February 25, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

2013 Fantasy Baseball Leaders and Laggards: K:BB Laggards Edition

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Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Cleveland Indians

The guys on this list absolutely earned their spots by either missing the strike zone often enough to walk tons of batters or not being overpowering enough to strike batters out. Everyone here has issues and not just the crippling emotional kind. These guys suffer from the kinds of ailments that can derail a fantasy baseball team while taking ratios with it. The sad fact is a lot of these guys aren’t even nice enough to leave behind a few extra K’s after they’ve gone. They’ve shredded your ERA, blown up your WHIP and left without offering anything to your fantasy team. These are the men who put the “laggards” in “Leaders and Laggards,” and they will have a similar impact on your fantasy team if given the slightest chance.

1. Ricky Romero 1.18
2. Henderson Alvarez 1.46
3. Ubaldo Jimenez 1.51
4. Aaron Harang 1.54
5. Barry Zito 1.63
6. Edinson Volquez 1.66
7. Luis Mendoza 1.76
8. Lucas Harrell 1.79
9. Justin Masterson 1.81
10. C.J. Wilson 1.90

Ricky Romero struck out 6.22 batters per nine innings. Not great, but useful in some league formats. He also walked 5.22 batters per nine. Sweet zombie Jesus! That’s horrific. His velocity was down slightly, but other than that he was the same pitcher he’s always been…except for the fact that he couldn’t find home plate with his left hand and a flashlight. Romero is a stay away until he proves he’s capable of walking less than five batters per nine. Sorry, Ricky. We’ve got to have standards.

Henderson Alvarez is as close to useless in fantasy baseball as it gets. He makes Kevin Correia look exciting. No, seriously. He makes Kevin Correia look exciting. He might post the competent ERA here or reasonable WHIP there, but Alvarez is actively hurting you with his anemic 3.80 K/9. Alvarez is a stay away especially in leagues with innings caps. You don’t want to waste your valuable innings on a guy who won’t strike anyone out.

Ubaldo Jimenez is also another stay away. He’s a shadow of the 26-year old with the electric fastball that he was. His average fastball velocity was down to 92.5 MPH last year and his control appears to have gone with it. He’s simply too dangerous to your ratios to even take a flier on at this point. He’s a stay away until he’s hitting 96 in the spring and saying things like, “I spent the off-season in Nepal with a mechanics guru and he made me re-learn everything I knew about pitching.”

The biggest problem with Aaron Harang isn’t necessarily his K:BB numbers. It’s still a problem, just not the biggest one Harang is facing. Harang will probably end up in the bullpen unless a few catastrophes hit the Dodgers’ pitching staff this spring. The Dodgers currently have eight starting pitchers for five spots. Two are currently rehabbing. Harang will have to beat out Chris Capuano in a spring training death match to earn the fifth starter spot. Based on the year Harang is coming off, it’s hard to like his chances. He posted his highest BB/9 (4.26) since his rookie year. The good news is that he hasn’t lost much velocity since then. The bad news is that he never had much velocity to begin with. Harang is a waiver wire guy in most formats. Even NL-only at this point.

Barry Zito managed to win 15 games last year. This is reason #1,342,943 that “wins” are a BS stat and need to be wiped from our collective memory. He struck out fewer than six batters per nine for the second straight year and has walked more than three batters per nine in every year of his career. He’s a ratio killer and not the helpful kind that strikes batters out.

Speaking of a helpful ratio killer that strikes people out, Edinson Volquez, ladies and gentlemen! Volquez posted a K/9 over 8.00 in every year since his rookie season. The problem is he also owns a 4.93 BB/9 for his career. He might make batters make the walk of shame to the dugout, but he also makes them make the walk of smug success to first base. Volquez is actually worth owning for his home starts. He posted a 2.90 ERA at Petco last year, but a 5.60 ERA on the road. His strikeout and walk numbers were basically the same, but the comfy confines of Petco made Volquez worth a roster spot or at least a worthy stream candidate. Don’t overpay for Volquez, but he could be useful.

Caribbean Series MVP Luis Mendoza is in the mix for the Royals’ fifth starter job. “In the mix” means “battling four other guys who aren’t quite as mediocre as Mendoza.” There is literally no reason to add Mendoza to your roster even if wins the job. He doesn’t strike batters out (career 5.23 K/9) and he does walk a few (career 3.29 BB/9). He’s waiver wire fodder and should be left there. Caribbean Series MVP or not.

How Lucas Harrell finished 2012 with a .289 BABIP is a miracle. He doesn’t strike out very many (6.51 K/9) and he does walk more than a few (3.79 BB/9). He puts a ton of balls in play (85.3% contact rate) and owned a 2.54 GB:FB ratio with a 20.3% LD %. He’s an innings eater on a bad team. Good thing for Harrell that he works for the Astros. We call that “synergy.”

Justin Masterson was basically the same guy he’s been for a while. He still gets killed by lefties (.288/.376/.450 slash line) and he still gets lots of groundballs (2.23 GB:FB ratio with a 55.7% GB %). His 3.84 BB/9 was above his career average and he just missed a 7.00 K/9. He’s a reasonable AL only play, but a waiver wire guy in most mixed leagues. There’s just not much here to get excited about.

C.J. Wilson’s 4.05 BB/9 wasn’t even the highest BB/9 he’s posted as a started. He posted a 4.10 BB/9 in 2010, so it’s not that out of the ordinary. He walks guys. Was anyone really that surprised to see Wilson regress after a career year? He’s also coming off an off-season that saw him require elbow surgery. The good news is that he’s on track to avoid the DL. The bad news is that he’s heading into his age 33 season and we’ve likely seen the best he had to offer in 2011. He can still be useful, but don’t expect the guy that posted an 8.30 K/9 with a 2.98 BB/9 in 2011. He’ll probably be closer to the guy he was last year.


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