Ryan Dempster Debate
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor and I have decided to mix it up. Instead of debating the Hall of Fame worthiness of a past player we are going to focus on a current player. The player we chose is Ryan Dempster. He was in the news recently after signing a four-year $52 million deal with to remain with the Cubs. He is coming off a 17-6. 2.96 ERA. The Rotoprofessor and I disagree on the type of season Dempster will have in 2009.
I had Ryan Dempster on a fantasy team last year so maybe I drank the Kool-Aid, but I think Dempster will have another solid year for the Cubbies. The Cubs’ Offense should remain one of the best in the National League next year so Wins won’t be problem. He should win anywhere between 15-18 games next year. What impessed me was the way he finished the season. It was his first time starting since 2003 (save for 6 starts in his 63 games with the Cubs in 2005). It didn’t take him long to adjust as he went 4-0 in April. He had a rough June with a 4.55 ERA, but he responded with a season low 1.99 ERA for the month of July. His WHIP rose the last two months (1.39 & 1.30), but his ERA was fairly consistent with his season average (3.19 & 3.00). Overall he was better post-All-Star break. He was 10-4 with a 3.25 ERA before the break and 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA after the break. I think he will build on the success of last year and put up another good year with the Cubs. I’m predicting he goes 17-10 with a 3.30 ERA. Not quite as successful as last year, but nothing to sneeze at.
Those who read rotoprofessor.com consistently know just how strongly I feel about the “demise” on the horizon for Ryan Dempster. Is it possible that he steps to the plate and proves me wrong? Yes, I can’t say that it isn’t, but honestly, I think the odds are far greater that at this time next season we’re comparing him to Carl Pavano. No, I don’t think that he’s going to get injured and miss the majority of the next four seasons while collecting a big fat check (though he is going to be collecting a nice wad of cash). Instead, we are going to be talking about a player being paid after just one good season, which boggles my mind. You are looking at a pitcher that was pretty much awful as a starting pitcher early in his career (5.38 ERA back in 2002 anyone?) before getting shifted to the bullpen and the closer’s role out of necessity. Even there, he wasn’t very good, posting ERA’s of 4.80 and 4.76, respectively, in 2006 & 2007. It was a magical season in 2008, there’s no doubt about that, but what makes us think that he can reproduce numbers anything close to that given his track record? If this was a pitcher who had enjoyed a lot of success early in his career, then I could buy him posting a repeat performance, but outside of a strong 2000, there is no positive track record to speak of. There are times that pitchers just put things together for a magical season (i.e. Pavano in 2004) but they are never able to repeat that glory, regressing back to the mediocre pitcher they had previously been. Dempster is the perfect candidate in 2009 and certainly is in store for a fall off in 2009. How far the fall is anyone’s guess, but an ERA above 4 would not surprise me in the least (and is actually what I projected for him).