A Look at Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina was a player I liked a lot in the preseason, but he has since been a disappointment for Fantasy Baseball owners. He went down early in the year to a hamstring injury, and in his time on the field has been less than inspiring. His line so far looks like this:
22.1 IP
4.03 K/9
2.01 BB/9
31% GB

His career numbers look like this:
7.19 K/9
2.02 BB/9
42.1% GB (since 2002)

We see that his BB rate has been pretty consistent with his career line, and I don’t expect to see much of a change in that area. His K rate is very alarming though. It is down more than 3 points from it’s career average. His GB rate is down more than 10 percentage points from his career average. Coming into the season I loved Mussina and hated Chien-Ming Wang, but if Mussina keeps up these numbers Wang might be the better bet (that is not an OK to go trade for Wang).

While I expect the GB rate to increase, I’m not quite sure why the K rate is like that. I thought maybe it had to do with the injury, so I took a look at his games since coming back from the DL to see if he has improved.

5.0 IP 3 K 0 BB 33% GB
6.0 IP 2 K 1 BB 35% GB
5.1 IP 1 K 0 BB 35% GB

No such luck there. So why is Mussina struggling? Honestly, I have no idea. He is 38 years old, and this might have something to do with it.

So what do you do with Mussina? He is owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues now, and if he were dropped in any league where I needed pitching, I would probably pick him up and sit him for another few starts. I have a hard time seeing Mussina posting a 4.00 K/9 come September, and even if he can get it up to 6.00 he should be a Top 25 pitcher with his great control and decent GB rate (assuming it gets back to its normal level, which it should). If you can trade for him cheaply and you need pitching, you might want to consider doing it. There are safer options that might come at the same price. Philip Hughes might be back in a month, and Yovanni Gallardo might be coming up in a few weeks. Jamie Shields might still be considered a fluke and come at a discount. Dave Bush, Javier Vazquez, and A.J. Burnett are also some good guys to buy on. All said, Mussina could pay nice rewards, but there is some risk involved.

This post originally appeared at http://saberoticians.blogspot.com/2007/05/look-at-mike-mussina.html

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