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June 25, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Hot Spots: Starting Pitchers

by Bill Baer

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Value Picks 2010 PECOTA Games '10
Starting Pitchers Throws W IP H HR ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 Starts SIERA
Randy Wells RH 3 84.2 105 7 5.21 1.50 6.9 2.3 0.7 6.9 2.3 0.8 15 3.92
Felipe Paulino RH 1 86.0 87 2 4.40 1.51 8.0 4.5 0.2 7.8 4.2 0.8 14 4.34
Jake Arrieta RH 2 16.0 12 2 5.06 1.31 5.1 5.1 1.1 6.7 4.4 1.2 4 5.59
Bud Norris RH 2 43.2 51 5 6.80 1.76 11.1 5.4 1.0 8.9 4.5 1.1 9 3.65
Brandon Morrow RH 5 84.0 75 5 4.50 1.39 9.9 4.5 0.5 8.3 4.8 1.2 15 3.73
Manny Parra LH 2 54.0 61 5 3.83 1.57 9.3 4.0 0.8 7.8 4.5 1.1 6 3.64
Jhoulys Chacin RH 4 60.2 50 3 3.56 1.30 8.8 4.3 0.4 7.7 4.3 0.9 10 3.84
Kris Medlen RH 4 67.2 65 8 3.33 1.14 6.5 1.6 1.1 8.8 3.2 1.0 8 3.77
Subscribe to Heater 2007-09 in Rotation 1.39 6.6 3.1 1.1  
Heater Magazine 2007-09 in Relief 1.36 7.7 3.8 0.9  

Added to the list

Bud Norris: Norris will be activated from the disabled list and will make his first start on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers. It is good timing as teammate Felipe Paulino has been placed on the DL. Essentially, the Astros are swapping high-strikeout, high-walk arms though Norris has slightly better swing-and-miss stuff. Norris, as with so many other pitchers who make the "Value Picks" list, was victimized by an unsustainably high BABIP (.400). That, of course, did not partner well with his poor control thus causing him to strand fewer than 60 percent of runners on base. Norris is virtually unknown as he is still available in over 99 percent of ESPN leagues.

Manny Parra: Parra has provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal Brewer starting rotation since he was moved from the bullpen to the rotation. He has gone at least five innings and allowed three runs or fewer in his last four starts. In those 23 innings, he struck out 29 batters and walked nine. With his 3.83 ERA and 3.64 SIERA, Parra has slipped under the radar as you can still pick him up in over 99 percent of ESPN leagues. He will start on Monday against Norris and the feeble Houston Astro offense.

Removed from the list

Felipe Paulino: The Astros placed Paulino on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. Only expected to miss two or three starts, Paulino is worth spotting a DL slot if you have one available; otherwise, pick up his teammate Bud Norris who will start for the Astros on Monday as they begin a series in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

Jake Arrieta: Arrieta's ability to control his pitches and miss bats has been overestimated through his first few starts in the Majors. When you are scrounging around the free agent dumpster, high walk rates are to be expected, but it is vital to pair them with strikeouts. Arrieta may yet improve but let someone else gamble with the Danys Baez-esque equivalent strikeout and walk rates.

Still on the list

Randy Wells: Wells has been frustratingly inconsistent in 2010. He may have come down with a case of Cole Hamels-itis, defined as the inability to have BABIP regress. Wells' BABIP is a menacing .361, thankfully mitigating its effect with a solid walk rate. Wells will start on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Give him another shot here if he is available in your league because the Pirates are now the National League's worst offense. Wells is available in over 92 percent of ESPN leagues.

Brandon Morrow: Morrow has harnessed his control very well, walking three or fewer in each of his past five starts.  He has given up one run or fewer in four of those five starts while maintaining his high strikeout rate. After his great start last night against the St. Louis Cardinals, expect Morrow's popularity to continue to increase heavily. This is probably your last chance to pick him up.

Jhoulys Chacin: After a five-walk performance against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, Chacin's ownership rate in ESPN leagues has been nearly cut in half down to four percent. Chacin did not allow a run to the Sox but his lack of control has become a prevalent issue. Still, he supplements it with a well above-average strikeout rate, making his control problems passable. They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Make Chacin and his 3.84 SIERA your treasure.

