Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Price may be right, but he's not Medlen

I know. In my previous post I said perhaps I'd review David Cone. Well, Mr. Cone is going to have to wait because I want to talk Fantasy for a moment...

If you remember my 3 tenets for winning fantasy, I am going to focus on 2 of them right now: #2. Good in season management, and #3. Luck.

This is about the time where you should be looking at the free agents out there and searching for a player or two that no one else realizes just how good they may be. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, everyone knows who all the good players are. Everyone can see who is putting up big numbers. Everyone even knows the best prospects. But that is not the case. There are plenty of diamonds in the rough sitting there waiting to be picked up. Take a chance. You may strike gold. Now, this is not to say you should simply go with trial and error. You have to look closely at the numbers to find what you need. Let's focus on one prospect most of your fellow fantasy owners aren't paying attention to...

The Atlanta Braves are calling up Kris Medlen to replace an ineffective Reyes in the rotation this week. He will be a two start pitcher. If he is available in your league, I recommend you pick him up and start him. Sometimes there are prospects that are "hot" like David Price. Price has been historically phenomenal and has rightfully been sitting on the bench for most teams in CBS leagues all season. (He is owned in 82% of all leagues. Over at ESPN he is owned in 80% of the leagues. Like I said, "hot" and well-known.) Meanwhile, though Medlen may not be as highly touted as Price, he does possess one advantage...he is in the Major Leagues. Also, Price has been rather ordinary this season: 1-4 with a 4.66 ERA. His K/BB ratio is 26/16 and averaging just over 4 innings per start. Medlen on the other hand? 5-0 at AAA Gwinnett with a Greinke-like 0.97 ERA and a 44K/10BB ratio. If your thinking that this may be a fluke, I don't think so. His career minor league numbers are: 15-9 with 263 Ks in 226.1 IP against just 51 BBs. His career ERA is 2.39. Granted, this is his first season in AAA and he has never even sniffed the Majors. But those numbers look promising. When taking a chance on a player like this I look for 3 things: 1. Good career record (check), 2. Good recent numbers (double-check), and 3. Good team (check).

My point here is, taking a chance on a player like this is the #2 tenet: good in season management. Even if you just stash him on your bench, it is a good move because it LOOKS like a good move. If he gets bombed, drop him; no harm, no foul. But if he pitches well, then he was easily worth the risk. And like I said, luck has to enter into it also. Create your own luck by making smart decisions. Create your own luck by making intelligent pick ups.

Now, I am not saying Medlen is the next Greg Maddux. Nor am I saying that he is a "can't miss" prospect. What I am saying is, if you are looking for that next stud pitcher, he could be it. If you are looking for an unexpected jolt to your team, he could be it. If you are looking for a good keeper next season, he could be it. More importantly, the chances of him being successful are greater than 50/50. And right now he is sitting there for the picking: He is currently owned in just 11% of the leagues at CBS Sportsline. He is certainly worth the gamble. Putting my money where my mouth is, I am now a proud member of that 11%. In fact, he is starting for me next week. Here's hoping that number goes up rapidly.

On another note, I also recommend taking a look at Jorge De La Rosa. I know he is a Rockie, but he looks like the real deal. He's 28 this year, so perhaps he is ready to live up to his Minor League potential. He is the first Rockie pitcher I have ever picked up. I don't plan starting him at home, but there is something there. He really only had one bad start (the first one of the year) which would make his numbers otherworldly rather than just incredible. (One caveat, as he is a former Royal, I may be biased.)


  1. One amendment...apparently Medlen's start has been moved. He will not be a two start pitcher this week, but next assuming he remains on schedule.

  2. Medlen's minor league stats look really good. I was wondering where he ranked in my projections for Brave starters, then wondering "how did I miss this guy?" Found him in the bullpen. 80% of his minor league appearances have been in relief. But he's looking pretty good starting too.

  3. True. What is also pretty intriguing is he may be able to help himself with the bat. In very limited minor league at bats (30) he hit .333 with one HR and a .567 slugging. Then I double checked and originally he was drafted in the 37th round out of High School by the Devil a Shortstop. Then, of course, he went to college and became a pitcher. Ultimately being drafted in the 10th round by the Braves in 2006 out of Santa Ana College.