Jason Motte turned in dominant season last year, taking the age-old route followed by many of the game’s other elite relievers — get drafted in the 19th round as a catcher, play three years behind the plate, break your thumb, bottom out as a hitter, convert to pitcher, spend three more years in the minors learning how to pitch, finally get called up to the majors, become a clutch setup man, allow just five hits in 12.2 dominant postseason innings en route to a World Championship, inherit your team’s ninth inning duties, and then save 42 games with a 2.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 10.75 K/9. You know, the usual.
At a Glance
- Strengths: SV, ERA, WHIP, K, K/9
- Neutral: W, L
- Weaknesses: none
- Best-case scenario: repeat season
- Likely scenario: Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), Joe Nathan (TEX), Addison Reed (CHW)
- Worst-case scenario: Tom Wilhelmsen (SEA)
Jason Motte 2013 Fantasy Projection
Is it possible that Motte’s actually — gulp — getting better? He didn’t start pitching until he was 24 years old, and last year his velocity was up a couple notches (97.1 mph). Amazingly for someone with so little experience, Motte’s been able to keep the walks under control; two years in a row now he’s had walk rates in the low 2.00s.
It’s also great that St. Louis lets him go out there and pitch. His 72 innings last year were more than every full-time closer except for Tom Wilhelmsen (79.1), Grant Balfour (74.2), Fernando Rodney (74.2) and Tyler Clippard (72.2). Motte has a great strikeout rate and while improving on last year’s 10.75 K/9 will be tough, it’s conceivable that he could finish with 90+ strikeouts.