Time for another 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Bust and today we look at San Francisco Giants SP Jonathan Sanchez. Now before I get into the gist of the post, as a reminder when I classify a player as a potential BUST, I do it with the thought in mind that said player will fail to yield the anticipated fantasy baseball stats from the previous season or expectations in general. Sanchez fits this criteria despite how great his 2010 season looked. Lets jump right into it.
Regarding last season, Sanchez seemed to finally put things together and take the next step into a very good major league pitcher with his 13-9 record, 3.07 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 205 K’s. It was a tremendous season no doubt and the tools that many gushed out when discussing Sanchez were on full display such as the huge fastball and bulldog mound demeanor. Sure he still walked too many guys but he was one of the hardest pitchers to hit against in the majors. That brings me to 2011.
Despite how great Sanchez’ stats looked last season, he got quite a bit of help from the luck gods last season to reach those numbers. Specifically speaking, Sanchez was one of the luckiest pitchers in all of baseball last season as evidenced by having the fifth best negative FIP/ERA differential in the game. As a quick reminder, a negative FIP/ERA differential is where a pitchers actual ERA is better than his FIP ERA which is determined on what a starter can control such as walks, hits, HBP’s, and home runs. Sanchez had a FIP/ERA of 4.00 last season while his actual ERA was 3.07. That suggests that he got very lucky with good defense or balls abnormally being hit right at fielders. Without debate this will correct itself this season and so Sanchez will see a spike in his ERA and WHIP with great certainty. Making matters worse, Sanchez still has terrible control as he walked 96 guys last season which is unacceptable. Once those hits start falling in this season in combination with the walks, Sanchez’s numbers will go in the wrong direction. His WHIP the previous two seasons before 2010 were 1.37 and 1.45. Now I don’t think he will hit the latter number, its likely Sanchez sees his WHIP go back to the 1.30 range this season.
All in all, Jonathan Sanchez still has value for 2011 due to the fact he will be one of the best strikeouts pitchers in the game. The issues though will show up with his ERA and WHIP as his luck goes back to normal this season. Many will draft Sanchez looking for a repeat of 2011 but the fact of the matter is that he almost certainly will not reach that level again without once again having luck go his way. That’s too much to count on to justify his draft spot.
2011 PROJECTION: 14-9 3.88 ERA 201 K 1.31 WHIP