Michael Wacha

Michael Wacha

33-Year-Old PitcherSP
Kansas City Royals
2024 Fantasy Outlook
Wacha recorded near-elite ratios for the second straight season, but for they again come with a couple of red flags. Wacha's ERA estimators pegged his actual ERA around over a run too low. In addition, a .266 BABIP artificially deflated his WHIP. Since he did almost the same thing in 2022, it may be perceived this is a skill Wacha owns, but the better explanation is he was blessed by Lady Luck two consecutive years. To his credit, Wacha doesn't beat himself with walks, and he keeps the ball in the yards, but his strikeout rate is pedestrian and his Stuff+ metrics are all below average for all his pitches except his changeup which checks in as neutral. Durability is also a concern as Wacha hasn't logged more than 24 starts since 2017. Despite stellar ratios the previous two seasons, Wacha is best considered in the streaming class, best suited to be deployed in pitching venues, and against lesser lineups. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
Rest of Season From Preseason
#285
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $16 million contract with the Royals in December of 2023. Contract includes $16 million player option for 2025. Contract includes additional $50,000 in annual incentives for 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145 and 150 innings pitched.
Cruises to easy win
PKansas City Royals
July 20, 2024
Wacha (7-6) allowed four hits and a walk over seven shutout frames Friday, striking out seven and earning a win over the White Sox.
ANALYSIS
Wacha gave up a leadoff double on the second pitch of the game but allowed just one other runner to reach scoring position during his outing. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. Since giving up seven runs to the Rangers on May 4, Wacha hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any start. During that 10-game stretch, he's 6-2 with a 2.30 ERA. Wacha dropped his season ERA down to 3.55 with an 85:28 K:BB through 96.1 innings. His next start is projected to be at home against the Diamondbacks.
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Pitching Stats
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2024
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2024 MLB Game Log
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2023 MLB Game Log
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2022 MLB Game Log
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2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
89
Last 10 Games
91
Last 5 Games
90
How many pitches does Michael Wacha generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Michael Wacha generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2022
 
 
-4%
BAA vs LHP
2024
 
 
-15%
BAA vs RHP
2023
 
 
-7%
BAA vs RHP
2022
 
 
-29%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2022vs Left .227 664 157 52 137 30 3 20
Since 2022vs Right .236 802 156 50 175 44 3 22
2024vs Left .263 189 47 14 45 13 1 6
2024vs Right .224 210 38 14 43 7 0 3
2023vs Left .233 261 60 23 55 12 1 6
2023vs Right .216 291 64 20 58 20 0 9
2022vs Left .188 214 50 15 37 5 1 8
2022vs Right .265 301 54 16 74 17 3 10
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2022
 
 
-33%
ERA at Home
2024
 
 
-28%
ERA at Home
2023
 
 
-36%
ERA at Home
2022
 
 
-33%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2022Home 2.70 1.12 180.1 19 5 0 8.3 2.4 0.9
Since 2022Away 4.00 1.19 177.2 13 7 0 7.4 2.7 1.2
2024Home 2.96 1.23 45.2 4 1 0 8.1 2.6 0.4
2024Away 4.09 1.18 50.2 3 5 0 7.8 2.7 1.2
2023Home 2.62 1.14 79.0 10 3 0 9.0 2.7 0.9
2023Away 4.07 1.19 55.1 4 1 0 7.3 3.1 1.1
2022Home 2.59 1.01 55.2 5 1 0 7.6 1.9 1.3
2022Away 3.89 1.20 71.2 6 1 0 7.2 2.4 1.3
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Michael Wacha compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 120 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.04
 
