Free agent righthander Garrett Richards is one of the most successful what could have been stories of the past decade. Eye-popping stuff sabotaged by a lengthy injury history have made him a staple on lists of buy low candidates in fantasy baseball over the past few seasons. Yet despite it all, hes still put together a nice career thus far in the majors. The Detroit Tigers are in a situation where they can afford to place a small bet here, and Richards may offer more bang for your buck than any free agent out there.
Of course, theres a good reason why hes potentially available to a non-contender like the Tigers at this point in his career. While hed be a fascinating project to gift to new pitching coach Chris Fetter, Richards is something of a wild card at this point due to a mishandled elbow injury. Hes as likely to miss half the season as to give you 25 starts. Of course, you can pick up seemingly durable pitchers and get the same result, as the Al Avila led Tigers have proven repeatedly.
The odyssey of Garrett Richards elbow began in 2016. After three full seasons in the majors for the Los Angeles Angels, he was coming off a 2015 season in which he spun 207 13 quality innings and appeared to be coming into his own as a durable young starting pitcher who might be a tweak or two from stardom. Unfortunately, he suffered a partial tear to his UCL early in 2016 and missed most of the season. The solution would normally be Tommy John surgery, but Richards and the Angels, desperate to get back to the playoffs, elected instead to try platelet rich plasma injections. The hope was to use that treatment in combination with rehabilitation and get him back on the mound in 2017 rather than losing the whole season to surgery. This, like many decisions about pitchers the Angels have made in recent years, turned out terribly.
Richards ultimately made just six starts in 2017. He suffered a nerve issue in his biceps the first week of the season, and while imaging seemed to indicate that his UCL was undamaged, a string of related issues kept him off the field most of the season. Things seemed more promising in 2018. Richards came into the season apparently healthy, upped his breaking ball usage, and was posting the best strikeout rates of his career. It all came undone during a July 10th start against the Seattle Mariners. His UCL finally blew out and there was no other recourse than to finally undergo Tommy John surgery well over two years after the initial injury occurred.
Richards became a free agent after the 2018 season, and the San Diego Padres offered a two-year speculative deal hoping hed be fully healthy in time for them to cash in with him in 2020. Richards got back on the mound for a few innings late in the 2019 season, and miraculously his stuff was intact. He wasnt great for the Padres in 2020, but its par for the course to have some struggles returning from Tommy John surgery. What was encouraging was the fact that he was able to make 10 starts, stay healthy, and look pretty good at times. The Padres decided to put him in the bullpen in September in preparation for a super-reliever role in the postseason, but a 4.03 ERA, 4.28 FIP performance returning from Tommy John surgery is still fairly strong.
One of the wilder parts of this whole saga is that Richards has basically looked unchanged throughout. His fastball velocity has held up consistently despite the injury issues. His calling card, and the reason hes consistently of interest to pitching honks, is the elite spin rates he produces on his fastball, slider, and curveball, and those metrics have also remained elite throughout the injuries as well. His physical ability remains relatively undiminished.
Apart from the injury history, the one relative weakness for Richards has been the underwhelming movement on his fourseam fastball. In 2020, he averaged 95.1 mph, with a spin rate of 2626 rpms. Only 11 starters with 300 fastballs registered in Statcast this season threw harder. Only Trevor Bauer posted a higher average spin ratewhich is a story in itselfthan Richards did. Yet hes never managed anything like the kind of whiff rates produced by the Justin Verlanders and Max Scherzers of the power stuff set. Richards fastball spin is actually quite inefficient, as he checks in with well below average vertical and horizontal movement.
In an era when strikeouts rule, a fastball that doesnt generate many whiffs just isnt going to be highly valued, but in Richards case that can also be a little deceiving. His fastball does produce plenty of weak contact. Even in seasons when the average exit velocity of fastballs put into play spiked for him, he still gives up little power because his heavy, weird fourseamer is hard to lift with authority. Over the last four seasons combined, hitters have posted an ISO of just .155 and six total home runs against it. In some ways, Richards fastball is actually reminiscent of Spencer Turnbulls heater, another fourseamer with above average spin rate, but which somehow moves more like a power sinker.
