|Why is Arredondo owned in so many fantasy leagues? (Icon/SMI)|
What is the big deal with Jose Arredondo? Throughout the offseason, everyone talked about how great he was and how he would be saving games in Anaheim this season, and even once Brian Fuentes signed with the team this kind of talked subsided only to a certain degree.
Arredondo is owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues, 35 percent of ESPN leagues (down from 45 percent after his rough first week), and 25 percent of CBS leagues. I just don’t get it.
Sure, early in the off-season we weren’t sure who would be closing for the Angels, but now Scot Shields seems pretty firmly entrenched as the No. 2 in that bullpen. The official team depth chart has Shields above Arredondo.
Arredondo has been entering the game first with Shields coming on later to set up Fuentes. Shields was even used in the ninth inning to secure a save the other night. In 2008, Shields’ leverage index (gmLI) was 1.62. Arredondo’s was 1.38. Through the first week of 2009, Shields again leads 1.49 to 1.33. Mike Scioscia seems to trust Shields more in the later innings and the tighter spots.
Some will argue that Shields’ age is a deterrence to becoming a closer, should Fuentes get injured. They say that at 32 years old, Shields is too old to be a closer and that the team would be better off handing the job to the younger player. Yet how often do we hear teams talk about the importance of “experience” for closers? Now, in this case, it’s suddenly a bad thing?
Last year, of the 20 players who saved more than 25 games, nine of them were at least 32 years old and another three were over 30. So what makes Shields different than these guys? You could argue that he’s different because some of these guys began closing before they hit 30, but Shields was behind Francisco Rodriguez. How was he supposed to close?
This isn’t to say that the Angels see things this way, but it sure seems like they prefer Shields.
Good ERA and WHIP?
Maybe people are holding onto Arredondo for his ratios? It’s certainly acceptable to play elite relievers to bring down your ERA and WHIP, but Arredondo doesn’t fit this bill.
Of the non-Marcel projection systems (I exclude Marcels because there is not enough major league data on Arredondo for me to put much weight into it), the best projection is a 3.67 ERA from the always-optimistic Bill James system. THT’s system projects a 4.67 ERA, and PECOTA comes in at 4.09. The best WHIP projection is 1.33 from ZiPS with THT and PECOTA both over 1.40.
His minor league numbers aren’t even all that great. He has a K/9 in the 7.0s at both Double-A and Triple-A for his career (albeit with a near 8.0 K/9 in Double-A and a small sample size at Triple-A), and that’s before converting to an MLE.
What I will give him, however, is his 1.62 ERA in the majors last season. This probably has a lot to do with everyone’s expectations for him. He also has pretty good stuff with a high-rising fastball (although he only gets average velocity of around 92 MPH with it) and a biting splitter. This portends potential future success, but for now, I just can’t see owning Arredondo in anything but an AL-only league or very deep mixed league.
Arredondo is third in his team’s pecking order and posts mediocre fantasy ratios. Sure, Arredondo is a good pitcher and probably belongs in the upper ranks of real-life relief pitchers, but with ERA expectations above 3.75, he won’t be helping your fantasy team’s ratios.
If you’re looking for ratios, go get Rafael Perez, Hideki Okajima, Takashi Saito, Manny Delcarmen, or Cla Meredith. All are under 10 percent owned in ESPN leagues and 30 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues (some are under 10 percent here too). Even guys like Hong-Chih Kuo and Grant Balfour are available in more than half of all leagues.
Don’t take this as me saying “Arredondo sucks and won’t save any games.” He has solid skills and some definite saves potential. My point is that there are better guys available in both regards.