Now that we’re all back from our All Star respite, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled two-start business. This week features a veteran righty and a pair of young guns with a couple of sleepers mixed in.
Bronson Arroyo (5.9 percent ESPN, 10 percent Yahoo!) – v. ARI (.314), v. MIL (.317)
After a one-year blip on the radar screen, Arroyo’s back to his old high-3.00/low-4.00 ERA tricks with peripherals right in line with his career marks. History probably won’t look all that kindly on Arroyo — or any other 40 homer pitcher not named Bert Blyleven for that matter — but he’s been a durable, consistent pitcher for better than a decade. This week, he gets a couple of average offenses at home, though he’s been virtually the same pitcher ERA-wise home (3.71) or away (3.74). Arroyo has however allowed a higher wOBA at home (.336), so that is something to monitor, especially with both of these clubs in the upper half on the ISO v. RHP leaderboard.
Alex Cobb (1.3 percent ESPN, 5 percent Yahoo!) – v. CLE (.335), v. SEA (.288)
It’s a tale of two matchups for the young Cobb, as he gets a very strong Indians offense versus righties before winding down the week with the Seafarers, who have the absolute worst offense in the same regard. A couple of things to watch regarding Cobb include his velocity and strikeouts. Thus far in 2012, in his limited big league duty, Cobb’s fastball velocity has been down (91.3 → 89.8) while his secondary offerings have remained basically stagnant. This likely means that his identical 6.32 K/9 mark this year from last is unlikely to reach the epic proportions it did while he was in the minors (frequently a whiff a frame). He has however kept the free pass in check, rolled a ton of worm burners (61.7 percent), and has used those two attributes for a solid 4.89-3.40-3.56 ERA/FIP/xFIP split, suggesting better days are yet to come. If he finds those strikeouts, he could be an ace in the hold for Friedman, Maddon, and company.
Zach McAllister (4.3 percent ESPN, 4 percent Yahoo!) – @TB (.306), v. BAL (.299)
McAllister has shuttled between Columbus and Cleveland a couple times this year, but has been on point with his hurling no matter the locale. His 7.4 K/9 at Columbus has swelled to 8.7 in the major leagues, and while that’s not likely to stay that way, there are some reasons for optimism. For one, his strand rate is extraordinarily low (59.9 percent), and his BABIP is a bit high (.313), but these are reflected in his splits (3.40-3.06-3.80), which are sparkling across the board. McAllister brings a good heater just under 92 mph, and has so far displayed good command with it (5.5 percent walk rate), so it’s not entirely surprising to see that he’s a 1.1 win pitcher despite only making seven starts. Pick him up this week as he gets two weak offenses, and thank me later.
Worth a Look:
Miguel Gonzalez (0.1 percent ESPN, 1 percent Yahoo!) – @MIN (.304), @CLE (.335)
Gonzalez is a fascinating story. At 23, he had a decent, if uninspiring season in the Angels system at Double-A Arkansas. Then, injuries hit, and he wasn’t seen again until his age-26 season back in High-A Salem (BOS), back again to his old sub-6.0 K/9 tricks before spending 2011 re-inventing himself as a high strikeout guy. The Orioles picked him up in the offseason, and he’s been a man ablaze so far this year, cutting down International League batters at a 10.7 K/9 clip while only walking a pair per nine. Obviously the 1.61 ERA and 0.72 WHIP will remain back in Norfolk, but could we be seeing the surging of a 28-year-old rookie? Maybe, or maybe not, but it’d sure make for a fun story.
J.A. Happ (1.3 percent ESPN, 6 percent Yahoo!) – @SD (.280), @ARI (.345)
He’s striking guys out (21.7 percent), and walking fewer than usual (8.8 percent), yet is still basically unowned in leagues due to a 5.14 ERA and support from a better-than-most-think Astros offense. His strand rate is low, his HR/FB is high, and he’s getting ground balls at an excellent 46.2 percent rate (nearly 10 points over his career mark). That makes for a much better 4.60-3.98 FIP/xFIP split, which portrays a much more capable pitcher. Guess the Phillies should of (sic) kept him.
Zach Britton (0.2 percent ESPN, 1 percent Yahoo!) – @MIN (.339), @CLE (.293)
The 24-year-old is slated to make his season debut in Minneapolis as he’s activated from the disabled list following a rehab stint. Britton may not marvel right out of the gate, but he merits watching as someone almost completely unowned due to injury over the first half of the season despite former top prospect billing.