K/9
7.9
 
BB/9
2.6
 
HR/9
0.8
 
Fastball
93.5 mph
 
ERA
3.55
 
WHIP
1.20
 
BABIP
.297
 
GB/FB
1.23
 
Left On Base
73.5%
 
Exit Velocity
80.7 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
5.0%
 
Spin Rate
1924 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
20.9%
 
Swinging Strike
10.6%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Wacha joined Boston on a one-year, $7 million deal for 2022, and he delivered a 2.70 ERA before he surrendered 11 runs in his final two starts of the campaign. He was limited to 23 starts (127 innings) due to a shoulder injury but still compiled an 11-2 record, and it was a major bounce-back effort after he posted a 5.11 ERA across the previous three seasons. He cut his HR/FB rate nearly six percentage points to 12.4 percent from that three-year stretch, and he also reduced his hard-hit rate (35.4 percent) more than four percentage points. However, Wacha also had a 4.56 xERA in 2022, so there's reason to be worried about some regression. He'll turn 32 years old in July and should be able to secure a rotation spot somewhere in free agency, but his fantasy potential could vary significantly depending on where he lands. Wacha's season-to-season inconsistency through his career also provides pause on whether to expect a repeat performance in 2023.
Wacha was much the same pitcher in 2021 that he was the year previous. An inflated 5.05 ERA belied more advanced metrics like xFIP (3.91) and SIERA (4.00); however, there is another story to tell. Opponents barreled his offerings at a greater rate and increased exit velocity against the right-hander. Enter the Red Sox, the fourth team in the last four years that will attempt to reverse a worrisome trend. The pitcher himself vowed to make changes, ditching a cutter that had been his third pitch, in addition to a four-seamer and changeup, in favor of throwing his curveball more often. The results were promising over his final eight appearances in 2021, and Wacha won the fourth-starter job for Boston, which is expected to have an offense to support the 30-year-old Wacha.
Poor ratios are usually a combination of bad luck and bad pitching. Wacha's actual 6.62 ERA dwarfed his 4.30 xFIP and 3.99 SIERA, but it wasn't all misfortune. In a vacuum, a 23.7 K% and 4.5 BB% should lead to better outcomes. However, Wacha lacks the 10-mph delta between his fastball and change to keep hitters off balance. His repertoire consists of three pitches: a 94-mph fastball, an 89-mph cutter and an 87-mph changeup. Hitters can sit on a pitch, and if they guess right, hammer it as evidenced by a .366 BABIP and 20.5% HR/FB. Wacha signed with the Rays and if there's any organization able to put Wacha in a position to succeed, it's Tampa Bay. There's a chance it's as an opener, quelling chances to earn wins, but it could be as a primary pitcher, increasing the odds. It's purely a speculative bet, but one worth considering at the nominal cost.
Wacha's 2019 campaign wasn't what he wanted heading into free agency, and he had to settle for a one-year deal with the Mets. He again battled injuries and bounced between the rotation and bullpen. In April, Wacha missed a couple of starts with left knee tendinitis before ending the season dealing with shoulder soreness. He was able to throw bullpens in October so he should be healthy heading into the spring. How long he stays that way is the concern, along with eroding peripherals. Wacha's K-BB% dropped to a career-worst 8.7%. He surrendered 26 homers in just 126.2 innings for a 1.85 HR/9, one of the worst marks in the league, despite Busch Stadium suppressing home runs. Be it as a starter, primary pitcher or reliever, Wacha is an injury-prone, fantasy liability. He's shown no signs of skills growth, sporting a weak SwStr%, failing to eclipse 10% since 2014. Let someone else hope, "This is the year."
There was a stretch in 2018 where it seemed like Wacha had found a time machine, as he was dealing as he did as a rookie in 2014. Over that 10-game stretch, Wacha went 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA and struck out 23% of the batters he faced. The fact he pitched in just 15 games and had an overall 3.20 ERA tells you two things: he ended up hurt (oblique), and he pitched poorly in the bookends around that 10-game stretch before going down. Wacha’s FIP was a full run higher than his actual ERA because he got away with a lot of walks thanks to a surprisingly low batting average on balls in play. Wacha’s 10% K-BB rate ranked 111th out of the 144 starting pitchers who worked at least 80 innings in 2018. For all his talents, he has but twice made 30 starts in a season. The skills are there, but the consistency and health are not. He is a filler or a flier more than part of a foundation.
While Wacha has not developed into an ace as some expected, the right-hander has performed at an above-average level when on the field over the past four seasons, and he may not be done improving. He boosted his strikeout rate from 18.8 percent to 22.5 percent last season, thanks in part to an uptick in first-pitch strike rate to a career-high 65.8 percent (from 59.1 percent), and he maintained a walk rate right around his career average of 7.6 percent. Wacha trimmed his HR/9 slightly (to 0.92), which was no small feat in 2017, but manager Mike Matheny was quick to give Wacha the hook when he didn't have it; he had eight starts of 4.1 innings or fewer and that led to a modest innings total over 30 starts. That's probably a good thing for a player with Wacha's injury history, and that kind of limited workload is not a big deterrent in fantasy in this day and age with so few players throwing 200 innings.
