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2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 91: Why San Francisco Giants’ Brian Wilson Has Reached Peak Value

Thu, Mar 17, 2011

Big Board, Player Projections

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings. 

Brian Wilson led the majors with 48 saves in 2010 on his way to establishing himself as one of the most reliable closers in fantasy baseball. His rise to the elite ranks wasn’t a sudden one, however, as Wilson has gradually improved in several important statistical categories over the last three seasons:

Strikeout Rate:

  • 2008: 9.67
  • 2009: 10.33
  • 2010: 11.21

Walk Rate: 

  • 2008: 4.04
  • 2009: 3.36
  • 2010: 3.13

ERA: 

  • 2008: 4.62
  • 2009: 2.74
  • 2010: 1.81

WHIP: 

  • 2008: 1.44
  • 2009: 1.20
  • 2010: 1.18

Contact Rate: 

  • 2008: 78.1%
  • 2009: 77.3%
  • 2010: 76.1%

Saves: 

  • 2008: 41
  • 2009: 38
  • 2010: 48

There don’t appear to be any major red flags surrounding Wilson’s job security or reliability, but this much appears to be true: His value can’t get any higher. 

It’s an obvious statement really, but at some point a player has to stop improving. He’s unlikely to top 48 saves again. Increasing his strikeout rate from 11 to 12 wouldn’t do much value wise, though continuing to lower his walk rate would improve his mediocre-for-an-elite-reliever WHIP. 

Wilson’s ERA (1.81 in ’10) has little room for improvement. In fact, last year was the first time since 2007 that his FIP was higher than his ERA, suggesting Wilson wasn’t quite as good as his ERA suggests. His 86.1 LOB rate (MLB average 72.2 percent) supports this: 

  • 2008: 4.62 ERA, 3.93 FIP
  • 2009: 2.74 ERA, 2.50 FIP
  • 2010: 1.81 ERA, 2.19 FIP

This isn’t to say Wilson’s ERA will balloon and he will fall from the elite ranks. Rather, a slight regression is likely. Even still, expect numbers worthy of the second best closer in 2011.

 

  

  IP SV K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
2010 stats 74.2 48 11.21 3.13 1.18 1.18
3-year average 69.2 42 10.45 3.48 2.97 1.27
2011 FBI Forecast 70 41 10.60 3.30 2.30 1.20

  

Image courtesy of: Matt Goldman 

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