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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Bud Norris vs. Ivan Nova
There is no greater quandary in fantasy baseball than deciding what position to draft that great young pitcher on an unbelievably bad team. That will be the enigma owners must grapple with when deciding where to pick Bud Norris.
Norris posted a fairly solid second season in Houston, with a 6/3.77/176/1.33 fantasy line. Posting 16 quality starts in 31 games (52% QS/G) may not be lighting up the fantasy boards, but given it was just his second full year in the majors, it speaks volumes about this flame-thrower's ability to pitch.
However, it's those lonely six wins that stick in your gut as a fantasy owner. If only he pitched in Boston, Philadelphia, or in the Bronx…
Considering the Astros scored just 615 runs last year (13th in the NL) and hit only 95 home runs (15th in the NL) with Hunter Pence in the lineup, it's tough to imagine the 2012 offense of Houston being any better.
Thus, the 16 wins for Nova in just 16 quality starts.
So who should you draft?
The numbers produced by Nova and Norris for the 2011 season are eerily similar. Both had WHIPs of 1.33 and ERAs in the 3.70s, to go along with their 16 quality starts.
The major difference is displayed in wins and strikeouts. Where Nova won 16 games, he struck out only 98 in 165.1 innings, while Norris won six, striking out an impressive 176 batters in 186 innings.
Without deep diving into the numbers, it would be easy to dismiss Nova as the obvious choice. However, keep in mind, that despite 16 wins, he will still need a good spring to keep his position in the Yankees rotation. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Michael Pineda are locks for starting. Nova, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia will battle extensively for the 4th and 5th spots.
Keep in mind, Phil Hughes won 18 games for the Bombers during his first year in the New York rotation and subsequently bombed in 2011.
In a close call, I like Bud Norris, the power pitcher. He is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Astros rotation and can be counted on for close to a strikeout per inning. Nova can't match his power numbers and, despite pitching for a much better team, is the more likely of the two to disappoint in the 2012 season.
Robert Watkins is a twenty year fantasy baseball veteran who is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News
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