Jake Peavy’s Quiet Comeback

It has been 40 starts for Jake Peavy since the start of 2012 and his ERA is right at 3.35. While that is a far cry away from his Cy Young caliber seasons in the mid-2000’s, his consistency and reliability has really propelled him to become an undervalued fantasy asset over the past two seasons. Since there is always a fear of injury around Peavy, prospective owners are sometimes weary to pull the trigger or draft Peavy, but I think that makes Peavy a great buy at this point.

A lot of owners are probably doubting that he can:

A) Keep up this level of performance

  1. He had two consecutive seasons of ERAs in the mid-to-high 4’s
  2. He currently has the highest strikeout percentage he has ever had at 28.4%

B) Stay healthy

  1. Before last season he had not made 30 starts in a year since 2007
  2. Everyone remembers the gruesome arm injury he suffered when his bicep popped off the bone

I do not necessarily blame them for doubting Peavy in these respects. He is aging, he is in a hitter’s ballpark, he is in the American League, and he has never struck out batters at this high of a rate. That rate will almost certainly drop, but even when it does I believe he is a pitcher of similar caliber. Strikeouts are up across the league, so it isn’t outlandish to believe he will maintain a rate higher than his career norm of 23.7%, and as his strikeout rate drops his home run per fly ball rate (also the highest of his career) likely will as well which should help in balancing out his performance.

Peavy has made massive strides to not only return to the mound and be effective but to return the mound and be reliable and consistent. He is no longer a six win pitcher as he was back in 2007, but a 4.5 win season followed up by 1.3 wins in eight starts this year is mighty impressive after what he has gone through.

While many owners may be looking to cash in on Peavy’s production, I want to take advantage of what they are willing to part ways with. They will look at Peavy as selling high, but you should look at it as grabbing a player of value that they are looking to part ways with. If they are looking to part ways with him now, his value cannot be at its highest. It is a myth in the owner’s head.

This is a guy who has really only had a few seasons with injuries, which is rather common for a pitcher. Do not let the problems he has ran into health wise a few seasons back cause fear in acquiring a starter. All pitchers are susceptible to injury, and I do not believe at this point that Peavy should be looked at as a big injury risk. Starting 40 straight games gives confidence in his health and his ability to perform with a lower velocity than he did at his peak. Be confident in trading for Peavy and look to acquire him in any league in which you can use another starter.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

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A few weeks ago I traded Masterson, gyrko and Frieri for Lester and Prado. Then turned around and traded Lester for Utley and Prado for Peavy and Jim Henderson. I kinda feel bad about giving up on Gyrko so soon, but I really think those trades will continue to work out for me.