Fantasy Baseball: Ricky Nolasco-Ace??

I have written about Florida Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco a few times recently where he has showed up in the NL top breakout pitchers, as well as the NL top pitchers since the All Star Break writeups.

Peter Bendix over at www.BeyondtheBoxScore.com provides some additional comparisons in his recent writeup:

Sabathia vs Nolasco

CC Sabathia has been incredible over the last couple of months. So has Ricky Nolasco. Each man had a start on July 28. Here are their respective numbers, dating from that start:

Sabathia_vs_nolasco_medium

On June 10, Sabathia threw a complete game shutout and Nolasco gave up zero earned runs over six innings. Here are their numbers since those starts:

Sabathia_vs_nolasco_ii_medium

Obviously, given the fact that Sabathia has a much more extensive track record of dominance, we should not equate the abilities of these two pitchers just yet. But it's still worth noting that, as dominant as CC Sabathia has been over the last three months, Ricky Nolasco has matched him pitch for pitch.

Here is how his performance stacks up, since June 10th, vs. other NL aces:

All Pitchers 6/10/08 - 9/1/08 MLB Standard Stats
Player                                      INN       GS      QS         W        K      BBI     ERA WHIP
Sabathia, CC SP MIL           128 16 15 12 126 24 1.55 0.94
Nolasco, Ricky SP FLA   111.7 16 14 8 115 13 2.82 0.92
Santana, Johan SP NYM   108.3 16 13 5 93 30 2.41 1.1
Pelfrey, Mike SP NYM   107.7 16 10 11 67 25 3.09 1.14
Billingsley, Chad SP LA   105 16 11 9 98 35 2.83 1.28
Hamels, Cole SP PHI   104.7 15 12 5 95 17 2.92 1
Maholm, Paul SP PIT   103 15 11 4 74 25 3.32 1.19
Cain, Matt SP SF   102.3 15 11 5 90 41 3.08 1.25
Haren, Dan SP ARI   102.3 15 11 8 105 15 3.08 1.13
Lilly, Ted SP CHC   102.3 16 13 8 91 34 3.52 1.23
Lincecum, Tim SP SF   101.7 15 10 7 127 38 2.66 1.15
Webb, Brandon SP ARI   101.3 16 10 8 85 31 3.91 1.33
Jimenez, Ubaldo SP COL   98 16 10 8 78 49 3.31 1.35
Cook, Aaron SP COL  97 15 7 8 43 19 4.55 1.44
Sheets, Ben SP MIL   96.7 15 9 6 81 26 3.26 1.19
Dempster, Ryan RP CHC   96 15 10 8 96 34 3 1.25
Lowe, Derek SP LA   96 15 10 7 72 15 3.28 1.09
Perez, Oliver SP NYM  96 15 11 5 91 39 2.91 1.19
Lohse, Kyle SP STL   95.7 15 10 6 62 23 3.86 1.32
Peavy, Jake SP SD   95 15 12 5 95 29 2.56 1.13

The K-BB ratio is what really stands out for me. Nolasco, along with Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, a healthy Anibal Sanchez, and a more experienced Andrew Miller should form a formidable rotation for the Marlins for years to come. I assume Scott Olson could be trade bait in the offseason.

The question going into spring training 2009 will be: can Nolasco follow up his breakout 2008 season and firmly place himself in the ace category of NL starting pitchers?

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