I had it all figured out, ya see? I was gonna take the winter off, ya see? And I’d have gotten away with it too – if it hadn’t been for this Medlen write-up.
If the 2013 Braves had sent “The Mystery Machine” in search of the 2012 Kris Medlen, it would have been perfectly understandable. In twelve 2012 starts, The Med-Dog* went 9 -0 with a 0.97 ERA, a 0.801 WHIP and 9.0 K/9IP. This was in only 84 IP however, and 2013 was a rude reminder not to get caught up in such small sample sizes, whether in declaring the second coming of Greg Maddux, or in paying as high as $27 (it has been rumored) for him in fantasy baseball auctions.
*remind me who came up with Med-Dog; I love it.
Although the 2012 numbers were unsustainable for anyone, the 2013 Med-Human was still quite useful. In 31 games as a starter, he posted a 3.11 ERA, a 1.216 WHIP, and a 7.2 K/9IP. However, he did not complete a game; in fact, the Braves had only one complete game all season, and that was twirled by Mike Minor. No matter how many aces the Braves acquire, it appears the method of operation will continue to require a strong bullpen.
Looking to 2014, a repeat of 2013 seems the most likely scenario to me, as much as pitchers can be projected. 28 years old, and a five year Major League veteran (counting two games in the Tommy John surgery season of 2011) Medlen’s career stats as a starter are slightly better than his 2013 stats, but probably within the margin of error. In 380 IP over 61 games started, Medlen has an ERA of 2.96, a WHIP of 1.139, and a K/9IP of 7.7. However, 2013 was Medlen’s first full season as a starter, and I think that is the most reasonable starting point for projecting 2014. Medlen has already gotten his Tommy John out of the way, and is as likely to be as healthy in 2014 as any 28 year old pitcher. My only concern is how well he will hold up in his second consecutive season as a full time starter.
I see Medlen as the number three starter from where we sit here in December, slightly behind Minor and Julio Teheran, as I put a lot of weight on K rate. I also see Minor and Teheran as more volatile to project, up or down. Depending on acquisitions and the recovery of Brandon Beachy, Medlen could repeat his 2013 performance and be anywhere from our number one to number five starter.
Kris Medlen as a number five starter. Now that’s a beautiful thought.