Fantasy Baseball 2011 Player Analyzer: Ricky Nolasco SP Florida Marlins
By Michael Keneski, Fantasy Baseball Dugout guest contributor
I am starting a new feature today as we start to move into fantasy baseball as fantasy football comes to a close. This post and more like it will be dedicated to profiling “My Guys” in fantasy baseball who I have a personal crush on from a ROTO perspective and what I can envision for them this season. Everyone who plays any fantasy game has those few players they own almost every season and have guys they reach for more than most other owners would. So that brings me to my first MY GUY this season and he is fresh of signing a three year contract extension with the Florida Marlins and that is SP Ricky Nolasco.
Now let me fill you in on my Nolasco crush and where it began. It was the All Star break during the 2008 fantasy baseball season and I was looking for some back end help in my starting pitching staff due to injuries. I perused the free agent wire and settled on the young Nolasco who put up a 3.70 ERA in the first half but who had ERA’s well over 4.50 his first two years. So despite the decent looking ERA, no one was willing to take a shot on a previously shaky Nolasco who also had yet to show much strikeout punch. I took a shot however and what happened next launched me to a title in that particular league as Nolasco went on a tear to the tune of a 3.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 98 K in 95 IP. It was an eye opening finish to the season and it appeared as though Nolasco had busted out as a potential top of the line fantasy baseball starter.
That next season I tried to draft Nolasco during the middle portion of the 2009 draft but someone else liked what they saw at the end of 2008 and beat me to it. Needless to say, that owner was disguested by what he got during the first half of that season as Nolasco put up a horrid 5.76 ERA with 1.39 WHIP and an earned demotion to the minor leagues for a short stint to find his stuff. That owner wound up cutting Nolasco in May and after the demotion, I once again made a pickup at the All Star break with a “you never know” shrug of the shoulders. After watching two very good stars after the break, I once again rode Nolasco to the finish line and yet another fantasy baseball title with the help of the 4.39 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with an absurd 109 K in only 94 IP. Lightning does strike twice is seems as once again Nolasco was awesome in the second half. The ERA was higher than the year before but that was due to one 10 ER outing that was an anomoly. The WHIP and K’s were ace-like for sure. So once again I was in love with Nolasco and this time I made sure I drafted him for 2010.
Spring training of 2010 brought more great news as Nolasco was almost unhittable thoughout the entire Grapefruit League but once again he struggled the first half of the year with an ERA of 4.55 and a 1.29 WHIP with fewer K’s than IP. The gopher ball became a problem (as it has been throughout his career) and so the stage was set for another second half run. This time Nolasco was just OK in the second half with a 4.40 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and 53 K in 47 IP. Nolasco did up the K-rate in the second half again and the WHIP and ERA did drop but he didnt have the same type of impact as the previous two post-All Star campaigns. The caveat there however was that Nolasco suffered a meniscus injury during August and he got shelled in two outings after the issue arose. So there was a bit of throw-out-the-stats-as-a-result-of-injury there. All in all it wasnt the super breakout we have been waiting for.
So here we are once again looking toward drafting season and I once again am planning on drafting Nolasco. As far as his draft value this season, Nolasco will be a bargain compared to the previous two years when many more owners were intrigued by his potential. With two straight above 4.00-ERA seasons, the bloom is off the rose for many as far as Nolasco is concerned and so he will drop in drafts this time around. I will be waiting to pounce however as I still love the ingredients that Nolasco offers. He has the power repetroire to threaten the 200-K mark and he also doesnt walk batters which will keep the WHIP low. The major problem…..and its a biggie…is the home run tendency he has shown throughout his career. The penchant for giving up the home runs has inflated his ERA and thus has not shown how overall effective he is. If Nolasco can work on keeping the ball in the park, we could be easily seeing number 2 starter like numbers. We have seen it in spurts and for extended time periods before so the ability is there. Whether Nolasco can put a whole season together is the only debate. I know I will once again be there waiting for it to happen.
2010 Projection: 12-7 3.78 ERA 188 K 1.24 WHIP
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