Matt Moore And Alex Cobb: AL-Only Brothers In Arms
This early in the season, much of what happens is simply noise. Anyone who is asking their favorite fantasy baseball experts if they should drop someone who they selected in the first 15 rounds of their snake draft probably deserves what they get. However, that doesn’t mean that you should remain totally inactive at this point in the year. Scenarios can unfold that will allow you to capitalize on early positive signs before a price is driven all the way up to an inordinate level. One of these unique scenario’s exists on the mound for the Tampa Bay Ray’s. Two of the Rays talented young pitchers have displayed signs that they are going to have some brilliant moments.
First, the case for Matt Moore. Recently on the Fantasy Focus podcast, Curt Schilling spoke on Moore’s ability and general stuff. Schilling’s point was that Moore was a young power pitcher and that as a result, he was going to have some games with 8 walks and 5 earned runs in 3 innings as well as some games with 8 innings and 14 strikeouts. I tend to agree with Schilling’s point of view. Moore may be 100% owned and relatively valued, but I don’t think many realize what his ceiling is. Not to be too derivative, but Jason Collete on the Towers Of Powers fantasy show stated that he believed that Moore could have David Price’s 2010 season. That upside means I would feel comfortable trading a reliable but low ceiling hitter for him. In his two starts this year, Moore has thrown an average fastball velocity of 92 MPH as well as a damn amazing 84 MPH change up. According to Fangraphs pitch values, all of Moore’s pitches ranked as more valuable than replacement, especially his curveball that has been worth 5.13 runs above average per 100 pitches. Small sample size warning clearly applies here, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to these indications. In the leagues that I am currently in, I am targeting Moore heavily as a way to improve my pitching staffs that were mostly purchased in the later rounds.
Alex Cobb’s upside, and therefore impetus to acquire, is lower than Moore’s. Moore’s velocity is significantly higher on the fastball, and Cobb’s changeup doesn’t have the same life that Moore’s does. However, not having the same upside as one of the future top 10 pitchers in the league doesn’t mean that Cobb isn’t going to be a useful fantasy pitcher this year. Cobb’s first game against Cleveland is basically what you can expect out of him when he is on his game. 7.1 innings pitched, 6 strikeouts, 4 hits, and 3 walks. Even in a relatively unsuccessful 2012 season, Cobb had a pretty low walk rate, posting a 2.64% BB/9. Even if he keeps that walk rate down and Joe Maddon lets him get deeper into games, throwing 7, 8 or even 9 innings, Cobb is going to end up far surpassing his value.
Combined these two are guys that you should be targeting if you built your team through hitting first and pitching second. If one of the main pitchers you tied your boat too has let you down (Looking at you, C.C Sabathia), you can aim for Moore as your replacement ace and not have to pay 100 cents on the dollar.