36-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Joe Saunders in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Joe Saunders Contract Information:
Signed a minor league contract with the Orioles in August 2014.
Saunders was released but re-signed with the Mariners on a new minor league deal Tuesday, the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
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|2010 (Multiple Teams)||29||MAJ||LAA/ARI||33||33||1||203.3||232||101||25||114||64||9||17||0||0||0||4.47||1.46|
|2012 (Multiple Teams)||31||MAJ||ARI/BAL||28||28||1||174.7||195||79||21||112||39||9||13||0||0||0||4.07||1.34|
|2014 (Multiple Teams)||33||MAJ||TEX/BAL||14||8||0||43.0||65||32||9||23||24||0||5||0||0||0||6.70||2.07|
|Career (View All)||235||229||3||1,387.3||1,533||674||179||792||439||89||86||0||–||–||4.37||1.42|
Age is determined on July 1st of each season. Jump To: ▼ Advanced StatsNo No Yes
Joe Saunders Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
|Year||Age||Lg||Tm||G||GS||IP||K/9||BB/9||K/BB||HR/9||GB/FB Ratio||Strand %||Fastball||ERA||FIP||BABIP|
|2010 (Multiple Teams)||29||MAJ||LAA/ARI||33||33||203.3||5.05||2.83||1.78||1.11||1.27||72%||90.5 MPH||4.47||4.65||.311|
|2012 (Multiple Teams)||31||MAJ||ARI/BAL||28||28||174.7||5.77||2.01||2.87||1.08||1.18||72.8%||88.9 MPH||4.07||4.17||.314|
|2014 (Multiple Teams)||33||MAJ||TEX/BAL||14||8||43.0||4.81||5.02||0.96||1.88||1.57||71.3%||90.7 MPH||6.70||6.58||.363|
Joe Saunders: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Joe Saunders.
Signed by the Mariners to a $6.5 million deal two years ago, the front office managed to sign him to a minor league deal in February. Not much good can be said about Saunders' 2014 season -- he went 0-5 with a 6.70 ERA and 2.07 WHIP over 43 innings -- but the one positive is that he held opposing lefties to a combined .616 OPS. That number was basically identical to his career mark against left-handers (.617 OPS), and with Seattle rather thin on southpaws in the bullpen, it's possible Saunders could work his way into a specialist role with a strong spring. With Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias, Danny Hultzen, and Erasmo Ramirez offering better options as the No. 5 starter, it's likely that Saunders will be cast into a relief role -- either as a swing man or a LOOGY, with the latter being more likely than the former at this stage of his career.
The best thing that can be said about Saunders is that he's a capable innings eater. Last season with the Mariners, that's about all he did. He induces a ton of groundballs, but doesn't strike out too many batters and doesn't have great control. The southpaw was nearly as lousy at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field (4.99 ERA) as he was on the road (5.45). He's tough on left-handed batters (.214 BAA) but got crushed by righties (.337). Someone had to fill the back of the rotation, though, so the Mariners thanked him for his service before sending him on this way this offeason by declining a team option. He'll land somewhere in spring, but don't expect much more than he offered last season.
Saunders has a reputation of being a solid No.3 or 4 starter and his conventional statistics reflect that. But while splitting the season for the Diamondbacks and the Orioles, Saunders quietly put together the best strikeout rate (15.0%) and the lowest walk rate (5.2%) of his career. Naturally, that gave Saunders a career-best 2.87 K/BB ratio. Make no mistake, Saunders is a finesse pitcher who can touch 90 mph with his fastball only on occasion. Saunders' impressive campaign had the Orioles eying a re-sign, but he is certainly going to be courted by several teams in the offseason and will land likely in the middle of the rotation.
In terms of durability, Saunders has proven to be one of the most reliable starters in baseball over the last four seasons. Saunders doesn't offer much to fantasy owners with his low strikeout rate (career 5.02 K/9IP over 986.2 innings) and it would be wise to consider his 4.38 xFIP as a baseline rather than the 3.69 ERA he posted with Arizona on the strength of a 78 percent strand rate and .271 BABIP. Saunders returned to the D-Backs by signing a one-year deal in January, where he should chew up innings in the back of the rotation and afford the team's pitching prospects additional development time.
We always like to think that moving to the National League will significantly increase a starting pitcher's strikeout rate. In Saunders' case, the improvement wasn't overwhelming as he only pushed his mark from 4.8 K/9IP over 120.2 innings with the Angels to 5.4 after he was sent to the D-Backs as part of the Dan Haren trade. His greatest value to Arizona is tied to durability (95 starts since 2008) and that he's a left-handed starter in a rotation that is otherwise entirely right-handed. Given the uncertainty of the D-Backs' bullpen and his propensity to pitch to contact in a hitter-friendly park, Saunders is volatile commodity best left to those in NL-only and very deep mixed formats.
The differences between his 2008 and 2009 sound small - a half-dozen singles, nine homers, 11 walks - but they add up to a lot of runs. Saunders' pitch-to-contact style can be effective, but he needs to walk few hitters and allow few homers for it to work. The truth lies between his last two seasons; Saunders is a worthwhile, if unsexy, fantasy pitcher.
Saunders was supposed to battle Ervin Santana for the final rotation spot in spring training last season yet, like Santana, Saunders found a spot in the rotation and refused to give it back. Unlike Santana, there's a fear that Saunders won't be able to repeat his breakout performance, in no small part due to his inability to miss bats (4.68 K/9 in 2008). That fear is partially addressed by an above-average ability to induce ground balls, but don't be surprised to see him fall off the pace some in 2009.
Saunders was a pleasant surprise for the Angels last season, throwing 107.1 innings while going 8-5 with a 4.44 ERA and earning a spot in the starting rotation. He isnít overpowering (69 strikeouts), but he does throw from the left side and has very good command of his fastball. Saunders will battle Ervin Santana for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, but even if he wins it, Saundersí numbers arenít good enough for him to be a consistent fantasy contributor in most formats.
At age 26 and lacking dominant stuff, Saunders is what he's going to be, a command southpaw who does a lot of things well, and should open the season as the team's sole lefthanded starter, pending Bartolo Colon's availability. The Angels' strong bullpen makes him a decent bet for six-inning wins.
The Angels 2005 minor league pitcher of the year, Saunders has the inside track on the fifth starter's job heading into camp. Mike Scioscia has stated his preference to have at least one lefty in the rotation. Look for Saunders to win the starting job and experience inconsistent results with flashes of promise throughout the season.
Anaheim's No. 1 draft choice in 2002 spent 2003 on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff. His overall California League performance in 2004 was mediocre, but the recovery process from a torn labrum takes time beyond the return to the field. It'll take improvement in 2005 before he's considered fully back on track.
Anaheim's No. 1 draft choice in 2002 spent 2003 on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff. His doctors recommended therapy over surgery, and it's anybody's guess as to how Saunders responds in 2004.