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January 3, 2014

Sporer Report

Garbage Picking

by Paul Sporer


In any draft or auction it is always hard to resist the temptation to take the big breakouts from the year that just passed. After all, they are on the upswing… supposedly. Their breakout may have led you to a title or you may have just missed getting them and had to suffer through them cleaning up for an opponent, but you’re determined to not miss out again this year. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with taking the recent breakout—well unless it was built on a mirage of poor supporting skills—but there can also be value in the garbage bin.

On the opposite end of the shiny breakouts is the thrown-out trash: the previous year’s failures that sunk a team to the bottom of the standings and left them spending their entire free agent budget by May 1. Those toxic assets are far down on the list for those they burned and they aren’t exactly hot targets for the rest of the league, either. Alas, every year we see guys rise from the ashes like a phoenix to be the late-round steal that pairs with an aforementioned breakout to carry a team to the title.

Let’s dive into the bin today and see if we can find some 2014 treasure on the mound.

Phil Hughes, MIN – (5.19 ERA in 145 2/3 innings)

  • Why: The ballpark, of course.

This one is pretty obvious, but there are still several folks who won’t even put Hughes on their 2014 list. There might not have been a worse fit of skill and home venue than Hughes and Yankee Stadium. The gopher-prone fly-baller was stuck in one of baseball’s worst parks for such an affliction. With only the info that someone had a 21 percent strikeout rate and 4.1 K:BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings, you would predict a relatively strong ERA. You certainly wouldn’t believe it if I said that person had a 6.32 ERA and 1-10 record, but that was Hughes’ performance at home last year. I threw in the W-L record just to color how badly things went.

The last three years have seen Target Field with a 79/94 home run park factor for lefties and righties, respectively, compared to 116/122 for Yankee Stadium. That is a massive difference, especially against lefties. Hughes has just a 0.86 HR/9 rate in 375 2/3 road innings, a far cry from his disgusting 1.6 and 1.5 composite rates from 2012-2013. He managed a useful 4.14 ERA in 176 1/3 IP in 2010 with a 1.3 HR/9, so he can be reasonably successful with something around the 1.0 HR/9 league average for starters, and he can be excellent with a rate mirroring his road work.

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Related Content:  Phil Hughes,  John Danks,  Erasmo Ramirez

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Skewed Left: Better Ve... (01/02)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Top 20 ... (12/27)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Sporer Report: My Tout... (03/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: The Good... (01/03)

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