News, Analysis & UpdatesAugust 30, 2004


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The View From Here VI
News, notes, and rants from the fantasy baseball world

By Ryan Fay

Marlins’ Burnett Makes Strides
Just how well Florida Marlins starter AJ Burnett would come back from Tommy John surgery was a point of concern for owners earlier in the season. Sixteen starts since his return, it’s safe to say Burnett is better than he ever was.

Burnett went 12-9 in 2002, his last full season in the majors. He threw seven complete games, held opposing batters to a .209 average, and struck out 203 hitters in 204.1 innings pitched. However, he also walked 90 men. In an otherwise superb statistical line, those bases on balls stood out as a sore spot. Luckily, it didn’t affect his WHIP that year (1.19) because he was stingy when it came to surrendering hits.

This year, Burnett has turned the corner. He’s walking only 2.79 men per nine, easily a career best for any season with ten starts. He walked 3.96 per nine in 2002, 4.31 in 2001, and 4.81 in 2000. A trend like that certainly indicates that the best Burnett has to offer is ahead, rather than behind.

He’s maintained his K/9 rate as well. It currently stands at 8.43, not too far off from the 8.94 he posted in 2002. Another sign of how Burnett has matured as a pitcher is that he only needed 104 pitches in his complete game shutout against Colorado on Sunday. In his seven complete game efforts two years ago, he needed at least 115 pitches each time, topping out at 128.

Owners who kept him while he recovered from surgery now certainly have to believe the old adage that good things come to those who wait.

DeJesus Breaking Out
Not too long ago, David DeJesus, tabbed as Carlos Beltran’s replacement in Kansas City, had people wondering if he was going to be able to play in the majors, much less fill the hole left by the franchise player who was dealt to Houston.

DeJesus received his first taste of big league action earlier this season. He collected 23 at bats, and managed one hit, a single. While 23 at bats is a small sample, only getting one measly hit has to raise the question whether someone can handle major league pitching.

Needless to say, DeJesus can handle major league pitching. After his early struggles, Kansas City sent DeJesus back to Omaha, where the 24-year-old hit .315 with 14 doubles in 50 games. Since returning to the majors, he has hit .313 (67-for-214) with a .397 OBP while leading off on an everyday basis.

He may have taken Beltran’s spot, but he’s obviously not Carlos Beltran. Nonetheless, I see DeJesus evolving into a consistent .300 hitter with a strong OBP and 30 doubles a season. He hasn’t been too successful on the bases, going 5-for-14 in steal attempts, but as he learns the art of the steal, he could become a double-digit thief. He’s a lot more like the guy Beltran replaced – Johnny Damon – than Beltran himself.

Numbers Can Be Deceiving
Tom Glavine has a 3.05 ERA and a 1.220 WHIP. He must be having a good season, right? Well, he was, but not so much lately.

APR: 33 IP, 25 H, 1.64 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7/11 BB/K
MAY: 41.2 IP, 28 H, 2.59 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9/28 BB/K
JUN: 42 IP, 35 H, 2.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 13/21 BB/K

And then:

JUL: 31.1 IP, 40 H, 4.31 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 9/16 BB/K
AUG: 23.1 IP, 31 H, 5.79 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 12/11 BB/K

Sure, he was involved in a fender-bender earlier this month, but his season had already been eroding. Did you really expect him to keep up the pace he was on at the beginning of July, when he was sitting pretty with a 2.14 ERA? While it may have been tempting to believe this – the guy is a future Hall of Famer, after all – you should have paid attention to his hit rate.

Before this season, Glavine averaged 8.61 H/9, but through three months this year, he was allowing 6.81/9. In other words, it was quite unlikely that a 38-year-old pitcher would maintain such a sudden jump. And he hasn’t – his hit rate has crept up to 8.36 H/9. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rise even more before settling in around 8.6-8.8.
 

Ryan Fay has been writing about fantasy sports since 2000. His universal Cafe ID is RFay8585.

Do you own Burnett, DeJesus or Burnett? How do you think they’ll perform down the stretch, and in future seasons?

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