Richards backs the fastball with a nasty pair of breaking balls. The slider is his main out pitch, checking in at 88.5 mph with a spin rate of 2893 rpms, premium spin rate for that class of pitch. Over the years hes really leaned into the slider and at this point he throws fastballs or sliders over 90 percent of the time. He does have a fairly monstrous curveball in his back pocket as well. He spins the curve in with an average of 3299 rpms, which is best in its class level spin rate as well. Each has well above average depth and Richards gets a lot of whiffs with each of them.
In recent years he hasnt commanded either pitch quite as well, leading to the occasional meatball, but overall his control has never been a problem. He doesnt issue that many free passes, but he hasnt always had consistent command and bite on his stuff either. The hope would be that with Richards now finally beyond his elbow issues, his old home run suppressing ways may return with sharper command.
This is actually a pretty good time for the Tigers to take a risk on an oft-injured but talented pitcher. His case is a bit of an extreme, but betting on pitchers returning to form in their second season following a return from Tommy John is a smart move, assuming said team isnt pinning their whole playoff hopes on it. Richards will still draw offers from contending teams, so it isnt a particularly likely fit, but if Al Avila could manage to add him to the rotation for 2021, suddenly the pitching staff has a chance to be pretty interesting. If things went well, theyd also have a pretty good trade chip.
Of course, the issue we havent addressed is fitting Richards into the rotation. MLB Trade Rumors projects a contract of two years, $16 million. That should easily be within range of the Tigers budget even assuming theyd like to add a veteran to both the outfield, the infield, and to address the catcher position. On a yearly AAV basis, Richards would cost roughly as much as Matt Boyd and Michael Fulmer would make in arbitration combined over the next two seasons. Of course he has more upside than either, and is less risky in terms of injuries than Fulmer.
On paper, the Tigers 2021 rotation is Spencer Turnbull, Matt Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal, but apart from Turnbull there are questions marks with the whole group. And as we laid out a few weeks ago, even if all five current starters are healthy and perform relatively well, theyre still not going to provide the Tigers nearly enough innings to get through the season. Figuring out how to manage workloads is obviously now A.J. Hinch and Chris Fetters job, and theyre well aware the Tigers are going to need more pitching to avoid pushing their young prospects unwisely.
Theres been a lot of discussion among Tigers fans this offseason about what constitutes aggressive moves to get better versus simply spending on the top free agents. Sure, it could go wrong, but a minor two year investment doesnt constitute any real financial risk either. Richards is a pretty good example of a player who isnt particularly risky and has good upside. The Tigers will probably have to beat some other offers to land him, and they should.
Go here to read the rest:
Garrett Richards is the epitome of a risk-reward free agent - Bless You Boys
- Vampire Facial 2021: My Before and After Pics of PRP Microneedling - Cosmopolitan - August 5th, 2021
- Treatment of Keloids Using PSR Combined with Radiation. | CCID - Dove Medical Press - August 5th, 2021
- Case study: Use of platelet-rich plasma and bone marrow ... - July 7th, 2021
- The PRP Alternative to Knee and Other Surgeries - Sahuarita Sun - February 19th, 2021
- Platelet Rich Plasma Market: Applications, Business Trends by Size 2021: Growth Statistics and Key Players Insights by Types, and Development Analysis... - February 19th, 2021
- Coping With Cancer Treatment's Effects on Skin - Curetoday.com - February 19th, 2021
- Ricki Lake Opens Up About Her Stunning Hair Transformation and How Sex Is the Best Anti-Ager - NewBeauty Magazine - January 31st, 2021
- Why Hair Goes Gray, and How to Cover It If You Want To - NewBeauty Magazine - January 31st, 2021
- The 9 Best Hair Growth Products That Work, According to Dermatologists - PureWow - January 23rd, 2021
- Dr. Teresa Cody Offers Solution For Health And Wellness In 2021 - Press Release - Digital Journal - January 23rd, 2021
