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By Ray Flowers
(.323 and 136). Since 2000 that’s a pretty rare feat as only eleven others have done it. Only one man did it twice – Sammy Sosa (.320 with 168 Ks in 2000 and .328 with 153 Ks in 2001).
Adrian Gonzalez seems to get less respect year after year. I find that odd given the following facts. (1) He is a career .294 hitters who has hit at least .293 each of the past four years. (2) In seven of the last eight seasons he has hit at least 22 homers (he hit 18 in 2012). (3) AGone has drive in at least 99 runs each of the past seven seasons. He and Miguel Cabrera are the only two players in baseball who belong to that club.
Yasiel Puig hit .551 when he put the first pitch in play (38-for-69). If pitchers simply threw a ball on the first pitch they were able to hold Puig to a .268 batting average. Puig also had nine homers in this 69 at-bats so that leaves him with 10 homers in the other 313 at-bats. Why did anyone throw him a hittable first pitch?
Craig Kimbrel is the most dominant pitcher in big league history. The numbers are simply astounding. He owns a 1.39 ERA. He has a 0.90 WHIP. Batters have a mere .155 average against him. He’s saved at least 42 games each of the last three years (tied for the longest consecutive stretch in history). But it’s the K’s that set him apart. In 227.1 career innings Kimbrel has 381 strikeouts good for a K/9 mark of 15.08, the best in history for a hurler with at least 200 innings pitched (the only other arm over 12.4 that qualifies is Kenley Jansen at 14.05). Put another way, Kimbrel has recorded 681 outs as a big league pitchers. Three hundred eight one of those outs have come via the strikeout. That means 56 percent of all the outs he has recorded in his career have come via the punchout.
Hiroki Kuroda turns 39 in February. He’s old. He’s also still really good. Rather amazingly, it just doesn’t seem to matter how old he is or where he throws his pitches – he’s just going to be good. Not only is he a strong ratio arm, he’s remarkably consistent. Shockingly so actually. Check it. For his career he owns a 3.40 ERA. Over the last four years here are his ERA’s: 3.39, 3.07, 3.32 and 3.31. For his career he owns a 1.18 WHIP. Here are his WHIP marks the past four years: 1.16, 1.21, 1.17 and 1.16. Consistency thy name is Kuroda.
Mat Latos has had at least 185 punchouts each of the past four seasons. Only seven other arms can match that run of high level consistency. What if we add in ERA? Latos has had an ERA under 3.50 in each of the four seasons. How many arms have recorded 185 Ks and an ERA under 3.50 each of the last four seasons? That group shrinks to five men: Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Latos.
Over his last 15 starts Wily Peralta had a 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 7.7 K/9 mark. How good was his finishing kick? His numbers are a near match for the season long work of Mat Latos (3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.0 K/9).
To read more of this article and 199 more pages of Fantasy Baseball Bliss, get the 2014 Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide Powered by Baseball Guys and the great Ray Flowers.