Manny Banuelos, Atlanta Braves
26.1 IP, 30 H, 12 BB, 19 K, 5.13 ERA, 5.37 FIP, -0.2 fWAR
It seems as though an eternity has passed since Banuelos was the Golden Goose to be of the Yankees farm system. Since being ranked as the 29th best prospect by Baseball America heading into the 2012 season, Banuelos missed half a season with a lat strain, had Tommy John Surgery, was dealt to the Braves for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve, made his Major League debut, missed time with elbow soreness, and eventually had his rookie season cut short due to surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow (he will be ready for Spring Training). And yet it is somehow still only 24. He struggled mightily this season, and his fastball sat around 89 MPH across six starts, but he’s young enough and the Braves are bad enough that he should be in the mix to see plenty of action next season.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
.287/.334/.446, 82 R, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 2 SB, 116 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR (674 PA)
When we last checked in on Cano, he was slashing .253/.292/.373, with an 86 wRC+, making him one of the worst everyday players in the American League. From that point on, however, he batted .325/.381/.529, good for a 152 wRC+. In short, he was Bizarro Jacoby Ellsbury. While his final numbers remain a far cry from the player the Mariners hoped to be signing, his turnaround does represent a silver lining, at the very least. And, considering the horror show that has been the team’s offense for what seems like forever, perhaps the change in administration will help Cano, as well.
Francisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
.295/.370/.401, 56 R, 7 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB, 119 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR (510 PA)
Cervelli had a 119 wRC+ and 3.9 fWAR. Russell Martin posted a 114 wRC+ and 3.5 fWAR. And Brian McCann struggled in the second-half, and finished the year with a 109 wRC+ and 2.9 fWAR. Ain’t life grand?
Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
.259/.364/.457, 98 R, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 11 SB, 132 wRC+, 5.1 fWAR (682 PA)
2015 represents Granderson’s best season since 2011 (by both wRC+ and fWAR), and the third best season of his career. And he was a big part of the Mets’ resurgence, hitting .266/.386/.488 (147 wRC+) after the trade deadline. Perhaps some of his turnaround is due to growing more comfortable in a new league and at a new position – his defense improved markedly, by both DRS (0 to 12) and UZR (-8.1 to 5.1).
Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers
83.2 IP, 103 H, 27 BB, 50 K, 6.88 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 0.1 fWAR
In 2015, 159 starting pitcher threw at least 80 IP. Greene’s 6.88 ERA ranked dead last among those starters, and his FIP ranked 155th – to call it a disastrous season would be an understatement.
David Huff, Los Angeles Dodgers
6.0 IP, 11 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 9.00 ERA, 7.08 FIP, -0.2 fWAR
Huff spent the majority of the season in Triple-A, having last pitched for the Dodgers on June 2. He last pitched on August 30, when he allowed 7 H and 4 ER in 3.2 IP against the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins
155.1 IP, 184 H, 16 BB, 94 K, 4.40 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 1.0 fWAR
Hughes missed about a month late in the Summer, due to back issues that would require at least one epidural (it was said to be the same injury that kept him out of action for a couple of months back in 2011). He backslid significantly in 2015, posting career-worst marks in K/9, HR/9, FIP, HR/FB, and H/9, and was extremely limited after returning from injury. That being said, he did post a 3.27 ERA in September (albeit in 11 IP), and reportedly looked more like the Hughes of 2014.
Shawn Kelley, San Diego Padres
51.1 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 63 K, 2.45 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 0.9 fWAR
Kelley was excellent this season, but particularly so after his stint on the DL in late April/early May. From May 12 forward, he posted a 1.57 ERA, with 11.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. He did spend more time on the DL in September, with a forearm issue, but otherwise this season was nothing less than a revelation for Kelley.
Hiroki Kuroda, Hiroshima Karp
169.2 IP, 158 H, 29 BB, 106 K, 2.55 ERA
By ERA, Kuroda had the second-best season of his career in Japan, at the ripe old age of 40. He became just the sixth pitcher in NPB to win double-digit games at 40 or older, as well. I wonder what he’s doing in 2016…
Brandon McCarthy, Los Angeles Dodgers
23.0 IP, 24 H, 4 BB, 29 K, 5.87 ERA, 6.23 FIP, -0.3 fWAR
It was a lost season for McCarthy – but on the bright side, he did this excellent podcast with Lana Berry.
David Phelps, Miami Marlins
112 IP, 119 H, 33 BB, 77 K, 4.50 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.0 fWAR
Phelps was essentially the definitive league-average pitcher in the first half of the season, serving as the nominal ace of the subpar Marlins squad. Unfortunately, he fell off a cliff after the All-Star break, pitching to a 6.94 ERA and allowing a slash-line of .337/.389/.505. His season ended early due to a stress fracture in his right forearm, which may explain his struggles.
Martin Prado, Miami Marlins
.288/.338/.394, 52 R, 9 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB, 100 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR (551 PA)
An excellent September (.352/.417/.489, 145 wRC+) pushed Prado’s final line up to his career norms, allowing him to continue his trend of being Mr. Average. Defensive metrics loved his play at third base this season, as well, with his 11.0 UZR/150 placing fourth among third baseman – ahead of Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, and Nolan Arenado, among others. While those metrics are notoriously volatile, it seems clear that he is still a reliable player.
David Robertson, Chicago White Sox
63.1 IP, 46 H, 13 BB, 86 K, 3.41 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 1.9 fWAR
Despite posting career-bests in BB/9, BB%, K/BB, K-BB%, and BABIP, Robertson posted his worst ERA since 2010. The White Sox spotty defense has garnered some of the blame, but Robertson also allowed a career-worst 0.99 HR/9, as well as the worst FB% and second-worst LOB% of his career. Most of the damage came in September, where he allowed 3 HR and a 7.15 ERA in 11.1 IP. Robertson’s ERA was a tidier 2.60 through the end of August.
Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins
.229/.282/.279, 45 R, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 11 SB, 53 wRC+, -0.7 fWAR (438 PA)
1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 9.00 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 0.0 fWAR
Forget the fact that this was Ichiro’s worst season by a comfortable margin. Instead, embrace the fact that he remains one of the most aggressive base-runners in the game, and pray that we get to see him throw a few more wicked sliders. Continue reading End of the Season Returns on Some Former Yankees