Can John Danks Get Back on Track?

May 28, 2011


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In ten starts this year John Danks has yet to pick up a win while sporting a bloated 1.45 WHIP. Not exactly what everybody expected from him this year. Not after three consecutive double-digit win/sub 4.00 ERA seasons.
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Can he get back on track?
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Considering he’s not all the way off the track, I say yes. The lack of a single win stings, and while the WHIP is high it’s not a death blow to fantasy teams. Nor is his 4.34 ERA. His strikeouts per nine innings is slightly down at 6.1, but his lifetime mark is just 6.9 so he hasn’t went in the tank.
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Consistency has been an issue. He has given up four or more runs in 40 percent of his starts.  Every other start in his past six have been one of those bad starts. With Toronto on the horizon, I’m afraid he’s going to make that four of seven. While I would not start him against the Jays on Sunday, I wouldn’t write him off either.
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Danks has been unlucky, and not just because he’s winless despite an ERA slightly north of 4.00. Not just because his team scored two or fewer runs in six of ten starts. Naturally both of those factors come into play, but he also has a .308 BABIP.  Last year it was .274, in 2009 in was .267, and in 2008 it was .293.
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Considering he was one of the steadiest pitchers over the past three years, I would expect his BABIP to come down. His double-digit win streak is in serious jeopardy, but he should have some nice moments ahead.
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His combined career record for June and July is 18-10 with a 3.78 ERA. The rest of the months he is 28-41 with a 4.09 ERA.
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Use Danks as a streamer when the match-up is right. You should still get some quality starts from him.
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