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AL SP Notes

It’s that day of the week when it’s time to get caught up with all the happenings among American League starting pitchers.

Gavin Floyd

Floyd is not healthy. After missing a little over two weeks with elbow tightness in mid-July, he has walked 21 batters in 33.1 innings since returning from the disabled list. That’s a walk rate of 5.7. Before missing time, he had posted a walk rate of just 2.7, very much in line with what he’s done every season since 2007. Hmmm, it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together. We know that elbow injuries affect a pitcher’s control, so it would be surprising if this was just a coincidence.

Oddly, just by eyeballing his starts since returning (being unable to actually calculate it), his F-Strike% seems to have been fine, so throwing first pitch strikes hasn’t been the problem. He has been added and dropped multiple times in my 12-team mixed league, making him a standard stream option. However, I think he’s even too risky to play the matchups and two-start weeks as I seriously question the health of his elbow at the moment.

Josh Beckett

Over the last 14 days, Beckett has posted the third worst SIERA among AL starters with a 5.39 mark. Earlier in the season, it seemed to me that he was still pitching pretty well, but just not getting the results. In other words, he was underperforming his expected ERA metrics. Suddenly, he isn’t even posting good skills any more and is actually deserving of his poor results. We still have not heard an explanation for the drop in his average fastball velocity. He has dealt with back issues during the season so that could very well be the culprit. Unfortunately, back issues tend to linger and you can’t assume they will suddenly disappear, which may allow Beckett to rediscover his fastball. I have always been a fan of his, but the skills degradation, backed by the velocity loss, means that he’s quickly becoming only a matchup play in 12-team mixed leagues, if you hadn’t already made that decision weeks (or months!) ago.

Brett Anderson

Anderson finally made his return from Tommy John surgery on Tuesday against the Twins and boy was it a sparkling one. He was in vintage form, inducing 13 ground balls, 3 line drives and no (ZERO!) fly balls. He induced a healthy percentage of swinging strikes and an above average number of first pitch strikes. Even better is that his velocity was right where it sat last year before the injury. Of course, that isn’t the best news, as in 2011 he experienced a velocity drop of over a mile per hour, so it would have been cool if he rebounded. However, there’s a good chance that velocity will slowly creep up as he regains his arm strength and gets further away from the surgery.

I have been a big fan of Anderson over the years, as his combination of average strikeout ability, excellent control and an elite ground ball rate is rare. Non-owners like me should be rooting for a continuance of good skills, but with bad results, for the rest of the year and he would cement his status as a super sleeper heading into next season’s drafts (of course, that is until every website/mag piles on the hype and he then becomes merely fairly valued).