The most prized free agent is clearly Ricky Nolasco, er, uh, wait, that’s not right. In any event, signings for guys like Nolasco do offer some intrigue for us as fantasy owners because finding late-round sleepers is a HUGE bonus when drafting. So what about Ricky Nolasco? Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has said that he’s being pursued by the good old Minnesota Twins.
Nolasco certainly fits with the pitchers the Twins have acquired in the past few Winters: Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia, or Vance Worley (via trade). Terry Ryan has an affinity for bargain pitchers although Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is one of several people to report that he may not be that much of a bargain.
As fantasy baseball players, we’re not really concerned with his cost, but the numbers. So, let’s look at those.
Judging by those career numbers, Nolasco probably should be a bargain. While the WHIP isn’t terrible, the ERA isn’t all that impressive for a guy that has spent his whole career in the NL, especially if we’re talking about moving into the same division that currently features Miguel Cabrera. Now, the 2013 stats weren’t bad and the argument might be made that those would make Nolasco the Twins best pitcher, but that is like being known as the skinny kid at fat camp right?
I digress, Nolasco had his second best season of his mediocre career in 2013. So is the soon-to-be 31-year-old Ricky Nolasco ready to make good on some of the potential he has shown? Possibly this is a guy who’s best season was 2008, and he still only had a 3.52 ERA, albeit alongside a 1.10 WHIP it looks MUCH nicer.
We also have to look at the team and situation he is going to. Moving from the NL to the AL does not usually help shrink pitchers ERA. So you have to hope Ricky can limit his WHIP and maybe get back to his 9 or 8+ K:9 ratios he enjoyed in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately the Twins have been known to force guys to pitch to contact rather than use their strikeout pitches (see Francisco Liriano). So ultimately going to the Twins might just squash any chance of Ricky Nolasco building on last season and from a fantasy perspective, I’d advise you to stay away.