Let's Have a Quickie: Dallas Braden's Pretty Perfect Game

In case you were unaware, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics threw a perfect game yesterday. He was lights out, striking out six Tampa Bay Rays en route to the 19th perfect game in MLB history. The question remains: what does this mean for fantasy players? In short, nothing. Some owner got a great start and presumably lowered his (I refuse to say her, any girl that plays fantasy is an alien in disguise) ERA and WHIP in the process. Other than that, there’s nothing else to be taken from this historic event. In the first installment of “Let’s Have a Quickie,” I’ll examine why his perfect game doesn’t change Braden’s overall value.

His metrics still suck
Braden has been lucky this year, period. His BABIP is an astoundingly low .245, compared to a .308 lifetime number and a .300 league average, meaning that a lot of balls that should have been hits haven’t been. That means that his stellar 0.96 WHIP this season will not keep up. It also means we should see his ERA go from 3.33 closer to 4.00, not what you need from Dallas. His walk rate is a full 1.4 below what it was last year, from 2.77 BB/9 to 1.37. Even if he has gotten better, he hasn’t gotten that much better.

Teams will start identifying the changeup
The big difference with Braden this year is that he’s been throwing his changeup a lot more, and it has been his most successful pitch. It has a value of 5.5, compared to his rarely used slider’s value of 0.6, the next best in his arsenal. He’s thrown the change 29.4 percent of the time, up 8% from last year, showing added confidence with the pitch. Unless he’s learned from Johan Santana and Greg Maddux, he probably won’t stay this overwhelming with it when teams start to realize what he’s doing. Remember, it’s still early.

When all of his other stats go back to normal, he’s useless
Once the metrics prevail and his WHIP and ERA return to normal, he would need to strike guys out to retain value. Unfortunately, he only K’s out 5.48 guys per 9 innings, a pretty low number. In fact, his 28 punch outs this year tie him with Hisanori Takahashi, of Mets’ bullpen fame, and ranks him behind perennial all-stars Kevin Correia and Homer Bailey (as well as former Yankee great and current Nats reliever Tyler Clippard). Essentially, he doesn’t keep value once he comes back to earth.

The Verdict: Sell high as fast as you can. If anyone is offering anything of worth for Braden, take it and laugh. You’ll be glad you did.

I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

Now remember, keep the bat on your shoulders.
-Backwards K

One Response to “Let's Have a Quickie: Dallas Braden's Pretty Perfect Game”
  1. Jason Deutsch says:

    dead on about braden…another note about the strikeouts, his lame 28 is skewed as it is, he had 10 on opening day. he had 11 total in his next 6 starts lol.

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