HumorAugust 13, 2009


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Dead Weight: Pitchers

By Cary James

Remember your drafting strategy? Everyone told you not to overpay for a stud pitcher. “Focus on hitting,” they said. And then you drafted Jake Peavy in the third round like I did? Well, here’s a cruel reminder of what happens when a pitcher with upside decides to decimate your ratios and dreams. I will follow five recent universally-owned disasters with one generally ignored waiver stud who has out-flanked your horse in the past month.

Dead Weight

Jake Peavy

Look, I wanted to draft Halladay, but another owner took him a pick before me. Instead, I get stuck with a struggling ace who finally rights the ship, and then hits the DL in epic fashion. Sure, he’s coming back soon for the White Sox, but I needed good K/per innings and ratios all season. Argh. Anyways, hold onto him if you you’ve got him and stash him if you have room. Hopefully he’ll get back to form soon, throwing Ks and consuming enormous plugs of tobacco for your playoff team’s benefit.

Dan Haren

This is another no-brainer. Dude’s been cruising all season, ignoring his team’s brutal performance and posting the best pitching performance of any pitcher in the fantasy game. However, in the last month, he has slipped a little: 31 IPs, 2 Ws, 24 Ks, 4.94 ERA, 1.23 WHIP. It’s after the All-Star break, by the way, a statistical sign-post that has led to Haren’s regression to the mean every season. You can keep putting him out there, but the confidence won’t be there. Especially when every expert on every website is telling you that you should’ve traded him already. Hindsight is really helpful, right?

Francisco Liriano

There’s not really much to say anymore. Tommy John’s ghost has rendered him effectively ineffective. If you drafted him, you probably dropped him out of frustration. And then a league-mate picked him up hoping to catch a pitcher through a good spell, at which point you laughed when stunk up the joint and was dropped again. Don’t pick him up again. Unless you enjoy the fine sport of flagellation, pick up the fork from the dinner table. Stick it.

James Shields

Not really sure what’s wrong with Mr. Shields. He was fantastic last season, an ace in a number-three starter’s body. But somewhere along the line this year, Shields is giving up more hits per inning for the first time since 2006. His K/BB has dropped from 4.00 to 2.78. That ain’t good, folks. Worst part is you can’t drop him. Hope that Jimmy doesn’t have the accursed and annoying dead arm, because August and September have historically been some of his best months. You need that ace, friends.

Brad Lidge

Ah, another season, another reason not to draft closers early. Here is Brad Lidge, waving at you and reminding you why next season you’ll wait for Kerry Wood and get the same closer six or seven rounds later. Life is cruel, but sound draft strategy can cure your mortal malady. Hold on to Lidge, as Charlie Manuel will stick with him this season. The key is to endure his presence on your team, not enjoy. He’s like your roommate who never does the dishes, so as long as he pays rent (gets saves) you can deal with it.

Replace them with…

Clayton Richard

Over the past month, Clayton has been throwing like a certain Red Sox Clayton was supposed to. Two wins, a sub-1.00 ERA and WHIP, with almost a K/per inning? Really? Shouldn’t that be owned in most 12-team mixed leagues by now? Oh, he’s available in 93% of Yahoo leagues? That’s insane. He pitches in Petco, and while he won’t guarantee wins, you should not be chasing wins. Repeat after me: I will not chase wins. I will chase ratios and Ks.

Jorge De La Rosa

For weeks, months even, many adjectives have been wasted on Senor De La Rosa. They range from “awesome” to “awful.” I prefer the “Viscous Siren” nomenclature. Over the past month, he’s sporting a 1.17 WHIP with a strikeout an inning and a tidy four wins to boot. Oh, wait. Who’s here? Reality? Oh yes, you’re telling me that Jorge is liable to completely explode your ratios in a single four-inning outing? Well, so is Dan Haren and anyone who throws a tiny sphere in front of a guy holding a stick. Jorge has a career WHIP of 1.58. Something tells me he will meet the cruel mistress of statistical regression sooner than later.

Brett Anderson

Oakland pitchers are boring. Dallas Braden? Trevor Cahill? Try Brett Anderson. Only owned in 34% of Yahoo leagues, he is firing on all cylinders. The wins will be hard to come by, but his home park and the relative lack of scouting reports means he could manage to fool more lineups to come. Of course, I could be writing the same truncated paragraph about Cahill, Vinnie Mazzaro or Gio Gonzalez, so really it’s a crap shoot of Oakland’s Waiver Wonders. Pick a horsey on the carousel, and perhaps it will pay dividends.

Dustin Nippert

Don’t run out and pick him up. I just wanted to point out how insane month-to-month stats can be. Case in point, over the last month it would have been better for your team to own Old Nippy than Jimmy Shields. That’s just cruel, but with three wins, a 2.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 24 Ks in 25 IPs, the numbers talk. That other sound you hear? Old Lady Regression making sure you know she’ll come knocking soon.

Mike Adams

I understand you may be looking for a saves candidate, but it’s late in the season. If saves are available on waivers, you either don’t count them for points or you don’t play in a competitive league. Adams has yet to give up a run since July 22, and has 19 Ks in 11 innings with minute ratios. If you’re maxing out on innings pitched like me, drop your scrub fill-in starter and replace him with Adams, stat!

That’s all for this week, enjoy your team while the summer is still here, and I’ll see you on the forum.

 
Residing in Chicago with my ever-patient wife, I live a quiet life of grad school, two jobs, and writing with a little music mixed in. I particularly enjoy when one of my pitchers gives up a homer to one of my hitters. Jones! You can catch up with me on the forums under the name Tom Selleck's Beautiful Mustache.
 
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