MLB

The Best Pitcher in Fantasy Baseball: Dan Sabathia

PITTSBURGH - JULY 7: (L-R) Fans Michael Kutilek, 12, Griffin Conley, 11, and Brody Smith, 13, of Oakmont, Pennsylvania, participate in a fantasy sports broadcast during the opening day of Fan Fest for the Major League Baseball 2006 All-Star game at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center July 7, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images
George FitopoulosContributor IJanuary 29, 2010

I can picture you reading this headline and thinking “who the hell is that?” as you type a quick search into Google to make sure you haven’t missed the next big prospect in baseball.

Well, let me save you some time because he isn’t a real person, but he is the greatest fantasy baseball pitcher of the last three years, and if you play your cards right he could be yours, too. Allow me to explain.

Every year it’s the same old song and dance. Dan Haren has an amazing first half and then fizzles out after the All-Star break while C.C. Sabathia does the exact opposite. For the past two seasons, I have capitalized on Sabathia’s second-half surges and rode past Haren owners into the playoffs, and it’s always the same conversation: ”Man I really thought this was the year Haren would put it together for an entire season.” I even won a slap bet last year against Baseball Professor’s own Bryan Curley because he foolishly thought that Haren would be better than Sabathia after the All-Star break.

It’s time to face reality folks. Haren is what he is. He’s an elite first-half pitcher, who can still bring value to your team in the second half, but not at the level you would expect.

Strategy time.

Instead of holding onto Haren for an entire season, it would make sense to trade him at his optimal value for someone who can help you win in the later, more crucial months. Enter 290 pounds of hat-tilted, south-pawed greatness. Who better to trade Haren straight up for than the aforementioned Sabathia?

Here’s how both Haren and Sabathia have both fared before and after the All-Star break over the last three years:

C.C. SabathiaIPWERAWHIPKK/9
Pre All-Star399283.701.193517.92
Post All-Star325272.331.073068.47
Dan HarenIPWERAWHIPKK/9
Pre All-Star385272.340.923427.99
Post All-Star283184.331.372798.87

 

It’s clear that Haren is the superior first half pitcher and Sabathia is the better second half pitcher, hence the name Dan Sabathia. (For those who still don’t get it, I took the first half of Dan Haren’s name and the second half of C.C. Sabathia’s name. Clever right?) Now, let’s take a look at the type of pitcher you could have had over the last three seasons  if you drafted Haren and traded him at the All-Star break straight up for C.C. Sabathia:

Dan Sabathia: 710 IP, 54 W, 2.33 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 648 K, 8.21 K/9

It’s pretty hard to find a player who has been better than that over the last three seasons, or even in any three consecutive seasons in fantasy baseball. Now, the only question that remains is how do you know that you will be able to trade Haren for Sabathia straight up? Well, you don’t really, but with the stats that Haren puts up in the first half it shouldn’t be hard to make the other owner bite at an offer. In fact, even if you have to sweeten the pot for your opponent, it’s worth it in the end because how can you put a value on owning the greatest unknown fantasy baseball pitcher in the game?

He is Dan Sabathia. I’d say the name has a nice ring to it, but it just doesn’t.

For the original article and more fantasy baseball analysis, check out Baseball Professor !

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