Is Jake Peavy Worth The Risk On Draft Day?

by Kyle Johansen

After a career filled with numbers inflated by spacious Petco Park, Jake Peavy had a giant question mark next to his name entering the 2010 season.  Moving from the friendliest pitcher’s park in baseball to the launching pad known as US Cellular Field is a drastic shift in pitching environments and before an injury cut his season short, Peavy was performing pretty much as one would expect: a slightly higher WHIP, a few less Ks and a ballooned ERA.  Here are his 2010 stats:

107 IP
93 Ks
4.63 ERA
1.23 WHIP
2.74 K/BB
4.01 FIP

Both his FIP and xFIP (4.08) agree that the ERA was an outlier, but they also suggest that pitching in the American League and calling the Cell home has turned Peavy into a 4.00 ERA pitcher. 

The positives, however, outweigh the drag of a 4-ERA on your team.  Last year Peavy still managed to provide a strong WHIP with a good amount of strikeouts and should have ample opportunities for Wins pitching with a powerful White Sox lineup behind him.

What really drove Peavy’s WHIP last year was a typically low BB/9 of 2.9, which is equal to his career mark.  While his BABIP was somewhat depressed at .279, this is also right in line with his career .284 mark.  If you draft Peavy you can bank on a low WHIP without reservations.  The real question is how many innings can Peavy provide for your team?

Peavy is working his way back from surgery to reattach a tendon behind his right shoulder and is hoping to be pitching for the White Sox at some point in April.   What’s scary is that no pitcher has ever had this injury before (having the tendon completely removed from the bone) so Peavy is entering some uncharted territory.

His Average Draft Position reflects this uncertainty, sitting at 319 on Mock Draft Central and 219 according to ESPN live draft results.  Basically, Peavy is being taken as a team’s last pick of the draft.  As a former Cy Young award winner who will not turn 30 until later in the season, I would be more than happy to select a player with Peavy’s upside with my final draft pick.

Peavy has pitched in two spring training games and has returned to the delivery that he used in San Diego.  In order to return quickly from an ankle injury last year, Peavy adjusted where his stride foot landed and this resulted in a changed arm slot.  He believes ultimately this alteration was the reason for his most recent injury.  This is an interesting note to say the least, but using the mechanics that delivered a Cy Young can only be viewed as a good move.

While Peavy should be drafted with caution, as one of your final draft picks, this is exactly the kind of upside to take a chance on.

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:

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