The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Buy or Sell – Nathan Eovaldi and Ranger Suárez Breakouts

During the offseason, I often sort through leaderboards, splits, outliers, and more to find pitchers to buy or sell for the 2022 season. Over the past 30 days of the season, two pitchers stood out in strikeout minus walk rate (K-BB%). Those pitchers are Nathan Eovaldi and Ranger Suárez. Eovaldi and Suárez provided positive fantasy value throughout the season and down the stretch to possibly win leagues for fantasy managers. That said, let’s dive into the profiles to figure out whether we should buy or sell into Eovaldi and Suárez. Check out the rest of my in-season and off-season articles on FantraxHQ

What?! Your league didn’t use Fantrax for the 2021 fantasy baseball season? Compare how we match up to the competition and see why you should move your league over in 2022.

Buy or Sell – A Healthy Nathan Eovaldi & Ranger Suárez’s Breakout SZN

Nathan Eovaldi (SP – BOS)

With no more than 124 2/3 innings pitched since 2015, the narrative surrounding Nathan Eovaldi involved health. Eovaldi finished 2021 with 182 1/3 innings – the most since 2015 with 154 1/3 and 199 2/3 in 2014. After some innings pitched concerns with many starting pitchers heading into 2021 after the shortened 2020 season, Eovaldi led all Red Sox starters with Eduardo Rodriguez (157 2/3) and Nick Pivetta (155) trailing behind. 

On the surface, another positive involves the ratios with a 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with a higher workload. Particularly, the WHIP stands out with a career 1.33 WHIP. Nathan Eovaldi’s .326 BABIP and 70.4% LOB% align with the career .311 BABIP and 71.5% LOB%. It also appears Eovaldi’s HR/FB% dropped with an 8.2% rate compared to 10.5% in his career and 17.5% over the past four active seasons. Eovaldi’s 25.5% strikeout rate and 4.6% walk rate rank near career bests if we toss out the short 2020 season. 

Pitch Mix Change for Eovaldi

As one of the more fastball-heavy pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi relied on the four-seamer once again at 42.3%. However, Eovaldi used to throw the cutter as the second most used pitch. Then in 2021, Eovaldi dropped that to the least used offering at 12.5%. 

buy or sell
Nathan Eovaldi Pitch Results & Usage

Eovaldi added a slider that he barely used in 2019 at 3.3% but used to throw more often in 2018 (11.1%) and 2016 (16.8%). The curveball typically performed effectively with a low .188 wOBA and whiff rate near 40%. 

Not only did Eovaldi adjust the pitch mix, but he also pounded the zone with the four-seamer with a zone rate up to 66.1% compared to a career rate of 61.3%. That likely also contributed to the overall zone rate increase to 47.6% compared to 45.1% in 2020 and 42.5% in 2019. However, Eovaldi’s career zone rate sits identical at 47.6%. A higher zone rate possibly helps lower the walk rate too. 

Should We Buy or Sell Eovaldi?

When looking at the swing take profile, Nathan Eovaldi thrived in the heart and shadow areas. That makes given the higher zone rate and pitch mix change with consistent results and a higher workload. It’s hard to compare to previous seasons, but it’s clear that 2021 ended up as one of Eovaldi’s best seasons. 

That said, should we buy or sell Nathan Eovaldi? On the surface, it seems we should buy rather than sell the results for Eovaldi in 2021. The thought of a possible injury may still linger in the minds of fantasy managers. However, a near workhorse type season for Eovaldi isn’t something to toss aside like an outlier given the pitch mix and plate discipline changes. 

Given Eovaldi’s productive 2021 season, expect the ADP to jump in 2022. According to the NFBC ADP heading into the final two weeks of draft season, Eovaldi’s 255.97 ADP right behind Jorge Polanco ended up as a steal. There’s a chance Eovaldi’s ADP rises to a top 100-150 pick since he proved he’s worthy of ranking as an SP3 or SP4 in 2022. 

Ranger Suárez (SP/RP – PHI)

Admittedly, considering a Phillies reliever turned starter ended up as something I overlooked in 2021. That’s the case for Ranger Suárez, with 12 games started and 39 appearances overall. With the quality ratios and overall profile as a starter and reliever – Suárez finished as the 104th ranked player on the Razzball Player Rater behind Kyle Seager and Kyle Schwarber. For someone without an ADP in NFBC leagues, Suárez could have won leagues for fantasy managers.

