Michael Wacha Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 29 (July 01, 1991) | 6' 6" | 215lbs. P-15
Tm Lg YEAR W L SV Hld G GS IP H HR BB SO ERA WHIP Rating BB/9 SO/9 BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
STL R 2012 0 0 0 0 3 2 5.0 4 1 0 7 1.80 0.80 1.10 0.0 0.0 .297 n/a
STL A+ 2012 0 0 0 0 4 0 8.0 1 0 1 16 0.00 0.25 0.19 1.1 18.0 .132 n/a
STL AA 2012 0 0 0 0 4 0 8.0 3 0 3 17 1.12 0.75 0.56 3.4 19.1 .350 n/a
STL AAA 2013 5 3 0 0 15 15 85.0 65 9 19 73 2.65 0.99 1.04 2.0 7.7 .251 n/a
STL NL 2013 4 1 0 0 15 9 64.2 52 5 19 65 2.78 1.10 1.07 2.6 9.0 .286 44/17/39 7 8
STL AA 2014 0 0 0 0 1 1 2.0 1 0 1 1 0.00 1.00 0.75 4.5 4.5 .177 n/a
STL NL 2014 5 6 0 0 19 19 107.0 95 6 33 94 3.20 1.20 1.13 2.8 7.9 .300 42/22/36 6 8
STL NL 2015 17 7 0 0 30 30 181.0 162 19 58 153 3.38 1.22 1.21 2.9 7.6 .286 46/22/32 18 18
STL NL 2016 7 7 0 0 27 24 138.0 159 15 45 114 5.09 1.48 1.48 2.9 7.4 .344 47/24/30 -6 -0
STL NL 2017 12 9 0 0 30 30 165.1 170 17 55 158 4.14 1.36 1.35 3.0 8.6 .332 48/21/31 8 11
STL A+ 2018 0 0 0 0 2 2 4.1 2 0 2 5 6.23 0.92 0.69 4.2 10.4 .217 n/a
STL AA 2018 0 1 0 0 1 1 2.1 6 1 1 3 11.57 3.00 3.43 3.9 11.6 .583 n/a
STL NL 2018 8 2 0 0 15 15 84.0 68 9 36 71 3.21 1.24 1.18 3.9 7.6 .262 43/29/27 9 9
STL NL 2019 6 7 0 0 29 24 126.2 143 26 55 104 4.76 1.56 1.65 3.9 7.4 .316 48/22/30 -6 -0
NYM NL 2020 1 4 0 0 8 7 34.0 46 9 7 37 6.62 1.56 1.85 1.9 9.8 .386 36/23/41 -12 -5
TAM AL 2021 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.0 0.0 0.00 n/a -0 0
Career 9yrs 60 43 0 0 173 158 900.2 895 106 308 796 4.02 1.34 1.34 3.1 8.0 .312 n/a
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In today's newsletter from Baseball HQ --

Can Wacha rebound? ... Michael Wacha (RHP, TAM) had a rough season with the Mets, as once again battled shoulder issues, and he posted an ugly 6.62 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) that totaled 34 innings. After landing in Tampa on a one-year deal, do the skills show any hope for a bounceback season?

Year   IP   ERA/xERA   BB%/K%  xBB%   SwK   Vel    G/L/F   H%/S%  HR/F  xHR/F  BPX

==== === ========= ======= ==== ==== ==== ======== ===== ==== ===== ===
2016 138 5.09/4.30 7%/19% 8% 8.7 93.2 47/24/30 34/67 12% 13% 95
2017 166 4.13/3.99 8%/23% 10% 10.0 95.1 48/21/31 33/72 12% 12% 120
2018 84 3.20/4.24 10%/20% 11% 10.2 93.5 43/29/27 26/78 14% 18% 62
2019 127 4.76/4.99 10%/19% 10% 10.1 93.1 48/22/30 32/76 22% 22% 58
2020 34 6.62/4.53 4%/24% 8% 12.0 93.6 36/23/41 39/64 20% 15% 112

Don't dismiss the possibility of Wacha holding some value in 2021:

  • He recorded the highest SwK of his career and highest K% since his debut back in 2013. Scrapping the curve and throwing more changeups (22% SwK in '20) led to more whiffs, but the right-hander hasn't found another pitch he can be consistently effective with.
  • He dished out fewer free passes than ever before, though the sample was quite small, and xBB% was more in line with his career norms. 
  • Wacha allowed fly balls at a career-high rate in 2020, which, combined with a 16th percentile Hard Hit % led to some issues with the long ball. 
  • There's no denying he was pretty unlucky last season. His ERA was more than two runs higher than xERA, as H% and S% fortunes worked against him, and HR/F was quite a bit higher than xHR/F.

Wacha's surface stats were awful in 2020, but beneath the hood, the skills showed some signs of life, particularly the jump in swings and misses. He can't be counted on for a real heavy workload, as he has a history of shoulder problems, and he topped four innings in just three of his seven starts a season ago. But Wacha would seem to be a logical choice to come in after an opener, a role the Rays often deploy, at which point he wouldn't have to go a full five frames to qualify for a win. He doesn't offer a great deal of upside, but if the SwK gains hold, Wacha could turn a decent profit on his draft day cost, which is very low at this point (489 NFBC Draft Champions ADP in January). 


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Alex Patton Alex
Feb 19

And, of course, the Rays have access to many, many more peripherals. No one will be surprised if they coax a respectable year out of him.

Alex Patton Alex
Dec 19 '20

The Fangraphs peripherals show I slightly above-average fastball, a slightly lower than average exit velocity, a significantly higher than average hard-hit rate and a terrible HR/FB.

MLB averages in the Benchmarks thread.

Michael Wacha (P) TB - Dec. 18

https://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.php?id=762087

Wacha signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Rays on Friday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: The Rays' reputation is such that it's generally safe to assume that if they want a player, he's probably better than he seems. In Wacha's case, his 6.62 ERA in 34 innings for the Mets last season came with a solid set of peripherals, as he struck out 23.7 percent of opposing batters while walking a career-low 4.5 percent. He did also see his groundball rate plummet from 48.0 percent in 2019 to 35.5 percent in 2020, however. Still, there's enough there to suggest that he should have a decent chance to carve out a successful season as a back-end starter or in whatever creative role the innovative Rays elect to deploy him. 

Alex Patton Alex
Dec 19 '20
Fangraphs: FB 43% FBv 93.6 EV 87.9 HardHit 44% HR/FB 21% LD%+ 108 FIP 5.25
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 16 '20