Well at this point you kinda sorta maybe know what this is all about. I mean, I’ve now dropped April, May, June and July on you so if you’re lost about what we’re trying to look at it simply means you haven’t been keeping up. That’s ok, that’s what hyperlinks are for. Now if you’re asking me to spoon-feed you info…well, ok. Vvvvvvvvvvrooooooom, open the mental hangar, we’re about to drop some #PitchingIsSoDeep knowledge on you. We’ve been looking back at 2014 to get some feel for just how deep the pitching rabbit hole really went. Did we reach Wonderland? Well, I’m not here to make a verdict on either side but so far we have seen an abundance of ownable arms either for extended periods or for at least a few weeks that were sufficient if you didn’t draft a ‘top’ arm in the draft. Better yet, if your top arm was Jose Fernandez, you had your chances to make up for it. This isn’t a West Side Story thing, BTW. I’m not ‘team draft late arms forever’ any more than I am ‘draft Kershaw in the first’. I want to see both sides and weigh them out for myself so that’s why I’m here. Come join me, will you? Here’s the top August arms from the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…
So what the heck am I looking at, you might ask yourself. Well, unfortunately, the names I gave those secondary columns just won’t cut through so I gotta give you some breakdown. The first column labelled simply ‘$’ is Rudy’s formula for evaluating streamers. I can’t share the secret formula, though I have been told if used in the kitchen it makes some great baked beans. The column to its immediate right is what I simply called ‘Minus Wins.’ It’s Rudy’s numbers minus the impact of wins on their value. Clearly it knocks a few bucks off the top for everyone, but it does go to show whether a guy pitched well or if it was the wins that pushed them through the gate. The third and final column is ‘Win Value Difference.’ This is simply to show the separation between their value when counting wins vs their inherent value without them. Some are drastic, some are not and some may be misleading. Also notice the spreadsheet itself has two different tabs to peruse: ‘August With Wins’ and ‘August W/out Wins.’ I don’t think this needs further explanation. If it does, please refer to Appendix I-IV. Hint: there is no appendix. PS, if this looks familiar from the previous posts in this series…it is! It’s a breakdown of what you’re looking at, I don’t see a reason to recreate the wheel. Unless the original wheel were inefficient, of course. Maybe it needs spikes? YES! Back to the drawing board we go! JK, moving along…
Largest Positive Win Value Difference: Matt Shoemaker (20.6)
Largest Negative Win Value Difference: Vidal Nuno (-13.6)
Not overly obvious free agent pitching pickups from the lists: Matt Shoemaker, Chris Tillman, Mike Fiers, Drew Smyly, Vidal Nuno, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Peavy, Tsuyoshi Wada, Danny Duffy, Brandon McCarthy, Jarred Cosart, Ryan Vogelsong – 12 total
Vidal Nuno – At first you kinda feel bad for Vidal and his bad luck with the win totals. Then you realize a majority of how ‘good’ he was in August is simply based on volume as he had 6 starts. Were they good? Sure. But is a 3.08 ERA and a 7.11 K/9 gonna get any Cy Young votes? Rhetorical. The cool thing about Vidal is he made it all better in September when he regressed back. That’s what you get for picking him up after looking at his August starts!
To qwell some ‘yeah but’ responses to the not overly obvious section – It’s August. If you’re holding dead weight like a Drew Smyly from your late rounds or a Jake Peavy or even a Chris Tillman, then you deserve your place which is probably dead last. They’re known names on some level but by August, people should’ve moved on and these guys should’ve been out there. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Well, maybe you can hate the player and the game there. Not like they did you any favors if you drafted them.
Matt Shoemaker – Went 6-1 in the month of August as he threw in a relief win early on to have a 7th appearance. This again is a clear sign that going by month isn’t exactly the best way to navigate but do you really want weekly numbers on this shizz? I think not…on the ‘looking into 2015’ side of things, Shoe is gonna be an interesting case. I think he’s Ryan Vogelsong’ish. He’ll be good but won’t relive this moment. I’m just glad he’s no longer working in a Nike sweatshop, honestly.
Drew Smyly – Something unlocked in Tampa. Like, it’s almost as if they know how to get good pitching from good, young yet unrefined arms or something…yeah, I liked Drew in 2014, I’ll like him again and probably more in 2015.
Kyle Hendricks – Thanks for the memories, Kyle.
22% – The amount of top 20 pitchers in the top 25. It’s a low number but we’re also at that crossroads in the season where the idea of a top 20 pitcher doesn’t really matter any more. Gio Gonzalez? Long gone. Homer Bailey? Buh-bye, sweetie pie. You realized who was a stream and who was a dream from this bunch long ago. That said, it does put more merit into waiting on pitching if you look at it from that angle.
The group of pickup arms was heavily influenced by the trade deadline. Nuno, McCarthy, Cosart, Peavy, and Smyly all seemingly benefited from a change of scenery mid-season for varying reasons. Makes you wonder if it sparks something in a player. Is that something we can bottle? How do you say ‘something to prove’ in French? I have a perfume idea! Overall, it was definitely a solid month for people with streaming/late round pitching aspirations given that nearly half of each list was either an FA arm or a late round draft pick. Again, not something we can base an argument off of but it definitely leans team #PitchingIsSoDeep when your 12th best pitcher in a given month is Kyle Hendricks. I mean, none of us owned him because he’s Kyle Hendricks so it didn’t help us that much but point made, right? Exactly. Until next time.