnanstine's peripherals could still regress a bit (especially the walk rate), but overall they don't look outrageous. He could be a nice surprise for fantasy owners in the second half. Depending on where his ERA ends up, Sonnanstine might end up like teammate Jamie Shields as far as next year is concerned: a guy with nice peripherals, questionable "stuff," and average-ish surface numbers. Could be a bargain.
Derek Carty, 23, has also been published by NBC's Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and USA Today. This season, he'll be contributing to FanDuel and will be linking to all of his work at DerekCarty.com. In his three years competing in expert leagues, he has won 2 titles with 4 top three finishes, including a LABR NL title in 2009, making him the youngest person to ever win a major expert league title. Derek is a proud graduate of the MLB Scouting Bureau's Scout Development Program and is a firm believer in the importance of combining stats and scouting. He welcomes questions via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.