Doug Fister is at the mercy of the sample size. Last year he had a 1.79 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 11 outings with the Tigers. This year he has a 4.04 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 13 outings with the Tigers. Add it together an you’ve got a guy with 2.96 ERA that is still a half run better than his 3.57 career mark. We’ve also seen him post a 1.06 WHIP as a member of the Tigers, below his 1.19 career rate. He was too good last year, and likely a week bit too low this year. Doing his best to make people forget about his slow start to 2012, Fister has won each of his last three outings while striking out 20 batters in 21 innings. He’s nowhere near a K per inning kind of arm, but it is possible that he could be a three ERA kind of guy the rest of the way.
Hiroki Kuroda was supposed to falter with a move out of pitcher friendly Dodgers Stadium to the Junior Circuit to face more powerful offenses. It just hasn’t happened. Kuroda tossed a seven inning shutout in his last outing against the Blue Jays (rain shortened) to give him a 3.46 ERA and 1.22 WHIP for the Yankees. For his career those numbers are 3.45 and 1.19. Kuroda has also done a lot other things that paint him as exactly the same pitcher he has been since coming to the majors.
2012: 6.92 K/9, 2.43 K/BB, 1.54 GB/FB, 18.4 LD-rate, .281 BABIP
Career: 6.76 K/9, 2.15 BB/9, 1.52 GB/FB, 19.2 LD-rate, .281 BABIP
Face it, he might be 37 years old and pitching in the AL but the guy is just a bedrock of consistency.
Francisco Liriano â€“ welcome back. Over his last 10 outings Liriano has won only three games while losing four, but don’t blame him as he has pitched like it was 2006 all over again (well maybe not all the way back to that level, but pretty damn close actually). In those 10 starts he’s posted a 2.84 ERA an a 1.04 WHIP. Liriano has also punched out 77 batters leading to a 10.9 K/9 mark. However he’s still walking too many fellas, his BB/9 rate has been 4.00, but that still leaves him with a solid 2.75 K/BB ratio. So the question becomes, what do we look for from Liriano the rest of the way? Do we let the 10 starts we just broke down erase the fact that over his previous 37 outings that he posted the following numbers?
9-15, 5.77 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 1.41 K/BB
Those are some putrid numbers. Let’s just say that I’m cautiously optimistic with Liriano that (A) he won’t kill you the rest of the way, and (B) that he would appear to have a very real chance of being a top-50 hurler when all is said and done. Still, his uneven work the past few years marks him as a certain risk.
Mike Minor held the Giants to one run over six innings in his last outing as he lowered his ERA down to 5.69. Moreover, Minor has allowed three earned runs in his last two starts rewarding the Braves faith in him (they chose to demote Randall Delgado when they activated Ben Sheets). Yes, Minor’s ERA of 5.69 is awful. Yes, his 1.39 WHIP is worse than the league average. Yes, his 3.86 BB/9 rate is worse than the league average. Yes, his 0.77 GB/FB ratio is worse than the league average. Yes his 20.5 line drive rate is slightly worse than the league average. So why did the Braves make the right decision in choosing Minor over Delgado? Because Minor has been very unlucky this season, and that can easily be seen in his HR/9 ratio of 1.84. The guys has allowed 20 homers in 98 innings. There’s just no way he is going to continue to be that bad in that category. After all, his current HR/F ratio of 16 percent is literally double the eight percent mark he had last season. He’s also been saddled with a 64 percent left on base percentage after posting a mark of 74 percent last year. Minor’s ERA should be at least a run lower than it currently is, and he owns the skills to be a very successful big league hurler.
Wandy Rodriguez is likely to be dealt from the Astros, but he’s not exactly boosting his fantasy value right now. In his last two outings Wandy has allowed nine runs in 10 innings picking up two loses against the all powerful offenses of the Giants and Padres. Yikes is right. Still, he had a 3.38 ERA just two starts again, and even with the two beatings he just took his season long WHIP is still 1.25 which would be the second best mark of his life (it was 1.24 in 2009). The real issue right now for Wandy owner’s is that he’s simply stopped striking batters out. With a career 7.52 K/9 mark, a level he had exceeded each of the past five years, Wandy was always a solid K arm. Not so much this season. Amazingly, his K/9 rate has plummeted to 5.99 batters per nine. While on the surface that’s plenty scary, it should be noted that Rodriguez has also greatly reduced his walk rate leading to a batter fewer walks per nine than his career mark (he’s currently at 2.09 per nine). As a result his 2.86 K/BB ratio would actually be a three year high. Wandy has also, taking a pace out of Johnny Cueto’s playbook, increased his ground ball rate substantially from 45 percent for his career to 52 percent this season. Given the totality of his performance this season Wandy is pitching quite well, even if the results haven’t been there for the fantasy game.
Jordan Zimmerman is 7-6 on the year with 84 strikeouts. Those numbers aren’t going to impress anyone. At the same time, the guy has been money every time he has taken the hill this year. I’m not using hyperbole either. Jordan has made 19 starts this year leading to a 2.35 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. In those 19 starts he has never failed to complete six innings. In those 19 starts he has never permitted more than four earned runs. In those 19 starts he’s permitted three of fewer earned runs 17 times. In those 19 starts he’s allowed one or zero earned runs 11 times meaning 58 percent of the time this season he’s pitched at least six innings while allowing zero or one run. Moreover, since the start of last season he’s posted a 2.82 ERA an a 1.12 WHIP in his 283.2 innings on the hill. Oh yeah, his K/BB ratio has also been 3.85 since the 2011 season kicked off. The only thing Zimmerman doesn’t do is rack up prolific strikeout totals. Other than that he is a superb hurler.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Tags: Ben Sheets, Doug Fister, Francisco Liriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Jordan Zimmerman, Mike Minor, MLB, Randall Delgado, Wandy Rodriguez