Manageable Players (Pitchers)
by Marty Davis
Have you ever reached the end of the draft and the fools around you are starting to rattle off names of players that aren't going to reach the bigs for another year or two? C'mon, you've been there, waiting to make your pick, and the guy next to you is looking in his `Stars of the Future' portion of his fantasy magazine. I have come to wonder why these guys are giving up on this year. I, personally, want to win this year and every year that I play. Yeah sure, Cameron Maybin, is going to be a five-tool stud in three years, but wasn't Mark Prior the Nolan Ryan of today three years ago? Aren't we all still waiting for that to happen one of these years?
I myself am not looking to the future in any of my drafts for the rest of my life. I am looking to the NOW and wondering how I can constantly make my team better. It may seem that there are a bunch of guys that are all clumped together on one tier. You and everyone else who see only one tier are wrong. There are players that are manageable. These players are not going to win you a championship on their own. They are simply pawns that if placed in the right position will help you achieve your ultimate goal of supremacy. These players are not sleepers. Sleepers are sought after cheap to outproduce their value. Manageable players cannot be relied on as a whole. Simply put stop gag guys. These guys will out produce sleepers in the scheme of things. Here's an example:
Tim Lincecum - is a sleeper. Could he win that fifth starting spot and out produce a pitcher like Matt Morris? Probably not, I believe that he will stay in the pen and the Giants will let him grow both mentally and physically. If he doesn't win the rotation spot what is the worst that will happen? In a month or two you drop him and it will be no harm no foul.
Tim Wakefield - is a manageable player. Sure you look at his 7-11 record with his 4.63 ERA and say what is this Duffus talking about. What I'm talking about is his 3.97 ERA and 1.168 WHIP at home. What I'm looking at is his 7-1 record with a 3.11 ERA with five days' rest. These are the intricacies that baseball is built on. The little things that people overlook in the later rounds, which are the rounds that could be win it all for them.
I will start you off with an obvious one and than move further along. I will be giving three players today as it is getting late. I will promise more hitters in my next article when it's not so late.
Jake Westbrook - 15-10 4.11 ERA in 211.1 IP. His splits are what appeal me to him. His value is at home which is often mistaken as a hitter's park. Actually, it is a neutral park with good hitters who play there as their home. He was 7-4 2.88 ERA with a 1.281 WHIP there. This is a player that you could start and rely on at home. His away numbers aren't very good at all. He is 8-6 with a whopping 5.40 ERA on the road. His WHIP was also in the 1.5 range on the road. He is 29 years old. So this is about as good as it is going to get.
Clay Hensley - 11-12 3.71 ERA in 187 IP. His home and second half ERA are what appeals to me when it comes to Clay. His home splits were 8-6, 3.10 ERA with 1.271 WHIP. Now a lot of writers and other fantasy people that I talk to overlook the fact that he started in the pen last year and he had an ERA of more than six. SIX! His ERA in the second half was even better than his home splits at a 2.66. This shows that the kid has the steam to fight for your team over the long haul. He probably is the closest to a sleeper that I have seen on this list in a long time, but he'll have to improve on the road first.
Robinson Tejada - 5-5 4.28 ERA in 73.2 IP. That is right, there are actually pitchers that play for the Texas Rangers. And no, they still can't pitch in that park. His ERA away from home and his second half splits are what is so intriguing about the other Tejada. He posts an away record of 5-2 w/ a 3.10 ERA. His second half ERA was actually lower than Hensley's at a 2.32. So he too, is showing signs of longevity. Let's not forget that he had less than half the Innings Pitched than Clay did. That has to come into consideration also.
None of the above guys are big strike out guys which also hurts their value. I also want you to remember that these players will not win you a championship. Nor will they come up big for you in every situation. This is exactly what baseball is built on. Failure. Where else can you mess up seven out of 10 times and be considered good at what you do? Maybe with the ladies, but that is another story. The little things are what seems to get overlooked before every season of every sport begins. The little things determine whose playing at the end of September and the people who are doing their football homework in the middle of June.
Have a good night people. It is bed time. The old lady is going to kill me for staying up this late. But then again this is the fantasy lifestyle that I love and live for.