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Two pitchers that have the ability to either strike out five batters in a row or walk five batters in a row, this ADP showdown will pit Sean Newcomb and Freddy Peralta. Newcomb was a first-round pick by the Angels in 2014 and Peralta was nothing more than a sleeper leading into 2018, but each will be players to watch in 2019.

Newcomb is considerably higher in NFBC leagues at around pick 199, while Peralta is going at pick 325. Is it worth waiting more than 100 picks for Peralta or is Newcomb too good to pass up earlier in the draft?

RotoBaller is going to break down all the pressing ADP questions you need to know before draft day.

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Sean Newcomb – Georgia Peach

(ADP 199 Overall)

Sean Newcomb was the key player in the Andrelton Simmons deal for the Braves and, after a few solid seasons in the minors, made it up to the big leagues in 2017. While his 4-9 record, 1.57 WHIP, and 4.32 ERA in 100 innings for Atlanta were not great, his 108 strikeouts were solid. With a 4.19 FIP, there was some room for improvement in 2019.

A 12-9 season in 2018 was an improvement for Newcomb, as was his 3.90 ERA, 7.5 hits per nine allowed, and a drop in walk rate from 12.5% to 11.6%. The biggest sign that Newcomb was making strides to becoming a frontline start was his performance in May/June; over 11 starts (65 1/3 innings), Newcomb was 7-1 with a 2.07 ERA and just 43 hits allowed. The issue, though, was that he posted back-to-back months with a 5.00+ ERA after these strong performances, posting a 3-5 record and 5.88 ERA in July/August. His strikeouts dipped a bit in 2018, to 160 in 164 innings pitched, but his performance in the mid-season shows his potential.

While Newcomb had a strong season on paper, there were some issues when looking at his batted-ball profile. The first issue was with his 34.8% hard hit ball rate and it continued with a 43.4% GB rate and 36% FB rate. When a pitcher has issues with control and is allowing too many hard hit balls as well as fly balls, that usually ends up with trouble; a 11.1% HR/FB rate in his career shows that. As strikeouts are a big part of Newcomb's game, the fact that his swinging strike rate dropped from 11.1% to 10% is not a good sign, nor is his O-Swing% dropping from 30.6% to 26%. The final issue is a rise in contact rate from 75.9% to 77.5%. Newcomb has promise, but he appears to be far from a finished product.

 

Freddy Peralta – Wild Thing

(ADP 325 Overall)

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta only had a 6-4 record and 4.25 ERA after being called up from the minor leagues in 2018. In his 14 starts, he allowed at least three earned runs in seven of them and walked multiple batters in 11 starts. All of that being said, Peralta is lauded as one of the top starting pitcher sleepers coming into 2019.

So why is Peralta so valuable? The first place to start is the fact that, in 78 1/3 MLB innings, he allowed just 49 hits and struck out 96 batters. In fact, through the majors and minors in 2018, Peralta struck out 188 batters in just 141 1/3 innings, allowing 99 hits. The walk issues show that Peralta is not a finished product (he has walked at least four batters per nine in each of the last three seasons), but his ability to miss bats cannot be understated.

If there is a better way for a player to start their career than Peralta, you will be hard pressed to find it; Peralta allowed one hit in 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Reds on May 13, striking out 13 batters. He then followed that up by allowing no more than three hits in any of his next three starts, pitching throwing six shutout innings against the Pirates and seven against the Royals. The issue with Peralta this season is the poor start in that four-game spell: he allowed six walks in just four innings against the Royals. In fact, after walking two or fewer batters in three of his first four starts, he walked three batters or more in all five of his July starts.

It is quite clear that there is a give and take with Peralta, as he will limit hits and strike out batters, but also will walk far too many batters. Considering that fact, we need to look both at his ability to miss bats and also to induce softer contact. Two key statistics to look at when evaluating Peralta's ability to miss bats are his swinging strike rate and his percentage of pitches swung at outside the zone. At a 28% swinging rate and 10.8% swinging strike rate, Peralta shows that he is able to confuse batters and stifle them with his fastball. He has one of the top fastballs in the league, a good thing considering that his curveball is slightly above average and his changeup (which he only threw 2.8% of the time) is neutral.

As for batted-ball data, Peralta's 30.5% ground ball rate and 41.4% hard-hit ball rate stick out like a sore thumb. Furthermore, with a 52% flyball rate and his inflated hard-hit ball rate, many could say that his 8.7% HR/FB rate was quite lucky as well. His 17.5% line drive rate is the lowest of his career, but hard hit balls in the air should lead to more home runs then they did for Peralta in 2018. As bad as his batted-ball stats look, though, he had a 75.9% contact rate that was top-50 among SP with at least 70 innings pitched.

 

Conclusion

There is not a simple answer to which player to draft. Peralta has less of a track record, is less of pedigreed player, and, honestly, could end up in the minors at times this season. That being said, both have walk issues and Peralta appears to be just as good of (if not better) a strikeout pitcher. There is a good chance that Peralta will continue to have those issues and will need to limit his hard contact, an issue for him in 2018, and keep on striking out batters to get out of jams.

Peralta's value comes in the fact that he is basically unowned in mixed leagues with an ADP at 325. Simply put, Fernando Tatis Jr. has yet to make his MLB debut and, will likely spend a majority of the season in the minors, and his ADP is 304. Newcomb is not a bad player (especially considering his performance in the middle of the season), but there is just too much value in drafting Peralta at the end of the draft.

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