In this week's edition of BABIP of the Week, we examine a very unlikely tout: Carl Pavano.
Before telling you why Pavano warrants a pickup, let's catalog the many strikes against him.
He's got a 5.73 ERA.
He pitches for a last-place team.
He pitches for a last-place team with the second-worst defense in baseball (-5.5 UZR).
He pitches for a last-place team with one of the most toxic bullpens in recent major league history.
Three more starts and he'll likely equal his highest innings total in four years (100).
He's Carl Freaking Pavano.
Despite all that, here's why you want him, if you're in an AL-only league (mixed leaguers should wait and see, unless you have 18 teams or more in your league).
He's got a microscopic strand rate of 60|PERCENT|.
Part of that awful strand rate is due to Cleveland's brutal bullpen. But there's no way the Indians stick with the stiffs they have, last place or not. That means improvement is coming.
The best part of Pavano's game when he put up the numbers that earned him his massive Yankees contract was his control. He's still got it, with a 1.87 walk rate that's the 10th-lowest among qualified MLB starters.
His 6.5 strikeout rate is the second-highest of his career, ranking only behind an eight-start cup of coffee with the Expos in 2001.
In keeping with the theme of this feature, Pavano's .332 BABIP is the eighth-highest among qualified MLB starters (though part of that is certainly due to the Tribe's lousy defense and not just bad luck).
Carl Pavano isn't going to be the difference maker in leading you to a championship. But if you're in a 12-team AL-only like I am and have to decide between low-leverage Grant Balfour, hoping for a mid-week return by an injured Kelvim Escobar, or some rookie named Figaro, he's worth pursuing. If he's owned in your league, even in a deep league, I bet you could trade for him – cheap.