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May 31, 2012
Starting Pitchers for 5/31/12
Ross Detwiler (Yahoo! 20%, ESPN 14%, CBS 24%) labored through a trio of iffy starts (8.16 ERA in 14 innings) which either outright cost him his rotation spot or contributed heavily to him losing his rotation spot. Either way, Chien-Ming Wang is in and Detwiler is moving to the bullpen. Don’t completely remove him from your radar, however. There are no guarantees that Wang recaptures his 2006-2007 magic, but for now you can safely cut him in just about all formats.
At the same time, his BABIP and HR/FB rates have skyrocketed, resulting in an ugly 5.46 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. His 3.61 xFIP points to how well things could be going if he weren’t as unlucky this year as he was lucky a year ago. A strikeout per inning arm on the Yankees doesn’t pop up on the waiver wire often, so I would pounce on this likely limited opportunity. Of course, Wednesday’s outing might leave him available a bit longer.
In Case You Missed It
He had his first bump in the road the second time he faced Baltimore this year, but even with five walks he was just an out from netting a baseline quality start. I realize the enhanced pitching age we have been in the last few years leaves some enticing options on the wire seemingly at all times, but I don’t think the pool is deep enough that a guy with a 9.9 K/9 should just be left alone after five strong starts.
Though he has been around seemingly forever, he is still just 26 years old in the midst of his ninth season in professional baseball. He isn’t the flamethrower we thought we were getting back in his early minor league days, but he has really refined his control and command, resulting in a 2.4 BB/9 in his last 195 innings dating back to 2011.
Dillon Gee (Yahoo! 7%, ESPN 4%, CBS 22%) has seen massive improvement in his skills profile this season, including an 8.3 K/9, 3.3 K/BB, and a 55 percent groundball rate in 57 innings, all career bests. Unfortunately, the results haven’t followed; his 4.92 ERA is a career worst while his 1.38 WHIP matches last year’s, which was his career-to-date worst too. The 3.25 xFIP says there is light at the end of the tunnel, but he needs to get better with men on base (67 percent LOB%) and in limiting home runs (1.1 HR/9 and 16 percent HR/FB rate).
Tom Milone (Yahoo! 24%, ESPN 13%, CBS 50%) is a lot different from Paulino and Burnett in that he doesn’t really strike anybody out. Okay, anybody is a bit of an exaggeration—especially when Derek Lowe is the one toting a sub-3.0 K/9—but Milone’s 4.9 K/9 is hardly an asset. The upside is that he doesn’t really walk anybody either; his 2.2 BB/9 helps keep his WHIP nice and low.
He has been knocked around a few times, including during back-to-back outings in Boston and Tampa Bay, but it is pretty impressive that his ERA is just 3.64 having faced those two, Texas on the road, the Yankees, the Tigers, and the Angels (during the latter part of May when they were actually playing quite well). If you can secure your strikeouts elsewhere, Milone is a nice asset to pair with an Edinson Volquez type.
Matusz’s 5.66 ERA in April accentuated how little the spring meant, but after an early May thrashing at the hands of Texas, he has run off four straight quality outings, posting a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings. He has the Royals twice in that stretch, but the other two outings were against Boston and Tampa Bay, so it was hardly a bunch of walkovers. I am still leery, which is why he is relegated to an AL-only recommendation, but there is discernible talent here. The question is whether or not consistency will follow.
He has mid-rotation potential, and while I could see him as a high-6.0s/low-7.0s strikeout arm, that will probably take a few years to materialize, leaving him as modest contributor in the short term, best deployed at home and on the road only in favorable matchups (quick tip: avoid Coors Field and anything St. Louis-related for sure). His walk rate will go a long way toward determining his success. A pitcher who limits free passes can get by with a high-5.0s/low-6.0s strikeout rate.