Ricky Nolasco was unceremoniously shipped out of Minnesota at the deadline after he struggled to a 5.13 ERA in 21 starts. His fortunes changed upon arrival to Anaheim. He went on to allow just seven earned runs over his final six starts and zero earned runs in his final three outings. His strikeout rate fell back down after ticking up in 2015, but Nolasco regained some control in his age-33 season, posting a 5.4 percent walk rate (down from 8.1 percent in 2015), his lowest since 2011. For his career, Nolasco holds identical 3.85 FIP and xFIP marks, but a 4.52 ERA. At this point, it's hard to imagine Nolasco will fall in line with those indicators after underachieving all these years, but he should make regular starts in a division with four pitchers' parks (yes, Minute Maid included). He's been largely written off by a significant portion of the baseball community and isn't being treated as anything in early drafts, but those in AL-only leagues could do worse when looking for a staff filler.
Nolasco plans on throwing more two-seam fastballs than four-seam fastballs this season, The Orange County Register reports. Nolasco attributes his success with the Angels last season (3.21 ERA) to leaning on his two-seam fastball. Two-seamers usually sacrifice a mile or two per hour in velocity in exchange for added movement. Surprisingly, Nolasco's two-seam (90.3 mph) and four-seam (90.4 mph) were nearly identical in velocity last season, despite him throwing both pitches over 750 times each. The veteran pitcher hasn't had a full-season ERA under 4.00 since 2013, so he won't be on many fantasy radars to begin the year. That being said, if he can repeat the success he attained after joining the Angels last season, then he would quickly generate deep league intrigue.
Nolasco is considered one of the Angels' top four starters heading into spring training, Jose Mota of MLB Network reports. Nolasco had a bit of a renaissance season with the Twins and the Angels lasts season, posting a 4.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 197.2 innings. While those numbers aren't making fantasy owners line up to draft him, they were certainly an improvement over his totals from the two previous seasons. While the Angels may consider him a pitcher worth relying on every fifth day, fantasy owners can certainly find better options in drafts this year.
Nolasco (8-14) allowed one unearned run on five hits and two walks over eight innings in a win Tuesday over the Athletics. Nolasco is ending the season on absolute fire. He hasn't allowed an earned run in his past three starts, and he also threw a complete game shutout August 31 against the Reds. He owns a 1.47 ERA with a 31:8 K:BB innings since then, a performance that should all but certainly earn him a spot in the Angels rotation next season.
Nolasco (5-14) allowed four runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over six innings in the loss Monday against the Mariners. Nolasco had another start ruined by his bullpen. Just like his last start, he allowed the first two batters of the seventh to reach base, and also like his last start, the bullpen allowed those runners to score. Unfortunately, neither the Angels bullpen nor Mike Scioscia's judgement are worth trusting, and as such, Nolasco's fantasy prospects aren't worth trusting either. His ERA sits at 4.94.
Nolasco (5-13) allowed three runs on just two walks and two hits with five strikeouts over seven innings in Tuesday's loss to the Athletics. Nolasco had thrown seven shutout innings, giving him a 16-inning scoreless streak after dominating the Reds with a complete game shutout Wednesday, before things unraveled in the eighth. Nolasco gave up a walk, single and a walk to load the bases before he was lifted for Mike Morin, who promptly gave up a pair of hits to score all three runners and give the Athletics the lead. It wasn't a pitch count issue -- Nolasco threw just 91 -- he just didn't have enough to keep fooling the Athletics a full four times through the order.