Fantasy Baseball – Back to Earth Pitchers

Mar 5, 2009

Here’s a look at some Pitchers who will have a hard time matching their 2008 production.

Cliff Lee
– I’m sorry, but you don’t go 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP without expecting somewhat of a letdown the following year.  Even without that remarkable year though his winning percentage was a solid .600 so I don’t expect a major fall in his win total and winning percentage.  I could see an 18-10 for him.  I think his ERA and WHIP increase slightly to somewhere around his 2005 numbers (3.79 and 1.22).  Opposing batters his .275 on him after the break.  Even though he managed a 2.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in those games, that number is a little alarming.  Historically, when his BAA is .268 or higher he has struggled.

Roy Halladay - Roy is another victim of his bar being set too high last year.  He has his most Wins (20) and Innings (246) since 2003, had a career high 206 Ks, and had his lowest ERA (2.78), WHIP (1.05) and BAA (.237) since 2005.  He’s never had lower ERA, WHIP, or BAA in any of his 200+ Inning seasons.  I still think he’ll have a solid year, but he won’t be the top rated Pitcher.  I’ll put him on a 18-10, 180 K, 3.15, 1.10, .250 season.

Ryan Dempster
– Ryan was awesome last year going 17-6 with 187 Ks, a 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and a .227 BAA in his first stint as a regular starter since 2003.  He’ll be solid this year, as I mentioned in my debate with the Rotoprofessor, but he will take a small step back.  I’m putting him on a 17-10, 170 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .245 BAA year.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Unless Dice-K gets his Walks in order, 2009 could go much rougher than his outstanding (18-3, 2.90 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .211 BAA) 2008 season.  I can see him matching his win total, but add about 7 more Losses.  I’d also expect a half point higher ERA.  His WHIP was identical in his first two years, and I don’t see that changing much.  His BAA will likely come up 20 points.  His strikeout total dropped from 201 in 2007 to 154 in 2008.  I expect that number to actually increase to about 175.
Edinson Vólquez
- Vólquez was one of the biggest surprises last year going 17-6 with 206 Ks, a 3.21 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and a .232 BAA.  Amazing when you consider he’s in a Hitter’s Park.  His splits were alarming:

Pre-All-Star Game:  12-3, 2.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .212 BAA
Post-All-Star Game:  5-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .260 BAA

The one constant was his ability to strike out batters.  I think his 2009 line will look like:  15-14, 220 Ks, 4.05 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .260 BAA.

Francisco Rodríguez
– K-Rod set a record with 62 Saves last year.  His previous career high was 47.  The ERA and WHIP won’t likely change much, but he’ll save around 15-20 fewer games.

Joakim Soria
- The ERA and WHIP will remain outstanding, but I’m not sure he’ll get enough Save opportunities to match the 42 he registered last year.  Somewhere around 35 seems like a more reasonable number.

Kerry Wood
- I hate to pick on this guy, but I’m not sure the move to the American League will be a smooth one for the oft-injured Closer.  Kerry’s ERA, WHIP, and BAA jumped from 3.02, 1.01, and .201 pre-All-Star break to 3.74, 1.25, and .250 in the games after the break.  IF he can stay healthy I put him on 28 Save, 3.50 ERA season.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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