CC Sabathia (SP-NYY)- Sabathia delivered his second straight strong performance on Wednesday afternoon against the Twins. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out ten over eight innings of work. Sabathia improved his record to 14-6 for the year, while lowering his ERA to 3.42. Much has been made of his decreased velocity over the second half of the season, as his 92.3 mph average fastball velocity is tied for the lowest of his career. However, Sabathia came into the game with an 11.4 percent swinging strike rate and his 8.91 K/9 is his highest strikeout rate since 2008. His 12.7 percent HR/FB ratio is more than likely to regress to his career 8.8 percent rate next year. Even with his down year (3.42 ERA 3.35 FIP and 3.19 xFIP), Sabathia numbers were not too shabby. He has a favorable matchup in his last start against the Red Sox, and his value will remain high heading into next season.
Manny Machado (3B/SS-BAL)- Machado went 2-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and a strikeout in the Orioles blow out win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. He now has six home runs for the season, and improved his slash line to.264/.291/.443 in 183 plate appearances. Machado has done more than hold his own as a 20-year-old hitter who had never been above double-A until two months ago. His .178 ISO and 10.4 percent HR/FB are higher than I originally anticipated, and he has been consistently hitting the ball in the air during this time span (40.6 percent). In terms of plate discipline, Machado has some ways to go. His 3.8 percent walk rate needs to improve, and his 33.3 percent chase rate is above average. However, it would be unlikely for the Orioles not to have Machado as the organization starting third baseman in 2013. If he can retain his shortstop eligibility, he should be a starter in all leagues next season.
Fernando Rodney (RP-TB)- Rodney recorded his 45th save of the season on Wednesday against the Red Sox. He threw a scoreless ninth inning in which he allowed a walk and struck out two to lower his ERA to 0.63 for the year. Rodney has been the AL's best closer thanks to a career best walk rate (1.89 BB/9), a .213 BABIP and an 88.8 percent strand rate. His status is unknown for next season as he head into free agency, but he is sure to remain a closer either with the Rays or a new organization. The real question is whether Rodney can replicate his walk rate in 2013. His first pitch strike percentage of 59.6 percent is below his rate from last season, but he has been able to induce a career best chase rate of 35.5 percent. His success has been one of the most surprising stories of the year, but I am skeptical he can reproduce a walk rate below 2.00 considering his 4.44 BB/9 career rate.
Brandon Moss (1B/OF)- Moss went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two strikeouts and three runs scored in the A's 9-3 win over the Rangers last night. He improved his slash line to .281/.353/.579, and he has 19 home runs and 41 RBI in just 269 plate appearances this season. His performance this season since being called up by the A's in June has been one of the bigger fantast surprises of the season. He has been able to produce a 26 percent HR/FB ratio along with a 46.8 percent fly ball rate, while doing more than holding his own against left-handed pitchers in 50 plate appearances (.775 OPS). Of course I do not expect these power numbers to repeated in 2013, but he should be a solid contributor next season in terms of power. His batting average is more than likely to take a huge hit, as his .358 BABIP is likely to regress. He has a 16.9 percent swinging strike rate, and a 32 percent strikeout rate in his stint this season, which should lead to a .245/.315/.460 type of line next year.
Martin Perez (SP-TEX)- Perez saw his record fall to 1-3 after surrendering five runs on six hits with one strikeout in just 0.2 innings pitched last night against the A's. He threw only 24 pitched before Ron Washington gave him the hook, and his ERA increased to 5.03 as a result of the outing. I have not been overly impressed with Perez's stuff in his 34 innings this year, as his peripherals have been below average (5.82 K/9 and 3.44 BB/9). His strikeout numbers saw a sharp decline in triple-A this year (6.80 to 4.89 K/9), and his walk rate sat at 3.97 BB/9. In his brief stint this season, his swinging strike rate of 6.9 percent has been below average, and has yet to demonstrate one strong skill in particular. His ground ball rate has been above average at 47.9 percent, but it is not an elite skill. I do not expect Perez to be in the rotation for the Rangers to start 2013, nor do I expect him to make much of a fantasy contribution if he somehow grabs a spot in spring training.
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