Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami sign with the Atlanta Braves after they had already signed Javier Vazquez. Now all the Braves need is a #1 pitcher and they have a great staff. I guess the Braves decided if they weren’t going to sign a big name pitcher, they’d try their best to make Vazquez look better. It was one way to go. Jar-Jar Jurrjens had this to say, “Yousa signing is otay.” George Lucas wasn’t available to translate. Anyway, what do these two signings mean for 2009 fantasy baseball:
Derek Lowe - Lowe leaves the ideal NL West (Dodger, Petco, and AT&T Park plus those inept offenses) for the more offense-minded NL East. He posted four straight sub-4.000 ERAs for the Dodgers and seven straight years near 200 innings. His sinker still works — 60% GB% is about as good as anyone other than Brandon Webb. The move to the NL East will likely move his numbers up a bit but this is much better for his value than a return to the AL. Inch up the CHONE projections to about 4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He’s exactly the kind of pitcher you want as your number four starter. You know what you’re going to get and he balances the upside picks (Cueto) and the injury picks (Burnett) nicely. Just don’t do like the Braves and overpay for him.
Kenshin Kawakami - My first reaction to this signing was he sounded more like Hideki Irabu than Dice-K. So if you were to Blink like Gladwell, you’d stay away and not have to read on. East Windup Chronicle, which tells me everything I ever need to know about Japanese players, breaks Kawakami down. My translation of their translation is for you to expect Kuroda, but in a less favorable division and park. The sheer unknown of Kawakami is intriguing enough for me to take a flier on him in NL-Only leagues and deep mixed ones. Another more shallow and you’ll crack open your skull.