Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/7)
Throughout the postseason, I’ll be sharing my fantasy-angled thoughts on a variety of noteworthy players from each game with the goal of helping you get a jump start on your 2015 draft prep! So keep checking back here every weekday for new posts.
NLDS Game 3 – Nationals @ Giants
–Doug Fister (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) continues to be one of the most underrated yet reliable starting pitchers in the game. With his move to the NL this year, I expected more strikeouts, figure around 160. But he came nowhere close to that, even factoring in that he spent the first five-plus weeks of the season on the DL Aside from the low strikeout rate, however, Fister owners had absolutely nothing to complain about, as he earned the win in 16 of his 25 starts while posting a miniscule 2.41 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. The two stats that I pay the most attention to when drafting pitchers are strikeout rate and walk rate. I remain hopeful that Fister can significantly raise his strikeout rate in 2015. After all, we did see him fan 159 batters in 2013 while with the Tigers. As for the walk rate, that shouldn’t be a problem being that his career BB/9 stands at 1.73. Fister is a perfect #3 type fantasy SP as long as you first build a solid foundation in strikeouts.
NLDS Game 3 – Dodgers @ Cardinals
–John Lackey (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) didn’t exactly make a seamless transition to the NL, registering a 4.30 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in ten starts following his mid-season trade to the Cardinals. But a closer look at his game log reveals that those stats are somewhat skewed by a disaster outing against the Orioles in which he allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits over five innings. Seven of Lackey’s ten starts as a member of the Cardinals resulted in at least six innings pitched and no more than two earned runs. He turns 36 later this month, so age is a concern along with his health history. That said, after missing the entire 2012 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, Lackey has averaged 194 innings pitched over the past two seasons. He made $15.25 million this year but the interesting quirk in his contract is the $500K club option for 2015, which the Cards will surely pick up. I expect his first full season in the Senior Circuit to be a successful one and would feel comfortable drafting Lackey as a back end of the rotation starter in standard mixed leagues.
–Kolten Wong (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) is here to stay. He still needs to improve his batting average and on-base percentage but his exemplary minor league track record strongly suggests that he will do just that. A career .305 hitter in the Minors, Wong certainly has the ability to raise his batting average considerably next year. How does a .275 average with 12-15 homers and 25 steals sound? Draft him with confidence as your starting MI in mixed leagues and don’t be surprised if he produces like a top-10 fantasy second baseman.