Key Stats: Ryan Dempster was fantastic in every single month and in virtually every place he pitched last year. The worst ERA he had in any month was 4.55 which is still respectable. There was a lot said about how great Dempster was in Wrigley (14 wins) so the Cubs should pitch him in Game One of the playoffs, but he actually had a better WHIP on the road.
Skeptics Say: The 2006 and 2007 ERA for Dempster was 4.80 and 4.72 respectively. His role changed last year, but it is possible to see 2008 as a fluke. He is also coming off of a season in which he was playing for (and got) a big contract.
Peer Comparison: Ted Lilly has been terrific since he came to the Cubs. Carlos Zambrano has been to 3 All Star games and threw a no hitter last year. Rich Harden had the best numbers of any pitcher per start in fantasy baseball last year. Dempster is ranked ahead of all of them. He had the most innings and an encouraging second half ERA to go with the innings.
Lilly IP: 204.2, 2nd Half ERA: 3.32
Zambrano IP: 188.2, 2nd Half ERA: 5.80
Harden IP: 148, 2nd Half ERA: 1.92
Dempster IP: 206.2, 2nd Half ERA: 2.52
Team Outlook: The Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa, but will use the money they were paying him to upgrade the rest of the team. If they add Jake Peavy to the four names listed above they will have the best rotation in baseball and save the arms in the bullpen. This will better preserve leads that Dempster leaves with. The Cubs are also said to be in on talks with Milton Bradley which will improve on Kosuke Fukodome’s production.
What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #32 Starting Pitcher; CBS Sportsline: #21 Starting Pitcher and #80 Overall; Fox Sports: #34 Starting Pitcher; ESPN: #46 Starting Pitcher; Yahoo: #34 Starting Pitcher and #149 Overall
Projection: Troy Patterson of Roto Savants pointed out that Dempster had the best K:BB ratio of his career last season. Perhaps Dempster was able to get into a better rhythm last season, or we should recognize that 2009 will not be 2008.
15 wins 3.25 ERA 1.28 WHIP 190K in 211 innings
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