I love Doug Fister. If we didn’t have two people contributing to these projections, he’d probably end up higher in these rankings. However, George does have valid points whenever I start getting a little too excited about Fister’s fantasy prospects, and those points primarily surround Detroit’s porous infield defense.
Fister has one of the strongest ground ball tendencies in the game, and Detroit’s infield doesn’t have the best defensive reputation. Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Jhonny Peralta? Yikes.
Well, they’re actually not that bad. Omar Infante has proven to be great defender at second base, last year posting the second-best UZR at the position (10.1, behind Darwin Barney‘s 13.1), and Peralta has posted a UZR/150 over nine in three of the last four years after posting negative values in the prior five seasons. Fielder was only slightly below average last year (-1.6 UZR/150), and, well, Cabrera was atrocious at -11.2 UZR/150.
Still, that makes Detroit average on the left side (Cabrera/Peralta) and above average on the right side (Fielder/Infante). At worst I believe they’re about average as an infield defense, and even though they had the second-worst outfield defense last year (-7.4 UZR/150), Fister’s ground ball tendency helps negate that.
At a Glance
Strengths: ERA, WHIP, BB, QS
Neutral: W, L, K
Best-case scenario: Roy Halladay (PHI)
Likely scenario: Jered Weaver (LAA), Kris Medlen (ATL), Josh Johnson (TOR),
Worst-case scenario: A.J. Burnett (PIT)
Doug Fister 2013 Fantasy Projection
Fister pitched just 161.2 innings last year and still ranked 161st overall. Had he pitched exactly like he did last year over the 216.1 innings he threw in 2011, he would have ranked 119th on the year. He’s a control-first pitcher who’s posted WHIPs of 1.06 and 1.19 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, so he’ll probably (almost definitely) be among the league leaders in that category. He won’t struggle with homers because he allows so few fly balls, so he’ll be rather immune to the trials of poor home run luck, and that will help keep his ERA in the neighborhood of his FIP.
I was confident before last season that Fister would maintain a strikeout rate above 7.00 K/9, and he went out and did that so I have no issues projecting him to replicate his career-high K rate. I’ve rambled on more than one occasion about the importance of varying your repertoire (you can find an example of said ramblings here), and last year Fister threw five different pitches at least 10% of the time. That makes him one of the league’s most varied pitchers, and it’s just one of the many reasons I say go ahead and be aggressive when targeting Fister.