Luck doesn't always even out
-- at least not in the short run. Which player with mixed-league relevance has had the worst fortune this season? Giants right-hander Matt Cain takes center stage as MLB.com's fantasy experts offer their take in this week's meeting of the Roundtable.
Matt Cain, SP, Giants
Matt Cain is the unluckiest guy at the dance. I'm not an immense fan of the "quality start" stat (six innings pitched with three earned runs allowed or fewer), but if we must use it, Matt Cain would have 14 unlucky starts by my count. In those starts, he pitched plenty well enough to win but either got a loss or didn't factor in the decision. It hasn't come close to evening out, either, since only once has he gotten a win in a start in which he didn't pitch well. He hasn't given up many homers and has a good strikeout rate, so it's been there for the taking, but luck has gotten in the way.
-- Mike Siano, Co-host, "MLB.com Fantasy 411"
Matt Cain has recorded 20 quality starts in 30 tries and has held the opposition to two earned runs or fewer 12 times. Despite his efforts, he has only seven wins against a whopping 15 losses. Such is life when your offense provides you with just 3.51 runs per nine innings, the second-worst mark in the Majors among qualifiers. The lousy record will no doubt affect Cain's stock heading into next season, but savvy owners will know enough to focus on his otherwise strong numbers. With just a little more love from his offense, he could find more close games going his way and surpass the 13 wins he notched as a rookie in 2006.
-- Tim Ott, Reporter, MLB.com Fantasy
If you are planning to put all your money on red or push all your chips into the middle holding nothing but deuces, make sure Matt Cain isn't in the room. Since the San Francisco offense has provided about as much support as Sarah Silverman at the VMAs, Cain has managed to finagle only seven wins out of his rock-solid 3.71 ERA and 151/76 K/BB ratio. On top of that, with the Giants scoring two or more runs in only 10 of his 30 starts, the promising youngster somehow has 15 losses to his name. Hope that things will even out for him next year, as his disappointing record should make him a late-round steal in drafts next season.
-- Dave Feldman, Reporter, MLB.com Fantasy
Brett Myers, RP, Phillies
Entering the season, many ranked Brett Myers among the Top 20 starters. That's why it was so confusing when, just a couple of weeks into April, Philly converted its ace into a closer. The switch didn't work. Myers suffered a shoulder strain late in May, spent more than two months sidelined because of it and never truly settled in afterward (4-6, 4.58 ERA). Count on better luck next season. Provided the Phillies don't turn him into a third baseman halfway through June, the hard-throwing right-hander has the talent to become a special pitcher for many years to come, whether as a starter or as a finisher.
-- Alex Cushing, Reporter, MLB.com Fantasy
Barry Zito, SP, Giants
Barry Zito's 9-12 record and 4.41 ERA are made all the more glaring by his shiny seven-year, $126 million contract, so expect the Giants ace to slip in most drafts next year. But as Zito enters the middle of his
prime -- he'll be only 29 next April -- fantasy owners need to be reminded that his career ERA is a more-than-respectable 3.64 and that he's averaged 170 strikeouts over his last six full seasons. What other mid- to late-round pitcher can guarantee you those numbers? Oh, and by the way, in his last six starts, Zito has a 1.98 ERA.
-- Anthony Tao, Reporter, MLB.com Fantasy
Jason Bay, OF, Pirates
Jason Bay battled through knee pain all season long, and his numbers are down across the board as a result. The Canadian-born outfielder took a lot of heat around the fantasy world for the deep dip in his batting average and stolen bases. Many will undervalue Bay in next season's drafts, but don't make that mistake. I'd bet he's more likely to return to 2006 form than repeat his 2007 campaign after a full offseason of rest.
-- Matt Kerner, Reporter, MLB.com Fantasy
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.