It’s tough to project a player who’s already gone through the best stretch of their career, and trust me, it doesn’t get any better than Kris Medlen‘s second half last year. In 12 starts after the All-Star Break last year, Medlen went 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8.97 K/9, and 1.32 WHIP over 95.1 innings. I can’t remember the stat used off the top of my head, but last September ESPN compared that stretch to some of the best in the history of the game. It was that great.
So Medlen isn’t that good. He isn’t nearly that good. He doesn’t need to be nearly that good. The good news is Medlen has always demonstrated great control, and his strikeout rate has been trending up for the last several seasons (including as 2012 progressed).
Low fly ball rates will only help Medlen, though it remains to be seen how his infield defense will play. Andrelton Simmons is an all-world defender at shortstop and Juan Francisco has impressed of late at third, but Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman are sub-par defenders by most defensive metrics. Still, high ground ball rates with great control are very favorable, and I’m optimistic about Medlen’s chances of building on what he started last year.
At a Glance
Strengths: ERA, WHIP
Neutral: W, L, K, IP, QS
Best-case scenario: Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)
Likely scenario: Chris Sale (CHW), Jake Peavy (CHW), Dan Haren (WAS)
Worst-case scenario: A.J. Burnett (PIT)
Kris Medlen 2013 Fantasy Projection
I don’t think we’ll see Medlen toss a lot of innings, and that will hurt his counting stats, most noticeably his strikeout total. If he ends up being the top-100 player we think he’s capable of being, it’ll likely be because of his ERA and WHIP. Medlen should be among the league leaders in WHIP, and our projected 1.14 mark is rather easily attainable. Assuming his control remains almost what it was last year (we even projected a small decline to 2.04 BB/9), an OBA around .240 will do just fine.