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The O-Zone: Sleeper of the Year

Thank you, Captain Obvious: Drafting the pitcher with the fourth-best K/BB in all of baseball last year would be a wise move.

Whatís not so obvious: That pitcher is David Bush.

As I was conducting some preseason research for my Eagle-Tribune fantasy column, I came across this stat, and it blew me away. I knew Bush had good command last year, but I had no idea he was THIS good. Bushís 4.37 K/BB was better than Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson and a litany of other star hurlers.

Bush is without a doubt The O-Zoneís sleeper of the year. Expectations arenít immense for this guy -- he plays for a small-market club, and even in lilí olí Milwaukee, heís only the fourth-biggest name on the starting staff. But donít let the lack of fanfare fool you. Bush boasts elite command, and he could be a top-10 starter in NL-only leagues this year. Maybe even top-5. And while weíre talking about pitchingÖ

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his debut tonight, tossing two scoreless innings against The Juggernaut Known as Boston College. Originally, I was going to write about this in The O-Zone, but what can I really say? Two innings against a college club doesnít tell us anything we donít already know.

Thatís my problem with Matsuzaka: We just donít know. And thatís also why Iíll be keeping quiet when his name comes up in my fantasy drafts this month.

I need to see a whole year of Dice-K before Iíll be confident making any sort of projection for him. I donít care if heís 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA at the end of April -- I need to see him succeed again and again and again and again before Iíll believe heís the real deal.

Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 3/2/2007 8:34:00 PM

Comments (4)

The O-Zone: Jenks jinx?
THE JENKS JINX

White Sox closer Bobby Jenks left last nightís game with tightness in his pitching shoulder. Normally, I wouldnít worry too much about this -- just some spring stiffness, right?

Iím not so sure.

Letís take a look at some first- and second-half splits for Jenks last year:

First half: 2.83 ERA, one walk every 3.18 innings, .221 opponents batting average.

Second half: 5.72 ERA, one walk every 1.57 innings, .295 opponents batting average.

Jenksí second-half swoon suggests he was suffering from a physical ailment. Perhaps it was simply fatigue, but perhaps it was something more severe. Jenksí current tussle with shoulder stiffness suggests the latter.

Keep a very close eye on Jenks over the upcoming days and weeks. Maybe Iím making a mountain out of a molehill here, but when a player struggles late one year and then immediately gets hurt in camp the next year, Iím spending my auction dollars elsewhere.

Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 3/2/2007 6:46:00 PM

Comments (0)

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