Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 4/22/13
We’d like to welcome our newest addition to the team, Paul, to the Baseball Professor family! In his first post he compares some players off to hot starts to a car, another player, and a circulating apparatus.Hiroki Kuroda, SP, NYY — Toyota CorollaI compared Kuroda to a Toyota Corolla for a variety of reasons. A Corolla is foreign, not very fast, you definitely don’t show it off to the ladies, but it’ll probably last you 200,000 miles. Hiroki is very similar.This Japanese stud is well on his way to being the most successful Japanese pitcher of all time. He won’t win you a Cy Young, but he is one of the most consistent and durable pitchers in the game, which has a ton of value in many leagues. Skills-wise he’s good but not great with a slightly above average K/BB rate, but he has a decent offense with a good bullpen behind him. I know predicting wins is impossible, but Kuroda is a decent bet for at least 13. I understand that doesn’t sound like much, but somewhere Cliff Lee is jealous.People don’t expect much from Kuroda and would rather ride the knock off Ferrari’s until their arm (wheels) falls off. Next time Kuroda hits the market on your league after a poor start, go after him, especially if you aren’t a very active owner. He’s the ideal “set and forget” player. There’s a reason Corolla parents are always the parents with orange slices at halftime.Matt Carpenter, 1B/2B/3B/OF, STL — Ben ZobristThis comparison isn’t perfect. You probably paid an arm and a leg for Zobrist while Carpenter was a free agent pickup. Zobrist steals a bit (14-19 a year), while Carpenter has yet to show any speed (1 steal in 135 games). Their eligibility is different, (1B,2B,3B,OF for Carpenter and 2B,SS,OF for Zobrist) although I’ll leave you to debate which is more valuable.So why are these guys similar? They are machines. Carpenter has actually been better at putting the bat on the ball than Zobrist. Carpenter showed slightly better LD% and FB% percentages last season. He is a doubles machine, and even though he had a fairly low HR/FB percentage last year (7%) he’s young and who’s to say a few of those doubles don’t sail over the wall this season? He has at least ~13 HR power with potential for 20 if he gets a little lucky.Carpenter hits second for the Birds, which is not a bad spot to be — 90 R and 70 RBI don’t seem outlandish for this .290 hitter. If you’re looking for a cheap, flexible guy then go after Carpenter before his owner realizes he’s not just another hot hitting Triple-A player.Paul Maholm, SP, ATL — A Revolving Glass DoorI likened Maholm to a revolving glass door because you can’t zone out while in a revolving door. If you don’t pay attention the door will come around and hit you on the ass. Maholm will do the same. He’s definitely ownable in all leagues but he is not an every start, matchup-proof stud.Let’s remember he’s 30, hasn’t changed much repertoire wise, and Billy Crystal was able to make contact against him in Spring Training a few years back. His K/BB rate has always been average so we can’t buy into this small sample size of 20 K/5 BB so far. Expect plenty of regression from a pitcher that does get blown up every now and then.Last season there were five separate times where he gave up 6+ R in an outing. Now I’m not saying bail on him, but let’s be careful with his starts. You probably should consider sitting him against tough teams like the Reds or Nationals. Remember he does have value solely based on the fact he has a pulse and faces the Marlins and Mets every now and then. While you shouldn’t go dropping him, just remember to not go Rolen with this Maholmie every time out.
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