First we looked at hitters and now we look at some of the PPOBY starting pitchers.
Matt Cain — 2013 was a bad-luck-induced year; his skill set is just fine and there is no reason to be concerned.
Ryan Dempster – His advanced age aside, which brings legitimate concerns, his HR/FB rate went up by 3% and he added roughly half a walk per nine over his norm. He fits the PPOBY profile.
R.A. Dickey – Who knows what to expect this year? But he clearly fits the PPOBY profile. Prior to 2013, Dickey had three years of good results and essentially had one bad half in 2013.
Doug Fister – If you look at BaseballHQ’s BPX he is among the elite SP. His last three years of production were $ 23-12-8. Does an $8 season count as a bad year? Maybe, maybe not; but he will be a $15-ish guy this year.
Yovani Gallardo – After four years as a workhorse, Gallardo ran into a slight K decrease at age 28. He has a lot of innings on his arm, but he is a nice PPOBY candidate. He was a $15 SP for four years running and then was worth only $2 last year.
Gio Gonzalez — While there are many other issues aside from the baseball performance (allegedly), Gonzalez has a very consistent skill set with his value driven by win totals. 2013 was a bad year for him and regression of luck-induced wins may double his production dollars generated.
Cole Hamels – We have seen this before with Hamels. His 8-14 record hides his elite skills. He is a Cy Young candidate and should be near the top of your SP chart.
Dan Haren — Haren is a PPOBY x2. Haren has been the exact same guy for five years in a row, he just needs to regress to his career averages to get back to $15-20.
Jeremy Hellickson – Hellickson’s ERA the last four years 3.47-2.95-3.10-5.17. That 5.17 sticks out like a sore thumb and was a result of his 64% LOB% and a higher BABIP. Hidden within that 5.17 ERA is an improved K/9 and and lower BB/9. We are big fans for 2014.
Edwin Jackson — Jackson is usually very consistent in his skill set and we know what we are getting. His expected ERAs over the last four years are 3.77-3.96-3.80-3.98. His actual ERAs are 4.47-3.79-4.03 4.98. 2013′s ERA is going to positively regress in 2014.
Ian Kennedy – Kennedy was the exact same pitcher as in 2012, and his 4.14 expected ERA belied his 4.91 actual ERA. 2013 brought a few extra BB that should get back to normal…we hope.
David Price — 2013 was not a “bad” year, but it was half of his normal value, so he qualifies as a PPOBY. The K-rate decrease last year has some saying he is off his game, but he will be a $30 SP in AL auctions that may go for far less.
C.C. Sabathia — There are many negatives to be sure, but he fits here. A bad second half dragged his value down significantly and his expected ERA was far better than his actual ERA. See a pattern here?
Jeff Samardzija - The last three years were basically the same but in 2013 his ERA was almost a run higher than expected. Essentially this is a new skill plateau hidden by bad luck. Buy, and buy big.
Justin Verlander — There was a lot of discussion about the causes of his mediocre 2013: Diminshed velocity, mechanics, blah blah blah. It is all noise; he’s fine.