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From 2008-2010, Ryan Dempster posted a 3.49 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 2.50 K:BB rate over 622 innings. He averaged 189 K’s a season during that stretch and was a great fantasy baseball contributor, i.e. he was all Henry Rowengartner.

Then, Dempster turned 34 and became all Chet Steadman. His 2011 was miserable and worthless (just like Daniel Stern sans Home Alone/Celtic Pride): 4.80 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 2.33 K:BB rate.

While he did have 191 K’s, his K:BB rate continued a downward trend. In addition, he had one of the biggest declines in swinging strike rates last season, just behind Jhoulys Chacin, Jered Weaver, Daniel Hudson and Ricky Nolasco. That said, his K/9 and BB/9 rates were very close to his 2010 rates.

In reality, the issue with 2011 wasn’t exactly command or lack of K’s but too many eephus balls. His line drive rate was 20.8%, up from 15.6% in 2010 and 18.3% in 2009. Last season, he threw his slider less and relied on his fastball more and not surprisingly got fewer ground balls – not a good recipe for Wrigley. It is also a poor recipe for swinging strikes and thus strike-outs.

Still, any way you slice it, he was a tad unlucky. If he gets back to working that fastball and slider in good combination, his ground balls will increase, his line drives will go down and his BABIP will follow suit.

Dempster is getting up there and we’ve probably seen his best stretch, but he’s still capable of an ERA slightly under 4.00, a 1.35 WHIP and 180 Ks. Those K’s would put him in the top 25 among pitchers, while his ERA and WHIP would be in the 55 – 70 range. That’s a heck of a #4 starter.

Yet, Dempster is the 93rd SP off the board at Mock Draft Central. It’s shocking that Drew Pomeranz, Brett Anderson, R.A. Dickey, Kyle Lohse, Johan Santana, Erik Bedard, Phil Hughes, Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran, Doug Fister, Trevor Cahill and others are going before him.

13 Responses

  1. GT says:
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    “he sucks but he’s a good value”

    Aaaah baseball.

    • @GT, Exactly!

  2. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    Ah yes, good ol MDC. I think the fantasy community needs to get away from drawing such conclusions based on MDC. MDC is great during the winter when the major fantasy sites haven’t started mocks up yet. But much of it’s utility ends there. While Dempster may be #93 SP on MDC, he’s actually the 48th off of Yahoo at this moment at overall selection #183 (per Yahoo ADP), and behind none of the guys you have listed. While that does slot him in as a #3/4 as you mentioned, the value, IMO, is not nearly what your article would lead one to believe. Yahoo, ESPN and even CBS yield far more relevant information this time of year because actual people are doing actual drafts, and at a far greater number than anything on MDC.

    Personally, I have no desire to have Dempster as a #3/4. His WHIP is dangerous, and even with the nice K rate, I prefer to stay away from high WHIP guys unless there is upside. I think you’d agree that at this point, Dempster is devoid of upside.

    • @RandomItalicizedVoice, Agreed that MDC this late doesnt add a ton to the conversation, but it does serve as a type of catchall. In addition, this article was written awhile ago when only MDC had available data.

      that said, ESPN ranked Dempster at 200 and 60th SP, Yahoo! has him as the 41st SP.

      I’ll revise who Dempster should be drafted before: Hellickson, Wainwright, Masterson, Josh Johnson, Jaime Garcia, Jhoulys Chacin, Moore, Liriano, and others.

      Appreciate you noting and it is worth noting that MDC is by no means gospel (especially given the plethora of formats everyone plays under).

      • RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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        @Albert, There’s also the counter argument that a certain (perhaps significant) number of people that draft on the majors sites are office league types that don’t know a lot about fantasy baseball. And that is a valid argument…one that is likely not the case on MDC. As you mention, it’s important not to take any 1 list as gospel, and to assimilate them all as best you can. But I honestly don’t think Dempster is being taken as the #93 off the board in very many leagues at all. I hate the guy this year…but I wouldn’t think twice about taking him as the #90 SP.

