Friday, August 2, 2013

Bargain Bin - Clayton Blackburn (SP, Giants)

When analyzing pitchers, I tend to look at 3 things:

  1. K ratios -- Simply put, K ratio's involve two very simple aspects: I want to see more than a K per inning, and I also need to see 3+ K for every BB.  
  2. FIP is another very important stat that basically tells you what the pitcher's ERA "should be" when you take fielders out of the equation.  So, this is where I tend to find my bargains because FIP tells more of the story than ERA, so a high ERA/low FIP pitcher is a prime target to be undervalued.  
  3. Lastly, I look at groundball rates.  The average groundball rate is 44% and anything over 50% is good enough for me (on the pages, they use GO/FO.  This is similar and means groundballs to flyballs.  So you want to see that number over 1.00)
Clayton Blackburn is cheap enough to be in my bargain bin and he passes all my tests with flying colors.

Blackburn's auto can be found in 2013 Bowman and is still under 10 bucks, since the last time I checked.  He strikes out more than a batter an inning and has an amazing FIP in the sub 3.00 range, while pitching in the CAL hitter's league.  His groundball ratios have been off the charts.  And he plays in a great system for pitcher development.

John Sickels offers the perfect reason why Blackburn is overlooked:
"Despite his superb performance, he doesn’t rate highly on every prospect list... fastball is in the low-90s with outstanding sinking action, and his curveball and changeup are quality pitches. His command is obviously terrific. His mechanics are clean. So why doesn’t he get as much attention as other top pitchers? It’s the body: he’s stocky, physically maxed out, and isn’t likely to gain more velocity. Scouts often prefer pitchers who have remaining projectability. I can understand that, but Blackburn already throws hard enough to make it, considering how good his command is. He’s not throwing meatballs up there, and you don’t have to guess about when or how his stuff will improve. He already has it, and he knows what to do with it. Grade B+."

I rate Clayton Blackburn as a VERY STRONG BUY!!

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