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July 30, 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 5 125.0 136 9 4.10 1.39 7.1 2.7 0.6 6.9 2.3 0.8 21 3.91
Brian Duensing LH 4 54.0 45 3 1.83 1.07 5.3 2.2 0.5 5.1 3.3 0.9 2 4.18
Tom Gorzelanny LH 6 86.2 80 4 3.22 1.43 8.7 4.6 0.4 8.1 4.0 0.8 14 4.04
Bud Norris RH 3 80.0 87 8 5.63 1.58 9.6 4.4 0.9 8.9 4.5 1.1 15 3.78
Vance Worley RH 0 1.0 0 0 0.00 0.00 18.0 0.0 0.0 5.4 3.8 1.2 0 -2.67
Barry Enright RH 2 29.2 28 3 2.73 1.28 7.0 3.0 0.9 6.0 3.0 1.5 5 4.14
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

Brian Duensing: The lefty has pitched well in two starts since joining the Minnesota Twins starting rotation, allowing three runs in 12 innings of work. He does not miss bats at a high rate, averaging only 5.3 per nine innings but he has good control, averaging 2.2 free passes per nine. He is not nearly as good as his 1.83 ERA indicates as his .259 BABIP has contributed greatly to an unsustainable 88 percent strand rate. However, he is likely to stay in the rotation for the foreseeable future and is a good option compared to what else is available in most leagues at this point in the season. He should be available as he is taken in just four percent of ESPN leagues.

Removed from the list

Vance Worley: Worley may get a shot at the starting rotation but for now the spot is Kyle Kendrick's. As mentioned last week, Worley is a slightly better option and would provide much more fantasy value than Kendrick. If Kendrick falters, the Phillies are likely to be swift to demote him as it has already happened once this year (in fact, it resulted in the promotion of Worley).

Still on the list

Randy Wells: Wells struggled in his start Wednesday against the Houston Astros, allowing three runs five hits and five walks in five and two-thirds innings of work. Control is typically not a problem for him, so his performance is more likely aberrant than a cause for concern. Wells is quickly gaining popularity, so you do not have much longer to snap him up if he is in your free agent pool. In his last six starts, he has compiled a 1.76 ERA and 7.6 K/9 in 40 and one-third innings.

Tom Gorzelanny: Since returning to the Cubs' rotation on June 30, Gorzelanny is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA and 7.5 K/9 in 28.2 IP. However, Gorzelanny has struggled with control all year but especially recently. He walked six in his July 5 start against the Arizona Diamondbacks and five in his July 18 start against the Philadelphia Phillies. He could be dealt by tomorrow, so keep an eye on the defensive ability of his new team as Gorzelanny's BABIP is already high at .334 with the Cubs' above-average defense.

Bud Norris: Though inconsistent, Norris had a good July, finishing with a 3.73 ERA and 7.2 K/9 in five starts. Thanks to the weak Astros offense, Norris only picked up one win in the month and is not a good candidate to acquire if you are trailing in wins. However, he has shown better control and his BABIP, currently at .360, has been on the decline. Ignoring Vance Worley's ridiculous SIERA in one inning of work, Norris is the best pitcher listed in "Value Picks" but for fantasy purposes is really only valuable for strikeouts and is passable for ERA and WHIP.

Barry Enright: Coming off of a start against the New York Mets in which he struck out eight and walked one in eight innings of work, Enright had a more mediocre start against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. He lasted six innings and allowed just two runs, but struck out only two and walked three. If you pick him up with the expectation of a low-4 ERA, above-average strikeouts, and average control, you should be pleased with the addition of Enright to your fantasy team.

Questions or comments? Leave them below or reach me via Twitter (@CrashburnAlley).

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

Related Content:  Bud Norris,  Tom Gorzelanny,  Brian Duensing

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