At first glance, it’s likely leading fantasy managers to buy into Suárez’s profile rather than sell. Suárez finished with a 1.36 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 25.6% strikeout rate, and 7.9% walk rate in 106 innings pitched. He earned eight wins and four saves in seven opportunities. That combination of wins plus saves made Suárez a valuable player on fantasy squads. 

Starter vs. Reliever

Since it’s a small sample overall, let’s compare Ranger Suárez as a starter and a reliever. In the first 40 1/3 innings of the season as a reliever, Suárez boasted a 1.12 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 26.6% strikeout rate, and 8.9% walk rate. During that stretch, Suárez’s .188 BABIP allowed and 85.8% LOB% looked just silly. Suárez relied on the fastball (66.2%) and changeup (27.8%) while sprinkling in the slider at 6%. 

As a starter in the final 12 appearances, Suárez’s ratios remained elite with a 1.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 25% strikeout rate, and 7.3% walk rate. The LOB% remained high at 86.6%, but the .295 BABIP increased. Suárez’s fastball usage increased to 69.3%, yet he lowered the changeup to 21.8% with a minor increase to the slider (8.8%). Overall the dominance remained for Suárez, which leads us to buy into Suárez rather than sell. However, it’s still a smaller sample, so we need to take it with a grain of salt. 

Pitch Mix & Results for Suárez

As a groundball-heavy pitcher (59.2%), Ranger Suárez relied on the sinker 45.5% of the time. However, Suárez increased the changeup usage similar to the 2019 season, yet a significant drop in the slider usage. For comparison sake, we’ll focus on 2019 and 2021 since Suárez only threw four innings in 2020. 

In 2019, Suárez’s slider looked awful with a .629 SLG and .393 wOBA. With a pitch that he threw 20.2% of the time, it seems logical for Suárez to ditch the pitch or lower the usage. That’s what happened with Suárez, who threw the slider only 7.8% of the time. Given the lower slider usage, Suárez’s slider resulted in a .095 SLG and .162 wOBA. 

Not only that, but Suárez’s changeup performed better with a .324 SLG, .257 wOBA, and 39.8% whiff rate compared to .491 SLG, .321 wOBA, and 33% whiff rate in 2019. As the second most used pitch, it’s positive to see the improved results as the only non-fastball throw most often at 24.2% of the time. 

buy or sell
Ranger Suárez wOBA by season

Interestingly, Suárez’s four-seam performed better in 2021 with similar usage to 2019. The four-seam resulted in a .176 BA, .216 SLG, and .227 wOBA in 2021 compared .262 BA, .310 SLG, and .267 wOBA in 2019. Also, the velocity on the four-seamer increased to 93.7 mph, up from 92.9 mph in 2019 and 92.4 in 2018. Although the movement profile isn’t above-average, Suárez appears to have about 1.5 more inches of vertical movement compared to previous seasons. 

buy or sell
Ranger Suárez Vertical Movement By Pitch

Should We Buy or Sell Suárez?

Looking at the Phillies rotation, it appears Ranger Suárez could hold down a spot with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola anchoring down the squad. Can Suárez build upon the 2021 season? Given the groundball-heavy profile, only two other pitchers with a minimum of 100 innings pitched finished with a higher groundball rate than Suárez. Those two pitchers include Framber Valdez and Logan Webb. 

In terms of the K-BB%, Webb profiles similarly, while Valdez’s double-digit walk rate at 10.1% concerns us with the 21.9% strikeout rate. However, Webb arguably possesses the better stuff with career bests in swinging-strike rate for the curveball (20.7%) and changeup (15.4%). Ranger Suárez’s swinging-strike rate for his top-2 pitches in the changeup (19.9%) and slider (13.5%) don’t look far off from Webb. However, the love for Webb in the community will skyrocket his ADP compared to Suárez.

It’s within the range of outcomes that Ranger Suárez could profile similarly to Logan Webb in 2022 yet a much later ADP. Webb arguably possesses better stuff based on the higher chase rates. However, Suárez bests Webb in wOBA against the three primary pitches. That said, put Suárez on the watch list during the draft season as a player to acquire based on the ground ball heavy profile with a decent K-BB%. 

buy or sell
Logan Webb vs. Ranger Suárez Plate Discipline & wOBA

Fantrax logo

Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2020, and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.