Kris Medlen: All signs are pointing to the Braves keeping Medlen in the starting rotation and demoting Kenshin Kawakami to the bullpen. Medlen has been a godsend, pitching well while Derek Lowe struggled, Jair Jurrjens was injured, and Tommy Hanson battled inconsistency. Medlen supplements an average strikeout rate with great control, making him ideal for ERA and WHIP. Given strong run support, Medlen will sport a few wins as well. 

Bill Baer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bill's other articles. You can contact Bill by clicking here

10 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

OTSgamer

Would it be a smart move to pick up Justin Masterson and Kenshin Kawakami for one-off starts this weekend?

Also, you mention Tommy Hanson and his inconsistency, based on that would be it be a smart move to deal him if you could give a high-end hitter in return?

Jun 25, 2010 06:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

I've had a love-hate relationship with Justin Masterson this season. For one, I know he's much better than he's shown so far this season but he simply hasn't been able to shake the combination of a high walk rate and a high BABIP. Plus, his strikeouts are down from last year.

Still, Masterson is a lot better than much of what's left out there, so I would take a chance with him if you need an arm. In fact, if you need a longer-term arm, I just can't see Masterson continuing to fall victim to a .351 BABIP.

Masterson is like that cute puppy in the window that you want to take home... but he's not housebroken.

For one start only, Kenshin Kawakami isn't a bad option. Average stuff, average pitcher. Now that I've said this, expect KK to give up 7 ER over 2 IP against the Tigers. :)

Jun 25, 2010 13:00 PM
 
OTSgamer

I've got Scherzer going against him on Saturday, so I picked up Kawakami as a bit of an insurance option. I figure that mixed with his decent strikeout rate out to give me at least a couple of points -- and it will probably be literally a couple. I had three roster moves left to make, and with Paulino going on the DL I had a space to use.

Jun 25, 2010 13:22 PM
rating: 0
 
hessshaun

I had Parra since that 10 K performance, but it's a tremendously deep pitching league.

Anyhow, this quote got me thinking.

Chacin did not allow a run to the Sox but his lack of control has become a prevalent issue. Still, he supplements it with a well above-average strikeout rate, making his control problems passable.

This is more a numbers junkie question. This type of pitcher seems fairly common. Middle of the road guy, lots of K's, control issues. Do you think they are more effective in the K department because a batter is more leery of their control?

Jun 25, 2010 07:01 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

The batter's "leeriness" may have a factor into the pitcher's high K-rate, but I would attribute most of it simply to stuff. These guys -- Paulino, Norris, Morrow -- were all high-strikeout pitchers in the Minor Leagues as well. They throw hard and supplement the fastballs with at least one half-decent off-speed pitch.

I do know, though, that if I were in the batter's box against someone with a 5+ BB/9, I would be a bit scared that the pitcher has no idea where the ball is going and it could end up hitting me in the head.

Jun 25, 2010 12:54 PM
 
Yatchisin
(487)

If you had to go with one of the following fighting-back-from-an-injury pitchers for the rest of 2010 who'd you pick? Brett Anderson, Erik Bedard, Brandon Webb, Edinson Volquez.

Jun 25, 2010 13:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

I'd go with Brett Anderson. Average to slightly above-average strikeout rate teamed with great control and an ability to induce ground balls -- gotta love it. Keep an eye on his rehab starts (for performance, not results) as he is scheduled to come back shortly after the All-Star break.

Jun 25, 2010 13:26 PM
 
friel27

How would you rank the above SP that Yatchisin mentioned?

Jun 28, 2010 20:29 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

Anderson, Bedard, Volquez, Webb.

You can probably do better than Kevin Slowey. The control looks great but he induces way too many fly balls and he is going to absolutely kill your ERA with home runs.

Jun 30, 2010 07:02 AM
 
friel27

also what are your thoughts on Slowey?

Jun 28, 2010 20:41 PM
rating: 0
 
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