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Minute Maid Park Park Factors: Hits 104; Runs 108; HRs 104  

(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)

Roy Oswalt

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $25     2002:  $22     2003:  $14

Oswalt was troubled by a strained groin most of the season. He had post-season surgery and is expected to be 100% this spring. When healthy, he's a stud, throwing a mid-90s fastball with good movement, two excellent breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a reliable change. Oswalt's numbers at Minute Maid are actually better than on the road. An ace for your staff.

Roger Clemens

Values ~  2000:  $16     2001:  $19     2002:  $6     2003:  $16

Solid ratios for any pitcher, let alone one who will turn 42 this season. Clemens likes to get ahead with a mid-90s fastball and then throw the splitter for a strikeout or groundball (he has a pronounced groundball ratio). Over the years, watching Clemens pitch is one of the great pleasures of the game. He keeps himself in great condition. Could be his last hurrah; bid accordingly.

Wade Miller

Values ~  2000:  $0     2001:  $18     2002:  $12     2003:  $6

Miller's walk rate was 9% higher last year but otherwise his ratios were fairly comparable, so I'd expect some rebound in value. He gets outstanding 12 to 6 break on his knuckle-curve, which together with the high strike makes his mid-90s four-seam fastball all the more effective. He also has a sinker, two different changes and slider. Miller reportedly was pitching through elbow pain in the second half and did not make his final start of the season.

Andy Pettitte

Values ~  2000:  $11     2001:  $10     2002:  $12     2003:  $14

Pettitte has a 90 mph fastball which he will sometimes cut, and a huge-breaking curve. He gets a lot of groundball outs, which should help contend with the threat of the Crawford boxes. Pettitte's smooth delivery is pure pleasure to watch. He has improved his stamina after adopting Clemens' workout regimen. He has had elbow problems in the recent past but stayed healthy last year. I continue to like Pettitte as a solid rotation addition, but will soften his price in this ballpark.

Tim Redding

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  -$6     2002:  -$8     2003:  $3

Redding has had outstanding minor league ratios. In 2001 at AA and AAA: Hit Rate = .67; K/BB Ratio = 3.52 with a 1.21 K/IP; HR Rate = .070 but struggled at the major league level until last year when he improved most of his ratios. It's difficult to know what to make of him at this point; despite his minor league track record and recent improvement, the ratios are a little mediocre due to the K rate which dropped 23% last year. He's just 26 so I'd lean toward betting he still has some upside.

Octavio Dotel

Values ~  2000:  $1     2001:  $13     2002:  $22     2003:  $17

Dotel hits the mid 90s with his fastball and will mix in a slider and changeup. Dotel has struck out a more than a batter an inning so far at the major league level but his K rates have declined 12% and 6% respectively the last two years. Dotel has been used heavily the last two years, which makes me a little concerned particularly given his relatively small stature. He's expected to take over the closers role which should lighten his load and comes at a good time.

Brad Lidge

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  -$2     2003:  $7

Lidge's ERA jumped from 2.52 in the first half to 5.46 after the break and there's some speculation that Lidge, who has not had a heavy workload in recent years, was overworked. His career has been slowed by three surgeries, but when healthy, he has top-drawer stuff: a fastball in the 94-98 range with movement and a vicious slider. Most of his key ratios didn't deteriorate along with his ERA, so I'm inclined to think Lidge should be effective as Dotel's set-up man.

Dan Miceli

Values ~  2000:  $6     2001:  -$2     2002:  $0     2003:  $5

Miceli played for four organizations last year. (After poor-mouthing his manager while with Florida, Miceli appears to have developed quite a reputation for himself.) He pitched moderately well after arriving in Houston and has been invited back. I'll pass.

Brandon Duckworth

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $3     2002:  -$13     2003:  -$6

He has an outstanding curve, slider and an effective change to complement his average at best fastball. However, it's a mental game with him at this stage as he's reluctant to trust his stuff and challenge hitters. He nibbles, runs deep counts and gets hurt when he has to come in on hitters' counts. He had a solid spring last year but was DLed with forearm tendinitis, was brought back too soon, pitched irregularly and never found his rhythm. He apparently needs a lot of positive reinforcement which you don't get from Bowa, so while a change of scenery was needed, I'm not sure this is going to solve much. With Redding on the inside track for the last starter spot, AFLAC is probably headed for the bullpen.

Ricky Stone

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $1     2002:  $2     2003:  $3

When I saw him pitch, he relied heavily on ball movement, mixing a slider and running fastball. Most of his stuff arrived between 81 and 89, which may not create enough separation to keep hitters off stride. He's not someone I'd consider.

Jared Fernandez

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  -$1     2002:  -$5     2003:  $3

Fernandez is a knuckleballer. He's been hittable wherever he's been, with a substandard K rate. Pass. 

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