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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Review: #29 T.J. McFarland

The D-backs apparently identified “players with initials for first names” as an undervalued asset in 2017.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Date of birth: June 8, 1989
  • 2017 line: 43 games, 54 innings pitched, 5.33 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
  • 2017 value: -0.9 bWAR
  • 2017 salary: $685,000
  • SnakePit rating: 4.62

2017 analysis

McERA’s tale, is a tale of two halves. His first 21 games he had yet to earn his nick name of McERA, for he had a sterling ERA of 2.39 over 26 innings. Heck, there was even a time where most members of this proud and honorable blog looked to TJ with hope and admiration. For he was one of the rocks of the bullpen, another great arm helping the 2017 team to glory.

Then the second half of his season reared its ugly head.......

27 innings, 25 earned runs, 8.13 ERA

That’s no way to run a rail road.

To be fair, most of his woes occurred in August, but the damage was done and McERA he became.

2018 prospects

Unless I’m reading Baseball Reference wrong (which happens often), it looks like McERA is up for arbitration this winter for the first time. One would think his crappy 2nd half might allow the Dbacks to low ball an offer to him for 2018, but I’m not even sure he’s one of those arms we NEED to have come back in 2018. I’m sure our more stat-based readers can shed light on some of the deeper pitching stats to see how he’ll rebound next year. For now, though I’m still leery of him.

[A stat-based reader writes] In some ways, McFarland was unlucky, with a BABIP against of .326. But he has been unlucky a lot: over five years in the majors, his lowest BABIP has been .322. The problem this year was combining it with the very high number of balls in play, resulting from the fact that T.J. didn’t strike anyone out. Among the 156 major-league relievers with 50+ innings of work this season, McFarland’s K-rate of 4.83 per nine innings, ranked... 155th [Richard Bleier of the Orioles, at 3.69. I know you were wondering] and his K:BB of 1.71 was 147th. I’d imagine we can probably do better than that in 2018. Pass.