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The Red Report 2016 - Anthony DeSclafani Opening Day Starter?

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Probably.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fast Facts:

Anthony James DeSclafani's mother brought him into the world (and she could easily take him out) on April 18, 1990.  All this really reminds me is that I think I'm older than the average MLB baseballer at this point in my life, or it damn near feels like it.  Wah.  DeSclafani lived most of his life in New Jersey, which probably means him, Todd Frazier, and Mike Trout were the bestest of friends.

Mr. DeSclafani is 6'1, weighs 190 pounds, and prefers to throw and hit the ball right handed.

Anthony spent his college years pitching for the University of Florida where he became one of their most successful and reliant pitchers his Junior year.  From there he was drafted in the 6th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Being traded is something that DeSclafani is totally use to as he was traded to the Miami Marlins in 2014 in the Jose Reyes deal.  Remember that one?  It was a doozy.  He would then be traded with Chad Wallach from the Marlins for Mat Latos before the 2015 season.  He's currently in his second year of team control, making the league minimum, or whereabouts.

DeSclafani was an exciting pitcher coming into the 2015 season.  He was expected to make the rotation  and didn't disappoint.  In fact, he looked to be the front runner for the Rookie of the Year through April and May.  Though, some bumps in the road would derail those lofty dreams.

Over the course of the season, DeSclafani pitched 184.2 innings with a 4.05 ERA.  He started a total of 31 games with a 9-13 record.  Everything he did would match up to a league adjusted 98 ERA+.  In other words, he was super average but that's not a bad thing from a first year pitcher.  Tempered expectations and all.

Organizational Information:

Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 6th round of the 2011 amateur draft. (All Transactions)
Debut: May 14, 2014 (Age 24.026, 18,224th in MLB history)
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2015 season [*]
Teams (by GP): Reds/Marlins 2014-2015
2016 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2016): 1.062, Arb Eligible: 2018, Free Agent: 2021 [*], Agents: Relativity Baseball [*]

Career Stats:

I'll throw in his minor league stats since there isn't much to see.

Scouting Report:

He's wistful.  Well, I don't know about that, but I thought this picture was totes cool.  I'll actually show a moving picture of Disco striking someone out.

DeSclafani actually has some solid breaking stuff, and he can throw in the low to mid 90's.  I can remember him dialing it up to 95 on quite a few occasions.  His biggest problem has been losing control and leaving some pitches over the plate.  That is death in GABP.

2016 Projections:

Season Team W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
2016 Depth Charts 11 11 0 31 31 188.0 7.37 2.58 1.00 .302 71.8 % 3.91 3.89 2.7
2016 Steamer 10 12 0 31 31 188.0 7.36 2.58 1.18 .284 72.2 % 4.02 4.18 2.1
2016 Fans (8) 10 10 0 30 30 179.0 7.64 2.46 0.96 .315 72.9 % 3.88 3.72 2.7
2016 ZiPS 11 10 29 29 178.0 7.38 2.58 0.81 .306 71.4 % 3.79 3.61 3.2

After looking at these projections I'm not bothered much at all.  Projections are notoriously conservative, and they're not really predicting DeSclafani to fall off a cliff.  They're expecting much of the same that we saw in 2015.  That's not a bad thing from a guy in his second full go around the league.  If anything, you can expect Disco to continue to make improvements, and there is a lot of room for optimism.

Pitch F/X Pitcher Profile (2014-2015):

Pitch Type Count Freq Velo (mph) pfx HMov (in.) pfx VMov (in.) H. Rel (ft.) V. Rel (ft.)
Fourseam 1275 37.62% 93.60 -5.42 9.35 -2.22 5.78
Sinker 855 25.23% 92.93 -8.44 5.96 -2.30 5.72
Change 246 7.26% 86.57 -8.54 3.46 -2.51 5.51
Slider 824 24.31% 86.67 1.59 2.15 -2.31 5.62
Curve 182 5.37% 79.78 4.55 -5.44 -1.99 5.7
Month Percentage of Pitches Anthony DeSclafani (Cincinnati Reds)Sorted by Pitch Type | From 04/01/2015 to 02/29/2016 | All Competition Levels Fourseam Sinker Curveball Slider Changeup4/155/156/157/158/159/1501020304050 Fourseam (Month: 4/15)Sample Size: 119Average: 35.21BrooksBaseball.net | Powered by Pitch Info

