Just a quick hit today as I finish up the outfield and closer rankings as well as put the finishing touches on the FB365 Draft Guide. Since I have Ricky Nolasco ranked as the twelfth best staring pitcher on draft day 2010, I figured it would only be right to clarify exactly why he is ranked ahead of names like Chris Carpenter, Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett. Allow me to explain...
For starters, Nolasco posted a 4.43 K/BB rate, which was good for fifth best in the majors behind Zack Greinke (4.75). It was also the exact same K/BB rate he posted in 2008.
His 9.49 K/9 was good for eleventh best in the majors, again just barely behind Greinke (9.50)
His 2.14 BB/9 was good for nintheenth best in the majors. Three spots higher than Josh Beckett (2.33)
Hitters swung at about one percent more of his pitches outside the strike-zone in 2010 and made about one percent less contact on swings overall (78.2 percent).
His strike/ball rate was only nine tenths worse in 2009 from 2008.
On the flip side, or "unlucky side", Nolasco fell victim to a .336 BABIP against, well above league average and well above his career .311 BABIP against.
His strand rate, or left on base percentage, was 61 percent. That was about 11 percent above the league average, which was 71.9 percent.
These are all indicators that point to Nolasco bouncing back nicely. However, there are still issues to consider from 2009. His HR/9 is still above league average. Hitters also made better contact on pitches inside the strike-zone. From what I watched of Nolasco in 2009, he clearly was unable to locate his pitches like he did in 2008 meaning the fastballs he once painted on the corners were now catching the meat of the plate and hitters were making him pay.
Still, Nolasco's fantasy numbers should look much better this season. He did make some nice adjustments last season after his demotion to the minors. His FIP for the entire season was 3.35 with an even better xFIP of 3.28.
Hopefully after all the top names are gone and rounds 7-10 roll around, you'll be the one yelling Hot Nolasco Sauce! because you just snaged a pitcher with of top ten potential.