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Entries in Chris Carpenter (2)


The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller

Today the news broke that Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season. Any time there’s an injury it presents an opportunity for another player to contribute on an everyday basis. Before the Carpenter news there was going to be a two-player battle between Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to be the Cardinals number five starter. Now it appears both players are front runners to make the rotation on opening day. Below are player profiles about each player respectively.


Please note the format for the “ADP” section reads as follows: ADP: positional draft position (overall draft position). For example, Lance Lynn is currently the 53rd starting pitcher being taken and is going 197th overall. All ADPs are from Mock Draft Central.


Lance Lynn

Throws: R | Age: 25 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 53 (197)

Lynn’s 2012 season was tale of two halves. During the first half he won 11 games, had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. However, in the second half he won just 7 games with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. In order to not over work him, the Cardinals put him in the bullpen for month down the stretch. Lynn has a plus-plus fastball, which has late movement, sits between 92-94 mph and can hit as high as 97 mph. For secondary pitches he primarily relies on the sinker and curveball, but will throw a cutter and changeup sparingly. The curveball is his best secondary pitch, effective against both lefties and righties. If he can improve the command of his changeup he can be a top 20 fantasy starter. Fantasy owners should expect a 3.80+ ERA with 170+ strikeouts.

Shelby Miller

Throws: R | Age: 22 |Team: Cardinals | Position: SP | ADP: 88 (306)

In 2012 during his first 17 starts in Triple-A Miller posted a 6.17 ERA (due to a lack of command), but in his last 10 starts he dominated hitters with a 2.88 ERA with 70 strikeouts in only 59 innings. In only 13 big league innings he continued to flash his dominance striking out nearly 30% of the batters he faced. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can touch 98 if he needs it. The fastball has good sink and boring action that jumps on hitters because of his extension. His changeup and curveball (looks like a slider), can both miss a ton of bats. As the 2012 season wore on he metamorphosed from a "grip it and rip it" thrower to pitcher who relied less on the fastball and sequenced his secondary pitches more frequently. If he begins the year in the Cardinals rotation he’s a top 30 fantasy starting pitcher.


Carp Goes on Short Rest

With the World Series on the line, Chris Carpenter takes the ball on short rest tonight for the St. Louis Cardinals. Carp, who gave up four runs in three innings while pitching on short rest against the Phillies in Game Two of the NLDS, gets the nod over a fully-rested Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse.

Starting pitchers typically perform worse on three days' rest. Baseball-Reference keeps track of a stat called tOPS+, which compares a pitcher's on-base-plus-slugging percentage in a particular situation to his overall OPS. One-hundred is average, while anything over 100 means the pitcher did worse in that situation than he did overall. With the exception of 2009, starters have lost a good bit of their effectiveness when going on short rest:

2008: 115 tOPS+ (15 percent worse on three days' rest than in other situations)

2009: 94 tOPS+

2010: 113 tOPS+

2011: 121 tOPS+

How have pitchers fared in the playoffs on short rest? Not well. Since 2008, there have been 10 starts made on three days' rest. The pitchers lasted slightly more than 5.1 innings per start, with a solid strikeout total (7.6 per nine innings pitched) but also plenty of walks (3.8 per nine) and lots of home runs allowed (1.55 HR/9). Those starters had a collective 5.79 ERA.

The sample size is awfully small (a total of 54.1 innings pitched), but we are talking about some of the best starting pitchers in the game. After all, a manager wouldn't consider putting a pitcher out there on short rest unless he thought that his less-than-optimal-ace would still be better than a well-rested, middle-of-the-pack starter. In recent years, though, those aces have coughed up runs at a Kyle Davies-like clip.

Here's the list of short-rest playoff starters since '08, ranked by Game Score (the average is around 50):


Is 70-80 percent of vintage Chris Carpenter better than Edwin Jackson at 100 percent? We'll find out tonight, though it's entirely possible that Carp is only the nominal starter, going once through the Rangers' lineup, and Jackson sees a few innings of action as well. Given how starters tend to fare worse in the mid-to-late innings -- compared to their first time through the lineup, their opponent OPS climbs 29 points the second time through and 74 points when facing batters a third time -- being quick to the bullpen is a smart strategy. 

If Game Seven is even one percent as thriling as Game Six, we'll all be in for a treat.