After failing to receive a Major League contract last off-season, Doug Fister wasted no time putting pen to paper and inking a deal with the Texas Rangers. You’ll remember that last off-season, Fister went unsigned, before ultimately signing on with the Los Angeles Angels. When Fister was not promoted to the major leagues, he decided to opt-out and then signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox.
Fister’s time with the Red Sox went somewhat better than many in the fantasy industry (myself included) expected. For starters, his strikeout percentage, which is 16.4% for this career, spiked to a much more respectable, 21.2% (league average 21.6% in 2017). Fister also continued to induce ground balls at a superior rate, which helped him to keep his home runs allowed in check.
Unfortunately, I am not seeing anything in Fister’s underlying metrics that would indicate a serious change behind his improved strike out ability. Fister did experience a slight bump in velocity (up to 89.8 MPH last season), however, even with that bump, Fister was still living in the single digits in terms of swinging strike percentage.
For those who like to compare a pitcher’s actual ERA versus his FIP and xFIP, we see that Fister’s 90.1 innings pitched in Boston, were actually pretty decent (if these metrics are to be trusted):
4.88 ERA | 3.98 FIP | 4.18 xFIP
Prior to signing with the Texas Rangers, Steamer’s early 2018 projection for Doug Fister was as follows:
138 innings pitched | 109 strikeouts | 4.52 ERA | 1.40 WHIP
Fister will need to continue to not allow home runs, as his new home ball park has an elevated home run rate as compared to Fenway Park. With the entire league hitting more home runs these days, I’m not sure that Fister’s strong ground ball rate can help enough.
As such, I’d expect Fister’s 2018 rotisserie line to come in worse than his 2017 value. Considering Fister was end of roster fodder last season, that’ll make him a difficult buy on draft day – 2018.