Alright, we’ve seen generally positive marks from last week’s bunch so far — 1-1, 2.70 ERA, 7.7 K/9 — so hopefully that can be the semblance of consistency needed to get this thing turned back around. Onto this week’s picks…
Here are the totals halfway through week 18 (with updates from previous listing):
29-46 record (3-2)
4.77 ERA (-0.10)
6.7 K/9 (no change)
2.2 K/BB (no change)
1.42 WHIP (-0.04)
Here’s a look at this week’s recs, with team wRC+ in parentheses. Y! ownership numbers pulled courtesy of twitter pal @PandapPete21, whom you should give a follow:
RHP Nate Karns – 32.7% ESPN/34% Y! – v. MIN (92), v. KC (100)
I specifically love Karns against the Twins at the Trop, because the Twins an MLB-worst 76 wRC+ on the road. The Royals, on the other hand, are pretty solid at 93 — especially since just four teams have wRC+ figures over 100 on the road. In other words, the Royals rank 10th in that respect. My sense is that Karns is on the fringes of being something special. He’s just under a strikeout per inning and with a tweak here or two could bump his groundball rate above league average as well. For now though, he walks too many batters and has a few too many blowups to be a full-time rosterable guy in shallower leagues. Something worth watching is that he’s a considerably worse at home (4.04 ERA, 4.34 FIP) than he is on the road (2.82, 3.63). I don’t think it means a whole lot yet, but it could be reason enough for you to look elsewhere. I still like him better than most.
RHP Nathan Eovaldi – 44.16% ESPN/38% Y! – v. HOU (100), @ATL (85)
With the juggling of C.C. Sabathia last week in the Yankees rotation, Eovaldi was pushed back and will now make two starts this week rather than last. The same deal applies as last week, and that is that I like his chances to steal a couple cheap wins over the week to come. He’s 13-2, and has been pretty good in the second half (3.66 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.29 WHIP).
LHP Danny Duffy – 15.6% ESPN/23% Y! – v. BAL (101), @TBR (97)
Duffy has struggled for much of the season, but he’s at least been decent in seven starts since the All Star break. He’s got a 3.48 ERA and .711 OPS against, but for some reason still just a 20-13 K/BB ratio over those 41.1 innings. It’s always puzzled me that he doesn’t strike out more batters with his excellent stuff, but at this point it’s worth wondering if this is just who he is. He might be a guy who benefits from a move to the bullpen, a la Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar before him. But nevertheless, I still like him a bit more than the guys below this week, since I don’t really envision either of these offenses blowing him up. I could eat my words with Baltimore, because Chris Davis crushes lefties.
Also considered: John Lamb, Matt Cain, Felix Doubront, Robby Ray and Adam Morgan.