Starting Pitchers: August 2nd

Big update because of the deadline activity and one noteworthy call up…

Rich Harden | Rangers | 26% owned

After a month long stint on a disabled with a strained glute, the game’s premier three true outcomes pitcher returned Saturday and held the Angels to one run over seven innings of work. Despite that stellar outing, we know what Harden is: he’s basically a five inning pitcher with enough swing-and-missability to strikeout a batter an inning, but he’ll kill you in WHIP and chances are ERA as well. (R) ZiPS sees a 4.29 ERA (4.33 FIP) with a 1.40 WHIP and 9.64 K/9 the rest of the way, but it’s a risky proposition. Texas will win him some games with their offense and bullpen, but start him at your own risk. His next comes at the A’s, which might be worth it, but after that Texas runs through the AL East gauntlet.

Jeremy Hellickson | Rays | 6%

The best pitching prospect in the minors is getting the call today for what the Rays say is a one start cameo; they’re just giving their usual starting five an extra day of rest. Hellickson’s minor league numbers are off the charts (2.72 FIP between Double- and Triple-A) and he’ll be facing a Twins’ lineup without Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau tonight. These one start jobs are always risky, even with great young pitchers, but everything lines up well for a quality start out of Hellickson tonight. Chances are he’ll be back up at some point this season, maybe as a reliever. It’s worth noting that he’s listed as a RP exclusively in Yahoo! leagues, which may or may not hurt your flexibility if you splurge for it.

Dan Hudson | Diamondbacks | 3%

We’ve written quite a bit out Hudson recently, so I’ll keep it short. Basically he’s moving to an easier league and into a park ever so slightly better for his fly ball tendencies, which obviously increases his value. Hudson schooled the Mets in CitiField yesterday (8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K), and his next two starts come at home against the Padres and in Milwaukee.

Edwin Jackson | White Sox | 51%

The guy Hudson was traded for sees his value drop for similar reasons. Jackson’s moving to a tougher league in a more hitter friendly park, so that 6.92 K/9 and 4.02 BB/9 are going to have to improve if he ever plans on being a low-4.00’s ERA guy. Of course that’s been the book on Jackson for years now. His first start as a ChiSox will come Wednesday again one of his many former teams, the Tigers in Detroit. Hard to believe Jackson’s now on his fifth team and is still just 26-years-old.

John Lannan | Nationals | 1%

There’s really not much to discuss as far as Lannan is concerned, we know what he is (4.84 career FIP), but we should talk about the guy he’s replacing, Stephen Strasburg. The Nats understandably took the cautious road when their franchise pitcher had trouble getting loose last Tuesday, eventually placing him on the 15-day DL. He threw on the side over the weekend and felt fine, so hopefully his return won’t be delayed longer than the two weeks plus a day minimum.

For fantasy owners in redraft leagues, we’re reaching the point of the season where trading a guy like Strasburg is good strategy. He’ll soon bump up against his innings limit, and the Nats are going to shut him down at the slightest hint of discomfort, so if you can deal him to upgrade your team elsewhere or land a more reliable starter, then by all means do it.

Ted Lilly | Dodgers | 51%

Lilly got a lot of play before the deadline as a gutsy guy that pitched inside to righties with his 85 mph fastball and all that jazz, but his fantasy value is limited because of moderate strikeout rates and what should be underwhelming ERA’s. Moving from Wrigley to Dodger Stadium will certainly help lessen his 1.46 HR/9 rate this year, and his BABIP (.261) and LOB% (75.7%) luck has been in play for parts of four seasons now. After 700 innings does that luck become a skill? That’s a question for people much smarter than I, but for fantasy value Lilly certainly gets an uptick following the trade. His next two outings came at home against the Padres and Nationals.

Jake Westbrook | Cardinals | 6%

After Mark Buehrle, I’ve always believed that Westbrook was the perfect St. Louis Cardinals pitchers for no reason whatsoever. I guess something about a sinkerballer and Dave Duncan just makes sense. Westbrook’s walk rate has risen following elbow reconstruction, which isn’t surprising since control and command are traditionally the last things to come back. Moving into the NL should improve his peripherals a touch and lower his ERA, possibly into the low-4.00’s, but he’s still not much more than a fifth or sixth fantasy starter. His first start for his new time comes tonight against the punchless Astros.

Ownership rates are based on Yahoo! leagues.

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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Chu Dog
Chu Dog

picked up Hellickson (dropped Tommy Hunter -> after reaping the benefits 6 of his Wins, and eating his last two outings, I think he’s clearly downsloping as teams have figured him out.) If Hellickson is so unhittable/off the charts, isn’t he worth a roster spot based of speculation alone? Why can’t he earn a D-Rays rotation spot for Yahoo! Playoff Time?

(Wainwright, Greinke, Jonathan Sanchez, Beckett, Kevin Slowey, Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, and Hellickson is my SP currently.)