ottoneu Hot Right Now: Braves Starting Pitchers

The two most auctioned players in all of the ottoneuverse (ottoneuniverse?) right now are one-third of the Braves short-term six-man rotation: Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen. Neither of these are new names – both have been relevant, irrelevant, and relevant again in the fantasy world. Both recently underwent some change that impacted their current relevance status.

But for pitching starved ottoneu players, the question at hand is, even though the Braves won’t both these guys in their rotation, do I want either?

Maholm’s recent change was a change in address, from the Friendly Confines in Chicago to Atlanta’s Turner Field. Less than two weeks ago, Dan Wade took a look at Maholm’s platoon splits and the changing venue and suggested that fantasy owners might want to jump ship before the S.S. Maholm starts to take on water. But ottoneu owners, a rebellious group if there ever was one, ignored this sage advice and started more auctions for Maholm this week than any other player.

And who can blame them? Two starts for the Braves, 16 IP, 13 K, 2 BB, and just 3 ER? What’s not to like?

Well, 2 HR allowed in 16 innings is a start. The fact that 13 K and 2 BB are probably more a result of a tiny sample size rather than any change in team, is another. A 97.6 LOB% for a third. Not to mention the fact that Maholm’s sub-4.00 ERA was not exactly supported by his FIP (4.14) in Chicago.

Maholm isn’t bad, by any means, and was a nice addition for the Braves. But he is not much of a fantasy asset, either. With ottoneu’s 40-man rosters, I have no problem with an owner who wants to stash Maholm and use him in the right situations (@SD, against HOU, etc.) but don’t pick him up thinking you have a game changer. And Wade’s article is spot on, in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t drop much of value to make room for Maholm.

Medlen, however, is another story. His change was not from one team to another but from a bullpen role to the rotation. And, actually, after that…his story is basically the same.

The not-yet-27-year-old has been relatively impressive in his Major League career, with a 3.40 career ERA (split between the pen and the rotation) that is practically matched by a 3.33 FIP. As a starter, the FIP jumps to 4.00, not far from what Maholm has put up this year. Like Maholm, he doesn’t post impressive strike out numbers, Like Maholm, his few starts as a Brave in 2012 have been quite good on the surface, but he is stranding far more runners than he can continue to strand (90.4%) and is flashing an unsustainable (for him) K-rate.

And like Maholm, ottoneu owners can’t get enough. So, like Maholm, I am going to recommend you bid with caution. Medlen is a serviceable rotation piece, a guy who can be used to help out a fantasy team, but not a guy who will carry you to the top of the mountain. I’d bid cautiously, not drop a significant asset to make room, and use caution in how I deploy Medlen.

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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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Picked up Maholm, not ottonue, and have been pleased both with his first two starts and the Braves upcoming schedule (though I may sit him at home against the Pads who are far more dangerous on the road than they tend to get credit for). I think he’ll be plenty useful down the stretch, though I agree you don’t want to have to rely on him, he’s a fair value for the Braves but an average fantasy asset at best with a good run behind him and probably a few more good starts to look forward to, but be willing to cut bait.