June 28, 2012
Starting Pitchers for 6/28/12
I’m sorry if you cut someone of value to get the jump on Felipe Paulino last week. The news of his setback came out after I recommended him. He finally starts putting together a breakout season, and now he can’t stay on the field. I hope he doesn’t suffer Brandon McCarthy syndrome, another favorite of mine who has had health issues keeping him from great seasons.
He isn’t just getting fat on tomato cans either. This seven-start stretch includes a trip to Coors Field during which he threw seven shutout innings and a game against the Texas Rangers in which he spun eight shutout (and seven no-hit) innings. No pitcher is getting out of Coors alive these days, and the Rangers fielded their A-team, making these two extremely impressive feats on the rookie’s ledger. Parker has earned some trust, even in 10-team mixed leagues where talent is more plentiful on the waiver wire.
I wouldn’t be doing my job very well if I didn’t at least alert you to his stretch of success and then allow you to make your decision on him. I will point out that his foes during the run have been Oakland (before they became the ’27 Yankees), Kansas City, both Chicagos, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. The White Sox and Brewers are the best of that bunch, and neither are much better than league average.
I will also point out that Liriano had a similar stretch last year, starting with his no-hitter and lasting seven starts, during which he had a 2.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, and 2.1 K/BB in 45 innings before the bottom inexplicably fell out. He then stabilized for a spell before the bottom fell out again. Rinse and repeat. If you think you can time the jump off point properly, then by all means. Otherwise, you have a well-mapped-out history of what you’re getting into with him.
Gavin Floyd (Yahoo! 28%, ESPN 47%, CBS 55%) might be the right-handed version of Liriano this year. But while he doesn’t have same great highs we’ve seen in Liriano’s career, he doesn’t have the gut-wrenching lows either. After a slow start where Floyd sandwiched a strong outing with two big-time clunkers, he got on a real run with four quality starts during which he never allowed more than two earned runs en route to a 1.26 ERA in 28.7 innings.
From there, he went on an unthinkably bad six-start run of awfulness that left everyone completely baffled, especially since it included matchups against Minnesota, Seattle, Houston, and Cleveland. He had a 10.38 ERA in 30 1/3 innings of season-killing work. He appears to have righted the ship a bit with back-to-back excellent outings, but since they were against the Cubs and Twins, it is hard to dive back in headfirst.
Let’s dip our toe back into the Floyd pool to see if he is really ready to curb the home run woes that plagued him during that horrid stretch. I’d pick him up and reserve him for now, that way if he is back on track and ready to post results commensurate with his sharp 8.5 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB rates, you don’t have to worry about being too late with the waiver claim.
He may be in the midst of turning the proverbial corner, though. He had strung together a trio of quality starts that also happen to be his three longest outings of the season. During the stretch, he has 1.13 ERA in 24 innings, powered by a shutout against Tampa Bay and 7 2/3 shutout innings in Houston the outing before that one. He started the run by surviving a pair of home runs (both solo shots) in 7 1/3 innings against Milwaukee, during which he allowed three runs on six hits and just one walk. The skills and talent are there; it’s now time for him to prove at age 28 that the maturity and consistency are too.
His boom (two complete games, one of which was a shutout) or bust (back-to-back 4 1/3-inning, seven-run outings in late May) potential likely plays better in a head-to-head league, but there is potential for a big run if he can maintain his K/BB ratio and become just a bit less hittable (10.0 H/9).