June 22, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Starting Pitchers to Target
When it comes to making trades in fantasy baseball, impressions are everything. It doesn’t matter if R.A. Dickey throws 41 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and two straight one-hitters; if his owner thinks Dickey’s knuckler is being guided by a ghost named Thaddeus who stormed off after Dickey’s last start, upset that Dickey hasn’t credited him for his help yet and swearing he’ll never help Dickey again, well, that owner is going to be selling Dickey mighty low before the pitcher takes the mound again. Perception is everything.
While you’ll be hard-pressed to find an owner who believes Dickey is being helped by a potentially egotistical ghost named Thaddeus (and has a cynical view of friendship and forgiveness to boot), there are other forms of perception that can impact a player’s trade value. One of the biggest ones I like to be on the lookout for is slow starters who have begun to turn a corner.
A terrible first month or two can impact a player’s ratio stats so much that even a hot stretch won’t make his overall numbers look palatable. If you’re dealing with a player who has a strong history to begin with, though, this recent hot stretch might be all you need to make a move on him. If an owner has seen his pitcher put up enough four-inning, five-ER starts, a few good recent ones might not be enough to shake his perception that this guy is an ERA killer. With that in mind, here are a few pitchers who might be worth targeting.
Scherzer is a perfect target in that both his early-season ERA and his recent one are poor, culminating in a terrible cumulative mark of 5.17. He has mostly just experienced bad luck recently, though, as his 11.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over the past 30 days are excellent. Scherzer has excellent stuff and has always posted good peripherals, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t be a great pitcher over the rest of the 2012 season.