Anibal Sanchez (SP-DET)- Sanchez continued his spectacular 2013 campaign on Thursday, but did not earn a decision in the Tigers win over the Mariners. He allowed two runs on six hits (one home run) and two walks while striking out ten over 6.1 innings of work. He has pitched to a 2.51 ERA this year, and his 2.49 FIP and 2.97 xFIP emphasize how impressive he has been over the course of 2013. Sanchez has seen his average fastball velocity jump from 91.8 to 93 mph, and it has helped him to a record a career best swinging strike rate (12.2 percent) and strikeout rate (9.84 K/9). Sanchez has also relied on his change-up more this year, and it has easily become his best off-speed pitch. It can range from the high 70's to 91 mph, and he has thrown in to both right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters.
Jim Johnson (RP-BAL)- Johnson recorded his league leading 46th save on Tuesday night, as the Orioles held on to beat the Red Sox by the score of 3-2. The veteran reliever has struggled at times this season with nine blown saves, but he recorded a shutout inning last night in which he allowed one hit and struck out one. Johnson has blown nine saves this year while pitching to a 3.03 ERA. He has been hurt by a higher HR/FB ratio (11.9 percent), and higher line drive rate (20.2 percent). The increase in his line drive rate has come at the cost of some ground balls, and helps to explain his higher BABIP (.321). Despite some drop off in other areas, Johnson has actually improved his strikeout rate to 7.03 K/9 (second highest of career). The Orioles have other areas to improve next year, and I do think Johnson will hold on to the role.
Ian Kinsler (2B-TEX)- Kinsler went 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI to help lead the Rangers to a 7-1 win over the Rays. The home run was his twelfth of the year, and he managed to improve his line to .274/.339/.410 to go along with his 14 stolen bases. Kinsler has been hot over the last two games, but owners cannot help but be disappointed in his overall season. For the second straight year, Kinsler has seen his power numbers decline. His .136 ISO is the second lowest of his career, and his HR/FB ratio of 7 percent is also the second lowest of his career. Kinsler has not only seen his power numbers decline, but his stolen base totals and walk rate have also decreased over the last few years. It has not been a full season of negatives though. His 23.8 percent line drive rate has lead to his best batting average in three seasons, and he has cut his strikeout rate to a career best 9.7 percent.
Michael Bourn (CF-CLE)- Bourn went 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI in the Indians come from behind win over the Royals on Tuesday night. He improved his slash line to .261/.315/.352 for the year to go along with his 22 stolen bases, and the home run was his sixth of the season. Bourn has been a disappointment for owners this year with his stolen base totals and OBP. He has only attempted 33 stolen bases this year (42 stolen bases in total last year), and his .315 OBP is his lowest since 2008. In addition, his strikeout rate has increased to a career high 23.3 percent along with his swinging strike rate (9.7 percent). At 30 years old, one has to wonder if Bourn has reached his peak in terms of stolen bases. His value will be greatly diminished heading into 2014 as a result.
Jordan Lyles (SP-HOU)- Lyles struggled through his outing on Tuesday night, as he saw his record fall to 7-8 for the season. He did not have any strikeouts while allowing nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits (one home run) and three walks. His ERA increased to 5.32, and has continued his tradition of underperforming with regards to his DIPS (4.44 FIP and 4.2 xFIP). I remain quite skeptical about Lyles future as a starter considering he does not display great control (2.99 BB/9) and his strikeout rate is below average (5.99 K/9). His below average strand rate (65 percent) should improve, but it has been below at or below 65 percent in each of his three seasons. His greatest strength is his ability to generate ground balls (48.1 percent), but he has continued to allow more than a home run per nine innings for his career. Lyles will probably open 2014 in the Astros rotation where he will hold almost no value.
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