The Phillies have signed Jake Arrieta (92nd ADP) to a three-year, $75 million deal. While the Phillies may not necessarily contend in 2018, they are putting the pieces together for a run soon.
The 32-year-old righty’s results declined for a second straight season, with his ERA going from 1.77 (2015) to 3.10 (2016) to 3.53 (2017). Most of the decline is from his fastball going from averaging 94.6 mph to 92.1 mph. Additionally, his strikeout rate has dropped from 27% to 23%. Most of his 2018 value will be tied to stopping this downward trend.
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The rest of his value will be dependent on continuing to post a sub-.300 BABIP. Since joining the Cubs, he’s posted a low .253 BABIP. The key is determining how much of his BABIP is from Arrieta’s talent and how much is from a loaded Cubs team. The Phillies’ defense is a step below the Cubs, so his stats may suffer.
Besides a weaker defense, Arrieta is likely to get less run support from the rebuilding Phillies’ lineup. Finally, he’s going from a neutral home park to one that is hitter friendly. This move is not ideal for Arrieta’s fantasy value. I project a 4.00 ERA and 8.0 K/9 in 2018.
The Phillies don’t have the deepest rotation, so it’s tough to figure out which sub-replacement level arm loses out. Some combination of Vince Velasquez, Ben Lively, Mark Leiter, and Zach Eflin were battling it out for the last two rotation spots. There is just not much fantasy value at the back of this rotation.
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