Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Freddy Garcia, Bruce Chen

by Tim Heaney on November 25, 2011 @ 06:37:37 PDT


Your fantasy baseball draft isn't far off.'s Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove surveys free agency, trades, salary arbitration and injuries that will affect your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. You're cleared for your MLB offseason program: The Arizona Fall League, Baseball Winter Meetings, Rule 5 draft and more will shape your fantasy baseball rankings.

New York Yankees bring back SP Freddy Garcia

Kansas City Royals SP Bruce Chen
Take it on the Chen in 2012?

New York settled for security in bringing back the innings eater on a one-year pact for a backend rotation spot. The 35-year-old sticks with an ideal offense to buoy his mound time, which is often nail-biting given how hard opponents hit him.

For someone who throws plenty of split-finger fastballs, he yields plenty of flies, even if a decent portion of them comes in the infield; his home park aids lofts. The soft-tossing Garcia's bloated 2011 rate of runners stranded (77.1 percent) helped him pitch above his means.

If you're looking for bland pitching depth for AL-only leagues and occasional deep mixed use, Freddy's ready, but heed the warning signs and handle him with care ... and plenty of skepticism.

SP Bruce Chen returns to Kansas City Royals

Second verse, same as the first. The crafty 34-year-old netted a two-year deal following a surprising 2011. Chen relies on varying arm angles and induces even fewer empty hacks than Garcia. He traded a chunk of his already shaky K/9 for control gains last season.

At least thanks to his deception, Chen's BABIP can sit consistently below .300, but fly-ball arms typically produce such patterns. The southpaw's home digs cater to his scary-high fly rates (which, like Garcia's, also benefit from many infield pop-ups). But how confident are you that opponents won't start taking more advantage of his soft stuff and that he'll have another year of above-average luck for stranding runners?

This isn't a profile that deserves increased faith, especially with the glut of other in-house candidates with rotation potential (including the promising Aaron Crow) that could step in if Chen struggles. Chen said in September that he wants his career path to emulate Jamie Moyer's, and Fangraphs' Eric Seidman explored that comparison. That paints an appropriate fantasy baseball picture, reminding you to ride his streaks with a quick mixed trigger finger and to play him most comfortably as frame-gobbling depth in single-universe setups.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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