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Wandy Rodriguez Is An Ace?

By Dave McDonald, guest contributor to Fantasy Baseball Dugout

With Wandy’s first half meltdown in 2010, many of you may have forgotten just how good he really is. As someone who owned him last year… believe me – I get it. He left a bad taste in your mouth. That 4.97 ERA he had in the first half (and only 77 K’s in 101 innings) tested the patience of even the most patient fantasy baseball owner. However, for those of you who kept the faith, you were rewarded with a 2.11 second-half ERA and 101 K’s (and only 28 walks) in 94 innings pitched after the All-Star Break. He ended up with numbers that were right on par with his projections.

Ironically, as fickle as Wandy seems to be, he’s actually pitched very consistently over the past 3 seasons. Here’s a look at his ERA, FIP, and xFIP from 2008-2010. Legend – YEAR: ERA, FIP, xFIP

  • 2008: 3.54, 3.62, 3.75
  • 2009: 3.02, 3.54, 3.63
  • 2010: 3.60, 3.50, 3.68

You can put Wandy down for an ERA around 3.50 and feel pretty secure that you will be getting at least that. You can bank on a 1.25-1.3 WHIP. You can also count on him for around an 8.5 K/9 rate… which is ultimately what makes him an ace. Well, that and his upside. Here’s why there’s reason for even more optimism:

  1. He only left 69.4% (bottom 20 amongst starters) of base runners on base last year, compared to the league average of 72.2%, which is pretty substantial. In 2009, Wandy left 79.4% on base… that’s 10% more!
  2. He almost doubled his use of a change-up… using it 11.2% of the time compared to only 6.1% of the time in 2009. The reason this is significant is that he used it pretty effectively: 3.7 runs above average compared to other pitchers using it. In 2009, his change-up was 8.7 runs below average – HUGE difference!
  3. His WHIP ended at 1.29 in 2010 – but that’s because in the first half he had 40 walks and only 77 K’s. Then, as previously mentioned, in the second half he had over a 3:1 K/BB ratio. Wandy has the ability to keep his walk rate under 3 and his strikeout rate per 9 innings at or above 9… not many pitchers do.

Now, let me clarify when I say he is an “ace.” This does not mean I want to draft him as my #1 SP. Wandy pitches for a bad team with a bad offense, so wins will be hard to come by. I prefer my #1 SP to have the ability to have both a sub-3 ERA and sub 1.2 WHIP… and though Wandy is capable, I wouldn’t COUNT on it.

Never pay for what a player CAN give you, pay for what you expect them to give you…and anything on top of that is gravy. Do I think he can put up the numbers of a #1 SP? Yes… but there are other starters who are more likely to do so. The great part is that for where he is being drafted, he doesn’t have to.

On Mock Draft Central (sorted by NFBC) Wandy is being drafted 122nd overall… behind guys like Dempster, Buchholz, Cahill, Danks, Garza, and Colby Lewis. I’d put Wandy down for 3.40 ERA/1.22 WHIP/200 K’s/13 Wins because I believe he is closer to his second-half self than the composite of the two halves. Don’t be one of those who misses out on getting a second ace this late.

For more fantasy baseball analysis from Dave McDonald, please visit http://rotosaurus.blogspot.com/

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