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The O-Zone: Sleeper of the Year
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 3/2/2007 8:34:00 PM
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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.


Bush actually led the NL in K:BB ratio last year. Good analysis Joe, but remember, this was his first go-around in the Senior Circuit, always an advantage for the pitcher. He's prone to giving up the long ball, has a mediocre fastball and needs to learn how to pitch from the stretch (for his career, .234 BAA with bases empty, .297 BAA with runners on). He is undervalued, and a drop in ERA is likely, but I'm not so sure about top 5-10 ability. I'd rather have John Patterson ...Couldn't agree with you more about Dice-K. For where he's going, there's simply too much of an unknown/risk factor.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/3/2007 10:32:00 AM
Top 5 NL starter? Ahead of which of these guys: Oswalt, Carpenter, Webb, Zito, Smoltz, Sheets, Peavy, Young or Zambrano?
Posted by vtadave at 3/3/2007 12:05:00 PM
I said maybe top five. That doesn't mean I necessarily expect it to happen, only that it is within the realm of possibility.

Also, Dalton ... I like Patterson too, but the injury risk scares me away.
Posted by joeo at 3/3/2007 12:45:00 PM
I'll take Dice-K over Bush. Does anyone remember the World Baseball Classic? 3-0, 1.38 ERA, oh and he only has to throw around 100 pitches a game now that he's not in Japan, not 120-130. He also got lucky to be signed by Boston and not New York (although I'm a Yanks fan), less pressure than is already on him-see ARod. I've also noticed in the drafts I've done already, Sheffield is hanging around way too long, I wouldn't label him a sleeper but undervalued.
Posted by kevinccp at 3/3/2007 5:52:00 PM

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