by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It was an excellent 2013 campaign for Bartolo Colon, in fact some may use the word unbelievable. How else do we describe it when a 40-year old posts the following line:
117 Strikeouts (5.53 K/9)
29 Walks (1.37 BB/9)
80.0% Strand Rate
While he finds himself leaving the comfy confines of Oakland, a move to the NL and an equally favorable CitiField makes things appear to be positive. However, as we look at the numbers there should be some obvious causes for concern.
Right off the bat, throw the 18 wins out the window. We all know not to chase wins as it is, and it’s hard to imagine the Mets giving him that many opportunities. That number should have no basis on how we value him for 2014.
His age is also of obvious concern. Can we expect him to stay healthy for an entire season? Keep in mind that 2013 was the first time he threw over 165 innings in a season since 2005. Granted, he has been at 150+ for three consecutive seasons, but it’s still hard to imagine him making 30+ starts.
As for the rest of the numbers, the move to the NL could help his strikeout total slightly but I wouldn’t expect a big jump. He doesn’t throw hard (89.9 mph average fastball in 2013) and doesn’t generate a lot of swings and misses (SwStr% of 5.3%, 4.7% and 6.3% the past three seasons).
The control has been tremendous, and it hasn’t been an aberration either. Over the past three seasons he owns BB/9 of 2.19, 1.36 and 1.37. While it’s hard to expect him to maintain that type of success, but it’s also impossible to predict a major regression. He has been consistent in this regard and it is arguably he’s one redeeming quality. Good control should lead to a viable WHIP, but everything else is off the table.
We’ve already discredited his wins, talked about how little strikeout upside he has and mentioned the concern about his age. What’s left? His ERA, and it’s another potential red flag. His strand rate last season was obviously above average and screams of a regression.
With his line drive rate increasing in the second half last season (23.3%), it’s just another negative. All signs point to a significantly higher ERA, likely in the mid-to-high 3s (think 3.65-3.90 type range, at best).
While the media have generally credited the Mets for signing Colon, fantasy owners shouldn’t necessarily do the same. That’s not to say it was a bad move, but it’s not one fantasy owners should look to exploit. Colon seems unlikely to be an appealing option in 2014.
Source – Fangraphs