"You can be the best pitcher in the world and break 10 bats in a row, and they can all go for hits. Or you can be the worst pitcher in the world, throw terrible pitches, and 10 guys in a row can pop out. It’s an amazing game. One thing sabermetrics and statistics have allowed me to do is relax. I know the odds. I know percentages. I know that three out of every 10 batted balls should go for hits, and I deal with it. It’s helped me be a better player."
Well, today those batted balls were converted mostly to easy outs. Bannister, a 27-year-old right-hander, went seven innings, threw 85 pitches, struck out four, and allowed only two hits. He walked no one. The hits were both singles by Edgar Renteria.
The hideously undervalued Joakim Soria (ADP 152.4) had three Ks in his inning of work, in a non-save situation. The thoroughly hyped (and unfortunately nicknamed) Billy Butler went 2/4 with a double and two RBIs.
But Bannister, who's owned in only 11.3 percent of Yahoo! leagues, is today's largest fantasy question so far. Since Livan Hernandez and Jon Garland topped the most-added list after combining for one K in 15 innings, I'm anxious to see how high Bannister's percent-ownership soars after four Ks.
He should definitely be a pitcher of interest. Bannister went 12-9 for the 69-win Royals last year, posting a 3.87 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. His Royalness and his low K-rate (4.2 K/9 in '07) limit his fantasy value. The last thing you need in fantasy, at least in leagues with IP limits, is an innings-eater who doesn't strikeout many hitters.
Thus, I'm not chugging the Bannister Kool-Aid...but I'd sip it, situationally.
Bannister got ahead of some very good hitters today, and coaxed weak swings. His next start should be against the Yankees, and they mauled him last year. So we'll see how many hits $209 million can buy. After New York, things should get easier (vs. MIN, @ OAK).
- Brian Bannister