MLB

Ten MLB players with something to prove in 2017

Dallas Keuchel, pitcher, Houston Astros

After winning the 2015 American League Cy Young Award, Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel flopped in 2016. His ERA ballooned from 2.48 to 4.55, his FIP rocketed from 2.97 to 3.87, he lost nearly a strikeout per nine innings and went from 7.2 Baseball Reference WAR to 0.5.

Coming into this year, Keuchel has to prove he’s the pitcher who set the league on fire two years ago and not the one who had to be doused after every start last season.

Some underlying numbers tell different stories here. It could be argued that Keuchel lost so much between seasons simply because his BABIP allowed regressed to the mean. However, it’s worth noting that his xFIP — FIP allowed with home run per fly ball rate at held at a constant — was 3.53 last season, over a full run below his ERA.

In a stacked AL West, the Astros need Keuchel to be at his best. Whether he lives up to this will define their season.

About the author

Ethan Sears

Ethan Sears is the publisher of sports web site EthanSears.com and will graduate in 2017 from Rye High School in Westchester County, New York. He has loved sports from an early age and intends to have a long career in journalism.

Ethan interned at the New York Post in the summers of 2015 and 2016. He also writes for Giants Wire, USA Today's New York Giants blog. In addition to writing and editing his own website, Ethan is the sports editor for his school paper, Garnet and Black. You can follow him on Twitter @ethan_sears.