Rotisserie By the Numbers: Jake Peavy Peeves His Fantasy Owners

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IMay 26, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 31:  Starting Pitcher Jake Peavy #44 of the San Diego Padres throws from the mound against the Houston Astros during their Opening Day Game at Petco Park March 31, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Jake Peavy has a lot of nerve.

Peavy would rather pitch in a ballpark spacious enough to host a Fielder family reunion than pitch at a place that sometimes turns simple fly balls into three-run homers.

He prefers to pitch against top-heavy lineups where light-hitting shortstops and lighter-hitting opposing pitchers make for easy outs. And he chooses to pitch against batters he is familiar with and knows how to get out instead of facing a league full of All-Star sluggers he knows nothing about.

So why are fantasy owners furious at Peavy for staying with the San Diego Padres rather than allowing himself to be traded to the Chicago White Sox? Because they are sick of his low-scoring losses. Occasionally they would like a 3-2 victory instead of a 2-1 defeat.

Peavy has a 3.48 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. Those numbers would guarantee most pitchers a winning record at worst and possibly put them on pace for a 20-win season. Peavy is 4-5.

This is nothing new for Peavy owners. He was 10-11 last year despite a 2.85 ERA that was third-best in the National League. And in 2006, Peavy K’d 215 hapless hitters in 202.1 innings and was treated to an 11-14 mark for his efforts.

In the minds of most fantasy owners, Peavy should have escaped San Diego as soon as he was given a "Get Out of Low-Scoring Land" card. But Peavy has shot down more suitors than Pam Anderson.

He has nixed deals by invoking the no-trade clause in his contract and telling the world he wants to stay in the NL and pitch for a contender, which eliminates most teams in the majors, especially since a couple that fit the bill are not going to pay the hefty price to acquire him.

San Diego was predicted by most baseball experts, fantasy pundits and people in San Diego to finish at the bottom of the NL West. But thanks to a surprising start, and an even more surprising recent 10-game winning streak, the Padres are above .500. So maybe Peavy is better off for the time being with the Padres than the White Sox.

You can make the argument that only Peavy’s wins would improve if he went to Ozzie Guillen’s club. His ERA, WHIP and strikeouts would be better off if he stayed in San Diego and pitched against weaker lineups and had half his starts in one of the best pitcher’s parks in the sport.

Also, a study done by the Fausto Carmona Institute says that happy pitchers put up better numbers than miserable pitchers, so forcing Peavy to pitch in a place he does not want to be seems to be counter-productive.

Peavy will probably get sent to a team he DOES want to pitch for before the July 31 trade deadline. Here are the top contenders:

Chicago Cubs: The Cubbies have been hot for Peavy as long as Miss Piggy has been hot for Kermit. To me it does not make sense because when I look at the Cubs I do not see their fatal flaw being the starting rotation, not with a foursome of Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, and Ted Lilly.

The Cubs’ problem is their injury-prone, right-hand-heavy, playoff-slumpified everyday lineup. And do fantasy owners really want Peavy pitching in Wrigley Field with Alfonso Soriano dropping his fly balls and Milton Bradley scowling at him all the time?

Boston Red Sox: Would Peavy turn down a deal to Beantown just because he wouldn’t be able to bat and because he would have to pitch against the New York Yankees 100 times a year? Possibly.

The Green Monster would give Peavy fits, but everything would even out since Peavy has never had six runs per game scored for him. The jury is out on whether Peavy can handle the pressure of playing in such a baseball-crazy market, though.

Los Angeles Dodgers: It is doubtful that San Diego would trade Peavy within its own division, but Peavy and the Dodgers would go together as well as pepperoni and pizza. The Dodgers are an NL contender with a cavernous stadium, so there is no chance Peavy would turn down a deal to them if it happened.

Other teams Peavy could end on by Aug. 1 include St. Louis, Philadelphia, and maybe even Milwaukee. But whether Peavy goes somewhere else or stays right where he is, he will remain one of the top starting pitchers in fantasy baseball.


Hitting and Running

People always say bad things happen in threes. Well, both bad things and good things happen in threes in fantasy baseball. Here is a look:

Three southpaw starters who deserve Sigh Young awards instead of Cy Young awards: Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano (2-6, 6.42), Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir (4-4, 7.69) and Boston’s Jon Lester (3-4, 5.91).

Three players coming back from adversity fantasy owners are rooting for: Detroit’s Dontrelle Willis (3 ER over last 13 innings), Colorado’s Todd Helton (six HR, 31 RBI, .338 avg.) and Baltimore’s Rich Hill (1-0, 3.18).

Three guys fantasy owners should not be shocked are injured: Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks (torn wrist ligament, out for season), Oakland’s Eric Chavez (herniated disc in back, career possibly over) and San Diego’s Shawn Hill (elbow problem No. 100, out indefinitely).

Three players who obviously didn’t need spring training: Minnesota’s Joe Mauer (11 HR, 31 RBI, .444 avg in just 23 games), New York’s Alex Rodriguez (seven HR and 17 RBI in 17 games) and Los Angeles’ Orlando Hudson (.344 avg, 35 runs).

Three floundering Florida Marlins: Dan Uggla (.200 avg), Jorge Cantu (.213 in May), Emilio Bonifacio (three SB on Opening Day, six SB since).

Three minor-league phenoms who fail every time they get called up: Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey (7.01 ERA in 18 career starts), Baltimore’s Felix Pie (.190 avg. in 34 contests) and Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar (10.80 ERA in three starts, sent back to Triple-A).

Three category leaders nobody expected: San Diego’s Heath Bell (ML-best 13 saves), Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez (ML-best 1.143 OPS) and Toronto’s Aaron Hill (ML-best 207 at-bats).


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