Through two starts (13 innings) thus far, Narveson has yet to allow a run and boasts a 1.00 WHIP and 14/4 K/BB ratio. The 29-year-old journeyman is currently owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which begs the question: Is he worth a waiver wire flier?
Narveson has endured a long, winding road which has led him to where he is now. Originally drafted as a second-rounder by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000, he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2002. Two years later, he was one of the players to be named later in the Larry Walker trade, landing him in the Rockies’ system. In 2005, Narveson was sent to Boston in exchange for Byung-Hyun Kim before being claimed on waivers later that season by St Louis, the team that drafted him.
The well-traveled Narveson signed with Milwaukee as a free agent after 2007. He pitched in 52 games at Triple-A as a starter and reliever in 2008 and 2009. In 10 minor league seasons, Narveson logged the following totals:
- 1,010 1/3 innings (205 games, 177 starts), 3.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9
Narveson cracked the Brewers’ Opening Day roster in 2010, posting a 4.99 ERA in 167 2/3 innings (37 games, 28 starts). His strikeout rate (7.35) and walk rate (3.17) were respectable, while his FIP (4.22) and xFIP (4.15) suggest he was a bit better than his near-five ERA indicated.
Now installed as the Brewers’ No. 5 starter, Narveson mixes a less-than-overpowering four-pitch arsenal. His fastball sits in the high-80s, complimenting his 80 mph changeup. He also throws a slider and slow-rolling curve, which was his most effective pitch last season (7.5 runs above average).
If he can throw his four-pitch mix for strikes (44.5 percent strikes in 2010, MLB average 46.5), and keep his walk rate in the low threes, Narveson could offer decent value in mixed leagues. Given 28 to 30 starts on a Milwaukee team that is likely to contend for a division title, he could chip in 12 wins with an ERA in the 4.00-4.25 range.
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