All throughout the week, we have been breaking down Alfredo Simon's PitchFX data in hopes of determining what the Tigers can expect out of their newest starting pitcher in 2015. Friday's look at his 2014 performance hinted that there might be a chance he repeats his excellent first half next season. However, there were not many differences in his first and second half numbers aside from his BABIP and ERA, so saying he will break out is a tough sell.
Fortunately, Fangraphs picked up on one thing we missed; Simon has demonstrated an uncanny ability to strand baserunners over the past few seasons.
Over the last three years, Simon has stranded 78.1% of all baserunners — a rate which has not dipped below 77.5% or risen above 78.7%. I think it’s fair to say that Simon is particularly skilled in this area, and expecting him to just completely lose this ability (especially to the point where he’d be worse than league-average, as Steamer suggests) is a bit irrational.
Simon doesn't strike out a lot of batters, but his ability to limit home runs is one big reason why he strands a high percentage of baserunners. He allowed 32 home runs in three seasons with the Reds, and 21 of those came at the homer-friendly Great American Ballpark. The move to Detroit should help this trend even more. Fangraphs' park factors rate GABP as the second-most homer prone ballpark in the majors, while Comerica Park is exactly league average.
This high strand rate is one reason why Simon has been able to outperform his FIP by a significant margin over the past three years. He had a 4.04 FIP with the Reds, but held opponents to a 3.16 ERA in 345 innings. Steamer projects him to have a 4.89 ERA and 4.79 FIP, both of which would be his highest since 2010. Given the trend we have seen from Simon over the past three years, it wouldn't be surprising to see him outperform his FIP again in 2015.
h/t Kwisatz Haderach for the FanShot