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Fantasy Relevance of Drew Smyly

The Detroit Tigers are clearly firing on all cylinders right now. While he didn’t have a great game in his most recent outing against the Astros, the contributions of Drew Smyly have helped matters.

Drew Smyly, 2014 Stats

IP
H
BB
ER
K
W-L
ERA
WHIP
27.1219922-22.961.10

Now, with a start to the year like that, you certainly have to expect some falling off. But even building that in, there are plenty of reasons to like Smyly going forward.

 

Organizational Trust

Everything in fantasy boils down to numbers. This is more about the confidence in getting the numbers.

It’s absolutely no secret to anyone in the baseball world that the Tigers are playing to win a World Series in short order. Pitching wise, they rode a strong quartet of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister to an American League Championship in 2012, and an ALCS appearance in 2013. No, they didn’t win it all either time, but they weren’t exactly postseason chokers either.

The fact that they so willingly moved Fister this off-season tells me that they had confidence in the man that took his spot in the rotation — Drew Smyly.

That, combined with the strong start, tells me that the Tigers might have been on to something. Smyly turns 25 this year so he’s certainly someone to keep an eye on for the future, but the Tigers breaking up what had been a successful postseason group tells me that they think Smyly can be a big contributor to a champion this year.

 

Professional Success

The start to 2014 has been good, but judging by what we’ve seen from Smyly since he joined the Tigers organization, not totally out of whack.

Drew Smyly, Pre-2014 MLB

IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
175.11558.0502.61759.010-33.291.169

His numbers in the Minors were also impressive

Drew Smyly, MiLB Career

IP
H
H/9
BB
BB/9
K
K/9
W-L
ERA
WHIP
143.21257.8442.81559.711-82.571.176

When you look at this season’s numbers against those, they’re still better, but they look more like someone who’s just consistently progressing as a pitcher, which is what Smyly is clearly doing.

Hot starts are often treated cautiously with fantasy players, and rightfully so. After all, if a mediocre player is going to end up with mediocre stats and he started well, it means the remaining numbers will be below mediocre. But nothing about Drew Smyly‘s career to this point has been mediocre, and I wouldn’t expect him to end up being mediocre at season’s end. Now, that doesn’t mean I think he’ll be a legit Cy Young contender, but I’m not expecting a significant downfall, either.

 

Good Situation

Tigers pitchers have been some of the more valuable fantasy arms over the last few years, and I’d say it’s not a coincidence. Sure, those guys are all supremely talented, but they also play on a team with Miguel Cabrera. Even when Miggy is slumping, he’s such a presence in the lineup that the other strong hitters significantly benefit. That means that they consistently put up good run support for their starters.

They also play in Comerica Park, a stadium that can at worst be described as “fair” for pitchers. The AL Central isn’t exactly easy for pitchers, but it’s not a nightly gauntlet, either.

With pitchers on teams like the Yankees or Orioles, we always have to remember that the AL East is generally loaded with strong hitters and strong hitter’s parks. The AL Central is more favorable to the pitcher, which helps their fantasy values.

 

What to Do

I don’t have many negatives regarding Drew Smyly at this point. In my eyes, he projects pretty well for the rest of the year. If you’re in a league where his start has been largely ignored and he’s still available, I wouldn’t wait around.

Tags: Detroit Tigers Drew Smyly Hot Starts MLB Starting Pitchers

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