By signing with the Yankees, Hiroki Kuroda‘s fantasy value took a huge hit. He has had a few good seasons with the Dodgers putting up numbers near 3.50 ERA, 7 K/9 and 2 BB/9 in the weaker league. The 37-year-old has not had much of a history of time on the disabled list, so he should be expected to throw the entire season.The Yankees get a good starter, but his overall fantasy stats will suffer for a few reasons. He will get a boost to his fantasy value from his teammates, but it will not be enough to offset the downside.
First, he is moving from the National League to the American League. There is probably not much difference in the leagues now in overall talent, but there is some. He will have to face a designated hitter every game instead of a pitcher, too. AL DH’s hit for a triple slash line of .266/.341/.430 while NL pitchers hit a staggering .142/.177/.184. He should expect to see his WHIP and ERA take a hit because of the DH. Besides the extra hits, DHs strikeout less than pitchers (18.1% vs. 32.5%) and walk more (9.7% vs 3.4%).
Other than the disadvantage of having to face a DH, most of the teams he will go against will be from the AL East because of the unbalanced schedule. On average in 2011, the other four teams in the AL East scored 4.7 R/G. In the NL West, Kuroda faced teams that averaged 4.05 R/G game. The competitive AL East could put a dent in his ERA. The dent will grow further by pitching his home games in New Yankee Stadium. It has a 108 batter’s park factor while Dodgers Stadium only has a batter’s park factor of 98. He should expect to see a 10% jump in run scored against him because of the new home park.
Not all is lost with the move to the Yankees. He will have the rest of the Yankee team to help him out. First, the Yankees are generally a good defensive team with with team UZR 20 points higher than the Dodgers in 2011. This will help limit some hits and runs. Second, the Yankee’s bullpen should give him enough support to keep any lead. Last season the Yankees’ bullpen had a 3.12 ERA while the Dodgers had an ERA of 3.92. Finally, the Yankees’ offense should be considered on of the league’s best by scoring 5.4 R/G. He will get good run support and a decent number of Wins.
In all, Kuroda should see a worse ERA and WHIP and some drop in strikeouts because of signing with the Yankees. He should see an increase in wins, but it will not be enough to offset the drop in the other three categories. Good move by the Yankees, bad move for Kuroda’s fantasy owners.