Starting Pitching VP returns with Niemann, Burnett, Doubront, and Parker
Readers, today I am proud to introduce you to the newest member of the Baseball Prospectus Fantasy team, Paul Sporer. You may recognize Paul from Roto Hardball or from his own blog, Baseball by Paul. Paul will be writing the Starting Pitching edition of Value Picks as well as resurrecting the Weekly Planner. Welcome aboard, Paul! —Derek Carty, Fantasy Manager
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Perennial strugglers Zambrano and Liriano join intriguing youngsters Nicasio and Minor in this week's VP
As spring training heads into the home stretch, we’re starting to learn a bit more about starting pitchers who came into camp with question marks. Those questions can be related to any number of issues—we’ll be discussing guys who are trying to return from life-threatening injury, insubordination, and good-old fashioned sore arms—but in each case, only additional data will help us make the informed decision. Here’s a look at four pitchers and the absolute latest on their attempts to solidify their places in a big-league rotation…
Juan Nicasio is on the comeback trail, and he might be an early favourite for the Comeback Player of the Year award.
There are few scarier moments in life than seeing a baseball hurtling toward your head at 100 mph. Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasioexperienced that firsthand on August 5, when an Ian Desmondcomebacker struck him near the right temple before the righty had time to react. Remarkably, less than six months after suffering a fractured vertebra in his neck, Nicasio is back on the mound.
Before the injury, the 25-year-old Nicasio logged a 4.14 ERA and 3.62 FIP in 71 2/3 innings during his rookie season. With “solid stuff and excellent command,” Nicasio ranked as the Rockies’ 13th-best prospect a year ago. The cup of coffee in 2011 showed that—health permitting—Colorado could count on Nicasio to supplant the departed Aaron Cook in its rotation next year. Now, he appears on track to compete for the job.
Juan Nicasio suffers a fractured neck, Jose Reyes' hamstring acts up again, Daniel Murphy has another knee issue, Ike Davis appears to be out for the season, Chase Headley fractures a finger, Alex Cobb has hand numbness, and Jair Jurrjens finally hits the DL.
In the wake of some devastating injuries this year, some thoughts on the biggest dangers in the game of baseball today.
Friday night in Colorado, Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. It's unclear to me from reading reports where exactly on his face the ball struck - either on his cheek, near his ear, or at his temple - but the real injury came from his fall. Watching the video it is clear that, once the ball hit his face, Nicasio fell to the ground and landed on the top of his head (imagine someone doing a headstand). After lying on the mound for more than five minutes, Nicasio was placed on a stretcher with a brace around his neck and carted off the field. It was announced Sunday morning that Nicasio had broken the C1 vertebrae in his neck and had had surgery performed overnight.
This is a scary, scary thing. Neck injuries are about as serious as it gets, with paralysis or worse always a possibility. What's more, the line drive that caused everything hit within a baseball's breadth of Nicasio's temple. If either circumstance was even slightly more severe, we could be talking about Major League Baseball's first on-field death in ninety years. And though that may sound like a bit of a stretch - a gloomy, pessimistic, overly cautious stretch - because we know how it turned out, it's very real.
That the Yankees struggle with starters they've never seen before is not just an urban myth. In the words of Madeline Kahn, "It's twue! It's twue!" Plus: Notes from an old timer's day.
Man cannot live by fastball alone. Not for very long, at least, and not against the Yankees. Not that Juan Nicasio didn't try. Making just the sixth start of his big league career, the 24-year-old Rockies rookie threw four perfect innings against the Bronx Bombers on Sunday following the Yankees' 65th annual Old Timers' Day festivities, and your memory didn't have to date back to DiMaggio to feel as though you'd seen this current cast struggle in such situations before.