Jonathan Sanchez has put together periods of brilliance in his short four season career. In March/April of 2008, Sanchez threw 33.2 IPs, posted a 3.48 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, while striking out 40 batters. In 40.2 IPs in June 2008, he posted a 3.10 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, while striking out 39 batters. Of course, his 2008 wasn’t altogether useful, as he ended up with a 5.01 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Still, he was a tad unlucky (.323 BAbip). Still, those brief pockets of success shouldn’t make his 2009 all that astounding (4.24 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 177 Ks). However, his 2009 was blessed with a .278 BAbip. These two BAbips suggest we can average out 2008 and 2009 and crystal ball Sanchez’s 2010. Magic eight ball says: 4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 167 Ks). There is a lot to like in his ability to K a batter per inning.
As I’ve detailed, Jorge de la Rosa had a pretty awesome 2009. Sure his ERA (4.38) and WHIP (1.38) weren’t great, but he struck out 193 batters. Over the last two seasons, de la Rosa has averaged 9.2 Ks per nine innings. That’s pretty tasty. Sure his ratios aren’t earth shattering, but he’ll be able to maintain that K rate for another year at least.
John Danks was a big time prospect in 2003 (the ninth overall selection). It took him five years to realize the potential. In 2008, Danks posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, while striking out 159 hitters. Sure, he regressed a bit in 2009 (3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 149), but those are solid ratios spread out over 200 IPs. What is a bit scary is Danks’ 2009 BAbip (.269), which suggests he was a tad lucky. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see an ERA around 4.00 and a WHIP in the 1.30s. In fact, in 426.1 minor league innings, Danks posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.
Sanchez will be 28 in November, de la Rosa will be 29 in April, and Danks will be 25 in April.
There are pluses and minuses for each of these guys. Sanchez seems to be hitting his prime and has clearly put together some great months. De la Rosa will exit his prime first, but seems to provide a consistent source of Ks. Danks is clearly the youngest, but doesn’t possess the K-upside of the other two.
I’m going to keep the oldest guy of the bunch. With pitchers, it’s hard to project guys (ahem, Mark Prior), so I’ll take the safety in de la Rosa over the promise of the other two. If we aren’t dealing with elite pitching talent, which Danks isn’t, then take the guy you think will produce better next year.
Keep: Jorge de la Rosa
Trade: John Danks
Drop: Jonathan Sanchez
Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).
While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.
The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.