The start of major league baseball season is getting closer by the hour, and in less than a month Spring Training will officially start rolling. I'm excited too. Today I will review some of the recent player movement on the hill. I'll talk about some hurlers who are changing roles, have a brief discussion of a guy who has a great mustache who was injured while shoveling snow, and I'll also discuss a woman that my mom thinks would make a great wife to one Ray Flowers.
Daniel Bard was a relative star as a setup man out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. His role was changed last season, the Sox mistakenly thought he would be better served as a starter, and the results were disastrous. In 2010-11, as a reliever mind you, he posted a 2.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 150 Ks in 147.2 innings. Last season? Bard made 17 appearances, 10 as a starter, and here is what happened: 6.22 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 5.76 K/9. He went from elite to performing like he should be in Double-A virtually overnight. The good news is that he will return to the bullpen this year and that he has been able to rediscover his “old” arm slot. The Sox should have one heck of a pen this season with Bard, Tazawa, Uehara, Bailey and Hanrahan. Wow, that's an impressive group of arms.
Brandon Beachy killed it last year with a 2.00 ERA an a 0.96 WHIP over 81 innings for the Braves. Unfortunately his season was cut short by an elbow injury that resulted in Tommy John Surgery. His rehab has gone well to this point, he hopes to be able to start throwing off a mound by Spring Training, and there is a belief that he will be able to return to the rotation by June. Great news, but do you draft him? In a mixed league it would be wise to pass unless you have a DL spot (you obviously take a shot in NL-only leagues). It's still no lock that he will return in June or that he will return to mowing down batters right off the hop.
Shaun Marcum signed a deal with the Mets for $4 million dollars with incentives that could add another $2 million to his one year contract. Marcum has dealt with elbow issues for years but he brings a nice skill-set to a park that certainly isn't an offensive environment. Since 2008 here is an average Marcum season: 11-7, 3.57 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.44 K/9, 2.91 K/BB over an average of 168 innings per season (that's leaving out 2009 when he missed the entire season). Look at those numbers. Much better than you thought, right? The innings are a bit low for sure, as I noted he's long had issues with his health which continues to depress his value, but those are some pretty impressive ratios are they not? In fact, among all hurlers who have thrown at least 650 innings since the start of the 2008 season, do you know how many hurlers have posted an ERA under 3.60, allowed 10.85 base runners per nine innings or less while striking out 7.40 or more batters per nine innings with a 2.75 or better K/BB ratio? The answer is 11 --- including Mr. Marcum. That's why I felt very comfortable taking Marcum in the 23rd round in the recently completed 2013 FSTA Experts League.
Just cause. Jennifer Love Hewitt. My mom thinks we would make a wonderful couple.
Carl Pavano fell and ruptured his spleen while he was clearing snow from his driveway. Something is always happening with that guy. To his credit he actually tossed at least 199.1 innings each year from 2009-11, I know a shock, but he regressed to 11 starts and 63 innings last season for the Twins. He's likely to miss 6-8 weeks with his current injury which might mean he will be forced to take a non-guaranteed deal this season (the Mets and Rockies are said to be the most interested).
David Robertson agreed to a 1-year, $3.1 million deal to continue to ply his trade out of the bullpen of the Yankees. Mariano Rivera is expected to be full recovered from his knee surgery and once again handle 9th inning duties, but with Rafael Soriano out of town (he signed with the Nationals), it seems likely that Robertson will be the primary setup man. Rather quietly Robertson posted a 2.67 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, a 12.02 K/9 an a 4.26 K/BB ratio over 60.2 innings. A little secret. The last two years he has been on of the five best right handed setup men in baseball.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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