Patience a virtue when deciphering the value of starting pitchers
After last week's relisting of the top 50 starting pitchers for the rest of the fantasy season, we received some feedback (read: hatemail):
The readers buried the lead. They should have asked how can 2012 breakout 27-year-old Matt Cain slot just eighth?
After Wednesday night's perfect game, they might be willing to ask that question now. That is a reasonable debate, and it could have been argued Tuesday before the outing. Cain just might be the best pitcher in baseball now, and that is just not a knee-jerk reaction to a perfect game.
Remember, after Phil Humber's perfect game this space declared of the 150 regular starting pitchers in baseball, "Humber might be closer to the bottom third."
Ubaldo Jimenez used to look like the best pitcher in fantasy.
Francisco Liriano used to look like he could be the best pitcher in fantasy. Remember that?
And Tim Lincecum, Cain's teammate, used to look like he belonged in a major-league rotation, much less in an active fantasy lineup.
We remind again, particularly in the case of Dickey and Lynn: "Numbers in small sample sizes tend to distort things early on in fantasy."
It isn't technically early anymore, but Dickey and Lynn's emergence into the fantasy elite isn't complete yet. They need a full season of dominance before they should be valued as such in fantasy.
Cain has had it. He belongs in the elite conversation. Somewhere Eli Manning of the football Giants wants to go on radio to say
Coming into the year, Cain had the lowest run support of any pitcher with as many innings. He just didn't get the victories to warrant elite talk in the preseason, but they are coming now and he looks as good as anyone.
While we tend to overrate wins, we equally can overlook the pitchers unfortunate enough to get them, despite pitching like an ace. That has been Cain.
So, no, Cain does not have the case to start the All-Star Game like Dickey (10-1, 2.20 ERA, 0.944 WHIP and 90 strikeouts to 19 walks) or perhaps even Lynn (10-2, 2.43, 1.090, 86, 27), because of victories, but Cain is the better pitcher -- arguably
Cain is pitching to his level, while Dickey and Lynn are merely stacking their nuts for what will be a regression to around the 37th and 38th best pitchers in fantasy.
Look at it this way: No one on this planet would deal a Justin Verlander, or a Cain, for a Dickey or Lynn. The masses know what the dossier for an elite starter is. Dickey and Lynn have some work to do and their resumes suggest they won't get there.
While Dickey and Lynn owners pound their chest at being disrespected here and by everyone else that doesn't own those two, a few things might be getting overlooked among other pitchers streaking in your league:
4. On the bad side of streaky:
5. Among pitchers with a full 13 starts to date, Lincecum is dead last in fantasy points under a standard scoring system that rewards three points per inning pitched. Dead last. That is worse than the likes of
The moral of the story here: You should sell on Lincecum.
But, if you can deal the "new money" in Dickey or Lynn for Lincecum, you probably should do it. Lincecum, as much as he looks like toast, still can be better than both of the major's 10-game winners here on out.