To Stream or Not to Stream - Corbin vs. Saves

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Each week I will respond to requests on Fake Teams. Here’s a good one on streaming a starting pitcher versus going for saves...

Each week I will respond to requests on Fake Teams.

Here’s a good one on streaming a starting pitcher versus going for saves:

I am fairly solid in every category but saves (7 pts.) and HRs (7pts). My pitchers are Adam Wainwright, Yovani Gallardo, Jake Peavy, Tommy Milone, Homer Bailey, Carlos Villanueva, Patrick Corbin, Andrew Bailey, Casey Janssen and JJ Putz. My question is do I stream with Villanueva and Corbin or use three closers to make some headway in saves? I’m thinking of streaming Corbin if I use six starters. I just don't need to blow up my ratios after just getting them back to respectability.

I’ll respond by attending to Corbin. I don’t think he’ll completely blow up your ERA/WHIP stats unless you’re throwing out 3+ aces per week. I posted on him here. He’s certainly worth it in deep leagues but I believe he’ll keep his value in shallow water as well. Here’s what I said pre-season:

Patrick Corbin (2%) - Corbin earned the #5 rotation spot on the Diamondbacks. Keep an eye on him. In 100+ last year, he had a stellar K/BB ratio that approached 3.5 and a GB/FB ratio that approached 1.5 - both in line with a realistic MiLB to MLB translation for him. At 23 in Arizona, we can see an ERA closer to 4.25 but the potential to approach is 2012 3.71 SIERA is certainly there as soon as this year based on his peripherals. Along with Gee, I would suggesting keeping a close eye on him. I'm not yet "bullish" on him... that seems to be the newest over-used word in baseball, no?

To date he’s certainly benefited from luck-related statistics:

(stats courtesy of FanGraphs)

HR/FB (6.30%)

BABIP (.226)

runners LOB (91.8%).

For reference here’s last year’s MLB average for each factor:

HR/FB (11.30%)

BABIP (.293)

LOB (72.5%).

And Corby’s 2012:

HR/FB (13.5%)

BABIP (.317)

LOB (71.20%)

So we’ll absolutely see regression on all three of these accounts, which we can even see from his expected/skill-interactive ERA (4.39 SIERA) to date. His K/BB ratio is also almost half it was last year (1.86 vs. 3.44). What does look good and bodes well in Arizona is he continues to induce ground balls (1.56 GB/FB ratio vs. 1.47 last year).

Everyone talks about BABIP and I’m sorry that’s the first place I went but it’s so very true here. Look at his GB/FB/LD data last year and this:

GB%

FB%

LD%

BABIP

2011

Diamondbacks (AA)

0.328

2012

Diamondbacks (AA)

0.306

2012

Diamondbacks (AAA)

0.349

2012

Diamondbacks

45.70%

31.00%

23.30%

0.317

2013

Diamondbacks

46.30%

29.60%

24.10%

0.226

Career

45.80%

30.80%

23.40%

0.304

Naturally, line drives fall for hits far more (~3x) than either ground balls or fly balls. His line drive% to date is slightly beyond what it was last year, but his BABIP is well lower and his increase in ground ball% isn’t that significant. Disclaimer on all this is a small sample size, but the point is we’ll definitely see regression across the board.

So what can we expect? With a league average contact% for at least another year, but a K/BB (not yet) better than average and GB/FB approaching great levels – if skill and luck combines, we could have a 3.75 ERA as soon as this year, but we’re more likely to see an ERA that approaches 4.00.

Recommendation: I don’t think he’ll kill your ERA or WHIP. Stream him based on his matchups/2-start opportunity. If someone in your league jumps on his ERA & WHIP to date, then do sell high without hesitation. With this said and the fact that you have three stellar relievers (and are concerned about your ERA/WHIP), I would keep the relievers going throughout the week. If it’s daily there’s not too much harm in spot-starting Corby. Don’t punt saves. I’m never up (down?) for punting a category and it’s not like you are going with Carlos Marmol and Mitchell Boggs.

Daniel Schwartz owns and contributes for rotobanter.com - a fantasy baseball site dedicated to visitor requests and live discussion. You can follow up on twitter @rotobanter.

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