Raisel Iglesias figures to be a popular pick leading into drafts this year having already been written about at several other outlets. It’s easy to see why with a 3.55 FIP and 3.28 xFIP in 95.33 innings last year. He struck out 104 batters good for a 26.3 K%. 95 innings is not a great sample size but if Iglesias can produce similar numbers of the course of 150+ IPs he could be a special talent.
Iglesias has a four pitch mix (four seamer, sinker, slider and changeup) and good velocity (averages 92.1 mph on the FB last year). Combine that with great stuff and it’s easy to see how he generated so many Ks. His overall whiff per swing rate in 2015 was 26.28% which is very good. The below chart breaks that down into individual pitch types.
(Stats from Brooksbaseball)
Iglesias threw the slider 28% of the time and batters got air on 4 out of every 10 swings against it. His other main pitch is the sinker (39.8% of pitches). While he doesn’t generate as many swings and misses with it, it does lead to his 47.2 GB%. With a good defense behind him and given the HR problems in Great American Ballpark, you would like that number to be a bit higher, but that’s probably nitpicking. He does work down in the zone which potentially could lead to a higher GB number over a full season of innings.
There are a couple of issues in Iglesias’s profile with the main one being his 13.9 HR/FB%. This is a really bad number and given his ballpark, it’s hard to envision seeing significant improvement there. He also had a .286 BABIP which isn’t altogether unsurprising given his GB profile and good IF defense, but without much of a sample to go off of, it’s a little risky to invest in that being his baseline.
Iglesias also has a bit of a split problem and was much better against RHB than LHB. The chart below shows some of his numbers last year. The major spike in K rate against RHB immediately jumps out. If Iglesias can’t find a way to get lefties out on a more consistent basis, it will limit his upside.
(Stats from Fangraphs)
In 2015, Iglesias finished as the 116th best SP according to ESPN’s player rater and that was mainly a function of lack of counting stats due to his small innings number. His ERA was 4.15 because of some bad luck. He only won three games (out of 16 starts) because of a poor offense. Amongst SPs with at least 80 IPs, Iglesias received the 8th worst amount of run support. These are both exploitable angles as people who don’t dig deeper are unlikely to realize that both the ERA and the win total were a result of circumstance and not necessarily skillset (PSA: Wins in general do not reflect skillset but they’re a fantasy stat anyway). Iglesias should be an asset in Ks and WHIP with the potential to add in a great ERA. The upside here is essentially Danny Salazar, who finished as the 20th ranked SP on ESPN in 2015, with fewer strikeouts. The chart below shows Iglesias’s 2015 versus Salazar’s 2014.
(Stats from Fangraphs)
Both have elite K rates, good BB rates and a HR problem (2014 was Salazar’s best HR/FB rate and doesn’t necessarily show this problem). Salazar spun his good 2014 into a great 2015 and while I don’t expect Iglesias to become a top 20 SP, I certainly think that top 35 is achievable if the Reds let him throw 175 IPs. We’ll see how big the hype train gets on Iglesias, but this is absolutely a guy I want on my teams this year. Iglesias is the kind of pitcher I target and hopefully he comes at a discount on draft day.
Steamer projects Iglesias for a 3.58 ERA, 1.2 WHIP, 23.1 K% and 7.2 BB%, pretty good numbers. I’ll give Iglesias a 3.48 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 24.8 K% and 7.2 BB%. Overall I think he’s a guy who doesn’t hurt your ERA and gives you a great K rate. My kind of SP.