Why Fantasy Baseball Owners Should Be Blah on Phillies’ Joe Blanton

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Joe Blanton had a renaissance of sorts in 2009, though it’s impossible for me to say that he was impressive.

He was solid, but is that enough to make him relevant to fantasy owners?  Before we answer that we have to take a closer look at his results.

It was his first full year in the National League, leading to his third-best ERA of his five-year career. The stats:

  • 12 wins
  • 195.1 innings
  • 4.05 ERA
  • 1.32 WHIP
  • 163 strikeouts (7.51 Ks/9 IP)
  • 59 Walks (2.72 BBs/99 IP)
  • .302 BABIP


The strikeouts are the first number that leaps out at me, as it was his career high.  Just look at his strikeouts per nine innings for his first four full seasons:

  • 2005: 5.19
  • 2006: 4.96
  • 2007: 5.48
  • 2008: 5.05


Granted, a move to the NL should generate an increase in strikeouts thanks to the weaker lineups and the pitchers hitting, but that significant of a jump? I just don’t see it. This is a pitcher who had struck out more than seven in a game just once prior to 2009, yet managed to put up games of 9, 10, and 11 last season.

It’s just not possible.  He’s not some spring chicken who is just trying to make a name for himself. He is 29. The idea of him being able to maintain this type of rate is just not feasible, given what he has already proven.

He also benefited from an above average strand rate of 78.9 percent. That placed him ninth in the league, after posting marks of 68.9, 68.0 and 68.4 percent the prior three seasons. Again, given his track record, why should we believe that he can maintain this rate?

Blanton’s always allowed a lot of hits, with hitters batting .271 against him in his career (last season he was at .264). That’s just not going to suddenly change. Neither is his walk rate, which is solid but not elite.

So let me get this straight. You have a pitcher: a) who is going to give up his fair share of hits; b) who is going to limit the walks, but by no means is an elite control artist, and c) whose strikeout rate is likely to fall, meaning that he’s going to have to depend on luck to keep his WHIP where it was.

That sounds like a perfect package, doesn’t it? The moral of the story is that his WHIP is likely to take a big hit, and it was just average at best last season.

You couple an increased WHIP with a decreased strand rate? That just has disaster written all over it.

He was much better in the second half, which also says a lot to me:

  • First half: 4.44 ERA over 103.1 innings
  • Second half: 3.62 ERA over 92.0 innings


In fact, he was bad in September, posting a 4.91 ERA. That means he had a stellar July and August, but that’s about it. Given his track record, is that enough to hang your hat on?

Before I give my ultimate answer, let’s look at my 2010 projection:

  • 195.0 IP
  • 10 wins
  • 4.20 ERA
  • 1.39 WHIP
  • 125 Ks (5.77 Ks/9 IP)
  • 61 BBs (2.82 BBs/9 IP)


Obviously, he’s a pitcher I have no interest in, even playing for one of the best teams in the NL. He plays in a bandbox (1.38 HRs/9 IP), has little chance of repeating his strikeout rate, and really could take a hit in the ERA and WHIP departments.

He also has proven the type of pitcher he is, meaning that he has no real upside. Why would I want to select him in the late rounds instead of a young pitcher who could excel?  I’ll pass outside of the deepest formats or NL-only leagues, considering I should be able to find a similar option on the waiver wire.

What about you? Would you ever consider drafting Blanton? How do you see him performing in 2010?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here .

For some 2010 projections, click here .  Among those we’ve already covered include:


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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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