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Chad Billingsley 2012 Season Outlook

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I'm a Dodgers fan and I love this guy, but please temper your expectations.

I could have pitched a complete game to the Padres last night. They will challenge Houston for the MLB's worst team this year (although hold the edge because of how hard it is to score at Petco).

Don't get me wrong. He was in rare control tonight (from a guy who owned the worst road ERA in the NL last season), but let's see how he fares at Miller, Great American Ballpark and Chase Field before we start declaring he's back.

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I'm a Dodgers fan and I love this guy, but please temper your expectations.

I could have pitched a complete game to the Padres last night. They will challenge Houston for the MLB's worst team this year (although hold the edge because of how hard it is to score at Petco).

Don't get me wrong. He was in rare control tonight (from a guy who owned the worst road ERA in the NL last season), but let's see how he fares at Miller, Great American Ballpark and Chase Field before we start declaring he's back.

i should have highlighted a portion of my previous post- "if he can better his control...top 50 pitcher". my projections were optimistically built on that premise. of course, he's pretty risky and is best served as no more than a 6th (or so) sp on your team.

i just think that he has a lot going for him if he can put it together- (1) he's plays in the nl west, (2) his home field is dodger stadium, (3) he's durable, and (4) he has good stuff. however, i should note that i'm a sucker for players that were heavily pimped prospects...

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business as usual in the RW forums. you have the owners who got burned in the past who get blinded by disappointment and they come in and hate on a player thread. and then you have owners who are a little too optimistic after a great performance.

the bottom line is Bills has shown to be a middle tier pitcher to this point in his career. the guy could be had for pennies on the dollar in most drafts and in my opinion is well worth the gamble if he ever manages to meet the expectations.

and it isn't as if Bills sucks the entire time he is on the mound. we are talking about a key inniing or a key batter. if he manages to get through it he has a good game. is it really that hard to imagine a guy who was once thought to be top of the rotation stuff be able to put it together and figure it out?

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Heck of a game today.

But if you take him and parlay him with Dempster, who also had a great start yesterday (10 Ks), you end up with two guys who each had nice starts and aren't likely to be a big help. They will offer a good amount of strikeouts on the season, for sure. But ERA and WHIP that won't help.

I'll still take Gallardo and Lincecum - who both got rocked today - over them. Obvious statement - but proves the point. It's ONE start. Don't ignore the rest of the evidence in favor of 8 great innings.

Now, if you're a Bills owner (or a Dempster owner for that matter), and someone else in your league is the impatient type - strike while the iron is hot! See if you can move him for an upgrade.

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business as usual in the RW forums. you have the owners who got burned in the past who get blinded by disappointment and they come in and hate on a player thread. and then you have owners who are a little too optimistic after a great performance.

the bottom line is Bills has shown to be a middle tier pitcher to this point in his career. the guy could be had for pennies on the dollar in most drafts and in my opinion is well worth the gamble if he ever manages to meet the expectations.

and it isn't as if Bills sucks the entire time he is on the mound. we are talking about a key inniing or a key batter. if he manages to get through it he has a good game. is it really that hard to imagine a guy who was once thought to be top of the rotation stuff be able to put it together and figure it out?

Yep. I'm not going to gamble on Billingsley figuring it out this year. I think he is who he's been. Which is an excellent option to stream in matchups. But if he finally puts it together and has a real good year I won't be shocked.

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I wouldn't completely write off a 27 yo who put up a 3.07 FIP just two years ago.

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the hate in some of these posts is a bit strong. billingsley has always had top of the rotation stuff. if he can better his control/command a bit then he could easily be a top 50 pitcher. you do recall that he plays in the nl west?

i could easily see a return to his career average and perhaps a bit better- 11 wins, 3.55 era, 175 k's, 1.30 whip. these numbers are both reasonable projections and useful for fantasy owners.

