August 16, 2012
Starting Pitching for 8/16/12
Another group of incumbents dominate this week’s Value Picks. There is quite a bit of talent sitting on the wire, especially in standard 10- and 12-team leagues, ready to be plucked for the stretch run.
He looked like the Holland from the second half of 2011 in his latest outing against Detroit, however, during which he outdueled that Verlander guy while allowing just a single run in 7 2/3 on three hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. Home runs were a big issue heading into that start; he had allowed two, two, three, and two in the previous four starts. His lone run against the Tigers was a solo shot in the first inning to Austin Jackson, but he settled down and got a lot better with his command in the zone the rest of the way.
A four-time VPer, Jeff Samardzija (Yahoo! 49%, ESPN 53%, CBS 84%) is definitely one of the more popular pitchers on the cusp between ownership and the waiver wire in shallow leagues. You can see that CBS leaguers have bought in, though those are generally deeper and single leagues. The more standard 10-to-12-team mixed formats that you find at Yahoo! and ESPN are still split on The Shark. It is probably the fact that he still has a 4.06 ERA on the season, but that is because an ugly June pushed it up to 5.05. Fear not; he has been chiseling away ever since.
In fact, Samardzija has allowed more than three runs just once in eight starts since June 27 while posting a 2.41 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, and 3.1 K/BB in 52 1/3 innings of work. The bookends of this stretch are near-equal seven-inning, one-run outings during which he allowed four hits and struck out 11 in each. The only difference is that he walked one in the first back in July and three on Monday against Houston.
Like Samardzija, Alex Cobb’s (Yahoo! 17%, ESPN 28%, CBS 47%) 4.08 season ERA is likely keeping fantasy managers away as they scour the waiver wire. He hasn’t quite put together a stretch like Samardzija’s, but he is in the midst of an impressive four-start streak during which he has gone seven strong innings in each. He gave up three runs in the first of the four but only one in each of the most recent three. He has displayed pinpoint control en route to his 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, and 7.0 K/BB (thanks to a 0.96 BB/9) in 28 innings. Tampa Bay is clicking on all cylinders right now, and Cobb is definitely a major asset to their surge.
Those who aren’t tuned in to the minor league landscape might not realize that Rogers is a two-time top prospect from 2005 and 2006 who has battled through countless injuries and consecutive missed seasons in 2007 and 2008 to get to this point. And the fact that he’s even in the majors pitching is an upset, let alone that he has maintained elite velocity. Being a great story won’t earn you any fantasy points, and his minor league numbers aren’t nearly impressive as his MLB peripherals are, but this guy has talent to go with the story and deserves a look, especially if you need strikeouts.