Matt Cain- SF- Great Player- Cain needed only 91 pitches to get through 7 shutout IP. He has only thrown 110 or more pitches 10 times this season, two fewer than last year. Cain hasn't had the same work load wrung out of his arm as teammate Tim Lincecum and looks unlikely to experience the kind of extreme drop in 2013 as Lincecum had this year. Cain certainly benefits from his home stadium, with a 2.67 FIP at Latest Telecom Merger Park compared to a 4.10 FIP on the road, but he will continue to put up worthwhile numbers home or away.
Aaron Harang- LAN- Caution- Even when compiling scoreless innings, Harang's takeaway isn't great. He wasn't scored upon in 5.1 IP, but he was still extremely wild, allowing 4 walks and needing 101 pitches to make it that far. Since the All Star Break Harang has walked 39 in 13 starts, covering 73.2 IP. It has gotten even worse recently, with 21 walks in 37.1 IP in his last 7 starts. He has gotten very lucky in September in that he hasn't allowed a homer, resulting in an ERA of 3.10 for the month that is far below his xFIP of 6.15. It is unlikely that Harang will be able to repeat his good fortune next year and that the difference between his ERA and FIP won't be as great as the 3.68-4.18 gap this year and he could end up closer to his xFIP of 4.95 in 2013.
Starlin Castro- CHN- Hot- Regression to the mean is kicking in a bit late for Castro, with a .316 average supported by a .333 BABIP. That BABIP is actually about his career norm, not unusual for a player with Castro's speed. Luck had been horrible to him in July, with a .238 BABIP swinging the pendulum far the other way from the .380 he enjoyed in the opening month of the season. Castro's .289 BABIP last month didn't bring things back in line. Castro is going to finish with a BABIP below normal this season, so taking into account his career highs in homers (14) and steals (22) a bounce back to an average in the .300 range with significant production in other columns is reasonable to expect.
Carlos Ruiz- PHI- Cold- After picking up 4 hits in his first 3 games since coming back from plantar fasciitis, Ruiz has had only 5 hits in his last 10 games. There could be some regression to the mean happening here as he has a .233 BABIP since returning and that has brought his season mark to .336. Some positive signs for Ruiz are that 2 of the 5 hits in his last 10 games are homers and his Batting EYE since his return is 1.00, far closer to his career norm than the .54 he had before his injury. Despite the late slump, Ruiz looks solid looking forward to 2013.
Joey Votto- CIN- Hot- Votto is posting a .339 average this month and his Batting EYE is an astounding 1.54, but a lot of the rest of his early season game has disappeared. In 18 games since coming off the DL, Votto has 6 runs and 6 RBI. He hasn't hit a homer since June, despite having his highest monthly FB% in September. If he doesn't repeat a LD% of over 30% and a BABIP of over .400 next season, he will have to recapture the power that made him so valuable in the first half of this year. It may be possible that his knee injury might have affected his drive. Keep a watch on Votto in spring training to make sure he can provide the needed value at 1B.
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