It was a tale of two seasons for Ryan Dempster in 2012. In 104 innings (16 starts) with the Cubs, Dempster dazzled us with a 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 83 K/27 BB ratio, but after a trade to Texas (his first stint in the AL) he pitched 69 innings (12 starts) and posted a 5.09 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a 70 K/25 BB ratio. Now that he’s pitching in Boston the question bodes; can Dempster succeed in the American League? I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
The good news here is that Dempster was extremely lucky in his first 16 starts in Chicago thanks to a .242 BABIP (league average of .293) and 84.0% strand rate (league average of 72.5%). Of course it wasn’t as pretty in Texas as he posted a .330 BABIP and 66.3% strand rate, which helped balloon his ERA.
The bottom line is Dempster should land somewhere in the middle of his two half seasons and will benefit greatly in the wins column thanks to Boston’s offense. All you need to know is that he only won five games in Chicago last year despite all the good luck, but in four fewer starts and with bad luck he managed seven wins in Texas.
At a Glance:
Strengths: W, IP, K
Neutral: L, QS, ERA, WHIP, BB
Best-case scenario: Jeff Samardzija (CHC)
Likely scenario: Matt Garza (CHC), A.J. Burnett (PIT), Derek Holland (TEX)
Worst-case scenario: John Lackey (BOS)
Ryan Dempster 2013 Fantasy Projection
Just last year we saw Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Hammel move from the NL to the AL East and succeed so I’m not too worried about Dempster. A good sign for his is his improved control as he posted a career best 2.71 BB/9 last year and tied his career-best mark in F-Strike% with 60.8 (league average of 59.8%). We all know Boston is a hitter-friendly environment s0 the fewer batters Dempster gives free passes to the better.
At 36, Dempster could be on his last fumes, especially for someone who puts as much stress on his arm as he does. Since 2009, he has thrown his slider the fourth-most frequent (33.8%) and already has one Tommy John surgery already under his belt.
He’s coming off a season where he landed on the DL twice early on, but he should be a safe bet for 170+ innings. Given that assumption, he should land safely in your top 40 among starting pitchers.