Paul Maholm‘s name likely elicits, let’s see, a yawn? Before you lock that thought into your head as to what your reaction should be when the Braves’ lefties name as mentioned remember this:
Do I have your attention yet?
Paul Maholm isn’t exciting, I will give you that. Even with all of the above data the fact of the matter is that Maholm won 13 games, had a 3.67 ERA an a 1.22 WHIP. Those are certainly solid numbers no doubt, but it’s not like they will lead to a fantasy championship. However, it should be noted that numbers like those, from a reserve round selection or a waiver-wire pick up, are special numbers. Are you better off spending $23 on Johnny Cueto or $3 on Paul Maholm on draft day? Obviously Cueto is a better pitcher and the one you need more to win a championship, but hopefully you see the point – Maholm is the better value add based on his draft day cost. If you can augment an expensive Cueto with a cheap as all get out Maholm, then you’ve got something. In terms of return on investment, Maholm was one of the best bargains in baseball in 2012. Can he be so again in 2013?
On the bump Maholm has been very consistent the past two seasons. In 2012 he had a 3.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 189 innings. In 2011 he had a 3.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 162.1 innings. However, like many of the other hurlers I’ve been reviewing, it’s best to realize what Maholm is – he’s a rotation filler who won’t hurt you. Why do I say that? For some reason he can’t seem to consistently win games. Maholm owns a 66-84 career record, and even the past two years when he has pitched so well he’s gone 19-25. Wins-loses are of course a bad way to judge pitchers performances, I’m the first to admit that, but in the fantasy game they are one of the four categories that matter to starting hurlers. I should also point out that in four of the past five seasons, despite at least 26 starts each year (more than 30 in four of them), that Paul failed to reach double-digits in wins. For some reason he’s just not able to consistently post wins.
The next issue with Maholm is that he lacks a strikeout pitch. For his career Maholm owns a poor 5.71 K/9 mark, and that fact alone removes him from receiving my stamp of approval. Still, it is somewhat heartening to see that he’s coming off a career best mark of 6.67, though it should be noted that the mark is 0.61 better than ever before (back in 2008). Maholm isn’t going to turn into a league average K arm, just the way it is. Maholm does keep the walks in check, at least he has that going for him, with a BB/9 mark of 2.80 or lower in five of the past six years.
One thing that Maholm does well, very well, is induce grounders. It’s why he can be so effective without dominating hitters. Maholm’s GB-rate has been at least 49.9 percent every season of his career, and his worst GB/FB ratio for a season is a still impressive 1.69. Consequently he’s not exactly a homer magnet as his HR/9 mark has been under one each of the past five years.
Maholm will never be elite. He’ll never be someone to build a staff around. He’s also a pitcher who could see his performance go down since he lacks elite skills, but not likely up. That’s why he’s not someone to reach for on draft day, ever. Still, if you’ve got five or six solid arms in the rotation in a mixed league, and it’s the 25th round, you could do worse than calling out Maholm’s name on draft day.
By Ray Flowers