August 13, 2010
Hot Spots: Starting Pitchers
Added to the list
Daniel Hudson: In his three starts since joining the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hudson has looked great, striking out 17 with a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings. He always had a penchant for the strikeout, consistently averaging over ten per nine innings in his brief Minor League career. For that, he can thank his low-90's fastball which he partners with a change-up that has a velocity differential of nearly 10 MPH.
Hudson is a must-add in deep mixed leagues. As you can tell with most of the players on this list, the high-strikeout guys usually come with inherent risk such as spotty control (see: Thomas Diamond). However, Hudson has decent control and should not burden himself or your sanity with excessive free passes.
His popularity is likely to trend up quickly given his last three starts so you should grab him while you can (available in 94 percent of ESPN leagues). But you should also be mindful of his match-ups, as his next start will come on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, the National League's top offense. If you can afford to lose out on the counting stats such as strikeouts and wins, consider skipping Hudson's start. Otherwise, take the risk.
Dustin Moseley: Moseley should get at least two more starts as Andy Pettitte is not yet fully recovered from his groin injury. He is not very interesting, but he is an adequate stopgap. You will be lucky if he strikes out five in six and one-third innings of work as he did on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, but he is still a decent add in AL-only and very deep mixed leagues. He will be in line for wins more often than he should given the New York Yankee offense and his control makes him WHIP-friendly. He is available in all but 0.3 percent of ESPN leagues. Presumably, that 0.3 percent is comprised of the hardest core of hardcore Yankees fans.
Removed from the list
Randy Wells: During the second half of 2009, when he was in the running for the National League Rookie of the Year award, Wells struggled. His first half ERA of 2.72 was 60 points lower than his second half ERA and his K/BB ratio was nearly cut in half from 3.1 to 1.8. He did not allow more than four runs in any start from May through July, but allowed five or more in five of 11 second-half starts.
Wells could be showing the same signs of fatigue, although it is a bit hard to distinguish it from bad BABIP and strand luck. He walked three or more batters in four of his first 19 starts (21 percent) but has done so in three of his last five starts. Additionally, his K/9 through June was 7.1 but it has declined to below 6.8 in his eight starts since.
Assess where you stand in your league and how great your need for pitching is to see if Wells is worth the risk. Even if he is fatigued, he can still provide value in the right circumstances. In most leagues, though, you can likely find similar production without as much volatility.
Barry Enright: There is still plenty of room on the Barry Enright bandwagon, as he is taken in only three percent of ESPN leagues. Since being inserted into the D-Back starting rotation, he has tossed 47 and two-thirds innings, striking out 30 (5.7 K/9) and walking 17 (3.2 BB/9) with a 2.67 ERA.
Joe Morgan must love this guy because he has been extremely consistent. In his last five starts, he has gone at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer.
Adulation aside, he is not nearly as good as his ERA indicates. The low strikeout rate means he is allowing more batted balls to be put in play. So far, he has benefited from a .251 BABIP but that is not to be expected going forward. Additionally, he is a fly ball machine (46%). With an average walk rate, those are not inspiring numbers. If you are opting for a member of the D-Backs' rotation, go for Daniel Hudson instead.
Staying on the list
Tom Gorzelanny: Despite following up a four-start win streak with a three-start winless streak, Gorzelanny has arguably pitched better recently. His walk rate is favorable (3.2 vs. 5.7) and his strikeout rate is similar (7.0 to 7.2).
Jhoulys Chacin: Contrary to reports from the Colorado media last week, Chacin was not recalled from the Minor Leagues. It is still an inevitability, however, but the Rockies want to get him at least one more start before they bring him up. Chacin is undoubtedly better than almost all pitchers still available at this point in the season, so consider adding him in any format -- at the very least because he averages more than a strikeout per inning.
He is unowned in 98 percent of ESPN leagues. You can bide your time and get another start elsewhere while you wait for Chacin to be officially recalled but keep him in your periphery.
Thomas Diamond: Diamond followed up his ten-strikeout debut with a three-inning clunker against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have made a habit out of sending opposing starters to the showers early, so it is just a case of Diamond taking one on the chin. If you are in an NL-only or very deep mixed league and none of the aforementioned are available, give Diamond a shot. He is virtually unowned in all ESPN leagues. Be forewarned: his control is the least reliable of anybody on the "Value Picks" list.