Saturday, September 17, 2011

Push Forward or Hang Tight?

Zucchini Boy weighs in with what he says is probably his last question of the year.
With just a week and a half to go...would you rather have Jason Hammel in the hopes of a vulture win or K bump, or a dead spot (Mike Leake) to preserve ratios and guard against a blowup in mop up time?
If you're interested in reading Zucchini's entire question, follow the link. He's in the position many of us are in at this time of year: tight in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and wins. Every category can move, and there isn't much margin for error.

I think Zucchini is on the right track by hanging onto Leake as opposed to keeping Hammel. Unless there's a starter in the free agent pool that I like - or a cheap opportunity to pick up saves - middle relievers often aren't a good play in the final week of the season.

Unless a team is in contention, there often isn't much rhyme or reason to how pitchers out of the bullpen get used. You can't look at a manager's usage patterns for the previous 25 weeks of the season and assume that everything will be the same during Week 26. Some managers go off of pitch counts and not situations. Others are trying to get as many pitchers into the game as possible. Other managers are trying to protect more "important" arms in the organization and will overuse pitchers who probably won't be with the team next year.

Hammel doesn't fit well into this formula. The Rockies finish up on the road, but if Hammel pitches he's still going to be in mop-up mode. He might get a stray win, yes, but it's also possible that the Rox simply leave him in there to die. Doesn't mean it's going to happen, but why risk it?

If there isn't a palatable free agent option in your pool, leave Leake in there. Chances are good that if you're in contention that you have a strong ERA/WHIP and you'll need a strong ERA/WHIP pitcher to make headway. While you might strike gold, chances are good that the detritus in the free agent pool will hurt you if you touch it with your bare hands.


Gypsy Soul said...

Hey Mike, am in China and they block your site because it has the word blog in it, haha. I could get it through a proxy server but couldnt post until i found another server.

I am in the league with zucchini boy (whip is very tight),I would love immediate help if you have the chance. I have billingsley and am thinking of dumping him, especially if he doesnt pitch well against the pirates on sunday. my only real hesitation is I can keep him for $10 next year, maybe not a smart move but seems like a good gamble. So, do I drop him no matter what he does? His last start of the yr will be against SD. If I drop him the best choices seem to be bray or dotel unless you like someone recently called up. Thanks, have a good off-season.

Mike Gianella said...

The short answer is I'd keep Billingsley for that start against SD. I own him too so I feel your pain but he's looked good today (so far) against Pitt and he's probably a better play than either Bray or Dotel.

zucchiniboy said...

Mike, thanks for your thoughts, super helpful. Gave Hammel the boot. We'll see how the next week and a half goes!