As promised last week, let’s now head over to the hill to unveil the pitchers on my mid-season All-Bargain team. A reminder that I’m using preseason NFBC positional ADPs as the basis for my choices.
SP Matt Harvey (SP Rank: 33)
The pitching version of Chris Davis, so I’ll repeat my “What hasn’t already been said?” line while making the bold statement that if both Davis and Harvey reside on the roster of one of your squads, you have an 84 percent chance of being in first place. Trust me, I calculated this. Harvey was dominant enough last season, but he’s gotten even better over his sophomore campaign, lowering his HR/9 rate from a quality 0.76 to a miniscule 0.49 while significantly cutting down on his walks. Considering that he has yet to pitch a full season in the Majors, one might think of Harvey as an ideal sell-high guy being that he could net you a ton in return. But honestly, I don’t see him falling off much. As for innings restriction concerns, the Mets will be careful not to overwork him down the stretch, but don’t expect him to get shut down. Instead, we might see him getting an extra day or two of rest from time to time or get lifted from some of his starts a little early. But the bottom line for Harvey owners is that they should not panic. Rather, they should enjoy the ride.
SP Patrick Corbin (SP Rank: 131)
Corbin wasn’t even highly regarded as a prospect in the Angels’ system. He’s highly regarded now. How about 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, this after putting up pedestrian numbers in his first taste of the Majors last year? Anyone who had the foresight to draft Corbin in a mixed league deserves major props. I know fellow Mastersballer Perry Van Hook did, and well, that’s why he’s called the Captain.
SP John Lackey (SP Rank: 137)
There’s really no nicer way to put it. Heading into this season, Lackey’s stint in Beantown had been a complete mess, marred by terrible pitching and that thing called Tommy John surgery. But the veteran righty has turned back the clock this year. Come to think of it, this season has been his finest season to date, as he’s putting up career-best numbers in just about every statistical category. A .276 opponent BABIP suggests that some regression is likely, but I find it hard to believe that Lackey will all of a sudden fall apart. After all, this guy was a pretty good pitcher in his day. Maybe now is the first time he’s been fully healthy since signing with the Red Sox. It could be as simple as that.
SP Mike Leake (149)
Up until this season, it seemed like Leake, who had never spent a single day in the Minors prior to making his big league debut in 2010, might have been better off working on his craft down on the farm, at least for a little while. Although Leake did pitch well at times, he couldn’t quite sustain his effectiveness over longer stretches. This season, it’s been a different story. The 25-year-old righty has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his 19 starts, and for the first time in his career he’s become an automatic play in most mixed leagues. But he won’t finish the season with a sub-3.00 ERA. At least I don’t think so, which is part of the reason why I recently traded him for Nick Swisher in Mixed Tout. But, will he pitch well enough to be a mixed league rotation fixture? Sure.
SP Bartolo Colon (SP Rank: 150)
Take Mike Leake, add 15 years to his age, and you’ve got Bartolo Colon. Seriously, their stat lines are eerily similar. Check it out. Like Leake, Colon is due for some regression, but I actually have a bit more confidence in Colon going forward, considering his lengthy track record and insanely low 1.07 BB/9 rate. The one main drawback with Colon is that he’s more of an injury risk, but really, who can predict injuries?
SP Jeff Locke (SP Rank: 191)
Who? Tell me that you anticipated Locke’s 2013 breakthrough and I’ll tell you that you’re a liar. Locke’s minor league numbers aren’t even that great and he was an absolute disaster during his limited time with the Pirates last season. Then there’s the crazy low .231 opponent BABIP. Sell, sell, sell, though if you’re in a league with experienced owners, you probably won’t get much for him, so you’ll have no choice but to keep, keep, keep. In that case, be ready to bench, bench, bench at the first sign of trouble.
CL Jason Grilli (RP Rank: 24)
Going into drafts this year, I liked Grilli as a low-end No. 2 closer with some upside in a 12-team mixed league. No way did I expect this. The veteran righty is this season’s poster boy for the “don’t pay for saves” crowd. But, I’ll still “pay for saves”, at least for one elite closer, because he won’t just help you in saves, and well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll choose the correct “don’t pay for saves” guy.
CL Edward Mujica (RP Rank: 112)
Oh yeah, I guess Mujica could be considered another “don’t pay for saves” model, though he needed the season-ending injury to Jason Motte coupled with Mitchell Boggs’ complete inability to handle the ninth inning role in order to get his chance, so it’s not like he was on the draft day radar. Still, Mujica has proven to be an extremely reliable late-inning reliever over the course of his big league career, so I’m not counting on much, if any, regression. Talk about FAAB dollars well spent!
CL Ernesto Frieri (RP Rank: 26)
Frieri was lights out after taking over the closer role last May, so his continued success this season isn’t all that surprising. And, Ryan Madson’s continued health woes aren't all that surprising either. But, the Angels’ signing of Madson to be their closer dropped Frieri down to No. 26 when talent-wise, he’s more of a top-10 reliever. But this just goes to show the importance of roles, and to a larger extent, how easily roles can change. So if you’re one of the owners who took a late-round flier on Frieri, congratulations.