May 24, 2012
Starting Pitching for 5/24/12
Last Chance: Time to get on board with these arms before they are snapped up in your league. These entries are becoming less available with each passing start and find themselves on rosters in 30-plus percent of the leagues at two of the three outlets and over 50 percent at one or more of them. We won’t necessarily have options in this field each week.
Look, I understand he is in his mid-30s and came literally out of nowhere last year having not pitched in the majors for four years, but what does Ryan Vogelsong (Yahoo! 54%, ESPN 40%, CBS 67%) have to do to get some love? Yes, his skills are a tick below last year’s level with the walks up more than the strikeouts are down, but he has given up just three runs in four May starts. That’s three total runs, not three apiece. At the very least, he seems like an above average home-only spot starter, but I think there is a case for letting him fly anyway.
In Case You Missed It: These pitchers were profiled in this very space recently, usually within the last week or two. While they have continued to excel, their availability remains high. With six-to-nine names mentioned each week, some can fall through the cracks, so this is an opportunity to highlight someone a second time so you can get the jump on your leaguemates.
I’m a big fan of Anthony Bass (Yahoo! 30%, ESPN 20%, CBS 54%). I did a full breakdown of the Padres hurler Tuesday at my blog with the conclusion being that he is legit—very much so. He has a true strikeout pitch, marked improvement from 2011, and the most favorable home park aiding him in half his starts. Usually Padres pitchers are on the radar specifically because of Petco Park, but Bass isn’t just a home ballpark byproduct. He has real talent that is playing well everywhere.
Widely Available: These arms are sparsely-rostered at most outlets despite possessing the talent and statistics worthy of a spot. Because of the league type each outlet predominantly caters to, you will often see these guys more available at ESPN and Yahoo! than CBS, but roughly 35-45 percent availability at CBS qualifies as widely available. We should have three-to-six arms in this category in a given week.
Do you know what happens when you remove the worst starts in baseball history from A.J. Burnett’s (Yahoo! 17%, ESPN 7%, CBS 42%) line? He goes from a 4.78 ERA to a 2.06 ERA in a heartbeat. His 7.9 K/9 and 3.3 K/BB include the start against St. Louis and stand up on their own. Sure, cherry-picking the best starts (or removing the worst) from a pitcher’s line does skew things, but I’m comfortable doing so for Value Picks because you’ll be plucking him off the wire now. Your team won’t suffer that abomination of a start, and removing an outlier gives a clearer picture of the asset.