- Dr. Maro: Swim, PRP and physical therapies highlight pet health successes in 2020 - The Times - December 31st, 2020
- Will Insurance Cover Knee Surgery and Alternative Treatments? - Green Valley News - December 31st, 2020
- I tried the infamous Vampire Facial - image.ie - December 31st, 2020
- 3 business updates to know on Williams Field Road in Gilbert - Community Impact Newspaper - December 31st, 2020
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: Purpose & Effectiveness - December 21st, 2020
- Business beat - The Spokesman-Review - December 21st, 2020
- Global Platelet Rich Plasma Market Recent Trends and Developments, Challenges and Opportunities, key drivers and Restraints over the Forecast Period... - December 18th, 2020
- Walking The Tight Rope With Dinelson Lamet | RotoGraphs Fantasy Baseball - fangraphs.com - December 18th, 2020
- Insiders Advice: Prevent Shoulder Surgery With These 5 Options (12/17/20) - Southeast Missourian - December 18th, 2020
- Facts you should know about Osteoarthritis - The New Indian Express - December 18th, 2020
- Las Vegas woman allegedly held 'vampire facial' parties while posing as nurse - New York Post - December 1st, 2020
- PRP vs Corticosteroid Injections Which is the Ultimate Solution - Farmington, CT - Patch.com - November 24th, 2020
- What is Osteoarthritis and what are the symptoms? - Monitor - November 24th, 2020
- Platelet Rich Plasma in Patients with Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears or Tendinopathy Leads to Significantly Improved Short-Term Pain Relief and... - November 9th, 2020
- Platelet Rich Plasma Market Outlook 2020 Scope and Business Growth Overview by Regions, Latest Trends, and Opportunities Forecast to 2024 - The Daily... - November 9th, 2020
- Platelet-rich Plasma Market To Witness the Highest Growth Globally in Coming Years 2020-2025 - The Daily Philadelphian - November 9th, 2020
- Wrist Pain: Causes and Available Treatment Options - Lifesly.com - October 30th, 2020
- Platelet Rich Plasma Market Analysis 2020 Growth Prospects and Future Scenario of Industry Size and Share and Market Insights Forecast to 2024 -... - October 28th, 2020
- Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market Trend, Growth, COVID-19 Impact, Current Industry Figures and Forecast 2026 -... - October 28th, 2020
- Accident & Injury Solutions Is the Place to Throw Light on Regenerative Medicine in Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona - Press Release - Digital Journal - October 21st, 2020
- Kim Kardashians changing face as she hits 40 and why shes probably about to reach for the Botox - The Sun - October 21st, 2020
- Laugh Lines Are Totally Normal How To Ease Them Sans Injections - mindbodygreen.com - October 17th, 2020
- PRP injections Treatment for Knee - WhaTech Technology and Markets News - October 15th, 2020
- Everything you need to know about the Kim Kardashian vampire facial - Emirates Woman - October 10th, 2020
- Interventional Pain Management Specialist Dr. Kaliq Chang with Atlantic Spine Center offers tips on emerging treatment using your body's own cells -... - October 10th, 2020
- Why some COVID-19 survivors are losing their hair - 13WMAZ.com - October 7th, 2020
- A Painless Future Provides the Incentive Behind Cytonics - InvestorPlace - October 7th, 2020
- Joint Pain Injections Market Top Manufactures, Regions, Trends, Breakdown, Types, Applications, Market Size and Forecasts 2020-2027 - Crypto Daily - October 7th, 2020
- Tendinitis Treatment Market 2020 Global Growth Rate by Recent Developments, Market Trends, Size, Share and Latest Technology, Forecast Research Report... - October 7th, 2020
- Love Island's Jack Fincham unveils epic weight transformation amid boxing return - Mirror Online - September 22nd, 2020
- Could platelet-rich plasma therapy be the answer to your hair loss? - VOGUE India - September 21st, 2020
- A passion for taking care of Steamboat's active patients - Steamboat Pilot and Today - September 21st, 2020
- A passion for taking care of Steamboat's active patients - Sky Hi News - September 19th, 2020
- Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey: The right orthopaedic diagnosis is essential to proper care - Steamboat Pilot and Today - September 14th, 2020
- Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey: The right orthopaedic diagnosis is essential to proper care - Sky Hi News - September 12th, 2020
- How Dr. Frank Roach Succeeded in the Field of Dentistry - Press Release - Digital Journal - September 12th, 2020
