Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

OK boys and girls, it’s never too early to start looking towards next season so today we are going to detour away from our 2008 wrap-up to take a look at our first Sleeper Selection.

If you have read the site throughout the year, you know that I have been high on David Purcey, a former first round draft pick, throughout the season.  At Triple A, he made 19 starts going 8-6 with a 2.69 ERA.  The more impressive number, however, is his 121 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched.  If you think he’s a player who doesn’t have much control (especially what he would show us in the majors), he walked just 34, meaning his BB/9 was 2.62, a very solid number.

Of course, his stay in the major leagues was a far different story.  He made his first spot start on April 18 against the Tigers, walking 7 in just 4.1 innings.  His next start for the Blue Jays came on May 16 against the Phillies, giving up 8 earned runs and 4 walks over 3 innings.  Then, on July 26, he became a full time member of the Jays rotation, and things seemed to change.

Yes, he gave up 5 earned runs or more in 3 of his 10 starts from 7/26 until the end of the season.  He also had an 11-strikeout game against the Rays on 8/27 and an 8-strikeout game against the Indians on 8/8.  That tells you a little bit about his potential.  A lot of his success came against Tampa Bay, going 1-1 with a 0.56 ERA and 18 K in 16 innings of work.  If they were a lower-end team, that’s one thing, but this is your AL East Champions and one of the two teams in the ALCS.  To me, that screams a lot about the talent that he has.

In the minor leagues, his WHIP was a very impressive 1.12.  Obviously, his number at the major league level was a lot less spectacular at 1.48.  Actually, that is a very ugly number, but it was buoyed a lot by a BB/9 of 4.02.  He’s proven that he has much better control then that, so I’m confident that he will improve on that number in 2009.  His BABIP was .316, a number that he easily can improve upon as well.  That means that his WHIP should be in for a drastic decrease next season.

His K/9 was at 8.03 in the major leagues this season, a number that it is plausible he repeats.  His 9.31 at Triple A this season was impressive, but in 2006 & 2007, his numbers are much closer to what he did this season.

With that said, let’s take a look at my early 2009 prediction for him:

195.0 IP, 14 W, 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 167 K (7.71 K/9), 63 BB (2.91 BB/9)

Remember, this is just an early prediction, but I do believe he has the chance to be the next in the long line of starting pitchers who succeed for the Blue Jays.  He’s certainly worth the flyer at the tail end of your draft.

For more great fantasy info, check out Rotoprofessor.com.

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