AL SP News & Notes: Santiago, Kazmir & Diamond

Today is southpaw day apparently, as a trio of lefties get newsed and noted, two of which are named Scott. Is there another left-handed Scott pitcher I should have included instead of Hector Santiago?

Hector Santiago

Taking over Gavin Floyd‘s spot in the rotation, Santiago has now started two games, allowing just 1 run in 12.1 innings, while striking out 14 and walking just 4. If you recall, last year in a shocking turn of events, White Sox manager Robin Ventura named Santiago as the team’s closer to open the season. That didn’t last very long as he lost his job before the end of April. While he battled control problems all season, he did strike out nearly 26% of the batters he faced and ended up being a solid reliever.

He doesn’t have a whole lot of starting experience, as all we could really look at is his High-A and Double-A performances in 2011. His strikeout rates were okay, but he displayed poor control at Double-A. The good news is that he has no issues getting right-handed batters out, and in fact he has displayed reverse splits over his short career. Against lefties, his xFIP sits at 4.47, while righties are being held to a 3.99 xFIP. He should have value in AL-Only leagues for as long as he remains in the rotation and looks to be a decent streaming option in shallower leagues. Speaking of “remains in the rotation”, John Danks is supposed to return in a couple of weeks, but his velocity is down, so I cannot imagine him being very effective. It might be moot though since the team could choose to demote Dylan Axelrod instead, which is a decision I would approve of.

Scott Kazmir

Welcome back! Last Saturday, Kazmir earned his first win since September 2010. So what do we remember of Kazmir during his prime? He was a hard throwing lefty who could rack up the strikeouts, but usually battled control problems. He was also a fly ball pitcher, which is never a good thing when you walk more than four batters per nine innings. Then injuries hit and his velocity went into freefall mode.

So how does the 2013 version of Kazmir look? Not too bad actually. His fastball velocity has rebounded nearly all the way back to where it sat during his best years in Tampa Bay and he’s inducing swinging strikes at a healthy rate. His control always looks like it’s back to where it used to be, which was never great, but relatively promising for a guy who didn’t pitch at all in 2012 and had a walk rate of 4.7 during his last full season in 2010. With the combination of his strikeout and walk rates, SIERA sees a 4.01 ERA, which isn’t half bad, and given his strikeouts, would play in AL-Only and deeper mixed leagues. Of course, he’ll need some better luck on balls in play (currently sporting a .350 BABIP) and HR/FB rate (an 18.2% rate is hard to overcome).

Scott Diamond

Want an example of a pitcher who enjoys a significant value boost in 4×4 leagues versus 5×5? Here he is. Diamond basically came out of nowhere last year (at least to me, as I kept thinking he was former Rangers prospect Thomas Diamond) to pitch pretty darn well by inducing tons of ground balls and avoiding the free pass like a Twins starter ought to. This year, he’s up to his same tricks, but has taken that control up another notch. He has walked just 3 batters in 29.2 innings over 5 starts for a sparkling 0.9 BB/9. His SIERA is a full run higher than his actual ERA, so he’s clearly benefited from some good luck, primarily due to a low HR/FB rate.

His low strikeout rate obviously caps his fantasy value and he’s prone to have a blow up here and there when batted balls seem to have eyes and keep finding holes. But, his low walk rate should keep his WHIP at a helpful level, while his ERA should be acceptable.



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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.


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K_r_i_s_k_o
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K_r_i_s_k_o

Wow, to this day I still thought that this Diamond was the rangers guy I had been hearing for so long. Anyway, Scott Diamond or Zach McAllister the rest of the way?

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