Dallas Keuchel Signs with Atlanta Braves

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros reacts in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

One more quality arm is off the market, as lefty Dallas Keuchel has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Braves. Keuchel’s contract is reportedly a one-year deal with the exact dollar amount not yet known. David O’Brien first had the news.

Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta Braves Agree to Deal

It is an interesting deal considering the contracts Patrick Corbin ($140 million/6-years) and Nathan Eovaldi ($67.5 million/4-years) received earlier in the off-season compared with their overall production from 2014 – 2018:

Name W L IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Dallas Keuchel 67 45 950.1 7.42 2.39 0.77 3.28 3.45 3.31 18.2
Nathan Eovaldi 34 32 578.1 7.03 2.26 0.95 4.36 3.77 3.84 8.9
Patrick Corbin 35 37 604.1 9.01 2.7 1.07 4.04 3.67 3.5 11.1

After two injury-affected seasons, Keuchel enjoyed a healthy 2018, tossing 200+ innings for the first time since 2015. His overall production (12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP) was solid, yet unspectacular, though he has shown higher potential in past years as a quasi-ace for the Houston Astros. Since 2014, Keuchel has thrived against hitters despite pedestrian strikeout rates (7.45 K/9 from 2014 – 2018), dominating lineups through a very different approach than we typically see in today’s game: keeping the ball on the ground.

Over the last five seasons, Keuchel holds a 60% GB%, good for third-highest in MLB for that period. He has also generated the highest amount of soft contact (23.3% Soft%) and the lowest amount of hard contact (24.6% Hard%) in that period. Despite these accomplishments, demand for Keuchel’s services lagged behind other arms whom, while less accomplished, mesmerized teams with their strong peripherals and radar-gun readings.

Uber-agent Scott Boras has criticized teams’ free off-season approaches regarding the use of analytics, calling the information”…helpful, but not determinative…”, citing Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta‘s contracts as examples that analytic-only approaches can miss the mark. While not your typical ace, Keuchel (30) will provide value to the _______’s as a solid second starter in their rotation. His extensive postseason experience (3.31 ERA in 51.2 IP) will help the rotation’s younger members acclimate to playoff baseball, as will his championship pedigree.

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