The trade deadline is looming. With everyone focused on big names like Roy Oswalt, who are some lesser-known players who could add a significant boost to your fantasy team?
Added to the list
Brian Duensing: The lefty has pitched well in two starts since joining the Minnesota Twins starting rotation, allowing three runs in 12 innings of work. He does not miss bats at a high rate, averaging only 5.3 per nine innings but he has good control, averaging 2.2 free passes per nine. He is not nearly as good as his 1.83 ERA indicates as his .259 BABIP has contributed greatly to an unsustainable 88 percent strand rate. However, he is likely to stay in the rotation for the foreseeable future and is a good option compared to what else is available in most leagues at this point in the season. He should be available as he is taken in just four percent of ESPN leagues.
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The All-Star break is upon us. Most players will be sitting at home relaxing or scheduling golf outings. You, on the other hand, will be scavenging your league's free agent pool for pitchers.
Players added to the list
Marc Rzepczynski: If you cannot find Rzepczynski in your league's free agent pool, you probably spelled his name wrong. Known more casually as "Scrabble" or "Eyechart", Rzepczynski made his season debut on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins. Despite giving up four runs in five and two-thirds innings, he struck out seven and walked only one batter.
Three months of the regular season are through and quality starting pitchers are in short supply. Find out which hidden gems could inject some life into your fantasy team.
Added to the list
Tom Gorzelanny: Gorzelanny recently reclaimed a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation following the Carlos Zambrano debacle. You may recall Gorz was a respected member of the "Value Picks" list thanks to a well above-average strikeout rate (9.2 per nine) and an average walk rate (3.5 per nine) in his nine starts before moving to the bullpen. He held his opponents to three or fewer runs in seven of those nine starts.
Which starting pitchers can bolster your fantasy roster going into the second half of the season?
Added to the list
Bud Norris: Norris will be activated from the disabled list and will make his first start on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers. It is good timing as teammate Felipe Paulino has been placed on the DL. Essentially, the Astros are swapping high-strikeout, high-walk arms though Norris has slightly better swing-and-miss stuff. Norris, as with so many other pitchers who make the "Value Picks" list, was victimized by an unsustainably high BABIP (.400). That, of course, did not partner well with his poor control thus causing him to strand fewer than 60 percent of runners on base. Norris is virtually unknown as he is still available in over 99 percent of ESPN leagues.
Bryan's list of breakout-potential players has a number of names that might not yet be on your radar.
During the minor league season, I always keep a document on my computer desktop with the same words in capital letters: "UNDERRATED PLAYERS." As I spend my summers reading box scores and stat lines, I compile a long list of players, usually on the basis of an impressive hot streak. Basically, I do this in the hope that these players fly under the radar just long enough to make sense in my annual article highlighting potential breakout prospects.