As the Pirates hunt for starting pitching help this offseason carries on, one possible free agent fit is right-handed pitcher Doug Fister.
This offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to add at least two starting pitchers. Over the course of the past few weeks I have been taking a look at various pitchers that could be a fit for the Pirates. Some of these pitchers are free agents, while some are trade targets.
Today, I am going to take a look at another free agent target. This is a pitcher that the Pirates were tied to last season before he signed with the Houston Astros. I am talking about right-handed pitcher Doug Fister.
Last season Fister pitched 180 1/3 innings for the Astros. He averaged 5.74 K/9, 3.09 BB/9, 1.20 HR/9, and he owned a WHIP of 1.43. The 32-year old Fister finished the season with a 4.64 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, and a 1.1 WAR.
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Doug Fister generate ground balls at a 45.3 percent rate in 2016. While this is not horrible, it is not particularly strong either. And with Fister’s lack of strikeouts you would like to see his ground ball rate be much higher.
He also saw a spike in hard contact allowed. Fister’s 31.5 percent hard contact rate was the highest of his Major League career. Additionally, his 20.3 percent line drive rate was the third highest of his eight year career.
Doug Fister appears to be a pitcher on the decline. To go along with the increase in hard contact allowed, his ERA and xFIP in 2016 were also career highs. Furthermore, his FIP was the second highest of his career and his walk rate was a career high.
Fister’s Steamer Projections for 2017 are not kind. He is projected to post a 4.51 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 4.60 xFIP, and a 1.4 WAR in 158 innings pitched. Furthermore, his projected 47.5 percent ground ball rate is not that good either.
Doug Fister would be the worst starting pitcher in the current Pirates rotation. He is nowhere near the caliber a pitcher Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon are, and he is not as good as Chad Kuhl either. Honestly, I would rather see guys such as Drew Hutchison or Trevor Williams start for the Pirates over Doug Fister n 2017.
Personally, I hope the Pirates stay away from Doug Fister this offseason. I do not believe Doug Fister would be an upgrade over any of the Pirates’ current rotation options. The Pirates can do better than Doug Fister in 2017, and they need to do better than Doug Fister.