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Key Stats: Ricky Nolasco knows that he’s on your fantasy team. That’s how he approaches his job. Regardless of the situation this guy just does not like to walk hitters. For the third straight season, Nolasco’s strikeout to walk rate was over 4.4. That is more than twice as many strikeouts per walk than the league average of 2.17. Every season he’s actually gotten better than his peers – in 2008 he had the 7th best K:BB rate, in 2009 he had the 5th best K:BB rate, and in an injury shortened season last year he had the third best K:BB rate. Nolasco even had a stretch from late June to early July in which he struck out 28 and walked 2.

Skeptics Say: If there’s a poster boy over the last two seasons for why sabremetrics do not work, it’s Nolasco. His 5.06 ERA and 3.35 FIP in 2009 had fantasy analysts like Charlie Saponora screaming fluke, but Nolasco’s ERA was only lowered to 4.51 last season. His FIP was again lower at 3.86. He may be great at controlling the zone and not allowing walks, but as a consequence Nolasco has always served up his share of fat pitches. Last year he allowed more home runs per 9 innings than he ever has, and he also had his worst WHIP in three seasons.

Peer Comparison: I actually have a choice of keeping Nolasco ($23) and/or Yovani Gallardo ($24) in a deep NL Only Auction league (12 teams and 25 players per team). Here’s a look at their numbers side by side:

Nolasco: 14 wins 8.39 K/9, 4.51 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Gallardo: 14 wins 9.73 K/9, 3.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP

The two players essentially split the categories and on top of that were both in Yahoo’s Top 50 for just one month last season. Nolasco would have had more wins if he had kept on pitching in September, but he didn’t keep pitching in September. The key to note with Gallardo is that for the second consecutive year, he was a much worse pitcher after the all-star break, but as far as drafts are concerned if he’s consistent for two straight years in the first half shouldn’t that be the most important reason to draft a guy? Another factor to consider with Yovanni is that he is really entering his third season. Nolasco is closer to his fifth. If one player is going to drastically improve upon his weakness more than the other, it’s Gallardo.

Team Outlook: The Marlins traded Dan Uggla, the guy who led the team in runs, home runs, and RBI for two players that will not lead the team in those categories. That said, it’s possible the Marlins have made life better for Nolasco so far this offseason. Mike Dunn has potential in a role as a specialist the team lacked in 2009 (18K in 9.2 innings vs. lefties). They also got a guy in Omar Infante who could do something Uggla had trouble doing in Florida – get along with Hanley Ramirez. Plus Infante is an average fielder and Uggla is below average. And more important than anything that happened in that trade, the Marlins signed John Buck from Toronto. Buck was a top ten fantasy catcher last season.

What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #42 Starting Pitcher & #182 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #41 Starting Pitcher; Couch Managers: #155 Overall; Tristan Cockcroft of #35 Starting Pitcher; Mock Draft Central: #262 Overall

Projection: Nolasco could be considered a post-hype guy after not delivering on last year’s expectations to bounce back in dominant form. He’s still just 28 years old and should be ready to go after knee surgery.
15 wins 3.65 ERA 1.26 WHIP 189 K in 205 innings


2 Responses to Ricky Nolasco Player Projection No. 119

  1. Dave says:

    Ricky Nolasco knows that he's on your fantasy team. That's how he approaches his job.

    Truer words have not been spoken all day. IT'S LIKE HE KNOWS!!!

  2. Charlie Saponara says:

    You know I'm on board. He's to some really Hot Nolasco Sauce in 2011!!!

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