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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

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