Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 24, Vol. I

R.I.P., my fantasy team.

The 2013 fantasy season ended for me Sunday night, and it ended in such a awesomely horrible way that I can’t help but abuse the privilege that is writing here to tell you all about it. I play in a 20-team head-to-head points dynasty league in which we roster a max of 47 players per team. Last week was the opening round of the playoffs. I lost by 22 points. The following table is each pitcher’s average output per start, and their output in my playoff loss:

Pitcher Regular Season Average Playoff Points
Clayton Kershaw 38.80 24.54
David Price 25.94 -4.71
A.J. Burnett 24.77 -19.89
Jeff Samardzija 19.22 -9.19
Ervin Santana 24.98 -11.75
Derek Holland 26.77 0.20

As Kershaw and Holland both had two starts last week, that’s 226.05 expected points, for which I actually received a whopping total of … (drumroll) … negative 20.8. Awesome!

All of this is to say goodbye and good riddance to the 2013 fantasy baseball season. Starting next week, Karl and I will begin our 2013 wrap-up coverage, including a full accounting of our performance this season, and some looks at players to target for 2014.

But for now, we will continue picking away. Let’s dig in.

Yusmeiro Petit | San Francisco Giants| SP | ESPN: 17.9 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 21 percent; CBS: 33 percent
YTD: 3-0, 2.05 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched (three starts)
ZiPS updated: 3-0, 2.61 ERA in 35 IP (four starts)

Oh, Yusmeiro.

Petit has always been a confounding case, and that is no different now. This is a guy who cruised through the lower minors (and even Double A, really), and has been a (more or less) dominant Triple-A pitcher for 11 seasons. (That’s right, 11 seasons.) But therein lies the problem. He’s spent 11 seasons at Triple-A because that minor league excellence has never traveled its way up to the big leagues.

Well, until his last start, that is. Petit came within a strike of throwing a perfect game for the Giants, before Eric Chavez dropped a liner in front of Hunter Pence. It was an impressive, perhaps unbelievable effort for a guy who entered the game with a 5.37 earned run average over the bits and pieces of major league experience that dot his six-year major league career. On his way through the minor leagues, scouting reports consistently said deception was a large part of his game, and that having success at higher levels would be exponentially more challenging since his pure stuff wasn’t as vibrant as that of other top arms.

One game does not change that, nor does it change the vast history we’ve accumulated on Petit. By the same token, we cannot assume that his entire past history will necessarily be his preordained future. Petit has struck out 30 percent of the batters he’s faced this year, and walked just four percent. He’s also throwing fewer fastballs and more breaking stuff than he has in the past. Could this change have led to such a dramatic turnaround in his major league success? Probably not. It’s very unlikely. But hey, maybe!

Recommendation: It’s certainly unlikely that these changes have made Petit a new man almost overnight, but there is a chance,. Even if it’s a small one, it’s worth the risk at this late point in the season.

James Paxton | Seattle Mariners| SP | ESPN: 0.2 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 1 percent; CBS: 6 percent
YTD: 1-0, 1.50 ERA in one start
ZiPS updated: 1-1, 3.29 ERA in three starts

Last week, I featured a young Mariners arm making his major league debut for the Mariners. That worked out, uh, all right, with Taijuan Walker, so I’m going back to the well.

This week’s young Mariners starter making his major league debut is James Paxton. This is what Baseball America had to say about the 24-year-old in its 2013 Prospect Handbook:

The development of his change-up will determine if he can be a No. 2 starter. His fastball/curveball combination also could make him a closer.

So we have two takeaways from this.

1. All fantasy players should be watching for Paxton’s change-up if they happen to take in one of his starts. It will likely make the difference between Paxton being a very useful fantasy asset now and in the future (a No. 2 starter) and one who is merely back of the roster filler or waiver wire fodder (a back end starter, or a bullpen arm).
2. There’s significant upside here, and over the last few weeks, it may be worth it for owners in deep leagues to speculate on the talent.

Paxton’s 2013 hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, and he has less overall potential than Walker does. Then again, who doesn’t? He’s also older and presumably more ready for the game’s biggest stage. Paxton won’t come with the fanfare that Walker arrived with, but that doesn’t win you leagues anyway.

Recommendation: At this stage of the season, in deep leagues, he’s worth a shot. What have you got to lose? Besides, you know, everything?

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  1. Jack Weiland said...

    @Nelson Santovenia – I disagree, sir! It certainly puts more luck into the equation than roto, or straight points, but we tried to make the league as much like real life as possible while still keeping it a fun game. I hope you understand my complaining above is tongue in cheek … stuff happens, that’s life, etc.

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