You know Barry Zito. Former member of the Oakland "Big Three." Part of a rock band. Used to go out with Alyssa Milano. Known for his 12-6 curveball. Signed with the Giants for $126 million. Yeah... that guy. Did you also know that he has a 3-5 record and a 5.13 ERA? If you follow baseball, chances are you did. So why is the highest paid pitcher in baseball putting up numbers like Steve Trachsel? Well, honestly, because they have a similar skill level.
Hopefully you read my Preseason Analysis of Barry Zito and didn't draft him. If you did, you've got a big problem on your hands. In that article I mentioned how Zito has only an average K rate (6.50 K/9), an unimpressive BB rate (3.50 BB/9), and a poor GB rate (38%). Has the move to the National League changed anything for Zito? Let's take a look.
Well, it seems his K rate and his BB rate is worse than it has been in the past. I didn't see a K rate close to 7.0 as terribly unlikely, seeing as how he'll get to throw to pitchers in the NL, but we've actually seen a decrease in Ks. I expect this to increase at least to his career levels, but even that will only be around average. His BB rate should decrease a little, but I don't see it getting much lower than 4.00. His GB percentage is perfectly in line with his career numbers, so no change should happen there.
We see that Zito is actually getting lucky when we look at his BABIP and HR/9 numbers. The BABIP should be up nearly .040 points, and the HR/9 does not reflect his low BB rate. It should jump above 1.00 shortly.
While I don't expect Zito to finish the year with an ERA above 5.00, don't expect it to get much lower than 4.50. I said the Giants made a mistake, and I'm sticking by that statement. I can't say how glad I am the Mets didn't shell out even the $80 million they reportedly offered him. If you own Zito and someone in your league still thinks he is good, dump him. Otherwise, wait for his ERA to drop below 5.00 and take the best offer you get.