Month Fourseam Sinker Curve Slider Change
4/15 35.21 27.81 2.66 23.37 10.95
5/15 38.69 29.35 2.99 17.94 10.65
6/15 36.59 28.78 4.23 22.76 7.15
7/15 36.64 20.94 5.23 29.20 7.71
8/15 28.88 30.48 6.42 25.67 8.29
9/15 25.36 29.17 15.94 26.81 2.72

Early in the season DeSclafani was getting by with  luck honestly, and he had to make some big adjustments to his game in the latter portion of the season.  He had been known as a guy with a deceptive fastball and a pretty good slider, but that wasn't getting the job done.  What DeSclafani started to throw near the end, which improved his game on the mound, was a curveball.  This is a pitch he didn't throw at all in 2014, not once, and gradually started to throw more in June, July, and most definitely August.  He basically scraped the changeup, and the curveball allowed him to change the eye level of the hitters.  If you notice in the gif I posted above, he gets his strikeout via the curveball. I posted these charts so you could see what DeSclafani throws, how much he throws it, and how he has evolved as a pitcher.

Just take a look at some of these whiff percentages.

Month Percentage Whiffs Anthony DeSclafani (Cincinnati Reds)Sorted by Pitch Type | From 04/01/2015 to 02/29/2016 | All Competition Levels Fourseam Sinker Changeup Slider Curveball4/155/156/157/158/159/15051015202530 Changeup (Month: 4/15)Sample Size: 37Average: 16.22BrooksBaseball.net | Powered by Pitch Info

Month Fourseam Sinker Change Slider Curve
4/15 10.08 4.26 16.22 24.05 0.00
5/15 8.70 1.91 8.77 13.54 0.00
6/15 6.67 6.21 2.27 20.00 3.85
7/15 8.27 7.89 10.71 19.81 5.26
8/15 11.11 4.39 6.45 14.58 12.50
9/15 12.86 4.35 13.33 25.00 19.32

Yeah, that will do, that will definitely do.  I'd like to see DeSclafani continue throwing that curveball with a good mixture from all the rest of his pitches.  His changeup was never considered bad, and I don't see a reason to get rid of it.  However, if that's at the expense of a good curveball, I'm all for it.  He showed a pretty significant increase in strikeouts near the end of the season.

By the way, I got these from Brooksbaseball.net, and I'll go ahead and link to Disco's page.  It's super fun to play around with.  I'll also apologize for the graphs not being interactive in the article.  I couldn't figure out how to embed them properly, so I just copy and pasted them because they're worth it.

Outlook:

2016 has the opportunity to be a huge year for Anthony DeSclafani's career.  In 2015, he was the rookie rotational stalwart.  With all the uncertainty with trades, and an ever revolving door of rookies and injuries, DeSclafani picked up the ball almost every fifth day and pitched admirably.  I don't know if he'll ever be a big strikeout kind of guy, and his minor league numbers suggest that he won't.  However, he's dependable and is suppose to be a durable guy.  He'll try to limit the walks and the dingers, put the ball on the ground, and get the timely strikeout.

There is nothing wrong with that.  It's very Mike Leake-ish, though I think Disco has the potential to be better.  Which is surprising for a former 6th round pick.  It's definitely a great return for Mat Latos.

Right now, Anthony DeSclafani looks to be the Opening Day starter for Cincinnati.  He deserves it after the workload he put in last year, and the fact they'll probably try and limit all the innings possible on Raisel Iglesias's arm.  I was very excited to write this Red Report on Mr. DeSclafani, and I'm equally excited for his upcoming 2016 season. If there is one thing that I'm really looking forward to is watching baseball and most definitely watching these young guys continue to improve.  He's freaking 25 years old, and it seems outlandish that he's probably going to be named our Opening Day starter with his pedigree.  Some may thing that's ridiculously sad, but I think it's ridiculously awesome.  I can't wait for real ball to begin.