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January 7, 2013

The Keeper Reaper

Starting Pitchers for 1/7/12

by Paul Sporer

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Wade Miley | Arizona Diamondbacks
Shallow (30 keepers): No
Medium (60 keepers): No
Deep (90 keepers): No
NL-only (60 keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 keepers): Yes

It was a tough year to simply have a great rookie year in both baseball and football. If you didn’t have a transcendent rookie season, then hardware wasn’t in the cards. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper dominated the baseball landscaped while Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin dominated the gridiron. The 25-year-old Miley did make the All-Star team and finished second to Bryce Harper in the Rookie of the Year voting, so it’s not like his season was entirely overlooked, but generally a 195-inning season that strong from a rookie southpaw would get more attention.

Though his 1.29 ERA in April was his best of the year, he did his best work in the summer when you look at the entire picture. From June through August, he had a 3.07 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 106 innings along with a strong 7.0 K/9 and even better 6.8 K/BB. He sputtered a bit in September but still ended up with an excellent composite season. He’s never going to lead the league in strikeouts, but a lefty at 92 mph with Miley’s kind of command and control will result in plenty of missed bats. His bread-and-butter is that command, which limits both walks and home runs. Miley’s keeper value obviously jumps in leagues that use a salary or round system considering how far off the radar he was coming into 2012.

Matt Moore | Tampa Bay Rays
Shallow (30 keepers): No
Medium (60 keepers): No
Deep (90 keepers): Fringe
AL-only (60 keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 keepers): Yes

Moore was supposed to be an insta-star in 2012 after a superb 19 innings in 2011 convinced many he was more than capable as a major league pitcher. It turns out that 19 innings still isn’t a viable sample to judge someone, even if the player in question is an uber-prospect like Moore. I too bought in on the tiny sample despite rarely falling victim to the rookie trap. Alas, despite a rough start that featured an ERA north of 5.00 as late as May 27, Moore eventually rewarded my patience with an incredible summer, resulting in a tolerable debut even given the elevated price.

His Memorial Day battle with Chris Sale seemed to turn his season around. The young southpaws battled pitch-for-pitch, amassing 25 strikeouts between them in just 14 1/3 innings (10 in seven for Moore), and though Moore took the loss, it seemed to springboard him. That outing started a 106-inning stretch during which he posted a 2.88 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out nearly a batter per inning (8.8 K/9, or 24 percent of batters faced) with a 2.5 K/BB.

While his walk rate dropped from 4.5 in the first half to 3.6 in the second, make no mistake that walks were an issue all year. His second-half figure is depressed by a 2.9 BB/9 mark in August, but otherwise he was north of 4.0 every month, logging 14 in each of his first three months, 15 in July, and then 12 in August and September. The ceiling remains sky-high, though, as the walks are really the only significant hurdle he needs to clear.

Jarrod Parker | Oakland Athletics
Shallow (30 keepers): No
Medium (60 keepers): No
Deep (90 keepers): No
AL-only (60 keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 keepers): Yes

A five-time top 100 prospect in Kevin Goldstein’s lists, Parker began paying dividends on his hype in 2012. In fact, simply calling him a top 100 prospect underrates him a bit. He was two spots away from being a five-time top 50 prospect on Goldstein’s list, landing at 52 on 2010’s list, and we saw why in his first full season. The prize in the Trevor Cahill trade, Parker carried a sub-3.00 ERA into early July, but the accompanying skills left plenty to be desired. The trends flipped in the second half.

He had a 2.96 ERA through his first 14 starts spanning 85 innings, but that came along with a 1.6 K/BB (thanks in large part to a 4.3 BB/9). He closed his season out with a 3.92 ERA in 96 innings but paired that with a much more palatable 3.3 K/BB, shaving his walk rate down to 2.1 BB/9. Like many Oakland pitchers before him, Parker leveraged his spacious home park, posting a 2.61 ERA at home in 100 innings. There is some serious potential here, especially if he is able to cut into his 4.54 road ERA and improve his strikeout rate.

Parker can be a great starter, though he is still learning on the job; his 21 Triple-A innings last year account for all of his experience at that level. He already has most of the components I look for in a starter, though: an excellent change-up, a big groundball rate, and tons of strikeouts. His change is incredible, his 44 percent groundball rate is definitely a start, and his 7.0 K/9 has plenty of room to grow. The only reason Parker is a flat “No” in Deep leagues is because there is no need to pay that price. He may well end up being worth it in 2013, but you can get him much later, so spend your resources elsewhere.

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

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Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sec... (01/07)
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Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sec... (01/07)
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Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Fir... (01/08)
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