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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: JUAN NICASIO SP PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Sometimes there are stories that emanate out of the blue that all of a sudden come to the forefront of the fantasy baseball community.  Whereas spring training often centers on closer/position battles or young prospects trying to stick with the big club, on occasion you get a veteran that demands some attention from the masses.  Such a case is percolating in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation in the form of discarded Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Juan Nicasio.  After posting ERA's over 5.00!!!! in every season with the Rockies from 2012 through 2014, Nicasio transitioned into the bullpen for the Dodgers a year ago where he looked decent in pitching to a 3.86 ERA.  That ERA though was uplifted greatly with a ton of luck as Nicasio's BABIP was a staggering and unrepeatable .360.  Be that as it may, the Pirates brought Nicasio in over the winter and gave him a shot to win the fifth starter's job.  With no one paying attention, Nicasio has gone wild and looked like an ace this spring.  After striking out 10 batters in only 4 innings in his last start, Nicasio kept it going during his outing on Monday as he fanned another 8 batters in 5 scoreless innings to lower his Grapefruit League ERA to a puny 0.00 as he has yet to give up a run in a total of 15 innings.  So what do we make of all this?  Has Nicasio somehow unleashed his power potential and is now a possible diamond in the fantasy baseball rough?  Let's take a closer look.

Now clearly Nicasio was nothing but a batting practice pitcher in Colorado as many other hurlers turned out to be in the thin air of Coors Field.  ERA's over 5.00 from 2012 through 2014 bear this out.  Nicasio constantly struggled with horrible control and his hit rate was not ideal either.  Yes he did do better in Los Angeles with the Dodgers but that was out of the bullpen and again was due to some very generous BABIP luck.  However Nicasio has looked like a different guy this spring and now he is becoming a big topic of discussion as he looks certain at this point to win the fifth starter's job in Pittsburgh.  While making a stab on Nicasio in terms of only using a waiver claim on him is not the worst idea in the world, keep in mind how dangerous it is to buy into any spring training statistic.  Yes 24 strikeouts in 15 innings is a tremendous rate but Nicasio is also taking advantage of weaker spring lineups filled with minor league hitters and batters are also tinkering with their approach.  When we dig in on the numbers, Nicasio didn't even have a 7.00 K/9 during his Colorado days in the rotation but in fairness that number jumped to a splendid 10.03 in the Dodgers bullpen.  Nicasio can dial the fastball up but his horrible control and penchant for getting himself in trouble make him unlikely to carry that number as a starter with the Pirates.  At 29, Nicasio is pretty much who he is in terms of his numbers and when the 2016 season gets underway, it is much more likely he will go back to his old rate statistics across the board.  While he may post a decent amount of K's, Nicasio looks like he is more apt to disappoint then being someone who can help your roster.  Keep him on the bench early on in the season to see if his spring numbers are legit but we think Nicasio's 2016 spring is a giant fluke.

TREND OR MIRAGE:  MIRAGE

 

2 comments:

  1. David Peralta vs Joc Peterson
    Miguel Sano vs Charlie Blackmon

    Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm also considering these players as long term keepers. I'm not sure if that makes a difference in the way that you usually weigh each player

      Delete