Things went from bad to worse for Wacha when an inflamed shoulder sent him to the DL for over a month from August to September. There had been high hopes that he'd be ready to take the next step in establishing himself as a solid major-league starter, but a 4.62 ERA and 1.44 WHIP built over 24 starts did just the opposite. He also managed to average just 5.5 innings per start while his strikeout rate fell for the third straight year. Wacha's array of struggles have sparked conversations about transitioning him to a relief role and dropping him from the rotation altogether, and based off last season's performance, St. Louis has every right to do so. Opponents owned a .289 batting average and .800 OPS when facing Wacha, both of which are career-highs for the 25-year-old righty. He'll likely stretch out during spring training in case injuries impact the Cards' projected starting five, but Wacha's 2017 may feature a transition to a super-relief role.
If one were to look at Wacha’s ERA by halves, it looks like he started strong and then faded with a 2.93/4.01 split, but that doesn’t really tell the story. First off, he had a 2.69 ERA through August before a really rough September (7.88). His first six starts yielded a 2.09 ERA, but just a 4.4 K/9 which left many skeptical. He then ran off an ace-like 19-start stretch of 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9 in 119 frames before September. That’s where the wheels come off with seven home runs allowed and a 1.1 K:BB ratio in 25 innings. It looks a lot like normal fatigue of a young pitcher grinding through his first full season as the velocity dropped and homers spiked. Now just 24, Wacha will be eyeing his first 200-inning season as the reins should be off entirely. We’ve seen the premium strikeout rate in spurts every year. If he can hold it over a full season, he will be a budding ace, but even if he stays in that mid-7.0s range, he’s still a top-30 arm.
One of the most popular picks in 2014 fantasy drafts, Wacha was limited to just 107 innings in 2014 after dealing with a stress reaction in his right shoulder for much of the summer. Wacha was not impressive in his four September starts after returning form his injury, but prior to hitting the disabled list he looked even better than he did in 2013, posting a 2.79 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while striking out 83 batters in 90.1 innings. Still just 23 years old and with a clean bill of health, Wacha should be in line for another excellent season in 2015, and will likely be available later than he was in 2014 drafts due to injury concerns and recency bias. Wacha will likely slot in as the second or third starter for an improved Cardinals team in 2015.
Wacha didn't receive a full-time shot in the rotation until September and he quickly locked up a spot in the rotation for 2014 by being nearly unhittable while leading the Cardinals into the playoffs and to the World Series. Wacha made things look very easy at times, nearly throwing a no-hitter, and holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average against him during his five September starts while striking out 28 across 31.1 innings. The 22-year-old will start 2014 near the top of the Cardinals' rotation, likely as the team's No. 2 or No. 3 starter. His ceiling won't be much higher, but his floor is extremely high for a pitcher his age and he should be a very good starting pitcher for years to come.
Things moved fast for Wacha last year. After going in the first round in June, he was with Double-A Springfield by August. The 21-year-old right-hander only pitched 21 innings in the minors last year, but nobody could hit him, as he posted video-game stats of 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and an out-of-this-world 40:4 K:BB. He's on the fast track to St. Louis and could be pitching in their bullpen sometime this season. Don't forget him on draft day.
More Fantasy News
Nabs win Wednesday in Game 2
PKansas City Royals
July 10, 2024
Wacha (6-6) earned the win over the Cardinals in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk while striking out three batters over five innings.
ANALYSIS
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Royals-Cardinals postponed
PKansas City Royals
July 9, 2024
Wacha and the Royals won't play the Cardinals on Tuesday after the game was postponed due to inclement weather.
ANALYSIS
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Picks up fifth win
PKansas City Royals
July 4, 2024
Wacha (5-6) earned the win Wednesday over the Rays, allowing one run on two hits and three walks while striking out eight over six innings.
ANALYSIS
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Stuck with no-decision
PKansas City Royals
June 28, 2024
Wacha did not factor into the decision in a win over the Guardians on Thursday, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks over 5.1 innings. He struck out six.
ANALYSIS
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Outdueled in return
PKansas City Royals
June 23, 2024
Wacha (foot) dropped to 4-6 on the season in Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Rangers. He allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out five over five innings.
ANALYSIS
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Royals kicking tires
PFree Agent
December 11, 2023
Wacha is garnering interest from the Royals, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The Royals have been surprisingly aggressive in their pursuit of pitching help this winter and Wacha is one arm that has piqued their interest. The tall right-hander's durability isn't a strong suit, but he's collected a 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 228:74 K:BB over 261.2 innings covering the last two seasons.
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