Bank One Ballpark Park Factors: Hits 109; Runs 123; HRs 107
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: $32 2001: $43 2002: $41 2003: $1
Johnson's problems with his knee, which led to early-season surgery, deprived owners of his usually dominating performance. He throws an upper 90s fastball and a vicious slider to keep hitters off balance. Most starters need at least 3 major league pitches, but Johnson dominates hitters with just two. Johnson's three-quarters delivery is especially wicked on left-handed batters. Johnson will be 40 this season and entering the season with a health concern. His ratios after his return are a mixed bag - excellent K and walk rates, but much higher hit rates than we are accustomed to seeing. I'd bank on a double digit value but a return to $30+ may be asking a bit much.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $17
Webb deserved to be the NL Rookie of the year. Not only were his ratios better and value higher, Webb didn't fade late in the season. The low HR Rate is especially noteworthy as Webb has an outstanding sinker. His fastball arrives in the low 90s and he has good breaking pitches and a change. Fantasy owners probably have a better idea of Webb's value than ROY voters, so he probably won't go cheaply in too many drafts.
Values ~ 2000: $5 2001: -$3 2002: $8 2003: -$12
Dessens is a control pitcher who stays around the plate and can get hit when he misses his spots. After his career 2002 season, Dessens hit rate returned to the 1.15+ area it normally occupies. He keeps the ball down, getting a lot of groundball outs.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $1 2002: $5 2003: $0
Fossum sped through the minors posting excellent ratios along the way but had mixed success in his first full season with the big club. He struggled in spring training but pitched well early after the season began then lost effectiveness again in May. He was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis, went on the DL, worked out of the bullpen after his return, was sent to AAA to start but saw little action after his recall due to another bout with shoulder tendinitis. I have yet to see him, but he's said to have an excellent slider, and average fastball and a change that needs work. Perhaps worth a speculative bid in a continuing league but I'll probably wait on him. Fossum has experienced a sore shoulder this spring and is likely to open the season on the DL.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: NABefore unexpectedly making the D'Back rotation, Daigle was better known as Mr. Jennie Finch, husband of the former University of Arizona softball star. Daigle has posted consistently high hit rates (tempered by the fact that most home fields in the Arizona system are hitter's parks) and consistently low strikeout rates. His ratios at AA last year: Hit Rate = 1.24; K/BB Ratio = 2.25 with a .65 K Rate; HR Rate = .051). He's said to have a low 90s fastball and slider. I'm not expecting season-long success.
Values ~ 2000: -$13 2001: $4 2002: -$5 2003: -$10
Reynolds returned last year following back surgery to relieve a pinched nerve caused by a degenerative disc condition. Reynolds changes speeds consistently and has pinpoint control. However, Reynolds' K rate has declined from .90 in 1998 to .56 last year which means he's pretty much lost his fastball which he needed to set up his off-speed pitches. His curve has always been excellent. Pass.
Values ~ 2000: $9 2001: $11 2002: -$12 2003: -$4
He is a knuckleball pitcher. He mixes in a few low 80s fastball, but he primarily sticks with the floater, which he throws at a variety of speeds. When I watched him pitch a game in '98, he was very effective, the late break he was getting kept hitters lunging. But after a couple of effective years in Detroit, Sparks hasn't pitched well the last two years. Since I personally am averse to having knuckleballers on my staff I don't recommend taking a chance on a comeback. Sparks has emerged as the likely #5 starter.
Values ~ 2000: $9 2001: $1 2002: -$1 2003: $24
When healthy, Mantei has an explosive upper 90’s fastball and sharp curve. He likes to make hitters go up the ladder with his hard stuff and is a pronounced flyball pitcher. He has exceptionally high K (1.26) and walk rates (.60) for his career and is very tough to hit (.73 H/IP). But staying healthy has been a problem for Mantei, thought to result from his style of throwing; he’s had back, rotator cuff and Tommy John surgeries. Mantei regained his job as closer last year but spent additional time on the DL with an ailing shoulder. His name now surfaces regularly in trade rumors; he'll be a free agent next year so a trade by midseason is a good possibility. Mantei has struggled this spring with ripping his fingernails when he pitches. If it's not one thing, it's another...
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $13
High 90s fastball plus a slider. He's struck out 1.43 batters per inning in the minors, but his .48 hit rate with Arizona is far beyond anything he ever accomplished in the minors (.92). His walk rate indicates he still has some progress to make, but after saving 10 games in 11 opportunities when Mantei was unavailable, he's the closer-designate here and will attract considerable interest as a result in most leagues.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $5 2002: -$6 2003: $8
Lyon's value last year is based largely on 9 early season saves that probably won't recur. He lost the closer job and was traded to Pittsburgh but was returned to Boston when it was revealed he had an elbow problem. Lyon did not pitch well when he returned from the DL and will need to be monitored this spring. Lyon has a fastball in the 90 mph range that runs in to right-handed hitters, a slider, a change and mixes in an occasional curve. When I saw him, his slider was inconsistent early, he primarily relied on his fastball which hitters sat on and he was getting roped pretty well. As the game progressed, he mixed his pitches better and pitched better. He stays around the plate, however and his mistakes were hit. Lyon will have elbow surgery and is expected to miss the first four months.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $12
Villareal was primarily a starter in the minors but pitched well in middle relief and setting up with the D'backs. He has a fastball in the 91-94 range and a slider and had inconsistent control in the two brief appearances I saw. Villareal has had a sore elbow this spring.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $2
Hard-throwing lefty who struggles with location; he made the D'back staff as the second lefty out of the pen because he was out of options. He spent some time on the DL with a strained oblique but failed to post better numbers after his return. No interest.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$1 2002: $7 2003: $7
Koplove spent considerable time last year with shoulder problems; he had season-ending surgery for both his rotator cuff and labrum, but is expected to be ready this spring. Koplove drops down with his delivery but has been effective against batters on both sides of the plate and has consequently given Arizona solid work as a set-up reliever. Worth adding to your roster if healthy.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $1 2003: -$3
Nance has posted solid ratios pitching primarily in relief while coming up through the Dodger farm system. Although he pitched well again while at AAA last year, he was very hittable during his call-up. Could emerge in a lefty bullpen role. Nance has had a sore elbow this spring and will probably open the season on the DL.
Values ~ 2000: $2 2001: $5 2002: -$1 2003: $1
Choate was hittable in the minors as a starter but improved after he was switched to relief. His sidearm delivery of an excellent slider gives lefties trouble (they have hit only .183 off him the last three years), but he has to throw strikes on a more consistent basis. He's likely to stay in his role as a situational lefty and have little upside.