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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

What about... Other Starting Pitchers

I was recently asked where some of these pitchers would rank:
1) Dontrelle Willis
2) Justin Verlander
3) Bronson Arroyo
4) Ervin Santana
5) Chien-Ming Wang
6) Freddy Garcia
7) Ian Snell
8) Kevin Millwood
9) Anibal Sanchez
10)Jose Contreras
11)Chuck James
12)Jon Garland
13)Mark Buehrle
14)Tim Hudson
15)Cliff Lee

I think it would be a good idea to address some of these guys for those of you that might be thinking about drafting them. First off, anyone not in my Top 45 probably isn't a very good guy to pick. They will all have faults.

D-Train is a popular guy, but an overrated pitcher. Dontrelle, Contreras, Snell, Millwood, and Buehrle fall between #45 and #55. Snell has some potential to improve. He had a good K/9 and a decent GB Percentage. If he could keep the same GB Percentage and improve his control - the easiest of our 3 critical factors for young pitchers to improve - he could become a good fantasy pitcher. I wouldn't take him though just based on something he could do.

Verlander, while popularized by his seemingly great season last year, isn't that great. His low K/9 diminishes a lot of his value, and his K/BB barely made it over 2 last year. His GB Percentage is also a rather average 42%. He should have given up an extra 5 HRs last year.

Chien-Ming Wang is an interesting suspect. Despite his low K rate, he is a fairly effective pitcher. His GB Percentage is great (63%), but his K/BB is below 2. His lack of Ks makes him almost worthless in that category, and hurts his WHIP a lot. The less Ks you get, the more balls get put in play. The more balls put in play, the more turn into hits. His K/9 is so low he is rendered almost useless in two categories and therefore is a terrible fantasy option. His Fantasy Score was a poor 6.57, putting him near #100.

Arroyo, Santana, Garcia, Hudson, and Lee have low GB Percentages which makes them too susceptible to HRs in addition to low K rates. They are ranked between 60 and 80. Arroyo, Garcia, Hudson, Santana, Lee is the order in which them appear.

Anibal Sanchez appears about 7 spots below Santana. He had a terrible K/BB and low K/9 last year, but his minor league stats suggest both could improve. He's just not a risk that is necessary to take with so many proven players available this year.

Garland has great command and a good GB Percentage, but his K/9 below 5 makes him an unusable fantasy option, much like Wang. He is ranked worse than Wang though, outside the Top 100.

Chuck James is also outside the Top 100. He has an average K/9, but his control isn't very good. This could be improved, but it is unlikely he can also improve his GB Percentage to an acceptable point. It was an abysmal 27% last year.

I hope this clears things up about some of these well-known pitchers that I failed to include in my Top 45 Starting Pitcher Rankings.

A Final Note
Our rankings aren't meant to pick out guys who will do poorly as much as they are meant to pick out guys who will play well. Reducing risk by picking quality pitchers is usually the best strategy you can use.

Batted ball data, as always, comes from The Hardball Times

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