- Joint Pain Injections Market is Thriving Worldwide 2020 | Trends, Growth and Profit Analysis, Forecast by 2027 - The Daily Chronicle - September 10th, 2020
- Male Pattern Baldness gets longer effect QR678 therapy, more effective than Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology Published... - September 8th, 2020
- Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market: New Investment Opportunities Emerge to Augment Segments in Sector by 2026 - The... - September 4th, 2020
- Platelet Rich Plasma Market 2020: Share Value Analysis of Top Key Players, Global Size, Consumption Analysis, Trends Forecast to 2024 | Industry... - September 4th, 2020
- New orthopedic provider joins team in Big Rapids - The Pioneer - September 4th, 2020
- Global Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market Research Study 2020 Insights with COVID-19 Impact Analysis by 2020Orange... - August 31st, 2020
- Platelet rich plasma and thicker hair | Empty Nest - NorthFulton.com - August 31st, 2020
- Joint Pain Injections Market Size 2020 | Covid 19 Impact Analysis | Global Industry Trends, Growth, Share, Size and Forecast - StartupNG - August 31st, 2020
- Porzingis hoping to play again this season if Mavs can get past Clippers - The Official Home of the Dallas Mavericks - Mavs.com - August 31st, 2020
- Joint Pain Injections Market Size By Product Analysis, By Application, By End-Users, By Regional Outlook, By Top Companies and Forecast to 2027 -... - August 22nd, 2020
- When your hair falls off and leaves scars - The Star, Kenya - August 22nd, 2020
- PRP versus Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Knee OA: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis - DocWire News - August 15th, 2020
- Lowrie to have injections for knee pain relief - MLB.com - August 15th, 2020
- Yes, People Are Reportedly Losing Hair Due to Stress From the Pandemic - POPSUGAR - August 15th, 2020
- Joint Pain Injections Market 2020-2028 Covid-19 Updates With Key Players Anika Therapeutics, Inc., Bioventus - Owned - August 9th, 2020
- Another Nice Thing We Can't Have in 2020: Shohei Ohtani's Pitching - FanGraphs - August 5th, 2020
- Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market: Extensive Analysis of Key Segments of the Industry and Emerging Growth Factors... - August 3rd, 2020
- PRP Platelet-Rich Plasma | Florida Sports and Family ... - August 2nd, 2020
- Rockies vs. Athletics - Game Recap - July 28, 2020 - ESPN - August 1st, 2020
- Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market 2020 COVID-19 Impact on Industry Size, Share, Company Profiles, Emerging... - July 29th, 2020
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Specialist - Farmington, NM ... - July 29th, 2020
- A & # 39; s slam Angels in the first MLB game with a new additional entry rule - NewsDio - July 26th, 2020
- Platelet-Rich Plasma |Therapy (PRP) Everything You Need to ... - July 26th, 2020
- Takeaways from the As loss to the Giants: Why is the offense cold? Who is the Opening Day second baseman? - Chico Enterprise-Record - July 23rd, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on Lip Augmentation Market Trends, Growth Insights, Share Estimation, Size Projection and Industry Dynamics By 2023 - Reported Times - July 23rd, 2020
- Takeaways from the As loss to the Giants: why is the offense cold? - The Mercury News - July 22nd, 2020
- Takeaways from the As loss to the Giants: why is the offense cold? - Oroville Mercury-Register - July 22nd, 2020
- Takeaways from the As loss to the Giants: why is the offense cold? - Woodland Daily Democrat - July 22nd, 2020
- What is Trending in Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Alopecia Therapies Market? What are the Strategies to Boost Business in Near Years? -... - July 21st, 2020
- Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Knee: Does It Work? - July 21st, 2020
- Tendinitis Treatment Market Overview By Growing Demands, Trends And Business Opportunities 2020 To 2027 - Jewish Life News - July 20th, 2020
- Living Well: PRP: A Promising Treatment - The Daily Progress - July 19th, 2020
- What Are the Different Types of Knee Injections? Pain Management - MedicineNet - July 16th, 2020
- Patient-Reported Outcomes After Platelet-Rich Plasma, Bone Marrow Aspirate, and Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injections for Symptomatic Knee... - July 16th, 2020