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Manaea-mania, Leake-leaks, and Tanaka or not Tanaka? Three Questions, Three Speculative Answers from the MadProf.

 

This week I offer a shorter than average commentary on 3 SP who are moving in different directions and, IMHO, need some discussion. Sean Manaea continues to generate chatter.  Is he hurt or isn’t he?  Does he need to be on the 10-Day DL or is Oakland just using the 10-Day list to expand the bench?  Masahiro Tanaka continues to struggle.  Mike Leake gets no respect.  What do you know?

Manaea is owned in 56% of Yahoo! leagues and currently sports a mediocre line despite throwing a solid game against the underperforming Red Sox last week. Tanaka is owned in 95% of Yahoo! leagues despite his struggles.  Leake is owned in 87% of Yahoo! leagues despite his impressive stat line (Data courtesy of Fangraphs).

Name Team W L G IP Pitches SO BB BABIP ERA WAR WHIP
Mike Leake Cardinals 4 2 8 53 782 37 10 0.244 2.03 1.2 0.99
Sean Manaea Athletics 2 3 7 34 579 37 17 0.241 5.24 0.5 1.19
Masahiro Tanaka Yankees 5 3 9 48 795 39 15 0.329 6.56 -0.2 1.6

Manaea remains a mystery.  He is young (still only 25).   He received tremendous pre-season hype but remains a mediocre commodity due to his spottiness.  Even when he was on the DL, skeptics suggested that he was just a casualty of the new 10-Day DL and that he was fine—even though his outings have been consistently inconsistent.  He has only 1 QS but boasts more than one K/9 and his WHIP is a solid 1.19.

Is he a buy low candidate?  I’d argue yes—with some reservations.  His BABIP is well below the league average 0.291.  So, you might worry about that WHIP going up and have  little to question about his poor 5.24 ERA.  His [37:17] K:BB ratio is hardly impressive. So, the question is:  will his K/IP rate carry him or will the depressed BABIP result in his undoing?  Stay tuned.  He is definitely worth a pickup if you have room on the bench. but ut he needs to log more innings before you declare him a steal.

Masahiro Tanaka got off to a mediocre start, rallied to throw a Maddux game against the Red Sox, then has suffered several disastrous outings. He was a model of pitching efficiency in the early weeks of the season. But, his P/IP is creeping upwards and in the four starts since that Maddux game, he has given up 22 runs (10 HR)and 34 hits in 18 IP.  Something is clearly going on.  That 0.329 BABIP is astonishingly high and can’t be blamed on poor NYY defense—or can it?  His LD/GB/FB% lines are 17.4/49.7/32.9—pretty respectable when compared to the league numbers at: 20/44.4/35.6. So, what’s going on?  The NYY boast a league-average 0.291 BABIP.  When Tanaka pitches, it jumps to  0.329.

The long ball is killing him.  He’s giving up 2.44 HR/9 while the league average is literally half of that at 1.20. But, his velocity is ok (graph courtesy of Fangraphs).

 

It’s Tanaka.  I’ve suggested all season that he may be hiding an injury.  Dare you try to sell him before his value drops further?

Finally, why is Mike Leake owned in less than 99% of Yahoo! leagues?  He has 8 QS in 8 starts.  He is not a K machine (37 K in 53 IP) but his WHIP, ERA, and BABIP numbers are solid across the board.  His lack of ownership is a puzzle.  But, if he’s available in your league, pick him up.  He’s not flashy but he will deliver consistent value.

OK. Buy Leake.  Buy Manaea.  Time to abandon ship on Tanaka? Next week, I return to look at some broader based analysis of over and underperformers.  Best wishes.

 

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Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma maters... Besides that... Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Wrote for Ron Shandler's Shandler Park for two summers and have been on board with MLFS since 2011. Been at Washington and Lee since 1990 with a brief hiatus (2010-2013) in the Middle East. Currently developing that last word in Fantasy Baseball analysis. Married to Flor, Dad to William and Alex, and adopted daughter Reem. Soon to be father and law to Meaghann. Alpha male to the world's super-pup, Humphrey. Life is not bad.

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