The past five years
|2010||Did not play: injured|
"Brendon McCarther" - Vin Scully or John Travolta?
Brandon McCarthy probably would not list 2013 as his favorite year. Not as bad as getting nearly assassinated by a baseball, but it was another limited year for the pitcher, first by poor luck with a high BABIP and then losing 2 months to shoulder problems.
McCarthy has been hindered injuries for most of his careers, only once getting above 150 innings pitched in a season. The Diamondbacks might not need 300 innings, and have some minor league depth to accommodate should things go sideways. But it does prevent flexibility for the team if more than one pitcher is lost for any significant amount of time. Injuries are part of the the game, but designing your rotation with this as a feature and not a bug might not work in Arizona's favor.
The projection systems listed above don't seem very confident McCarthy will remain completely health, but outside Steamer's pessimistic sub-100 innings, they also seem to think he'll have the second most innings of his career.
If McCarthy can stay even relatively healthy, he'll remain a fairly decent part of the rotation. The projects split on whether he'll be worth 1 or 2 wins above replacement, though Steamer's is only so low because of the low innings pitched. If you take the same rate of WAR and extend it to 130 innings, that's 1.76 WAR, approaching the same level as Oliver and Zips.
McCarthy's not much of a strikeout pitcher over his career, and the projection still expect almost 6 strikeouts per 9. Where he might falter, though, is an increased walk rate. If the projections hold out, he'll have his highest walk total since 2009. Walks by themselves don't always kill, but given that McCarthy relies on putting the ball in play to get outs, he's also setting himself to give up big innings when the occasional batted ball falls for a hit instead of an out.
And for a pitcher that needs to rely on putting the ball, McCarthy was burnt by BABIP last year to the tune of nearly 40 points higher than his previous career average. Although it's probably reasonable to expect that won't happen again, it's still a dangerous game to play.
Best Scenario: Pitches 150 innings (or maybe 200, let's get wild), keeps walks down and BABIP closer to career average. Very solid piece in rotation.
Worst Scenario: Injuries hamper his production most of the season, or he has too many long innings, or both. Either way, it wouldn't be pretty and would put additional pressure on the bullpen.
Most Likely Scenario: Who do I look like, Nate Silver? I think 130 innings is reasonable, BABIP will go down but walks won't.
The Diamondbacks are looking for McCarthy to contribute. How do you think he'll do in 2014?