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Ricky Nolasco Twins: What Move to Minnesota Does for his Fantasy Value

A few weeks ago, I talked about the rumor. Now, it’s official. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish was the first to report that Ricky Nolasco has signed with the Minnesota Twins. According to MLB Depth Charts, Nolasco will slide right into the No. 1 spot in the Twins rotation.

Before we get too excited about the prospect of of drafting another No. 1 starter to our fantasy team, let me paraphrase the Jedi lnight Obi-wan Kenobi, “A number 1 starter spot an Ace does not make.”

Ricky Nolasco might in fact be the best pitcher in the Twins rotation but that by no means makes him a guy that needs to be drafted. I have previously advised fantasy owners to stay away from Nolasco, and I stand firm. I personally won’t be adding Nolasco to any of my draft sheets, although perhaps I might scribble his name on a napkin here or there, only because I like the sound of his name, (NO-LAS-CO), but I digress.

Previously we talked about how going to the Twins would squash any chance of Nolasco building on his 2013 success, listing a few reasons.

  1. The move from the National League to the American League will rarely help a pitcher’s ERA, especially starters.
  2. The Twins have a history of asking pitchers to pitch to contact, even at the cost of strikeouts.
  3. His age, although that’s not the Twins’ fault.

However I would be remiss if I didn’t at least find one silver lining in the signing.

So let’s take at how ESPN’s 2013 Ballpark Factors rated Target Field against the Nolasco’s the two parks Nolasco called home last season, Marlins Park and Dodger Stadium in regards to home runs. 

Rating (Rank)
Target Field0.802 (27)
Marlins Park0.636 (30)
Dodger Stadium0.963 (14)
 Source: ESPN 2013 Ballpark Factors, Home Runs.

It’s certainly not an anomaly, as Target Field has ranked as one of the toughest places to hit homers since it’s 2010 opening. 

2010 (Rank)
2011 (Rank)
2012 (Rank)
2013 (Rank)
Average (Rank)
0.641 (30)0.913 (20)1.031 (14)0.802 (27)0.847 (22.75)
 Sources: ESPN Ballpark Factors, home runs — 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

What’s the point I’m making? It’s a pitcher’s park.

Now, Target Field is not quite the pitcher’s yard that Marlins Park is, but it is much friendlier than Dodger Stadium. Ironically Nolasco pitched better than in L.A. than Miami in 2013, but that is analysis for number crunchers like Clave to figure out.

Either way, the move to the Twins at least brings a pitcher friendly park on paper. So there is that, as well as the fact that the Twins play the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and even Cleveland Indians a whole lot. Those teams may made some progress as teams and the Indians were a strong offensive team in 2013. But in recent seasons, those teams cannot be relied upon to be offensive juggernauts, so my money is generally on opposing pitchers.

Even with those dim bright spots to this signing, Nolasco is still a very passable fantasy option coming out of drafts.  However, Kevin Correia had marked success last season with the Twins, so  maybe Nolasco can follow that lead and in fact fare well in Minneapolis.

It might be a good idea to keep an eye on Ricky Nolasco, just in case things do in fact click of him. Remember, Nolasco is coming off his second best major league season.  His K:9 rate was 7.45 last season, and his WHIP was a respectable 1.21 in 2013. So if he can inch his ERA towards 3.50 then he could be a decent to solid pitching addition.

Tags: MInnesota Twins Ricky Nolasco

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