Jordan Zimmermann and Michael Pineda have been outstanding for fantasy owners this year. Pineda was likely an early free agent pickup that has paid off tenfold. Zimmermann was probably drafted in the late rounds for his potential, and boy has he lived up to the billing. Unfortunately for these young guns, both of their teams stink, and owners are not going to pitch these guys hard towards the end of the season. Let’s take a closer look at each pitcher.
Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Washington Nationals
In my 12-team league, Zimmermann was drafted in the 14th round. The starting pitcher taken before him was Gio Gonzalez, and the starting pitcher taken immediately after him was Daniel Hudson. Zimmermann has certainly earned his 14th round pick, and even with pitching improving in general, his mid-to-late round pick was worth the price.
In 2009 and 2010, Zimmermann accounted for roughly 120 innings in the majors with an ERA approaching 5.00 and a WHIP around 1.33. Through 115 innings in 2011, he has posted a 2.66 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. The scary (or spectacular) thing about him: his ERA is higher than his FIP (2.58). His xFIP sits at 3.64 due to him only surrendering four home runs thus far. His BABIP is is quite normal, as is his LOB%.
The unfortunate part for Zimmerman owners is that the team has announced an innings cap of 160 innings, meaning we only have 45 to go. If it’s not too late, try to move him. At this point, he is worth 50 cents on the dollar, especially in H2H leagues. In a roto league, if you are only being offered waiver wire material, stick with him and enjoy the ride. He could even be keeper potential.
Michael Pineda, SP, Seattle Mariners
Pineda was drafted in the 18th round of my league, after Jake Peavy and before Javier Vazquez. If this were 2006, that may sound right, but since it’s 2011, Pineda does not belong in a tier with those pitchers.
Pineda made it through the Mariners farm system at a fast pace. Despite being a highly touted prospect, some thought the calling for Pineda was bit premature. He struggled a bit in Triple-A at the tail end of 2010, posting a 4.76 ERA. Now, one year later, he’s shaved almost two runs off that ERA, down to 3.03 against major league hitting (and Oakland). Pineda has a FIP of 3.17 and an xFIP of 3.50, not far off from his season ERA. He has brought his high K/9 ratio from the minors to the majors, striking out a batter per inning.
The good news for Pineda owners: the Mariners have not yet openly announced an innings cap or shut down date for their rising star. He currently resides with 113 innings, and he threw 139.1 last year in the minors. I think it’s safe to say owners should not expect 200 innings, nor should they expect a 160 inning cap like Zimmermann. Pineda may see more rest in the future to prevent a complete shutdown. If you can trade him for a top notch bat, it may be worth it. But taking 50 cents on the dollar like you’ll need to do for Zimmermann is not worth the price. He could very well help out in early playoffs rounds of H2H leagues, and will certainly continue to help your roto league numbers.
Brandon can be found at home being a dad and novice landscaper, in the corporate office being a hamster, on the diamond being a softball coach, or at Fenway Park enjoying a frank. You can follow Brandon on Twitter (@bginda2g).
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