Pitching: What Goes Up, Might Go Down
It's all about pitching today. We'll discuss the always injured Nationals' ace, a 300 lbs, 57 year old starter on the west coast, a rebounding ace from Philly, and a dynamic rookie with the Cardinals.
STRASBURG FAILS TO LAUNCH
Stephen Strasburg is on the DL with a lat issue. He said he was fine. The team said he was fine. We all knew he wasn't fine and that he would end up on the DL, right? Facts are facts, and there are a bunch of them in an article I wrote earlier this week titled The Strasburg Dilemma. Adding to what I wrote there I think it's about time we admit the following.
(1) Strasburg cannot be trusted to make 30 starts. He's never done that, or thrown 160 innings, in any season of his life.
(2) It's unabashedly foolish to draft Strasburg in the top-25 overall as many did this season, and it's similarly crazy to make him your SP1 in the fantasy game. I don't care how talented he is, you cannot trust him to take the ball every five days. Even when he does the Nationals micromanage him so much that it diminishes his fantasy outlook substantially.
Can we move on now?
COLON OUT OF CONTROL
Bartolo Colon has been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year. Colon is 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.09 WHIP for the Athletics. Some facts. (1) The last time Colon threw 165 innings was 2005. Were you even playing fantasy baseball then? (2) The last time Colon had an ERA under 3.40 was 2002. (3) The last time he had a WHIP under 1.20 was 2005. (4) Colon has a 5.35 K/9 mark. That's a batter an a half below his career rate and would be the second worst mark of his career (he had a 4.95 mark in 2006 when he tossed only 56.1 innings). (5) He's walked six batters in 12 starts. Six. Since the 1950 season there have only been two seasons with a pitcher posting a BB/9 mark under 0.70 (Carlos Silva 0.43 in 2005 and Bret Saberhagen 0.66 in 1994). Colon's current mark is also fifty percent of the lowest mark he's ever posted. Good luck with that continuing.
How are people evaluating pitchers over at Fleaflicker.com?
Cole Hamels allowed one run, walked one and struck out 11 in a victory over the Marlins Wednesday. He's 2-9 with a 4.56 ERA, and that has people freaking out. I don't think you should be. Here's why. (1) Hamels has a 8.56 K/9 mark. That's one hundredth over his career mark. (2) His control has returned. Hamels has walked two batters over his last three starts and four in five outings. That run of success has dropped his walk rate back down below three at 2.89. That mark would still be a seven year high, but it's finally under control. (3) His 1.18 GB/FB ratio is two hundredths better than his career mark. Right on par. (4) His HR/F ratio is 13.1. That would be a career worst but it's an acceptable number given his career rate of 11.6 percent. (5) His BABIP is .294, right in line with his career .282 mark. The results haven’t been there according to his ERA and record, but you had better be buying on him quick before his owner realizes the old Hamels is back (ditto Matt Cain who you should all be buying).
Dresselrebel - Shelby Miller actually has been thoroughly studly all season. All of his numbers and ratios support this. 10 starts. All were quality. Sub 2.00 ERA. Sub 1.00 WHIP. A K per IP. Should be universally owned and started. That is all.
Of course Miller should be owned and started in all leagues. I never said otherwise. Still, let's be clear here. Saying Miller should be starting in every league every time he takes the hill is totally different than saying he will be able to keep up this pace and should be looked at as an SP1 in fantasy baseball.
Rookie pitchers since 1950 who have thrown at least 160 innings...
No rookie has had a season with an ERA below 2.05 (Stan Bahnsen in 1968). Miller is at 1.82.
Only one rookie has had a WHIP below 1.00 (Dick Hughes 0.95 in 1967). Miller is at 0.98.
Only eight rookies have bettered Miller's 9.35 K/9 mark.
NO rookie has bettered his 4.24 K/BB ratio.
NO rookie has ever bettered his 84.1 left on base percentage.
So are you ready to say that Miller is a lock to have one of the three greatest rookie pitching seasons in over 60 years? I think it's foolish to make that claim after 11 starts.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 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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