2008 TQS targets

The other day, I introduced a new stat called “True Quality Starts.” I’ve gotten some good feedback. Today, I’d like to use this stat to take a look at a few pitchers who might be undervalued going into the 2008 fantasy baseball season.

Dustin McGowan

We’ve talked about McGowan before, and he’s a top sleeper for a lot of owners. Incidentally, TQS likes him too.

Peripherals

YEAR	AGE	G	GS	IP	ERA	LIPS ERA	K/9	BB/9	GB%
2005	23	13	7	45.3	6.35	4.95		6.75	3.38	44.22
2006	24	16	3	27.3	7.24	6.16		7.24	8.23	42.55
2007	25	27	27	169.7	4.08	4.07		7.64	3.24	52.61

TQS Stats

YEAR	GS	TQS%	GREAT%	GOOD%	AVG%	BAD%	AWFUL%	GG%	BA%	GG/BA
2005	7	43	0	0	71	29	0	0	29	0
2006	3	0	0	0	67	33	0	0	33	0
2007	27	70	11	19	59	11	0	30	11	267

Not much to go on (in terms of TQS) before 2007, but last year he was quite good. He was one of just 13 pitchers who had a double-digit “great” percentage, and he was 30th in “good & great” percentage. His peripherals were good enough to get him a LIPS ERA just above 4.00, and there is plenty of room for growth in both his strikeout and walk rates. Plus, he’s got that nice ground ball rate. Furthermore, if you remember our last talk about him, he has an excellent curve ball. Most signs point to McGowan having a good year and outperforming his market value.

Joe Blanton

Peripherals

YEAR	AGE	G	GS	IP	ERA	LIPS ERA	K/9	BB/9	GB%
2004	23	3	0	8.0	5.63	3.19		6.75	2.25	40.91
2005	24	33	33	201.3	3.53	4.76		5.19	3.00	44.20
2006	25	32	31	194.3	4.82	4.80		4.96	2.69	42.57
2007	26	34	34	230.0	3.95	4.10		5.48	1.57	46.21

TQS Stats

YEAR	GS	TQS%	GREAT%	GOOD%	AVG%	BAD%	AWFUL%	GG%	BA%	GG/BA
2004	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0
2005	33	52	3	12	64	15	6	15	21	71
2006	31	32	0	10	71	19	0	10	19	50
2007	34	62	3	35	56	6	0	38	6	650

After 2006, Blanton didn’t look so good. He was just 25, though, and in his age 26 year he seemed to really improve. He ranked 14th in baseball in “good & great” percentage, sandwiched between John Lackey and Scott Kazmir. However, this was mostly a function of his fantastic walk rate, which I’m not sure he can sustain—very few pitchers can.

He did have 23 starts (68 percent) with a BB/9 under two and nine starts (26 percent) in which he didn’t walk anyone. That indicates he might be able to maintain a low walk rate, but—not surprisingly—in his 11 starts with a BB/9 over two, he had nine outings (82 percent) that were “below average” or “bad.”

Going into his age 27 season, Blanton’s strikeout rate could improve some more. If he also maintains that walk rate, he could be a great pick. If the walk rate regresses toward its 2006 level, though, Blanton could be in for a rough year. If you do pick him, watch that walk rate carefully in April.

James Shields

Peripherals

YEAR	AGE	G	GS	IP	ERA	LIPS ERA	K/9	BB/9	GB%
2006	24	21	21	124.7	4.84	4.12		7.51	2.74	41.98
2007	25	31	31	215.0	3.85	3.69		7.70	1.51	42.24

TQS Stats

YEAR	GS	TQS%	GREAT%	GOOD%	AVG%	BAD%	AWFUL%	GG%	BA%	GG/BA
2006	21	67	0	5	81	14	0	5	14	33
2007	31	81	19	16	58	3	3	35	6	550

Shields was one of my favorite sleepers going into 2007, and it worked out well. Going into 2008, he could be underrated yet again. His “great” percentage was second in baseball among pitchers with at least 12 starts… second to just Erik Bedard, who had a 3.13 LIPS ERA.

Like Blanton’s, Shields’ walk rate was exceptionally low. Unlike Blanton, Shields has that amazing “Great” percentage working for him. Also unlike Blanton’s, Shields’ value doesn’t hinge on his ability to keep his walk rate that low. His strikeout rate is higher to begin with, and the opportunity for growth is greater than Blanton’s. Shields had 13 starts (42 percent) with a K/9 above eight and nine starts (29 percent) with a K/9 above 10. The man has some serious ace potential. Shields is a guy I’ll definitely be targeting this year.

Randy Johnson

Peripherals

YEAR	AGE	G	GS	IP	ERA	LIPS ERA	K/9	BB/9	GB%
2004	40	35	35	245.7	2.60	2.69		10.62	1.61	42.42
2005	41	34	34	225.7	3.79	3.56		8.42	1.87	44.46
2006	42	33	33	205.0	5.00	4.07		7.55	2.63	41.10
2007	43	10	10	56.7	3.81	2.92		11.44	2.06	38.89

TQS Stats

YEAR	GS	TQS%	GREAT%	GOOD%	AVG%	BAD%	AWFUL%	GG%	BA%	GG/BA
2004	35	91	37	26	37	0	0	63	0	INF
2005	34	74	6	41	47	6	0	47	6	800
2006	33	64	9	21	55	12	3	30	15	200
2007	10	80	10	60	20	10	0	70	10	700

I first want to note that there is a lot not to like about Johnson. First, he’ll be 44 years old this season. Leading up to 2007, all of his numbers were dropping, both peripherals and TQS stats. They were still pretty good, but rapidly declining. In 2007, he was fantastic, but it was during just 10 starts. He aggravated his back three times, and at his age, the chances of injury in 2008 are pretty high.

Now for the good news. In 2007, while he had just 10 starts, they were 10 fantastic starts. Of them, 70 percent were either “good” or “great,” and just 20 percent were either “below average” or “bad.” His strikeout rate was the highest it had been since 2002, and his walk rate was fantastic as well. Furthermore, if you take out his three-inning, six K/9, six BB/9 start that ended up being his final of the year (his sole “bad” start), Johnson’s numbers look even better.

It appears that RJ’s still got a little left in the tank, and he’s still available at the end of most traditional 12-team mixed league drafts. I think his recent display of skills—even in 2006 he wasn’t bad—and his cheap price makes him worth a pick in the late rounds of these types of leagues.

Concluding thoughts

We’ll probably look at a few more guys—perhaps some who TQS doesn’t look as favorably on—in the next few days.

As a side note, my first article is up over at Rotoworld, examining the position battle for Tampa Bay’s final two rotation spots, the third base battle for the Dodgers, and 10 guys whose stocks are on the move. Check it out.

Print Friendly
 Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone
« Previous: The worst outfield for the dough
Next: True talent: Wells, Sheff, Hurt »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *