Besides me, who else is counting on Oliver Perez to have a big second half? From time to time I write about my National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) team, and that league consists of 15-teams with 30 players per roster. Given the depth of the penetration into the player pool, there are always a handful of players on each roster that might cause someone to pause if they are used to traditional 10-12 team leagues. So before you think – Ray is a doofus – realize we are talking about some pretty deep rosters here. Back to Oliver Perez.
Perez is one of the names that I picked up off waivers this season. A risky play? For sure as the man walks more batters per nine than just about any starter in the game, but oh does he look dominating when he is on. Problem is, that rarely occurs. Here’s to hoping it occurs, more often than not, the rest of way. That might be a fairly large wish though — perhaps I’ll leave that wish for the tooth fairy.
Why did I grab Perez? Well, after Andy Sonnanstine seemed to forget that the name of the game wasn’t to allow a run per inning (he has a 6.61 ERA), and Ian Snell thought he would try to pitch his way out of Pittsburgh with some awful work (5.36 ERA, 1.62 WHIP), I realized I needed something other than a staff consisting of names like Jamie Moyer. So I took a shot an picked up Perez, weeks ago, in the hope that he would come through. What other waiver-wire guy in a 15 team league has k-per-inning potential?
Another hurler with a similar skill set down to the potentially prolific K-rate as well as the atrocious walk rate is Brandon Morrow of the Mariners who we also picked up on the cheap off the waiver-wire (by the way, isn’t the picture above one of the best you have ever seen? For those of you that don’t know – a form of rookie hazing in baseball is having the youngsters carry the veterans gear, often in things like little girls backpacks). Possibly the only pitcher in baseball who has a more difficult time throwing strikes than Perez, Morrow has thrown 174 innings in his career while waling 115 batters leading to an embarrassing average of 5.95 walks per nine innings pitched in his brief career. Of course, his stuff is untouchable as his K/9 mark of 9.62 is superb. Obviously the kid has talent to burn, but until he starts throwing strikes more consistently he will be maddening to own (he should return from the minors to make a start of July 25th if everything goes according to plan).
The third arm in our Trifecta of Terror is Joba Chamberlain (and yes I’m still not sure if the terror will be most acutely directed toward opposing batters or my blood pressure). Joba clearly hasn’t performed as hoped for in his transition to the starting rotation as he has only four victories, a 4.25 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP through 17 starts this year. Still, his K/9 rate is 7.89 which is a strong mark, and if you add in his work out of the bullpen he has a 9.70 K/9 mark over 213.1 career innings. However, like the other two mentioned above, he is walking far too many batters, though by comparison his 4.25 BB/9 mark actually isn’t that awful.
So is rostering these three guys a risk worth taking? My club need wins and strikeouts, and these three could bring that. In fact, I can pretty easily dream up a scenario with the trio striking out nearly a batter per inning the rest of the way, but the key is will they be able to locate their pitches better, because without that, there ratios could be outright destructive. I know it’s a risk, but sometimes you have to take that leap of faith when the alternatives are guys like Vincente Padilla, Jeff Suppan and Micah Owings. I’m going to close my eyes, pray really hard, and hope these three potentially dominating arms are in fact dominating and not destructive to my fantasy squad. One can hope can’t he?
By Ray Flowers