Friday, April 5, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Oakland Athletics

Felipe M

Even though the season has started, it's still early enough to take a quick look at the rest of the pitching staffs.


We last left off drinking a bit of the New York Mets Kool-Aid.  

The Oakland A's should also bring a nice mix of pitchers into their rotation.  

2013 Pitching Projections
Player
Team
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/9
Tommy Milone
Oakland
4.11
6.76
1.64
9.41
1.23
1.01
Brett Anderson
Oakland
3.28
6.78
2.07
8.79
1.21
0.72
A.J. Griffin
Oakland
2.74
6.39
2.33
8.67
1.22
1.00
Jarrod Parker
Oakland
2.32
7.73
3.33
8.44
1.31
0.80
Dan Straily
Oakland
2.10
7.36
3.51
7.95
1.27
1.17
Grant Balfour
Oakland
2.83
10.45
3.70
6.75
1.16
0.64














Grant Balfour has always been a pitcher that was never trusted enough to pitch as a team's closer--until last 2012.  Balfour was credited with 24 saves, but did lose his job early in the year before regaining in the 2nd half of the season.  He's always been a reliable reliever since 2010 and seems to be understanding what it takes to be a closer.  The BB/9 is really high, but the last time he showed control issues was back in 2009.  

You have probably heard this about Brett Anderson already; if he can just stay healthy, he can be a really good pitcher.  The last time Anderson pitched more than 175 innings was in his rookie year of 2009.  Since then, he has suffered injuries, most notably, he spent most of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery.  The projections are right on line with his career marks which include a 3/1 K/BB and a career K/9 of 6.9.

Jarrod Parker emerged last season as a pretty dependable starter.  He didn't dominate hitters either, but this year, people were very excited about Parker coming into the season.  Although, he would be taken in between the 14th and 15th rounds of average fantasy drafts, he went as high as the 9th round.  He is a pitch-to-contact pitcher despite the decent K/9 and did struggle this spring with command.  Proceed with caution.  

Yet another pitcher that's similar to Parker, but with much better control is Tommy Milone who seemed to appear out of nowhere.  He ended up being a very dependable option for the A's despite lacking overwhelming stuff.  Despite the really good walk numbers and an adequate K/9, he is a finesse pitcher and really benefits from his home ballpark's, pitcher-friendly dimensions.  Might want to use him as a spot-starter on your team, especially if he's pitching at home. 

Yet another pitcher that virtually came out of nowhere is A.J. Griffin.  If I thought Parker's and Milone's stuff was sub-par, Griffin's stuff is even more underwhelming! Reports show that he can throw a curveball that can top 60 mph.  Wow!  But just like Parker and Milone, they know how to pitch and can take advantage of their ballpark to cover up their mistakes.  Griffin proved to be more of a flyball pitcher in 2012.  He's 25 so he has a bit of upside to improve on his projections, but again, when the match-up is right and he's playing at home, that's going to be the best time to insert him in your lineup.  

And what better way to finish up with the A's by mentioning yet another player that flew under the radar of many scouts.  Dan Straily's name popped up due to the fact that he was striking out hitters at a rapid pace in 2012 (which was the reason he was called-up by the A's last season).  He also displayed high strikeout totals in A-ball as well, but just like many on the A's pitching staff, he just doesn't have the stuff that other, prized, highly-touted prospects have.  Straily is the least experienced of the bunch so there will be growing pains with him despite the fact that he, like Griffin, is also 25 years-old.  He's worth monitoring as the season goes in the even you need another pitcher/spot-starter (daily leagues).  He is still available in 70% of CBS leagues.  

It's almost comical that the A's have stockpiled their current rotation with four pitchers that possess similar projections and overall pitching styles.  And they're all being led by a brittle Brett Anderson.  The fact of the matter is that all of these pitchers have the potential to be useful this season in fantasy leagues.  Perhaps this will be the next big thing that the influential franchise will introduce to the rest of the baseball world: developing less "talented," but cheaper pitching prospects to ultimately help out the Big League team.  

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