September 20, 2012
Starting Pitching for 9/20/12
The season is almost over, you guys! Is everyone as upset by that as me? There is some good news, though. First, we still have the playoffs immediately after the regular season, and they should excellent again this year. Second, we still have a couple weeks left in the regular season, and if you are in the thick of a fantasy pennant chase, these will be extremely fun, tension-filled weeks and give you a chance to over-manage the hell out of your squad. Lastly, even when the games on the field end, the hot stove burns hot enough to make baseball a year-round sport.
Let’s see what the wire is offering us in terms of Value Picks on the mound.
All told, Bailey is poised to set career highs all over the board. Note that he did get fat on weaker competition in September, however, facing the Astros twice plus the Cubs and Pirates once apiece. Don’t fret, though; he has the offensively-challenged Dodgers and then the Pirates again to close the season.
Though his sample is small, Jacob Turner (Yahoo! 2%, ESPN 1%, CBS 8%) has had home run issues that would make Wood laugh (would make Wood?). He has a 2.0 HR/9 in his 36 1/3 innings of work, though it’s down from 2.9 in 12 1/3 innings with Detroit (stop laughing… Wood) to 1.5 in 24 with Miami. More importantly, his peripherals are exponentially better in Miami (from 1.0 to 5.7 K/BB), which is why he has been able to enjoy some success despite the continued gopheritis.
Turner is definitely in a growth phase, and this is a perfect setting: a non-contending team late in the season. This experience will bode well for him come 2013 and beyond. I think we are getting a glimpse of the guy that Turner can be as he totes a 6.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 with Miami. He won’t be able to maintain a 3.75 ERA with a 1.5 HR/9, but I suspect he will work on that problem area and figure out how to work in zone without getting destroyed. I’m bullish on Turner not only for the remainder of the season but going into next year as well. If you can make offseason trades in your league, he is a worthy target for NL-only teams.
Some of the best late-season guys are the second-level prospects on also-ran clubs. The games still matter to those players, especially because the rosters are usually littered with youngsters looking to make an impression that will aid them in landing a 2013 spot in March. One such arm is Erasmo Ramirez (Yahoo! 2%, ESPN 2%, CBS 5%) in Seattle. Oddly enough, he earned one of those 25 coveted spots back in April and did great work out of the bullpen through early May.
He came up again in June for a four-start stint and held his own but then went back down until September. He is hoping this audition can show the Mariners enough to win that spot next spring and hold it all year. In 16 innings spanning two starts and a relief appearance, he has a 2.25 ERA and 0.69 WHIP with 14 strikeouts and just one walk. Maybe if the M’s had kept Ramirez up in a hybrid role all year and started Hisashi Iwakuma from day one, they would be better than their 70-78 record.
He even stemmed the tide on his horrendous home run rate (1.3 thru May 23 when he first appeared), carving it down to 0.9 since late May. He has just been far too hittable (10 H/9), so he needs to work on his command within the zone. He is only working long relief right now, but he gets a couple innings per stint and has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 September innings. The O’s are handling him well by allowing him to work in short stints and improve his command.
He could give you some key clean innings down the stretch, but I mostly wanted to bring him up to mention how much 2012 has actually been a growth season despite what the surface numbers might suggest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up on sleeper lists next spring (mainly because I am sure to put him on one, but I am also referring to those not commissioned by me).