Can you offer some analysis to back up your forecast? Because I owned Bills for years and years, and I've watched countless starts (including last night's), and I've seen nothing but slow decline from year to year. His fastball is midrange, straight and lifeless. He gets behind hitters early in the count and early in the game. He gives an automatic 3-5 free passes per start. He has very little stamina (and I'd bet that, after last night's 108 pitches, he lays an egg in his next start). Against bottom-tier offenses in spacious parks, maybe he warrants a spot start. You simply can't start him with confidence in any other situation. Too erratic.

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I am not putting any stock into him dominating the Padres in Petco in early April. He should dominate them. I don't want guys on my team that I fear for my life when they face a decent offense. Now if he went into Arizona and dominated the Dbacks, or into Coors and shut down the Rockies I would be impressed. Last year vs. SD he had a 1.38 era. Over the past 3 years he has a 2.68 era in Petco over 7 starts. It's the Padres, without threre bet hitter in Carlos Quentin. Everyone calm down......

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Too early to say he's back - Padres in Petco is similar to a Minor League matchup. I'll treat this start as another spring training game and watch him closely in his next start!

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Can you offer some analysis to back up your forecast? Because I owned Bills for years and years, and I've watched countless starts (including last night's), and I've seen nothing but slow decline from year to year. His fastball is midrange, straight and lifeless. He gets behind hitters early in the count and early in the game. He gives an automatic 3-5 free passes per start. He has very little stamina (and I'd bet that, after last night's 108 pitches, he lays an egg in his next start). Against bottom-tier offenses in spacious parks, maybe he warrants a spot start. You simply can't start him with confidence in any other situation. Too erratic.

i was pretty clear in a follow up post that my projection was based off of an optimistic premise; namely that billingsley improves his control. i never said that it was undoubtedly going to happen. also, it's pretty annoying to have to spoonfeed people statistics or projections which are readily available (such as career statistics or zips projections). alas, i will do it because you criticized me.

billingsley has career era of 3.65 and has averaged 175 k's per year since becoming a starter. moreover, he put up the following line just two years ago- 12 wins, 3.57 era, 171 k's, nd 1.28 whip. you said that you owned him in the past, so i guess that you were pretty happy with his performance that year. indeed, he finished the season ranked 40th among SP's in fantasy baseball.

the following are some projections from some respected sources- ZIPS: 12 wins, 3.74 era, 165 k's, 1.34 whip and bill james: 9 wins, 3.67 era, 158 k's, 1.34 whip. is it still too unreasonable to see him finishing the year as a top 50 sp in fantasy baseball? i merely bumped some of the numbers in the above projections under the assumption that his control returns to pre-2011 form.

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Merely wishing for improved control and rolling out Bill James's projections isn't what I would consider "analysis." Sure, if Daniel Cabrera could harness his control, he'd be a top 40 pitcher too. Merely offering this without evidence to support its likelihood or even possibility doesn't further the discussion here.

Furthermore, demonstrating that he was a better pitcher in the past than the present only supports my contention that he is a pitcher in decline. It's true that I enjoyed owning him more in 2010 than 2011 - it's because he's gotten worse. Specifically, his K% has decreased every year since 2008 (23.4, 21.8, 20.9, 18.3) and his walk rate (BB/9) is on an upward trajectory (3.59, 3.94, 3.24, 4.02). To add personal insight, his fastball has become flat, he walks too many guys early, he wears down as the season progresses, and he is extremely inconsistent and unpredictable from a fantasy-start perspective (look at his 2011 game long in June - one start it'll be 0 ER, then 5 ER, then 1 ER, then 6 ER).

I'm not convinced that he will buck these trends and improve on his career numbers in 2012. More likely, the downward trend continues and he finishes well outside the top 50 SP.

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Merely wishing for improved control and rolling out Bill James's projections isn't what I would consider "analysis." Sure, if Daniel Cabrera could harness his control, he'd be a top 40 pitcher too. Merely offering this without evidence to support its likelihood or even possibility doesn't further the discussion here.

