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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: NATE KARNS

Anytime a starting pitcher on any given day in fantasy baseball posts a double-digit strikeout game, people take notice.  This is especially true if it comes from a pitcher who doesn't carry universal ownership.  The debate internally then begins regarding whether to pick said pitcher up in thinking maybe this is the start of a strikeout trend or whether to leave him on the wire in thinking it was a one game fluke.  Such is the present scenario now with the Kansas City Royals' Nate Karns who last we saw, was striking out 12 Baltimore Orioles in just 5 innings, which preceded another 6.1-inning stint where he struck out 10 Tampa Bay Rays.  For the season now, Karns has a pedestrian 4.46 ERA but his WHIP is quite dandy at 1.21 and he has a very impressive 48 K's in 40.1 innings.  So clearly the pendulum is swinging upwards for Karns and now we need to dig in more here like we did with Alex Wood as few starts ago before he went bonkers with his own strikeouts.

As far as Karns is concerned, he has now been traded each of the last two winters and was originally given up by the Rays which speaks negative volumes considering their eye for pitching talent.  Be that as it may, Karns certainly knows how to collect K's as he punched out 101 batters in just 94.1 innings last season as well.  Of course Karns also posted a gross 5.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP which got him dealt away by the Seattle Mariners once the winter arrived but he is still somewhat young at the age of 29.

Now while Karns' 4.46 ERA looks ugly right now, his 10.71 K/9 is one of the best ratios there in the league among starting pitchers.  In addition, Karns' ERA should be lower as he has dealt with an unlucky BABIP at .286.  When adjusted, Karns' ERA comes out to 4.32 FIP and an even lower 3.20 XFIP.  Thus Karns is actually throwing better then his numbers suggest.  Finally, Karns is doing everything he can to not beat himself as he has shown very good control (2.90 BB/9) and so this is something his prospective owners should look at as well.  Now Karns does need to do a better job keeping the ball in the park as his 1.79 HR/9 rate is pathetic but overall this looks like a decent waiver wire add given the Ks alone.  Again think of Alex Wood here who has been the strikeout stort of fantasy baseball his last two outings.  Wood at one point had similar numbers to Karns and we all saw where he went with his performance the last two weeks or so.  Pick him up.


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