Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Likely Available Waiver Wire Talent: Michael Pineda, Josh Johnson, Matt Harvey, Derek Holand, Kyle Lohse

Michael Pineda (47%)

Definitely one of the wild cards/unknowns as we approach baseball season. Pineda had a promising 2011 before being traded to the Yankees where he has gone on to.....miss the last two seasons.

Assuming Pineda stays healthy (a big if), he should be in line for a regular rotation spot and at least get innings. It's just a matter of what he does with those innings. Personally, I would pass as there are other options out there that haven't missed two whole seasons.

For what its worth, his closest comparison through age 22 (2011 season) is Josh Beckett. Beckett was a solidly above average (though not yet a star) in his age 23-25 seasons with ERA+ of 138, 108 & 118 and starting between 24-29 games. If Pineda stays healthy, he could put up decent numbers and help your team out. Although there are a lot of ifs & coulds to counter with.

Josh Johnson (45%)

During his time with the Marlins, Johnson was a brilliant but often injured pitcher. In 2013 with the Blue Jays, Johnson was an ineffective and often injured pitcher. The Padres were able to get Johnson on a one year flier when his value was at an all-time low.

Even if he his past his peak of 2010 where he dominated the 28 games he started (2.30 ERA, 180 ERA+), his ERA & WHIP numbers should improve solely on playing half of his games at Petco Park and getting out of the AL East.

Again, this is a case of whether he can be effective AND stay healthy. His most similar player through age 29 is John Montefusco. His age 30 season was not very strong. In 22 games (17 starts), he managed an 81 ERA+ in 137 innings but did manage a couple decent seasons afterwards.

With Johnson best case would be about 25-30 starts, an ERA in the mid 3-s and maybe he can back his way into 15 wins if the Padres do indeed turn out to be a better team this year.

Matt Harvey (31%)

If Harvey didn't have Tommy John surgery, he would not be on this list and would likely be an early round pick. While a lot of people are assuming that Harvey would not pitch in 2014, Matt Harvey is not one of those people. Maybe he will get in some games towards the end of the season. Unless you are in a keeper league, it's probably best to pass on Harvey this year but be ready to take him early in 2015.

His most similar player through age 24 is Ed Walsh. At age 25, he had a 1.88 ERA/135 ERA+ (this was back in 1906) and pitched very effectively ( and very often maxing out at 464 innings in 1908) earning him a spot in the hall of fame. Obviously, Harvey (or any other starter) is going to come close to pitching 350 innings (let alone five times but maybe this is an omen that Tommy John surgery is merely a bump in the road and he could end up in Cooperstown one day.

Derek Holland (29%)

If you have Holland on your roster already, you do have a slight disadvantage as he is expected to miss the start of the season due to an off-season knee injury. He'll give you consistent strikeout totals 7-8 per 9 innings but the ERA & WHIP totals aren't much to write home about. One thing (outside his control) that incrementally increases his value is having a loaded Rangers offense behind him should help him back into some additional wins. If you need a boost in strikeouts, he could be a valuable in-season pick up.

His most similar player through age 26 is Joel Pineiro. His age 27 season (2006) was an utter disaster (6.36 era/70 ERA+) though he did have a few decent seasons afterwards. For Holland, i'd be surprised if his performance fell off a cliff and i'd look to see him put up average to slightly above average numbers.

Kyle Lohse (28%)

The Brewers signed Kyle Lohse at the start of the 2013 season with the hopes that it would help their efforts to contend for a playoff spot. While Lohse did his part and had a nice season, having him on their roster helped the Brewers lose "only" 88 games instead of 90+.

Lohse is someone that I literally picked up off the waiver wire a couple minutes earlier as I needed to find a replacement for Jarrod Parker who is off to having Tommy John surgery and will be out for all of 2014. If Lohse puts up a repeat of last year's numbers i'll be happy with it both from a fan & fantasy perspective (currently Lohse is in a reserve role for my fantasy team).

Through age 34, Lohse's most similar player is Esteban Loaiza. While Lohse has started to pitch better as he's gotten into his 30's, Loaiza had one really strong season at age 31 but by the time he was 35, he was struggling to hang on and made two starts for Oakland and five starts for the Dodgers. For Lohse, my expectation is that he'll have another solid season (similar to his 2013) for the upcoming season.

All numbers, comparisons, etc. used found on baseball-reference.com