Monday, June 27, 2011

The Knurve To Say: June 27th, 2011

This week, I have The Knurve To Say...
...Jhoulys Chacin will be a top 3 starting pitcher by the end of 2012.
     I know this is relatively bold, but I’m a huge believer in this guy. He’s seemingly come from nowhere to become one of the most dominant pitchers in the NL, but I still get the feeling he’s underappreciated and it’s got me wondering.
     His K/9 is slightly down from last year but so is his BB/9. I have chronicled on my blog how much of a premium elite starting pitching he has become. The increasing depth of starting pitching is going to force us to look for that extra something at a good value. I think even next year, Chacin will be available for a good price because of his relative obscurity.
     But why do I believe he’s going to turn into an elite starting pitcher? For starters, the dude’s only 23 and he’s already doing solid work. His minor league numbers indicate he has the ability for fabulous control. That being said, I think this is his adjustment year. The slight dip in K/9 doesn’t worry me at all because it has been accompanied by a lower BB/9 and an above average HR/FB rate. The higher Home Run rate is to be expected in Coors, but there’s typically a correlation between walk rates and HR/FB rates. Chacin’s track record implies those rates will regress to a mean, and I expect his K rates to spike.
     Chacin is well aware that he is most successful when he keeps the ball down. His high ground ball rates and career BABIP of .255 implies that he has the ability to show phenomenal control. If you are scared of Chacin’s high strand rate, don’t be. His ability to keep the ball down means fewer RBI’s and Home Runs alongside more double-plays.
     My recommendation: If you’re in a keeper league, try to go get him. If you’re at the bottom of your league, offer up an older starter or sell high on somebody. If you can get Chacin for Anibal Sanchez, Ian Kennedy, Alexi Ogando, Erik Bedard, Hiroki Kuroda and Wandy Rodriguez are just a few of the guys having good years that I’d trade for Chacin in a heartbeat.

Thoughts from the week that was:
  • I was a loser and stayed home to watch the White Sox-Nats game on Friday night. The ejection of temporary manager John McLaren was awesome, but I want to talk about Henry Rodriguez for a second. Chances are you've never heard of Rodriguez, but I’m going to say with utter confidence that he has the nastiest stuff in the Majors. I was absolutely shocked at what this guy was doing. He’s hitting 100 with his fastball and has a slider/sinker that is the most absurd thing I have ever seen in my entire life. There are no great videos showing his whole arsenal. But check out the location and speed of these fastballs when he was on the Athletics: And check out the pure filth of this wild pitch earlier this year: It’s no wonder he has an absurdly low ERA and high WHIP.
  • Speaking of McLaren's ejection, I was pissed after they overruled that call, for one reason, and one reason only. Armando Galarraga. Where was the home plate umpire when Jim Joyce clearly blew the call that cost him a perfect game? There’s no excuse for overruling that call Friday night. Sure, it was a bang-bang play, but to the wimpy rookie umpire, don’t poop your pants whenever someone questions you. Joe Torre needs to talk to his umpires about what can get overruled and what can’t. That was absolutely terrible.
  • I’m convinced the Diamondbacks are going to win the NL West going away. This team was one year away after their atrocious season last year, and now that they improved the bullpen and their young offense is a year older. Their starting pitching has been a performing a little over their heads (See: Joshua Collmenter and Ian Kennedy) but they have the highest offensive potential in that division and it’s not even close. Speaking of them, in case you haven’t seen Wily Mo Pena’s shtoinker Friday night… you’re welcome:
  • I used to think the Kardashian’s were the dumbest, most annoying people ever. Then Jim Riggleman decided to stop managing the Nationals.
  • The report that came out where Logan Morrison told new manager Jack McKeon that he was going to go home and play with his Twitter and McKeon asked what kind of dog it was, made me laugh for about 20 minutes.
  • Given the power of the AL East, I am ready to declare Josh Beckett and James Shields two of the best pitchers in baseball. But if I own them I’m selling high. The fact of the matter is these guys are not, nor have they ever been, THIS good. If you own one of these guys, I’m milking them for all their worth. Mark my words on this one, starting pitching is so deep, shore up a hole in your roster by getting rid of these guys. I think these guys will be good for the rest of the season, but I think both of their value has peaked right now. Three straight complete games!?! Are you kidding me?
  • I’m going to say this now, and I will probably elaborate on this in my article next week, but Joe Mauer’s contract may go down as one of the biggest busts in baseball history.
The Mike Stanton Mancrush-Meter was a 6 last week. I’m sad to say it’s down to a 5 this week. He sat the first few games of last week with an eye infection and then came back and had two straight 3 hit games on Wednesday and Thursday before he had a golden sombrero Friday night, striking out all four times he came to the plate. With no mammoth, testosterone-inducing bombs to the crowded Sun Life Stadium outfield bleachers this week, I sure hope he hits one this week.

Joke of the week: Adrian Gonzalez’s batting average in June is 10 points higher than Shaq’s free throw percentage in the entire 2006-2007 season with the Heat. I can’t tell which is funnier; how good Gonzalez is or how bad Shaq was.

Have a great week, fellow Americans.

KNURVE'S NOTE: I swear on my future children's ugliness that I didn't read Matthew Berry's column from last week before I touted Chacin and selling high on Beckett and Shields.

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