the Wild Ones

Within a few miles of my place is a cliff that Jesse James jumped off (with his horse into the river) to escape authorities and this got me thinking… If Jesse were to assemble a gang of pitchers for his fantasy team, who would he draft? These are the things I often day dream about…

The following pitchers are a wild bunch. Minus Doug Davis (hes not worth talking about), these guys had the leagues worst BB/9 rates. If they could make some progress with their control and offer less free bases, they could provide good value in drafts.

stats are from Fangraphs
ADP numbers are from MockDraftCentral

Yovani Gallardo4.56 BB/9 – What happened? Through 2007-2008 Yovani only allowed 3.02 BB/9. I know he was hurt and had season ending surgery in 2008, but I would expect some progression here for Gallardo. His pitches are gaining some velocity and value, so I think Yovani would be a great addition (ADP 98.9) to Jesse James’ team. Gallardo is one of those SP you can get in the middle rounds that may make the jump and give you SP1 numbers.

Clayton Kershaw4.79 BB/9 – The wildest of the bunch, the kid’s BB/9 actually regressed from his 2008 season (4.35). His GB/FB also regressed and you have to be skeptical about his 4.1% HR/FB. He is a wild card in my eyes, I am enamoured, but I dont trust him at the same time. I know I will draft him in at least 1 league and try to stop myself after a 2nd time. He’s currently going at pick 112, but he is a well hyped player so I wouldn’t be surprised to see his ADP get a little more expensive.

A.J. Burnett4.22 BB/9 – Through 2007-2008 Burnett allowed 3.59 & 3.50 BB/9. In 2009 he experienced the worst GB/FB% of his career (1.09 compared to 1.52 in 2008). If you think Burnett is sliding, you’ll get a 1.40 WHIP and a 4.33 ERA. If you think Burnett will bounce back you’ll get a 1.30 WHIP and a 3.90 ERA. Either way you get a lot of Ks and Wins, but Jesse may be a little too wild for me on this adventure. It’s hard for me to spend a mid round pick (ADP 125) for a guy who wont have a WHIP under 1.30. I’ve never really been a fan and his Fastball seems to be losing value.

Chad Billingsley3.94 BB/9 – Instead of following trend, his walk rate regressed back to his 2007 season. He started the season well and then things got rough. He is still only 25 and should get back on track. He did show an improvement in his BB/9 during two months. “Buffalo” is another mid round (ADP 127) pitcher that could make the jump and give you SP1 numbers.

Carlos Zambrano4.15 BB/9 – Carlos is a wild west type guy, not the type of guy you want riding on up to you on horseback. Opinions on him vary: some people say his BABIP was slightly inflated, while others say his HR/FB% will rise. Some people say his K/9 went back up to 8.00, while others say his BB/9 went back up too. His slider and cutter are not what they used to be, but he is still a decent value pick at his 171 ADP. That is, if he is healthy and over the back spasms that put him on the DL in August. Cubs homers are hoping for a 1.30 WHIP, but it’ll be in the 1.34 – 1.38 range.

Jorge de la Rosa4.01 BB/9 – Jorge was clutch down the stretch in 2009, but he was still walking people like crazy. This was an improvement from his 2008 season (4.29 BB/9) and in 2007 (for the Royals) he posted a 3.67 BB/9, so there is hope for this gunslinger to jump to Ubaldo status. His fastball, curveball and changeup improved in 2009 and his slider remained a plus pitch. He also gained some velocity on his pitches. Jorge is a good gamble (ADP 197) and will likely be on a number of my teams.

honorable mention goes to Daisuke Matsuzaka and his 5.05 BB/9 in 2008 and his 4.55 BB/9 in 2009.