Ernesto Frieri: Angels Closer Has Value to Fantasy Owners in 2014

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite nailing down 37 saves in 2013, Ernesto Frieri is coming off a sub par season pitching wise. Frieri’s ERA and WHIP were nowhere near as good as owners should have expected, so without those 37 saves he would have been a terrible pitcher to have on your fantasy staff. Granted he still maintained a near 13 for k:9, so maybe terrible is a bit harsh, but last season certainly wasn’t Frieri’s sharpest.

So Ernesto’s value really depends on your league-mates. If your league mates focus on the saves and k rate, then Frieri might be a hot commodity. Where as if your league-mates focus on his ERA and WHIP Ernesto might end up being a buy low candidate for you.

There are a couple of other things we need to look at to assess Frieri.  First is BB:9 ratio, which his best in four full major league seasons 3.93. So why was his WHIP so high? He gave up A LOT of hits, 55 in 68.2 innings in 2013. As a comparison, that is 20 more than in 2012 in only 2.2 more innings.

Yet another thing to look at would be Frieri’s HR:9 ratio, which has climbed since he left the San Diego Padres for the Los Angeles Angels. That may have made sense a decade ago. Neither park is historically known to be great for hitters, but Anaheim has traditionally been better than San Diego. Last season? Not so much. 

Park
Run Factor (Rank)
HR Factor (Rank)
Petco Park0.831 (30)0.936 (17)
Angel Stadium0.968 (19)0.902 (20)
 Source: ESPN Park Factors: Runs and Home Runs.

The fact is, that Ernesto throws a lot of strikes, that accounts for his low walk rate and high strikeout rate.  It also explains why he gives up a lot of hits AND when he is getting hit now, they are leaving the park more and more. So can Frieri right the ship?  Hard to say definitively. Look at a guy like Dan Haren, he had flashes of elite pitching mixed in with some terrible months of too many long fly balls.

There are things to like about Frieri.

  1. Even with the acquisition of Fernando Salas and signing of Joe Smith, he’s virtually a lock to close next year.
  2. He gives you a lot of strikeouts and will not walk guys.
  3. These are things I always like to see in a potential RP, and I think make him valuable coming out of the draft.

What I don’t like about Frieri is his climbing home run rate, Still, I ultimately don’t think that the home run rate and his last season’s ERA and WHIP are alarming enough to pass on Frieri completely. In fact I would hope that most of my league mates were alarmed by those stats so that I could get Ernesto on the cheap.

I like to avoid the first wave of relief pitchers in drafts like the Tributes avoid the cornucopia bloodbath in The Hunger Games (just trying to appeal to our 13 year old girl demographic). Frieri is just the type of RP I am looking for when most other teams have drafted at least their first closer. I like Ernesto Frieri to bounce back at least a little next year, he is a solid option at RP after round 13 or for less than $5.

Topics: Ernesto Frieri, Los Angeles Angels

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