Saturday, March 10, 2012

CBS Analyst NL-Only Auction Starting Pitchers Part II

On Wednesday, I posted about pitchers who went for $15+ in the CBS Analyst N.L.-Only auction.  Today, let me pick up with the under $15 starting pitchers.

Next Step on the Ladder:

Anibel Sanchez $14, Jaime Garcia $14, Jhoulys Chacin $14, Johnny Cueto $12, Shawn Marcum $11, Bud Norris $11, Trevor Cahill $10

If you read my piece on the Patton & Co. team, you know I like this group of pitchers – I bought two, and bid up Garcia and Chacin.  Marcum, unfortunately, is dealing with shoulder inflammation again.  Of course, he had the same inflammation last year and earned $15.  Sanchez, Chacin and Norris are the strikeout pitchers here (hence the salaries above $10), though none of them have translated the strikeouts into significant earnings. Cahill is the huge question mark here.  The strikeout rate actually went up last year, but the walk rate rose right along with it.  With the ground ball rate, he could translate well to the National League, but with so many balls put into play, it is hard to trust him too much.  The bid here is likely a couple of dollars too high.

I Am Going to be Worth More Than This (You Hope)

Chad Billingsley $9, Jair Jurrjens $8, Vance Worley $8, Wandy Rodriguez $8, Ryan Dempster $8

You know I like this group too…I bought Billingsley and Worley, and had the last bid on Dempster.  Jurrjens is likely well undervalued here at $8.  He earned $13 last year despite his injury issues, and, if healthy, is certainly capable of a $20+ season (like 2009).  Dempster did not have much luck last year.  His BABIP (.324), K/9 and GB% all suggest to me a year like 2009 or 2010 is much more likely than a repeat of 2011.  Rodriguez apparently already peaked, looking at his earnings scan: $10, $12, $21, $13, $10 (using Patton & Co.'s values).  Even a repeat of last year, however, earns a little profit.

$5 and $6

Mike Minor $6, Ted Lilly $6, Johan Santana $6, Tim Stauffer $6, Edinson Volquez $6, Jon Niese $6, Mark Buehrle $5, Tim Hudson $5, Edwin Jackson $5, Homer Bailey $5

This is quite a clump of pitchers.  Santana jumps out for conversation right away.  He is still on track as of the time of this writing to start the beginning of the season in the rotation.  Is it significant he threw two scoreless innings in a split squad game?  No.  Is it significant he came out without any arm issues?  Absolutely it is.  If he can even give you 150 innings, he should earn a decent-sized profit.  Speaking of health, is Volquez healthy?  I do not know for sure, but a move to PETCO is good for the body and soul.  The velocity is there, but the walks need to come down considerably.  Hudson is 36 years old with a cranky back; he finally had it operated on in November, and does not expect to be back in early May.  I hate to say $5 is a risk for him, but we do not know what to expect when he returns to action.

Bottom Tier Does Not Mean No Profit

Mike Leake $4, Carlos Zambrano $4, Chris Capuano $4, Juan Nicasio $4, Ricky Nolasco $4, Ryan Vogelsong $3, R.A. Dickey $3, Josh Collmenter $3, Erik Bedard $3, Aaron Harang $2, Randy Wolf $2, Roy Oswalt $2, Jeremy Guthrie $2, Dillon Gee $2

This is an interesting group of pitchers.  Oswalt, of course, is a speculative play, though at this stage of the auction, it is probably worth $1 versus a reserve round pick.  Vogelsong at $3 could very well be a good bargain here.  While we must always be concerned with a starter who breaks out at age 34, and while he does have a bit of a bad back, his bid should certainly be higher, and $3 is bound to lead to profit.  Wolf is another intriguing guy.  No one should expect a repeat of 2009, but Wolf cannot help but earn a profit at $2.  Pitchers like Wolf are often overlooked in the CBS format, which is why it is easier to build a team of boring veterans.  My breakout candidates here are: Erik Bedard and Carlos Zambrano.  The usual mantra for Bedard: “if he’s healthy?!”  For Zambrano, this change of scenary may be good for him.  This manager is just crazy enough, and this team is just good enough, that I like Zambrano…though not much past the $4 bid here.  My bust candidate: Jeremy Guthrie.  An extreme flyball pitcher moves to Colorado…I like the outfield defense in Colorado, but once the cold weather is gone, hitters could go crazy hitting off Guthrie.  That is a guy I put a bid on, but put an asterisk next to in order to remind myself I need to avoid him.

$1 and Done

Randall Delgado $1, Shelby Miller $1, Erik Surkamp $1, Jorge De La Rosa $1, Clayton Richard $1, Jordan Lyles $1, Joe Blanton $1, James McDonald $1, Barry Zito $1, Bronson Arroyo $1, Mike Pelfrey $1, Jeff Karstens $1, Joe Saunders $1, Paul Maholm $1, Charlie Morton $1, John Lannan $1.

You see a lot of future plays here: Delgado, Miller, Surkamp, Lyles…pitchers whom someone is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with as the season progresses.  De La Rosa is intriguing, but likely will not be back until August…I doubt he will contribute much, and should have been a reserve pick.  What you don’t see here are big strikeout guys – they are all gone in 5x5 by now.  You do, however, see some innings eaters.  Generally, even the worst 5x5 pitchers earn “something” because of the strikeouts, but this group is generally an ugly group of pitchers.  Given the amount of money floating around near the end of the auction, it certainly would have been better spent on guys in the $8-$12 range.

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