Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tillman: Buy, Sell, or Wait on the Fantasy Free Agent?

If you selected Chris Tillman on fantasy draft day and have started him in every single outing in 2014, chances are pretty good that you’ve been a bit disappointed.

Chris Tillman, 2014

Games Started
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-L
QS
ERA
WHIP
21125121-4956807-5124.031.36

Having said that, if you picked him up eight starts ago, you might be singing a different tune about the O’s Opening Day starter.

Last 8 Starts

IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-L
QS
ERA
WHIP
5446-1715252-372.501.17

So, let’s take a look at what we can expect from Chris Tillman the rest of the way, starting with his probable opponents.

Remaining Probable Starts

Date
Opponent
July 23at Los Angeles Angels
July 29vs. Los Angeles Angels
August 3vs. Seattle Mariners
August 8vs. St. Louis Cardinals
August 13vs. New York Yankees
August 19at Chicago White Sox
August 25vs. Tampa Bay Rays
August 30vs. Minnesota Twins
September 4vs. Cincinnati Reds
September 9at Boston Red Sox
September 15vs. Toronto Blue Jays
September 21 vs. Boston Red Sox
September 26at Toronto Blue Jays

What I Like

  • While his next two outings are against the Angels and the last four are against only the Blue Jays and Red Sox, there aren’t nearly as many rematches. Also, while there are some tough assignments in there, it’s not exactly a murder’s row.
  • This has been a hot streak for Chris Tillman, but it’s not necessarily one that can’t be sustained. Even if it can’t, the crash shouldn’t be that hard. He’s pitching well, but not phenomenally well which, believe it or not, is a good thing.
  • The consistency is exceptional. Seven quality starts in eight outings shows that at least for now, I can depend on him to not burn me. That’s a little more valuable in head-t0-head formats, but dependability is always a big plus.

What I Don’t Like

  • Tillman’s overall resume isn’t great. He did have a strong 2012, but that came in only 86 innings. If you’re looking for full season success to fall back on, you’re really looking at 2013. It’s good that it’s the most recent year and that the one before was good, even if abbreviated, but you generally want to see a little more than that if you’re hoping an under-performing pitcher will continue to turn things around.
  • Even in the hot streak, Chris Tillman is striking out fewer than one hitter for every two innings. I don’t necessarily believe that hot streaks aren’t sustainable because hitters are making regular contact, but that number needs to get a lot better for fantasy owners.

Advice

Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of Chris Tillman for the better part of two seasons. Judging by his ownership rate — even through much of a good 2013 campaign — it was not a crowded bandwagon. So, I might be a bit biased here, but I like Tillman.

The strikeout rate will come up. Yes, the nearly 8 K/9 in 2013 was something of an outlier, but so is the poor rate he has recently.

The Orioles are a contending team, but they’re by no means running away with anything. So, I’m not expecting Chris Tillman to get bumped from any September starts once the rosters expand.

Having said all of that, I don’t know how patient I’d be if he takes a sharp 180 in a few starts. But for now, Tillman’s a guy you should be adding if you need the pitching help.

 

 

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman MLB Starting Pitchers

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