StrategyMay 15, 2011

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Buyer Beware: Alexi Ogando

By Josh Shepardson

Making a seamless transition from setup man to starter so far in 2011, Alexi Ogando has rewarded his owners in the early going. While the surface stats may be sparkling, it would be prudent to take a look under the hood before ponying up for the young right-handed flame thrower. If you are an Ogando owner, it would be wise to put the feelers out on the trade market.

A perfect four wins and no losses record with a 2.06 ERA and 0.89 WHIP has Ogando looking like a prime-years Pedro Martinez to the untrained eye. Digging deeper there are reasons to expect a substantial droppoff in performance though. The first thing that stands out is Ogando’s good, but not great strikeout rate of 6.60 K/9. He does make up for his strikeout rate by posting a solid walk rate of 2.06 BB/9. Also working against Ogando is his extreme flyball tendencies in a hitters park. Thus far the ball has left the yard at a reasonable rate of 10.9 percent HR/FB, but Ogando largely hasn’t been hurt by it thanks to an unsustainable .193 BABIP and an eye popping 95.4 percent strand rate. In short, he hasn’t been exceptionally lucky with his flyballs staying in the park, just that there haven’t been baserunners on when the ball has left it, or on often in general. Looking further at his stats, you’ll see a player who has hitters chasing pitches outside the zone at a league average rate, making contact against his pitches at a league average rate, starting hitters off with a strike at a league average rate, and inducing swinging strikes at roughly a league average rate. Do you see a trend here?

Going forward, I’d expect Ogando’s ERA to closely match his 3.91 xFIP. There is some downside potential with him as well, being that he only threw 72.1 innings last year he may wear down with a heavy workload. In addition to the risk of wearing down, the Rangers may opt to shift him back to the bullpen and have him serve as the primary right-handed setup man for closer Neftali Feliz when some of their others arms are back at full health. Some of the arms ranked behind Ogando and owned in fewer Yahoo! leagues that I’d rather own the remainder of the year include but are not limited to: Gavin Floyd, Ian Kennedy, Anibal Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, Bud Norris and Ryan Dempster.

Josh is a recent college graduate from SUNY Cortland where he majored in Sport Management. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe Forums where he posts as B-Chad.
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