The Indians recently signed Kerry Wood to a 2-year deal with a vesting option for a third year. What does this mean for your fantasy team in 2009?
The headline says it all: Wood was excellent last year. He posted a 3.26 ERA, but that came with a 2.32 FIP and a 3.16 tRA* (which translates to a 2.76 ERA). Wood had an excellent 84/18 K/BB ratio in 66 innings, and allowed a .331 BABIP, which is likely to regress. Wood did benefit from a lower-than-normal home run rate, as only 6.2% of his fly balls became homers, a number that will likely be higher in 2009.
Wood’s statistics also may suffer from a switch from the National League over to the American League. However, Wood was so fantastic in 2008 that his ERA should remain low once again in 09, even in the more difficult league. Furthermore, Wood will be locked in to closer duties on what should be a very good Indians team, thus getting him a lot of save opportunities.
The one knock with Wood is his fragility. There’s no denying his injury history, and no one knows how he’ll hold up as a reliever for a second straight year. However, Wood did manage 66 innings in 2008 and escaped the season virtually unscathed. Wood’s injury concerns may be overblown by other people in your league, perhaps driving his value downward.
Wood looks like he’ll be a solid value in fantasy leagues, available after the top tier of closers have been taken. He should rack up saves as well as strikeouts, and should help you in ERA and WHIP as well. You will have to be vigilant about any injury concerns, and you might be well advised to pick up Wood’s likely replacement (probably Jensen Lewis) at the first sign of an injury. If you are able to do that, you minimize the damage that a Wood injury would inflict upon your team, while reaping the benefits that a healthy Kerry Wood will bring.
Kerry Wood is a good bet to provide excellent value for you, and finding closers at a value price is one of the most important skills a fantasy player can have.
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