By Des Boodam
I’m not going to pretend that I have pitching nailed down, but every year I implement a general strategy that has proven successful over the years. I like to acquire two top 12 pitchers (or at least who I perceive to be top 12 pitchers) after that I’m simply targeting guys with a K/9 inning rate of nine or greater, which is a pitcher who averages a strikeout per inning. I’m also looking mostly at pitchers who were great in August or September. This year I went with Blake Snell, Lance McCullers and Patrick Corbin. I just need one of the to turn into a top 20 pitcher and the other two to not be terrible. Right Now Corbin is a top 5 pitcher and the other two are top 25 pitchers… needless to say I’m crushing it.
Last year was James Paxton, three years ago it was Jake Arietta and of course you have nail your two top 12 pitchers as well. If this all goes to pot, you have to start assessing your staff, and the pitchers on other roster to eek out some value. So I’m landing the plane on buy-lows for now… who is NOT meeting expectations that will right the ship… here are my top five.
RAY OF LIGHT
Robbie Ray owners were hoping for everything to fall together for him this season. His K rate has always been great, and is good again this season, but everything leaves more to be desired. His ratio stats are terrible, and wins are way down, making him almost untradeable. If you own Ray don’t feel bad, almost everyone was on him pre-draft, but also don’t lose heart. Arizona will get better so the wins will come, and the ratio stats will trend downwards, since they can’t get worse. I wouldn’t trade him for what you could get BUT I would try to acquire him in a package deal where I give the Robbie Ray owner a better pitcher and then try to acquire an offensive piece as well. I would only do this if your current staff is really good, and you have an offensive hole to plug. When we levels off, it will be worth it.
YU’S ON FIRST
Yu Darvish has been a source of frustration since the playoffs last fall. You likely got him at a slight discount and so aren’t too bent out of shape on this. If he’s your ace, you are likely in trouble… but no need to fear. The Chicago offense is great which will solve the wins problem. The 5.56 era and 1.53 WHIP will decline in the 2nd half, so breathe easy about taking Darvish off of somebody’s hands. The K-rate and velocity are there – he’s just not a big game pitcher.
Chris Archer should get traded at the dead line redefining his purpose for pitching. If you believe this – pick him up at all costs. Or hold if you own him. He plays behind a below average offense which doesn’t help, but he gets traded to a contender, expect the wins to pile up. He’ll get better on that 5+ ERA too, but the K-rate is going to hold where it’s at.
RHYMES WITH TANAKA
Tanaka one time saved my fantasy baseball season, so I in my simple head I believe he is a 2nd half pitcher. The Yankees starters seem a bit sluggish right now, but Tanaka is missing a lot of bats right now. His 1.07 WHIP has me convinced that that everything else including the north of 4..70 ERA will correct itself. I’m most adamant about my position with Tanaka – so go get him.
Let’s go reliever here — I think is worth going after if you can help his owner fill another need. He hasn’t been all bad, but where he was drafted, owners want and need more. A WHIP in the 0.90 range, a K-rate that’s higher and an ERA south of two. I believe he will be the closer for the rest of the season, so offer up one of your top closers like Kimbrel or Chapman for Jensen and another offensive piece. Your competitor will be happy to upgrade at the RP spot AND you can hopefully pick up another useful piece. Tanaka