Furthermore, demonstrating that he was a better pitcher in the past than the present only supports my contention that he is a pitcher in decline. It's true that I enjoyed owning him more in 2010 than 2011 - it's because he's gotten worse. Specifically, his K% has decreased every year since 2008 (23.4, 21.8, 20.9, 18.3) and his walk rate (BB/9) is on an upward trajectory (3.59, 3.94, 3.24, 4.02). To add personal insight, his fastball has become flat, he walks too many guys early, he wears down as the season progresses, and he is extremely inconsistent and unpredictable from a fantasy-start perspective (look at his 2011 game long in June - one start it'll be 0 ER, then 5 ER, then 1 ER, then 6 ER).

I'm not convinced that he will buck these trends and improve on his career numbers in 2012. More likely, the downward trend continues and he finishes well outside the top 50 SP.

your analysis of so-called trends in his performance is far from scientific. we are only looking at his performance over the course of 4 seasons. it would be just as reasonable to just assume that billingsley had a bad season in 2011. moreover, we could just as easily infer that he does well in even years! of course, my last statement was said in jest. i will note that the inference that you drew from his past numbers is reasonable. however, to state (with such strong affirmation) that an awful 2011 is definitely indicative of an decling pitcher is not. you still must hold open the possibility that last year was merely an outlier or that a young pitcher can improve as he heads into (what should be) his prime years.

ps- i didn't draft billingsley on any team this year. also, i do admit that i like to take chances on young players that were once heavily pimped prospects

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Merely wishing for improved control and rolling out Bill James's projections isn't what I would consider "analysis." Sure, if Daniel Cabrera could harness his control, he'd be a top 40 pitcher too. Merely offering this without evidence to support its likelihood or even possibility doesn't further the discussion here.

Furthermore, demonstrating that he was a better pitcher in the past than the present only supports my contention that he is a pitcher in decline. It's true that I enjoyed owning him more in 2010 than 2011 - it's because he's gotten worse. Specifically, his K% has decreased every year since 2008 (23.4, 21.8, 20.9, 18.3) and his walk rate (BB/9) is on an upward trajectory (3.59, 3.94, 3.24, 4.02). To add personal insight, his fastball has become flat, he walks too many guys early, he wears down as the season progresses, and he is extremely inconsistent and unpredictable from a fantasy-start perspective (look at his 2011 game long in June - one start it'll be 0 ER, then 5 ER, then 1 ER, then 6 ER).

I'm not convinced that he will buck these trends and improve on his career numbers in 2012. More likely, the downward trend continues and he finishes well outside the top 50 SP.

I'm not aware of a stat that portends improved control in a pitcher. From what I've seen, sometimes it just happens and no one is able to predict it.

If you have to take a chance late in your draft, which would you rather do? Wish for pitcher A (Low BB rate, Low K rate) to suddenly start striking more guys out, or wish for pitcher B (High BB rate, High K rate) to suddenly start walking less guys?

From my experience, Ks are more predictable and less likely to jump up surprisingly. I would go with pitcher B, the one that matches up better with Billingsley.

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I'm not aware of a stat that portends improved control in a pitcher. From what I've seen, sometimes it just happens and no one is able to predict it.

If you have to take a chance late in your draft, which would you rather do? Wish for pitcher A (Low BB rate, Low K rate) to suddenly start striking more guys out, or wish for pitcher B (High BB rate, High K rate) to suddenly start walking less guys?

From my experience, Ks are more predictable and less likely to jump up surprisingly. I would go with pitcher B, the one that matches up better with Billingsley.

Declining K/9 rates (9.01, 8.21, 8.03, 7.28) and increasing BB/9 rates (3.59, 3.92, 3.24, 4.02) in his four full years in the bigs portend a continued decline in control. You don't need college-level statistics to identify this trend.The guy just isn't headed in the direction you want to see, regardless of last night's start.

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Declining K/9 rates (9.01, 8.21, 8.03, 7.28) and increasing BB/9 rates (3.59, 3.92, 3.24, 4.02) in his four full years in the bigs portend a continued decline in control. You don't need college-level statistics to identify this trend.The guy just isn't headed in the direction you want to see, regardless of last night's start.

you would perhaps need a college-level stats class to not be guiled into believing that his walk rate is trending up. there's just not enough data there to strongly infer that this is true. i can't really say anything about the decling k rates :P.

