Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs
Wells gobbles innings, shows decent command, posts respectable grounder rates and increased his dominance rate by about one K per nine last year. Sounds like a productive profile, right? Well, there still isn't much velocity here. Corrections in BABIP and strand rate augmented his rookie luck. He's still boring and wins-reliant.
If Pelfrey's ERA sinks, you're sunk
If Wells had Carlos Silva-like control, maybe there'd be more to talk about. But he isn't even guaranteed a rotation spot, and people are paying like he's an entrenched option with more than a fortunate first year and a positive half-season of gains under his belt. Think harder about targeting someone with more K potential. -Heaney
Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets
It's all about the sinker. The right-hander used it effectively in five of last season's six months; a disastrous July (10.02 ERA) prevented him from accomplishing more. He avoids giving up the long ball (7.2 HR/FB percentage, 30.2 percent fly-ball rate lifetime). Sign you up, right?
We've probably seen the best that Pelfrey's ability has to offer. The ground-ball rate teases 50 percent. The 26-year-old allows plenty of base runners. He pitches to contact, and the opposition continues to get better against him. His non-strikeout arsenal (5.11 career K/9) leaves him with little room when it's backed up against his BB/9 of around 3.00, as his campaigns in 2007 and 2009 can attest.
Last year's 3.66 ERA and 15 W's look super, but where's the upside (1.38 WHIP, 113 strikeouts) in a career-best season? He walks a line that makes the good marks appear quite unstable. -Minnix
J.A. Happ, Houston Astros
The fantasy world has an unhealthy infatuation with Happ. OK, he saw a K/9 increase thanks to a more effective slider, but he isn't a flamethrower. He still gives up too many flies and doesn't induce many grounders. His control rate isn't good enough to buttress a soft tosser. It wasn't just that he was working his way back from a first-half forearm strain. He's flawed even when he's healthy. Plus, he doesn't have Philly's bats backing him anymore.
The innings eater typically posts high strand rates and low BAABIPs, proving that he can get out of jams, but why pay for a pitcher who traditionally puts himself in so much jeopardy? Go for someone with more profit potential instead of someone you hope will break even. -Heaney
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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