Return of the Big Unit
So Randy Johnson made his Spring Training debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a classic case of good news/bad news.
The good news for Diamondback fans and his fantasy owners (future if you haven’t drafted yet) is that his back wasn’t a problem. At the tender age of 44 any setback could officially close the door to his future Hall of Fame career. If he can stay healthy, he has a nice cushy spot in the rotation between Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. If he is anything like the Unit of old, they could very easily form the best pitching trio baseball has to offer.
I did mention there was bad news. That bad news comes in the form of four hits and three runs in 1-1/3 innings of work. I use the term bad news loosely because I don’t put too much stock in the 20.25 ERA or 3.75 WHIP he posted in his debut. Sure, it would be nice if didn’t hit hit around so much, but that will come. He only walked one batter. I’d be more worried if his control was an issue more than serving up meaty pitches. At least he’s in the ballpark. With more work he’ll be able to pick his spots better. The key is for him to make sure his back holds up.
So as a fantasy player, what do I expect from the Big Unit? Thats’s a tough question. To answer it, I have to decide whether or not I think his surgically-repaired back will hold up. You know what? I think it will. He may miss an occasional start because of back spasms or something, but I’ll guess that he starts 28 games this year. I’ll give him a 14-9 record with 145 strikeouts and a 3.85 ERA. Depending on how far he lasts in my draft, I’ll take a chance on him. I’ll just have to hope I’m not seeing a lot of this.
Photos courtesy of Icon SMI