I continue my look back at LABR 2014 with a look at the NL pitching staff. A review of our hitters can be found here. Quality pitching was just so crazy cheap that I half expected the Wolfman to turn into Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy. Ok, on to the business of self-evaluation . . . The pitching staff we hope carries us to the LABR NL title that has eluded us ever since we lost a red hot Milton Bradley to a manager induced torn ACL looks like this:
Cliff Lee $23: The A in SMART stands for Anchor. There are few, if any pitchers as consistent as Lee. Yes, he had terrible luck in 2012 and could not get a W no matter what he did. That silliness aside, Lee has posted a WHIP of 1.11 or lower in 5 of the last 6 years (the bad year being 1.24), an ERA of 3.22 or lower in each of the last 6 years and has averaged 222 strikeouts over the last three years. I do not care how bizarre the auction, getting Lee at $23 in an NL only league was pure thievery.
Madison Bumgarner $23: Here is where it gets really odd. Rather than spend $38 to get Kershaw (which it would have cost us had we been bidding too) and $8 on a middling starter, we got both Lee and MBum for the same $46. We now have two anchors. Bumgarner may not have Lee’s longevity but he has averaged over 200 innings for the last three years with 193 strikeouts, a 3.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. At $23, I will take it every time!
Tim Lincecum $7: A little inside LABR here – while sitting in the war room preparing for the NL auction (as if anyone could have really prepared for this auction) Rick Wolf, Stacie Stern and I received a visit from none other than the Oracle, Ray Flowers himself – an unabashed Freak fan. I could just see Ray beaming as we decided to value the Freak at $10 noting that any time you can get a guy who has struck out at least 190 in 6 straight years at a bargain price, you have to do it. I can only imagine what Ray said during the live SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio broadcast when we became Freak owners at the bargain basement price of $7. Bottom line – for $53 we have likely rostered over 600 strikeouts. Not too shabby at all.
Wily Peralta $2: The Rules of Engagement say to roster young pitchers who throw gas and can be had cheap. Peralta is the perfect example. While there is disagreement in the pundit community, I think Wily will earn a substantial profit. He had very strong numbers over his last 15 starts after reportedly relying more on an excellent slider. Good risk with a very high upside. SMART.
Joe Kelly $3: Here is a guy who just gets no love. First, he throws 95. Rules of Engagement followed. Second, he pitches for a very good Team. T in SMART followed. Third, even if his 2.69 ERA rises a whole run, he will still earn more than $3. Oh, did I forget to mention he combines the 95mph with a 50%+ GB rate?
Aroldis Chapman $20: Well, of course, this pick made sense at the time. Thank goodness all reports are that Chapman the man will make a full recovery after a harrowing incident this week.
J.J. Hoover $2: With the injury to Chapman, we are ever so glad we handcuffed with Hoover. We should be able to net most of the Reds saves until Chapman returns (and again, his health and well-being is far more important than any game). On the diamond, Hoover is no slouch. In his year and a half in the show, Hoover has tossed 96 innings and blew away 98 – all with strong ratios. Obviously, Hoover is a good bet to earn a solid profit.
Bobby Parnell $7: Of course we did not plan to roster a second closer after spending $53 on three starters but you have to be flexible in an auction and $7 for a closer with no real competition is a bargain even if his team will not be good and he has some health issues. Healthy he is worth $17. This was a worthwhile gamble.
Francisco Rodriguez $1: When he is not stepping on a cactus, KRod has been very effective. The Brewers brought him back to be Henderson insurance. While I do not think Henderson will lose the job, I do think there will be periods during the year where KRod slips into the closer role to vulture saves. With more than a K per inning for NINE straight years, I think it is safe to say he is consistent and still has good stuff.
Bottom line – we had to adapt to a market that was completely off kilter. We will have to scramble for offense at certain positions but our staff is rock solid!