Learn the Names!

Sure you know Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, etc.., but there are other pitchers this season that are making a name for themselves. In 2010 the wide spread of pitching has grown throughout the league. Younger stars are coming out of the woodworks and are thriving so far almost half way into the season. These are the guys who are still on your fantasy waiver wire for the first week and then everyone sees their production and grabs hold to them. Not only are these guys pitching well most are in the Cy Young race for their respected leagues. I think I can officially say that Major League Baseball is a pitchers league. I’ll be talking about 3 that pop out to me.

Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins

Liriano had an amazing 2006 season. He and Johan Santana had enough to get the Twins to the playoffs that season and win their division within the last week. Liriano posted a 4.1 WAR that season, but disaster struck in Minnesota. The younger left hander need to get Tommy John surgery. Leading him to sitting out for the 2007 season. I was very excited that he was going to be able to play again because how well he pitched for the Twins in 2006. I knew he had some nasty pitches and could dominate a league. It would take time though. Liriano struggled in his first two seasons back. Posting numbers like these.

2008 :
ERA – 3.97
FIP – 3.87
2009 :
ERA – 5.80
FIP – 4.87

2008 wasn’t that bad, but what scared many people was he got worse in 2009. Well in 2010 he is second in WAR(3.3 is on pace to break his 2006 WAR) by pitchers behind Roy Halladay. Pretty nice company huh? Liriano has a 2.90 ERA and a even lower FIP which is 2.11. The numbers show that he is doing a lot of things much better in 2010 than in 2009.

In 2009 he had a GB% of 40% in 2010 that is up by 9%. This is not the only thing he improved in. His LOB% in 2009 was 66.3%, around 6% off from the league average. In 2010 its 75.6% that is above league average. His 4.28 BB/9 in 2009 is down to 2.34 in 2010. Letting less runners on base will help you win ball games for sure. He is also striking out more people. In 2009 a 8.03 to 2010 a 9.71. His WHIP is also down from 1.55 to 1.20. I expect Liriano to keep up his Cy Young caliber year, and is the key to keeping the Twins a contender in the American League.

Phil Hughes – New York Yankees

Philthy Phil is having an excellent year. In 2009 he played a huge role in the Yankees World Series season. He was the bridge to Mariano. When the 8th inning came we all know Phil Hughes was there to shut the door. But what we all know is that a good starter is better than a great reliever. His is more valuable as a starter. His 2.2 WAR a season ago is his WAR at this point this season. Joe Girardi made the right choice when putting Hughes into the 5th spot in this rotation. I agreed with the decision because I knew he was ready. By watching a ton of his games this year I can tell he’ll throw his best stuff until you hit it. In other words his mentality is “Heres my fastball try and hit it.” His curve ball is also a thing of beauty.

Hughes improved on some of his stats. Its hard to compare a reliever to a starter, but his GB% and FB% are basically the same. His LOB% is 75% unlike his 78% last year, but that is just hard to sustain as a starter. His BB/9 went down .30 from 2.93 to 2.63. If you take a look at his eight starts in 2008 you’d notice he has matured quite a lot since then. His ERA was 6.62 and his FIP was 4.34. He has a 60% LOB% and his WHIP was 1.71. Plus his BB/9 was .03 away from 4.00. Now he has a 3.11 ERA and a 2.90 FIP. I stated his 2010 LOB% and BB/9 above. Hughes came in as the 5th starter on the Yankees, but now is the best starter on the team so far.
  Starting Pitcher Phil Hughes #65 Of The New York Yankees Walks

Ricky Romero – Toronto Blue Jays

Romero has surprised many. I actually went a Yankee game last season vs. the Jays and he was pitching. The Yankees ended up winning in 11 innings, but early on I was wondering “how are we being shut down by Ricky Romero?” Well now I know! Romero had a 4.30 ERA and 4.33 FIP. What gets me is that he had a 75.5 LOB% and his ERA was still fairly high. I noticed that his rates have improved a bit though. The HR/FB rate is down 3%. His GB% is 1.6%. His 75.5 LOB% is now 76.3%. His 2009 K/9 was 7.13 and his BB/9 3.99. In 2010 his K/9 is 9.07 and his B/9 is 3.39.

So his problem is most likely that he walked a few runners and most likely the home run happened by his 12.8 HR/FB% in 2009. In 2010 he is getting more strikeouts which is getting him out of innings and jams. Another pitcher who will exceed his WAR from his previous season. He sits at 2.4. His pitching has been a key for the Jays early success.

Others : Clay Buchholz – Boston Red Sox, Shaun Marcum – Toronto Blue Jays, Jonathan Sanchez – San Francisco Giants, Jaime Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals, C.J. Wilson – Texas Rangers, Mike Pelfrey – New York Mets, David Price – Tampa Bay Rays, Mat Latos – San Diego Padres, Mike Leake – Cincinnati Reds, and many others.

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One Comment on “Learn the Names!”

  1. dfwgambler Says:

    Very nice profile of three MLB up and comers. I’ve got my eye on C.J. Wilson.

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