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AL SP to Avoid

It’s about time when you realize you need to make up some wins and strikeouts and start streaming starters, or pick up anyone with a pulse in an Only league. Well, if you have decided on this strategy for your team, then please, avoid these AL starters.

Samuel Deduno

He has the dubious honor of posting the worst SIERA in the AL over the last 30 days, yet has magically kept runs off the board, recording a 3.12 ERA. Amazingly, he has walked two more batters than he has struck out, but a .250 BABIP and a great job stranding base runners has allowed him to maintain an overall ERA of 3.38. Of course, he does have one redeeming quality, and that is a ground ball rate in the mid-50% range. His SwStk% is weak, his F-Strike% below the league average and his fastball velocity is nothing to write home about averaging just 90.6 miles per hour. His minor league track record doesn’t provide much hope as he has struggled with his control his entire career, and his strikeout rates have really bounced around. If you were tempted in any way whatsoever to pick Deduno up based on the shiny ERA, please stop and save yourself from the eventual destruction he will do to your ratios.

Matt Harrison

Seems like he is finally coming back down to Earth, as his ERA over the last 30 days was at 5.00. Unfortunately for owners, his ERA still has a ways to rise, as his SIERA still sits over a run above his ERA. It’s unlikely he continues to strand runners at the rate he has so far, which is easily a career high. In addition, it is hard to believe he could sustain a below league average HR/FB ratio given his home ball park. Granted, he did allow an even lower rate last season, but in a small sample size, it would be unwise to declare that he has a special skill for suppressing the home run ball. Since his strikeout rate stinks, there’s really no floor for his fantasy value, so it’s a roll of the dice every outing with the hope that all those balls in play find gloves and stay in the yard.

Jason Vargas

Yes, he is playable at home. He has posted a 2.63 ERA at SAFECO and that is actually supported by pretty decent skills. He has posted a near league average strikeout rate, while flashing his always excellent control, both of which combine for an xFIP of 3.62. That even has a bit of value in mixed leagues. However, the road is another story. He has posted a 4.25 ERA in away games and all of his skill metrics (K%, BB%, GB%) are worse. His xFIP in away games is an awful 4.90, but a .253 BABIP and nearly 80% LOB% has kept his ERA from looking disastrous. So what we are left with is a pitcher who you literally could only start for half his games, and in those games, he isn’t all that special to begin with. His strikeouts are merely okay and his offense won’t do him any favors to boost his win total. So you have a guy who might earn a couple of bucks of value at best in mixed leagues, with negative value in away games. Is that worth holding a roster spot for? Maybe in AL-Only leagues, but I think absolutely not in mixed leagues.