I hallucinated on Sunday night, and it was really disturbing. You see, the night before was the final night of my trip to the Jersey Shore — one filled with trash of all kinds — on which I can confidently say I imbibed too much low-shelf vodka. I danced with cougars, saw a guy with a mustache, asked if he was Grey, got looked at weird, continued to dance with cougars, got sick, got unsick, had more cougars, and eventually found my way back to my trashy motel. And no, I didn’t wake up with a cougar, but saw the guy with the mustache leave with all six of them. After a nauseating 5-hour ride home earlier in the day, I sat down on my fluffy couch and flipped on ESPN for the Sox/Yanks game. What I hallucinated was a bit odd and was very confusing: I envisioned a guy who isn’t supposed to be playing and who is at war with his team and management get trotted out onto the field to help his team while simultaneously warring with his team, get hit by a pitch, get defended by one of the guys whom he’s at war with, get booed, then cheered, then hit a redemption homer off the pitcher who wasn’t thrown out of the game despite clearly pegging four straight pitches at a player. I saw a manager who never flips out flip out and get ejected while defending a player whom he wishes wasn’t on his team in the first place, yet who he plays everyday. I saw the Yankees beat the Red Sox, and saw Mariano Rivera get hit hard for the hundredth consecutive time. And this wasn’t the first time I’ve felt this confused.
I know my dream was truly illogical, random, and wouldn’t ever actually happen, but sometimes staring at your team — whether it be in contention or not — and determining which guys you want to keep can be just as puzzling. When you have three keeper spots and five nice candidates, it can be frustrating, as you know, and as I’ve explained in myriad “keeper” posts before. On one team I have Hyun-Jin Ryu and Derek Holland and can only keep one… and because my brain is finally healed from the three-night Jersey bender that gave me horrific nightmares Sunday evening, let’s take a look at these two guys who’ve had awesome 2013s and see if they’ll be as productive next year… and the year after that.
There’s not really much lying under the surface that might cause Ryu hesitation except his only having been successful in the MLB for less than one year.
Relying on his fastball and change-up — the beautiful duo that can withstand even “off nights” — Ryu’s striking out 19.8% of hitters while walking 2.6/9. His BAbip-against is slightly low at .297, especially for a guy with a 1.05 GB/FB (more grounders=higher BAbip), but he’ll keep it in the ballpark, especially in Los Angeles.
Now, I might suffer from hallucinations (LOL, stop lying, it was definitely a hallucination), but I’m at least lucid enough to realize a good changer-upper when it’s punching me in the gut as hard as when I lose all six cougars to a Grey-like guy in Jersey.
Aside from his change-up being 11.2 MPH slower than his four-seamer, when Ryu throws the change hitters bat (yeah they do! right?!) a gross .152 , swing at pitches outside of the zone 40.2% of the time (compared to 22% on his four-seamer), and are riding a 13.5% LD-rate to a .164 BAbip — a number that will remain low, though not so freakishly low. His change’s 15.1 PITCHf/x Pitch Value is higher than both Clayton Kershaw‘s curve and Patrick Corbin‘s slider.
He’s only been doing it for one year, and hey, guys could adjust, but an old baseball adage says that, as long as a guy has a solid fastball and change, the rest of his stuff is merely icing on the cake.
His sexy record and 2.95 ERA have his value extremely high, so if I could keep him, I’d definitely hold on and enjoy discount for the next few years. Hyun-Jin Real, LOL!
Fortunately, crappy personalities, sarcastic mustaches that are too lame to be appreciated even ironically, and terrible impressions don’t affect fantasy baseball.
Just like H-J Real (LOL!), Holland’s got a 2.95 ERA in his age-26 season. He strikes out more guys than Real (LOL!) with a 22.6% K-rate and is walking fewer guys per nine innings than in any other season in his career — 2.6. And why? Bailing on his fastball and falling in love with his sinker.
As some might know, starting in 2012, Holland pretty much abandoned his four-seam fastball for his sinker. In 2011, he threw his fastball 66.3% of the time without a sinker, and then in 2012 threw his four-seamer 0.2% of the time and his sinker 68.1%. The result of changing a fastball for a sinker? Somehow, better control, as stated earlier.
Holland’s definitely getting a bit lucky, though. He’s a fly-ball pitcher, which will keep his .311 BAbip-against relatively low, but 0.6 homers per nine innings for a fly-ball pitcher on Texas is unsustainable—very unsustainable. He also has a LOB% 5% higher than his career rate.
You paid barely anything — he had a 4.67 ERA last year — but the true Holland is somewhere in the middle of those — probably closer to his 3.49 xFIP.