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Cliff Lee – Starting Pitcher

2013 Season – Philadelphia Phillies

Tag:       Cliff Lee
Salary:    $31
Contract: 3 years remaining
Acquired: 2013 WBRL Auction, First Round, 1st Overall, Nominated by Andrew Flynn
Departed: N/A

Season Statistics:

2013 Stats IP ERA WHIP W S K
AaRr Active
AaRr Reserve
MLB Season
Weeks Up:
Weeks Down:



None to date


2013 Projections:

Source Rank* $ Wins ERA WHIP K Saves
Composite 9 $26 14 3.05 1.07 207 0
Sptg News 6 $29 17 2.82 1.08 227 0
BA 14 - 12 3.29 1.15 201 0
Lindy's 13 $17 15 3.22 1.06 205 0
MLB Yrbk 12 $24 11 2.80 1.06 218 0
Shandler - $26 15 3.25 1.08 207 0
RotoWorld 9 $28 16 3.14 1.08 194 0
RotoMan 5 $28 11 2.88 1.02 205 0
PECOTA - $26 13 2.96 1.05 182 0
OLIVER - - 16 3.00 1.07 212 0
Steamer - $33 16 3.28 1.11 204 0
Cairo - - 15 2.90 1.05 210 0
CBS Sports 6 - 15 3.01 1.06 215 0
ESPN 7 $26 11 3.10 1.05 215 0

*Rank of all MLB Pool, regardless of AL/NL or protections


Andrew Flynn: Lee's lower WHIP and age versus teammate Roy Halladay makes him the available ace to target. While Greinke may adjust for the Dodgers, he's always been snake-bitten by the occasional rough outing, and I just don't trust Halladay after his weak second-half and his troubles this Spring Training.  If the RoadRunners don't get Lee, then we have to bank that we can get both Jordan Zimmerman and  . . .  who exactly?  There's no one else, so this is a must-get situation.

BP: Lee would probably rather hear someone's bad-beat poker story than any of his fellow pitchers griping about being saddled with a no-decision after a well-pitched outing. Merriam-Webster needs a new phrase for what Lee went through in 2012 because "bad luck" is insufficient to describe his 15 no-decisions. As strong as ever, Lee paced all of baseball with a 7.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.2-per-nine walk rate while continuing a five-year incremental gain in velocity. Lee's fine-wine transformation makes the $75 million he is guaranteed over the next three years a lot more palatable for the Phillies, as even a downturn in velocity won't rob him of his effectiveness. His game is built on the movement of the sinker, not the speed of it, which is merely a bonus. Lee remains one of the most underrated aces in the game, thanks in large part to sharing a clubhouse with Hamels and Halladay.

Shandler: Forget the win total. Yes, FORGET IT. This was virtually the same season as 2011. PHI averaged 4.2 runs/game last year, yet scored less than that in 21 of his 30 starts. That's just horrible support. He may see some age-related decline, but odds are he'll still be close to elite starter status.

Sporer: How do you put any separation between these three? Well this year it is easier because Halladay is coming off of the injury, but for me I went with age as the decider. I spoke of Hamels’ win deficiency earlier. He should probably have 20 more than he ended up with the last six seasons, but that pales in comparison to what Lee suffered through last year. Despite putting up 211 innings of 3.16 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 30 starts, he was awarded a mere six wins.


He got five in a 97.3-inning season back 2007 when he had a 6.29 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. This is obviously the most extreme case possible, but this is why you hear the adage “don’t chase wins” when it comes to fantasy baseball. Yes, you can play the odds for improved opportunities by rostering skilled pitchers on teams that should have a good bullpen and/or lineup, but there is no way to guarantee anything regardless of how well someone pitches. Lee was just the fifth pitcher in the last 25 years to log 200-plus innings with a 3.20 ERA or better and net fewer than 10 wins.

Don’t expect the win drought to build in any discount for the ace lefty. NFBC drafters are taking as the 10th starter off the board on average with the 53rd pick. Of course that looks like a discount compared to the 39th pick ADP of Lee over at Mock Draft Central which makes him the fourth starter off the board. Anywhere in the top 10 of starters is full price as you can make arguments for exact ranking of the top 10 in several different permutations. Lee is an enigma wrapped in a mechanical mystery, and he has baffled me since his Cleveland days. His balance kinda sucks, with tons of lean-back that leads to glove-side spine-tilt near release point. There is nothing impressive about his power grades, with merely average momentum and torque, but he repeats the delivery every friggin' time. Lee can throw any of his pitches with precision despite all of these mechanical barriers, and after a while I just had to shut up and let the guy pitch.

April Notes

May Notes

June Notes

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August Notes

September Notes

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