Reading through some of the posts where Mussina is mentioned in an ancillary way, I get the impression that no one has high hopes for him for 2009.
Sure he will be a free agent and well into the age when many SPs become ineffective, but the guy has a top 25 WHIP for 2008 and an ERA to match, and there is nothing sabremetrically to suggest that he is getting lucky (on the face of it at least, I am not a true expert here). He has an amazing K/BB rate and is walking less than 1 guy per start. Performance has been steady all year and there is nothing weird in his splits.
Recognizing the possibility that age could always hit him hard and suddenly, is there any other reason to think that he will not be able to be a fantasy contributor again next year? Based on what I am seeing, he might make an attractive value pick.
I think you have it right. He clearly adjusted to his lost velocity and is a completely different pitcher now. But I think for fantasy purposes there's nothing sexy about him. His ks should continue to decline, but he'll be a solid back of the rotation fantasy pitcher. Solid value pick is an accurate assessment.
His strikeout rate has actually increased as the year has gone on.
I'd keep reasonable, modest expectations for next year. For one thing, many pitchers are injury risks and a pitcher at his age is even more in danger. Second, yeah, he's managed to adapt himself and become a "new pitcher," but that's not to say that batters won't adjust or he won't slip into bad habits, or he won't become unluckier with a lower strikeout rate or a lot of other things that could go wrong. I think the thing that concerns me most is that he's managed to induce a much greater number of ground balls this season over his career norm, and that's certainly a positive development. However, if his home run rate regresses, he could be in trouble. He probably won't put too many batters on base because of walks, but he is hittable.
He's probably not someone I'm going to draft, he is probably a 4 or 5 in a 12-teamer. That said, I really enjoyed watching his reinvented self. He has all but guaranteed himself to be re-signed by the Yankees if he doesn't choose to retire.
I've been lucky enough to pick exactly the right time to use Mussina over the past few years. When people were writing him off after 2005 I still thought he had plenty left, drafted him late and reaped the rewards. In 2007 I had reservations as he hadn't finished 2006 well and his velocity was down so I passed and he was terrible. Again this year I sensed he would be a servicable 5th starter option as he changed the way he pitched late into last season and so it has proved this year. The decent k/9 has been gravy.
Next year I think again Mussina should be servicable on most rosters as a 5th starter but I'm going to pass. I do think he has had a fair amount of luck keeping his ERA around the 3.5 level and can't see that being close to under 4 next year. Excellent control but he's just way too hittable and the guile and deception won't last.
I won't be targeting him next year. Heck, I wasn't targeting him this year but he was still available in the 25th round. If he's your 5th starter that is fine but I wouldn't expect much more. Besides a lot of his value will be tied to who he signs with.
Pogotheostrich wrote:I won't be targeting him next year. Heck, I wasn't targeting him this year but he was still available in the 25th round. If he's your 5th starter that is fine but I wouldn't expect much more. Besides a lot of his value will be tied to who he signs with.
I don't think the Yankees want to sign him for two years. If he gets a solid multi year from someone else I can see him gone, but would he? I guess he would from someone. Pitchers don't grow on trees.
I loved having him this year. Wins are said to be a lucky category, but if he plays for the Yanks and keeps his era below 4 he'll win 15 and there is value in that. With that said he fits into a average ERA, above average WHIP, and below average K's. Keep expectations in the 15 wins, era .380, whip 1.25 and 140 Ks and he's very serviceable. And hey if he ends up in the NL...