The Twins' pitching has cratered, and maybe it should have.
It was a Baseball Prospectus co-founder, Gary Huckabay, who coined the truism: There Is No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect. Years and years after Huckabay first posited that, though, two of his fellow BP alumni proposed a modification that, while even more radical, rings truer every day we get older.
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What does it mean when a moundsman can't make up his mind?
There's always adjustments that go on. From the time I came up, I can't even remember how many times I've had to try and change what I do.—Phil Hughes
You all have a milestone by which you mark the return of baseball: the day after the Super Bowl, Truck Day, pitchers and catchers report day, Kevin Towers Terrible Prediction Day, Final Qualifying Offer Free Agent Signing Day, Opening Day. Some of you can circle your milestone days on the calendar months in advance; others can’t pin them down precisely but know roughly when they’ll arrive.
Everyone ihas their sights set on last year's breakout stars, but these players who hurt your team in 2013 might help it in 2014.
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.
Paul breaks down several starters whose numbers away from home make them useful stream options in fantasy.
Last week in this space, we looked at some starters who have shown a penchant for doing their best work while in front of their hometown crowd. They aren’t widely rostered in 10- and 12-team leagues, giving you an opportunity to take advantage of those home starts while avoiding the road starts, assuming your league rules allow such frequent transactions. Unsurprisingly, they all play in comfortable environs, but they don’t consistently perform on the road, keeping them from being thoroughly sought-after assets.
Today’s group is the same, but opposite. They play in tougher home ballparks which cause inconsistent work while at home, but their skills shine through on the road, though the composite numbers hide that fact in many instances, creating a buying opportunity. Let’s start in the most obvious of these venues.
Checking in on two practically perfect pitching prospects, several seasons on.
On the night that Homer Bailey pitched his second career no-hitter, fanning nine Giants against only one walk, Phil Hughes was also in action. Hughes had a good outing, but hardly a historic one: he threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Twins, striking out three and walking two. Bailey’s start was the one that led SporsCenter, but it’s appropriate that the pair’s spots in their respective rotations were synched.
Bailey and Hughes have been linked for a long time. Both were hard-throwing, right-handed high schoolers selected in the first round of the 2004 draft. Hughes stands 6’5”; Bailey stands 6’4.” Hughes is less than two months younger. On our list of the top 100 prospects of 2007, Hughes placed second and Bailey ranked fourth, which made comparisons between them inevitable. Just breathe in the August, 2006-ness of this excerpt from Future Shock:
A closer look at the impending free agents who have the most riding on a return to form or a return to health in 2013.
Before last season, no one would have predicted that fragile White Sox starter Jake Peavy would earn a bigger contract at the end of the year than Angels workhorse Dan Haren. Peavy, entering his age-31 season, was coming off three injury-plagued and ineffective seasons in which he’d thrown a combined 320 1/3 innings with an above-league average ERA; Haren, also entering his age-31 season, was coming off his seventh consecutive 200-plus-inning campaign, having led the AL in starts and strikeout-to-walk ratio and finished seventh in Cy Young voting the season before.
But 2012 proved pivotal in determining the size of the contract that each impending free agent could command. Peavy picked the perfect time to find his form, avoiding the DL, topping 200 innings, and making the All-Star team for the first time since 2007. Haren had back problems and saw his sinker lose speed and his stats decline across the board. As a reward for his resurgence, Peavy got a two-year, $29 million extension from the Sox, while Haren had to settle for a one-year deal with the Nats at a slightly lower annual value.
PECOTA strongly favors the Yankees to put this series away. But Joe Saunders has upended PECOTA before, and recently.
Game Three was about Joe Girardi’s decision to pinch-hit Raul Ibanez, and Ibanez’s story was this: three pitches seen, two home runs hit, one victory delivered. The Yankees are a win away from bouncing the Orioles and advancing to the ALCS. Will they wrap up the series tonight? Here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for Game Four:
Hughes, Hutchison, and Leake bring the VP jelly to BP this week.
With a big wave of interleague on the horizon, pitcher values vary in a way we haven’t seen yet this year as they face new teams in new venues. For example, the Angels and Athletics have featured some useful starting pitchers this year, the former more so than the latter, but as they each head into Coors Field to face the Rockies over the next week, there could be some trouble on the horizon. This could be especially problemsome for Ervin Santana, Bartolo Colon, and Tom Milone given their home run rates.