        • @RandomItalicizedVoice, Yeah I usually put in a boiler plate/caveat to using MDC. Not sure why I missed it there, but this will be a good reminder for using it.

          All ADP is flawed for one reason or another and not noting so is a failure on my part.

          See that’s where we differ, I’m not letting Dempster get past 75!!!! :-)

    • @RandomItalicizedVoice, Shoot, forgot you asked about if these rankings limit his upside. I tend to think not, obviously. You simply cant get 180 K’s with upside to 200 that late.

      The worst members of the 180+ K crew from last year: Dempster, Ubadlo, Latos, Morrow. Of course guys like Bud Norris, Rickey romero are banging on that, but most (aside from Norris) probably cost more than Dempster…

  3. jwalker says:
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    20 team keeper, 5 keepers per team. 7×7 with ob% slugging, holds and quality stars. Hosmer, votto, Reyes, mccutchen, Stanton. My 5

    17th pick in the 6th rd. After our 5 keepers.

    Where do I go? Another bat to have a sick offense or a SP like bumgarner, Dan Hudson, Anibal. Guys like that. Or a closer?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • @jwalker, I’d really take best available and kind of depends on the other keepers. if those are the best SPs available when you go, I’d probably try to get one.

      In this deep a league you’re going to have holes so you should really just get the best talent. You can then trade if need be for something your team lacks

  4. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hey Al if you’ve a few minutes could you assess my team and see if I need anymore pop like im thinking I do.

    C- *M. Wieters 9
    CI-Adam Dunn 6
    3B-R. Zimmerman 24
    1B-Gaby Sanchez 6
    2B- R Roberts 2
    SS-Hanley Ramirez 33
    MI-Elvis Andrus 14
    OF-*J. Bruce 25
    OF- Melky Cabrera 2
    OF-A. McCutchen 30
    OF-Josh Hamilton 22
    OF-Torii Hunter 3
    UTIL-Billy Butler 7

    *M. Cain 14
    *M. Bumgarner 9
    *G. Gonzalez 8
    Mike Minor 0
    Jon Lester 19
    Shaun Marcum 8
    Jason Motte 8
    Sergio Santos 7
    Jordan Walden 8

    B Boesch
    D Ackley
    D Holland
    S Casilla

    Only a 10 team league (OBP league), its an auction keeper and I didn’t have many good keepers and had a pretty rough draft hitting-wise. Am I right in thinking I need another masher, particularly 1B, and have starting pitching to deal? Do you like to rectify issues now before the season starts or do you try and let things play out for a while and see where you stand.

    • @TheNewGuy, It kind of depends on Dunn. You have a lot of solid guys, but in a 10 teamer you really need that one 35+ HR guy. Bruce could be that, but I’m not projecting him for more than 32.

      typically, when i see a weakness I try to fill it as quickly as possible. However, there’s enough upside on your squad to wait. Ackley could provide some pop, Butler could, etc. So i’d be willing to give it a month to see what happens with Dunn.

      that said, never hurts to float pitching before they get hurt!

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Albert, Im glad you’re not too down on Dunn. Wasn’t intending on drafting him but got to the stage where id missed out on the other overpriced (imo) 1Bmen and thought it was worth a gamble as his OBP wouldn’t kill me like his AVG would. Is it clutching at straws to think his disastrous 2011 was due to that shoulder injury? I mean there doesn’t seem any clues in his 2010 stats that it was coming, players don’t often fall off a cliff like he did.

        At the worst I can always platoon him with Encarnacion (missed him off my list), when Dunn’s facing a lefty.

        • @TheNewGuy, I have no clue what happened to Dunn – probably his poor offseason workouts paired with age catching up to him. I’m not high on Dunn necessarily, but he along with some other pieces give hope for your power situation.

          Oh, I am high on Edwin Encarnacion. I’d definitely wait a bit and see how it shakes out.

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