Don't discount the Big Unit
December, 27, 2008
By Eric Karabell, ESPN.com | ESPN.com
Some might regard the Giants' signing of 45-year-old Randy Johnson as some publicity stunt to sell tickets, especially for the big day when the future Hall of Famer wins game No. 300. The thing is, it's hardly a stunt if you use a relatively late draft pick on the Big Unit in a fantasy league. The guy can still pitch.
After a lost 2007 in which he made 10 starts and became a fantasy afterthought to many, Johnson was stronger than most realize in 2008, making 30 starts and finishing with a 3.91 ERA, a strong 1.23 WHIP and 173 strikeouts. Fantasy afterthought? Johnson won only 11 games -- hardly his fault -- and still ranked No. 47 for pitchers on the Player Rater, 35th if you take out the closers. He ranked sixth in the NL in strikeouts per nine innings, and didn't tire down the stretch. Johnson did his best work after the All-Star break, posting a 2.41 ERA, and he hurled a complete game to finish the season.