Nick Markakis OF (BAL) – Markakis’ downward trending power numbers for a player in his peek years are extremely disturbing. He homered yesterday, but it was just his 9th of the season! For a while, I chalked Markakis’ production up to adjusting to being pitched around and being a patient hitter. That was halfway through last season, though. His ISO’s the past 3 seasons (.185/.160/.137) as well as HR/FB% (12.6/8/5.3) are going in the wrong direction in a hurry. Markakis goes from a round 4-5 selection to a guy who might be taken outside of the first ten rounds next season. Plate discipline is always nice (and Markakis has it), but no one pays for an OF with no power who stopped running (steals since ’07: 18/10/6/6).
Ian Kinsler 2B (TEX) – Fresh off returning from the disabled list, Kinsler hit his 7th homer of the year yesterday. His power output is down, which may unfairly depress his value next season. In a smaller sample size than normal (thanks to a couple of DL stints), Kinsler has posted a FB% of just 39.5%. His career mark is 46.1%, and his previous career low was 43.3%. Also, his HR/FB% is a career worst 7%. His career mark is 10%, and his previous career low was 8.8% in his rookie season. At age 28, there is no reason to expect these numbers to lower. Their being that low can mostly be attributed to statistical variation and Kinsler playing hurt. Look for Kinsler’s power to bump back up next season.
Gavin Floyd SP (CHW) – Floyd turned in his third straight quality start yesterday versus the Red Sox, hurling 6 innings of one run ball. The end result was Floyd’s 10th victory of the season, and this now marks the third straight season in which Floyd has obtained double digit wins. Floyd’s consistency is something that should be taken into account when determining his value next year. He throws a lot of innings (206 in ’08, 193 in ’09), and he is on pace to exceed 200 this season. He has posted very similar K/9 (7.60, 7.36) and BB/9 (2.75, 2.81) in each of the past two seasons, and his GB rate has been on the rise two years in a row (41.2%/44.3/49.9).
Rick Porcello SP (DET) - Porcello gave up 4 ER yesterday, but really pitched nicely as he struck out 5 to just 1 walk and generated twice as many ground ball outs as fly ball outs. Porcello has not piched great by any means but should have an ERA in the mid 4’s rather than 5+, but an extremely low LOB% of 63.6% has deemed that impossible. There are signs that Porcello could post a mini-breakout next season. For one, that LOB% will likely never be that low again in Porcello’s career. That right there should shave off some points from Porcello’s ERA. Secondly, Porcello achieved a high GB rate for the second consecutive year with a 49.3 GB%. Thirdly, Porcello’s BB/9 decreased from 2.74 to 2.47. Lastly, even though Porcello’s K/9 remained more or less identical (4.69, 4.67), there are signs more whiffs could be on the way. Opposing hitters chased Porcello’s pitches 28.3% of the time this season, compared to 24.3% last season. Also, Porcello got ahead of hitters 0-1 57% of the time, 1.6 percentage points more than last season. Combining those two statistics in light of the natural development curve for a pitcher makes me believe Porcello could post a 5+ K/9 next season. That, along with his decreasing walk rate and high GB rate make him an attractive sleeper option in 2011.
Colby Lewis SP (TEX) – For the second consecutive start, Lewis gave up 2 HR. He had a streak earlier this season in which he gave up HR in 5 consecutive starts. Lewis has some solid peripherals in terms of an 8.70 K/9 and 2.90 BB/9, but he is a FB risky pitcher with only a 37.6 GB%. According to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors, Texas is the sixth worst (from a pitcher perspective) stadium in the league in terms of HR given up. On top of that, Lewis’ career HR/FB% is above average at 12%, though it currently sits at 8.7%. Put that all together and despite solid K/BB ratios, Lewis may never post an ERA much under 4 if under 4 at all because he will give up too many long balls over the course of an entire season.