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Declining K/9 rates (9.01, 8.21, 8.03, 7.28) and increasing BB/9 rates (3.59, 3.92, 3.24, 4.02) in his four full years in the bigs portend a continued decline in control. You don't need college-level statistics to identify this trend.The guy just isn't headed in the direction you want to see, regardless of last night's start.

the statistics don't tell the entire story. Bills' problem isn't his stuff or his ability, it's his head. it isn't like he is a disaster with every batter he faces or even every inning he is out there. his typical starts are good and then he gets into a jam and the wheels come off so to speak. to me that is a mental thing, and something that can be fixed. the ability is there if he gets himself right in the head.

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the statistics don't tell the entire story. Bills' problem isn't his stuff or his ability, it's his head. it isn't like he is a disaster with every batter he faces or even every inning he is out there. his typical starts are good and then he gets into a jam and the wheels come off so to speak. to me that is a mental thing, and something that can be fixed. the ability is there if he gets himself right in the head.

This is true. He's had the most problem with runners on. So a start can avalanche quickly and fall apart. And the fact his control is slightly less than ideal means he's puting those extra base runners on too much. Which means he might fall prey to the runners on base thing.

But his walk rate going up? I don't see it. He's had basically one bad year, 2011. All the rest are pretty much in the same ballpark

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I watched Bills pitch and Scully and the SD broadcasters were talking about Billz changing up his leg kick.

After some investigating it seems this is indeed what he did:

"This is what spring training is for, obviously, to iron out little things. But this is a fairly big change for Billingsley, who is trying to stop kicking his front leg out during his delivery -- which often results in his body getting ahead of his arm and sometimes allows gravity and momentum to affect his motion -- and start keeping that leg underneath his body.

'“I don't know if it's major,” Billingsley said. “I’m just working hard at smoothing out my leg kick. When my foot gets out away from my body like that, my timing has to be just right. If it's not, then I start drifting toward the third-base side and stepping across my body when I deliver the pitch.”'

Maybe we're seeing a correlation between this change in mechanics and the domination we saw against the Sad Friars?

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Declining K/9 rates (9.01, 8.21, 8.03, 7.28) and increasing BB/9 rates (3.59, 3.92, 3.24, 4.02) in his four full years in the bigs portend a continued decline in control. You don't need college-level statistics to identify this trend.The guy just isn't headed in the direction you want to see, regardless of last night's start.

You should probably try calculating any "statistics" before you post it. Because if you did you would find that his BB/9 is neither increasing nor decreasing.

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5 innings and ZERO walks. If he can somehow keep this up he's going to be an absolute steal. Still not a believer but I'm certainly intrigued. Wishing another owner hadn't beat me to the ww.

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5 innings and ZERO walks. If he can somehow keep this up he's going to be an absolute steal. Still not a believer but I'm certainly intrigued. Wishing another owner hadn't beat me to the ww.

Eh...padres and now pirates. His next start is against the brewers, that should be a better test.

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5 innings and ZERO walks. If he can somehow keep this up he's going to be an absolute steal. Still not a believer but I'm certainly intrigued. Wishing another owner hadn't beat me to the ww.

this is correct. if he keeps his walk rate down then he will finish the season as a top 50 SP. that is a conservative estimate when you consider that he plays in the nl west and that his home park is dodger stadium.

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You should probably try calculating any "statistics" before you post it. Because if you did you would find that his BB/9 is neither increasing nor decreasing.

OK smartguy. You want treadlines? Here's Excel to the rescue:

http://imgur.com/KAuZr

Overly simplistic, I'll admit, but at the end of the day, either 2010 was an aberration, or 2009 and 2011 were. 2012 will clue us in. Me, I hate the decline I saw last year. Even when he was "on" back in 2010, at the end of the season his fantasy stats weren't any better - wins were the same, whip was pretty much the same, Ks were down, innings were down. The decline kicked back into gear last year, and he was maddening to own in fantasy. This year we've seen a start at Petco (where he, like most, tend to do well) and a home start against a pitiful Pit lineup. It's too early to hit the panic button on any pitcher, and it's too early to anoint BIlls a top-20 SP.

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