Ignore the shameless plug, but I have just read an article by Geoffrey Stein, a writer for Mock Draft Central. I subscribe to their email lists and get sent a nugget of information every Friday.
This week, it was about Randy Johnson: the sleeper.
Yeah, I had the same reaction. The same Randy Johnson who has more years of major League experience than some of the rookies I’ve been watching in Spring Training?
The same Big Unit whose mullet looks like a throwback to the days when he started his career in the late 80s?
The same lanky pitcher who made an apperance in an advert for 2k Sport’s MLB 2K9 video game with Tim Lincecum only to comically say, “He should put a towel on.” ?
The answer is yes to all of them. Randy has returned from a back injury, moved into a pitchers’ ballpark and he is once again a fantasy commodity…of sorts.
Let me just use a line out of the email I received from MDC, because I am not taking credit for this.
“The definition of sleeper is debatable, but to me it all comes down to one thing: Average Draft Position (ADP) and a player`s ability to outperform it.”
I have not highlighted Randy in any of my pre-draft blogs and he’s probably not a guy I will be taking when I come to fill out my SP spots.
But let’s see whether there is an argument for picking him. According to Geoffrey Stein, Johnson`s ADP sits at 149.01, 35th overall amongst starting pitchers.
Geoffrey says that many times he can be had in the mid-teen rounds and that is my experience too.
As of Tuesday, Randy had gone as high as 123rd and as late as 183rd in the 7-day span from Feb 24 to March 3. For those in a 12-tem league, that means early 11th round to mid 15th. I wouldn’t wait much later than the 13th though if I wanted him on my team.
“Not bad for a pitcher who struck out 173 hitters in 184 innings pitched last season while dealing with a back injury.
Not bad for a pitcher who put up a 3.91 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with a hitters` park for a home stadium.”
Geoffrey says there is no reason why he can`t post an ERA in the mid-3s, a WHIP in the 1.2s and strikeout close to 200 hitters.
For me, these figures are a little bit too optimistic. Mid-3s will be closer to 4.00 and 200Ks will not be higher than 150. That said, 7 or 8 wins from 150 innings isn’t too bad from a guy of his age. He does have some value after moving to a park which supresses the home run ball – which will be important considering his flyball rates are increasing – just don’t expect too much from the Big Unit. Good back or not.