It’s been a long time since Garret Richards made his debut back in 2011 with the Angels; a little more than a thousand innings of pro-ball later (including minor league) and Richards remains a mystery.
He had his best campaigns in 2014 and 2015 with the Angels, posting 4.3 and 2.8 of fWAR respectively; until that 2015 season, including it, he had pitched 606 innings in MLB, since then he has only added 163 innings in the following five seasons, including what he has done so far this one.
Injuries have derailed his career, keeping us in the dark about trying to find out Richards’ true potential and capabilities.
Trying to forecast Richards is an exercise in analysis, eye test, and guessing: his sample size has been small for so long in the majors that uncertainty is the norm (which is always the case but varies in magnitude).
After this small warning, let’s take some leaps of faith and use our best possible judgement to try to find out what’s left to see of Richards in 2020.
Let’s gather 2019’s (just three starts at the ending of the season) and 2020’s data:
Once again, this is a very, very small sample, you’ve been warned.
The closest thing to stabilization is the Ks so let’s try to figure something out of them. Let’s assume he will keep the trend in BB%, that means he might continue with a (k-bb)/ip of around 0.70000. This season, so far, the league average is 0.60986 which means he 15% better in that indicator than the average pitcher.
Also, average K%-BB% is 15%; with 17.20% Richards is also better here. These are not insignificant gains, as we have seen before that these stats correlate in about 70 percent of a pitcher’s future performance.
Looking just a that, I am already in the Garret Richards’ bandwagon as an inexpensive source of SP3-SP5 numbers, but if you need any more indication, let’s rember this:
Richards has elite (as in better than most) spin rates, and the best thing is that the consequent vertical movement is at the top of his game as we can see in the following chart:
We can be sure that he has his tools sharp and ready: his slider’s average vertical movement is on par with Walker Buehler’s, and the curveball remains elite, I love the fact that he has already used it more than what he did last year. The 4-seamer’s speed is still near 95 mph so he can still produce whiffs with it.
All in all, Richards is as prepared as he’s ever been to try to show his strengths, he was roughed up in his last start versus the all-mighty Dodgers and he will face them again today, another big test for him, but I feel confident that most outings will be very solid.
Richards is available in more than 60% of the Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues.