In fact, predicting a decline in his fantasy value was a layup. But the assumption was that he would continue to be Jake Peavy — throwing the usual Peavy stuff — and the stats would change to reflect the increased degree of difficulty. That's not exactly how things are playing out, however.
At times, Peavy simply can't find the strike zone. He's walked 20 hitters in 28.2 innings this month, a new career high, and he needed 41 pitches to get through the first frame against the Rangers on Wednesday. Peavy gave up a 430-foot bomb to Josh Hamilton(notes), then allowed a sequence of walks and singles to the Rangers' 5-9 hitters. He eventually settled down, but not before five runs were on the board. The White Sox ultimately lost, 6-5.
In Peavy's last two starts, he's pitched 10.2 innings and issued 12 walks. This is not standard practice for him at all. He got off to a rough start last year, sure, but it wasn't this rough, nor this wild.
Here's what he told reporters following the loss to Texas, via the Sun-Times' Joe Cowley:
"The bottom line is I'm still searching, but it's coming. The end result is not about finding it, though; it's about winning games. You're not paid to try and find your mechanics."
Peavy went into greater detail prior to Wednesday's start. More Cowley:
"If you go look at my delivery at the start of last year to what it was before my last start, it doesn’t look like the same guy," Peavy said. "A big part of that is my legs. For some reason, I quit using my legs. It’s pretty easy to think why."
"My ankle was hurt, and I pitched three or four games with it in San Diego," he said. "Probably took my legs right out of the equation subconsciously because I was injured."
He added that he's returning to his old delivery — the one that made him a fantasy asset — but that it feels a bit "awkward."
As I see it, there are three pieces of good news for Peavy owners: 1) He believes that he's identified the problem, 2) his velocity hasn't been so bad (90-92 mph), and 3) he'll miss the upcoming series with Yankees. Peavy's next three starts should be against Kansas City, Toronto, then KC again.
We know that at his best, he's an ace. Peavy was never likely to deliver 2007-style stats in Chicago, but that doesn't mean he can't be helpful. Don't make a panic move here. Buy if you can, don't sell. Peavy was dropped by 3,520 Yahoo! owners on Wednesday and he's been fired nearly 2,000 times today, but he deserves a much longer fantasy leash. Let's just see how he handles the Royals before giving him away.
Photo via AP Images