Tagged: Carlos Silva

MLB Season in Review: Chicago Cubs Pitchers

By R.J Anderson //

Biggest Surprise: Carlos Silva & Tom Gorzelanny

Silva went from one of the worst pitchers in baseball to a guy with a 10-6 record and 4.22 ERA. Meanwhile Gorzelanny went from unemployable by the Pirates to a 4.09 ERA in 23 starts. The Cubs had a disappointing season, but they managed to turn broken eggs into soufflé twice during the same season. Both pitchers have dealt with injury issues throughout the season, including Gorzelanny breaking a finger and Silva enduring elbow tendinitis in September alone.

Biggest Bust: Carlos Zambrano

Not because he pitched poorly, mind you, but because his temporary stints on the inactive list and in the bullpen wasted away his value and held him to 19 starts.

2011 Keeper Alert: Carlos Marmol

One of the most incredible seasons in baseball this or any season, Marmol’s 77.2 innings pitched come with 138 strikeouts and 40 hits allowed. For his career, Marmol has struck out twice as many batters as hits given up. That’s just unfathomable. The only aspect of his game that prevents Marmol from being perhaps the most dominant reliever in baseball (if he isn’t already) is his tendency to lose the plate: No closer walked more batters more frequently than Marmol (6.03 BB/9 IP – though that was, amazingly, nearly two full walks per game lower than his 2009 mark).

2011 Regression Alert: Carlos Silva

Silva struck out 6.37 batters per nine innings this season. His career rate is a little over four. Maybe he’s discovered the key to fanning heaven, but probably not. Be careful about overvaluing the latest season, even though pitchers like Esteban Loaiza have broken out at a similar age.

For more on the Chicago Cubs, check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kits.

Who Is This Carlos Silva Guy?

By R.J. Anderson //

It’s June and Carlos Silva has a 3.12 ERA and a 7-0 record through 10 starts. To enhance his portfolio, Silva is coming off a start versus the St. Louis Cardinals in which he struck out 11 batters. Suffice to say, this is not the Carlos Silva we’ve come to know over the years – the Silva with a career win-loss record a tick above .500, an ERA over 4.60, and a career strikeout per nine ratio of 3.90. The 2010 version is striking out more than six batters per nine innings, with better numbers across the board.


The main difference between the old Silva and this one has been his pitch usage. In the past, Silva would throw his heavy sinker that sits in the low-90s and pound the zone with it about three-fourths of the time. This worked against batters of the same hand, but left-handed hitters would take advantage of his weak secondary offerings.

This season, though, Silva is throwing his fastball less than ever and pumping his slider and change-up more often. His change-up is actually his best pitch according to FanGraphs’ run values, which assign a run value to each event to which a pitch leads, whether it be a strike, a groundball, a home run, or something else.

This revolution in Silva’s arsenal is leading to increased success against opposite-handed batters and endearing him to fantasy owners thanks to the resulting newfound strikeout ability. This year to date, Silva’s inducing whiffs on 8.5% of his pitches. Consider that for a moment, while observing Silva’s swinging strike rates since breaking into the major leagues full-time:

2004: 4.8%

2005: 4.5%

2006: 4.8%

2007: 5.5%

2008: 4.9%

2009: 3.7%

2010: 8.5%

The sustainability of Silva’s success is debatable. The rarity of 3.12 ERA seasons makes it unlikely that Silva will remain quite this good heading forward. Plus Silva is a groundball pitcher and groundballs turn into hits far more often than flyballs; they just turn into extra-base hits less often. As it stands, 27.5% of Silva’s balls in play are turning into hits as opposed to a career rate over 31%. Even if one discounts a full regression to that number, the reality is that Silva’s probably going to give up hits at a higher clip heading forward than he has to date.

It’s unlikely that you or the owners in your league have shaken the perception of who Silva is, meaning selling high on him for a big return is a long shot. If someone bites, go for it, otherwise sit on Silva with adjusted expectations.

For more on Carlos Silva and other pitchers who went from good or mediocre to amazing, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.

Milton Bradley in Blue and Teal

Seattle’s star-inhaling, soul-exhaling off-season gained the Mariners praise throughout the baseball community. General Manager Jack Zduriencik combined obvious moves (like giving Felix Hernandez a contract extension and trading a stack of B+ prospects for Cliff Lee) with some inherently risky gambles. Those moves now have the Mariners in position to not only compete, but also to win the American League West this season. Such a premise seemed impossible just 12 months ago.

Acquiring Milton Bradley qualifies as both an obvious move and a risky gamble. Getting out from under Carlos Silva’s mammoth contract (and equally mammoth – as in, extinct – pitching ability) could’ve meant taking an equally poor contract in exchange. Instead, the Mariners received what could become a relative bargain – if Bradley can stay sane and healthy.

Second-year manager Don Wakamatsu has gained a reputation as a handler of diverse personalities and masseur of egos. The M’s also hope the presence of Ken Griffey Jr. as designated tickler and upbeat presence will help soothe Bradley’s volatile temper. The Mariners will accept injuries that happen in the heat of battle. What they don’t want are lengthy suspensions caused by their underestimating Bradley’s unique personality.

Enough about the mental aspect of things though, let’s talk about the quantifiable. Just once in the past five seasons has Bradley topped 500 plate appearances. The past couple years ranked among his most durable, though. After appearing in 126 games with the Rangers (just 20 as an outfielder) in 2008, Bradley nearly matched – and if not for a suspension, would’ve surpassed – that total while playing 109 games in the outfield.

The M’s plan to give Bradley playing time both in left field and at DH. The presence of Ryan Garko, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, and even Griffey, there’s enough alternatives that Wakamatsu can get really creative if he so wishes. Still, Bradley’s the cream of that crop, a switch-hitter with a line of .289/.398/.483 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in the past three seasons, with 61 home runs, 206 runs batted in, and 22 steals.

Bradley currently holds a B-Rank of 224th, a nod to injuries depressing his counting stats. Other factors are also conspiring against Bradley’s fantasy value. First, he turns 32 in April; the recent success of outliers like Barry
Bonds and Mariano Rivera aside, baseball players still peak most often
before their 30th birthday, with every subsequent year raising the risk
of injury, declining performance, or both. He’ll also now play half of his
games at Safeco Field, one of the toughest parks in baseball on hitters, doubly so on right-handed hitters with power, given the park’s spacious dimensions in left-center field. (Just ask Adrian Beltre.)

On the plus side, Bradley should see plenty of at-bats from the left side of the plate, where park factors aren’t as harsh and where players like Raul Ibanez and Russell Branyan have found success in recent years.

Bradley deserves ample consideration in AL-only and shallower mixed leagues. If he bats high in the order, he could see ample RBI opportunities behind speedy OBP machines Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins. You can also get strategic in how you handle Bradley on your fantasy team. Drafting Bradley, then hedging with another outfielder with a little less ability but more durability, should allow you to get the best of his production, without taking a major hit in the event of an injury or – yes, we have to say it – possible suspension.
It’s easy to see why general managers – both in fantasy and real life – are willing to give Bradley additional chances. His upside is too good to push aside completely. But if you’re planning on drafting him, do what the Mariners plan to do: Handle with care.

— R.J. Anderson