by Ryan Kaltenbach
As a Padres Fan since 1985 (I was 5) it pains me to admit that my fantasy man-crush for Chad Billingsley has lasted longer than a calendar month. Let’s rewind though and see how we got here. At the end of April his era sat at 5.20. His regular schedule had been thrown off after a couple early and unexpected relief appearances. He had struggled with his control and didn’t receive run support in his first 4 starts.
As of April 29th, he sat at an unpleasant 0-4, 6.53, 1.79, but his K/walk ratio was 2.46. The silver lining has been found! Then came that wonderful month of May. His May line read 3-2, 1.93, 1.13. He’s still yet to give up more than 6 hits in any outing and is 9th and 4th in K’s and K/9 respectively.
In April and early May, Billingsley owners listened to well known fantasy pundits with daily podcasts tell them to sell, dump, and trade for pennies on the dollar. However, his underlying numbers such as K/9, K/walk, and BABIP weren’t inline with his ugly stat line. Then came the aforementioned correction.
On average Billingsley was drafted in the 13th round probably in the neighborhood of Snell, Wainwright, McGowan, and Bonderman. Before the year, didn’t that sound about right? Yahoo! has "Bills" as the #170th most valuable player in fantasy giving you a fair return on your investment on your 13th round pick. But, oh that May! where he was the 10th most valuable starter in MLB.
Let’s look at how those preseason comps are currently rated on Yahoo:
McGowan #654th – ouch
Snell – #1184th – I bet you no 1st place team has rostered him (and played him) for the first 2 months of ‘08
Wainwright – 70th – Great value from an 11th – 15th round pick. This is before tonight’s outing where the wheels fell off in the 7th
Bonderman – 869th – why did I even waste my time looking this up?
Players I’d trade straight up for Billingsley –
Shawn Marcum – BABIP is .204, look for the correction
AJ Burnett – Wouldn’t you?
Roy Oswalt – K’d more than 6 batters in a game only once so far in ‘08
Carlos Guillen – Preparation DH? Yup, I went there.
Justin Upton – Luck in play with his BABIP at .373
Let’s get serious here. Bills isn’t going to win any hardware this year and probably won’t be a top 15 starter but, there’s value and production to be had from him. He isn’t the starter everyone’s talking about, and there may be some owners out there that don’t know what they’re sitting on. See what other owners are asking for him. I’d be willing to bet it’s won’t take the names above to get him. I’d simply be willing to give them up for him if it came down to it. You should too.