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Paul Maholm: Future Ace or One Year Wonder??

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Two nights ago I executed a trade in the UBA league, one of my two NL-only auction leagues. I traded one of my 2nd round minor league draft picks (#23) for Pirates starting pitcher Paul Maholm. Maholm carries with him a $10 S1 contract, meaning I can keep him for $10 this year, and either keep him at $10 in 2010, or give him a raise in 2010.

Maholm is fresh off a breakout year, but he pitches for the Pirates. He ended 2008 with only 9 wins, but with a solid 3.71 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. In his 31 starts, he had 19 quality starts. In 2008, his ERA dropped from 5.02 to 3.71, his WHIP dropped from 1.424 to 1.279, and he increased his strikeouts from 105 to 139. His Ks/9 increased from 5.31 to 6.06.

Looking at his monthly splits, he had one bad month-May 2008-where he put up an ERA of 5.92. In the other 5 months, he had the following ERAs-3.26, 3.38, 2.43, 3.89, and 3.00. Tells me he kept the Pirates in alot of games, and could raise his win total in 2009.

This year, Maholm should benefit from new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. Well, that's what I am counting on. Plus, of the available starting pitchers in this year's UBA auction, only 6 had a better ERA in 2008, and 6 had a better WHIP....and their names are Santana, Webb, Harden, Billingsley, Wainwright, and Peavy. Maholm also induces alot of groundballs, 54% of his batted balls to be exact, which is outstanding.

With Maholm, my pitching staff now looks like this going into the draft:

Ricky Nolasco-$10 S1

Clayton Kershaw-$5 S1

Wandy Rodriguez-$1 S1

Paul Maholm-$10 S1

Manny Corpas-$1 0 (will raise him if he starts the year as the Rockies closer)

For 2009, I am expecting Maholm to increase his win total to 13, with an ERA around 3.60 and a WHIP around 1.25. Am I too optimistic?