Ricky Nolasco not worth chasing in 2011

Updated: September 3, 2010, 6:51 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

I'm searching for the correct words to describe how I feel about Florida Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco. He is obviously talented, but it's not that cut and dry. Nolasco should be really, really good. He ended up kind of good, but now that another season has ultimately fallen short of expectations, how can we not view him in a disappointing way? Nolasco won 14 games and fanned 147 hitters, while producing a 4.51 ERA (yawn) and 1.28 WHIP. He's the No. 74 pitcher on the ESPN Player Rater. His season ended prematurely this week with surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. But isn't it always something with Nolasco?

A year ago, Nolasco certainly seemed to get a fantasy pass when he finished the season with a 5.06 ERA, a season marred by a minor league demotion. Sure, the strikeouts and wins and WHIP ended up there, and they might be every year. But the Nolasco we saw dominate in 2008 still had only a 3.52 ERA that season. He wasn't Roy Halladay, you know. Nolasco is likely to end up on many sleeper lists again in 2011 ... but not mine. Yes, he's good, but I think we've seen his best. When it comes to value, Nolasco in Round 10, where he was selected this season in ESPN average live drafts, is going to be too early. We're all chasing that monster Nolasco season, when he wins 20 games with a 2.50 ERA and 225 strikeouts ... I don't think it's coming.

He's not alone. Nolasco seems to have it all, the terrific walk-strikeout ratio, the friendly home park, the lure of having his oddly inflated batting average on balls in play even out. Things don't always even out. Nolasco has a 4.45 career ERA. Maybe fantasy owners should start treating him like it.