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Starting Pitchers: July 26th

The latest on various rotation spots from around the league…

J.A. Happ | Phillies | 35% owned

Jamie Moyer hit the disabled list with an elbow injury that may or may not be the end his long career, and taking his place in the rotation is last year’s NL RoY runner up. Of course, Happ benefited from a tremendous amount of luck last season (.270 BABIP, 85.2% LOB%, 4.33 FIP, 2.93 ERA) and is unlikely to repeat that performance going forward. (R) ZiPS predicts an ERA close to five (4.80, to be exact) and a surprisingly high 7.00 K/9, but I’d probably push on the ERA and take the under on the strikeouts the rest of the way. Happ starts at the Nationals on Friday, then at the Marlins next week.

Joe Saunders | Diamondbacks | 11%

We don’t need to talk much about the Dan Haren side of yesterday’s blockbuster, he’s an always start guy, but the Diamondbacks got a new starting pitcher in the deal as well. Saunders has pretty much established himself as ~4.8 K/9, mid-4.00’s ERA guy over the last three years, save for his 2008 season that featured a .267 BABIP and 75.7% LOB% (3.41 ERA). Switching to the lesser league will certainly help his overall numbers, but remember that he’s going to the D-Backs. The bullpen will probably blow a bunch of his leads, let a bunch of his inherited runners score, and generally just ruin some of Saunders’ perfectly good work. Mediocre starters on bad teams simply don’t have much fantasy value, though Saunders seems to have retained some name value. He’ll make his Arizona debut in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Ross Detwiler | Nationals | 0%

The sixth overall pick in the 2007 draft returned to the big leagues over the weekend after having surgery to repair his labrum in hip, though he got rocked to the tune of five runs (zero earned!) in 3.2 IP against the Brewers yesterday. I’m a fan because he’s consistently shown a strikeout rate above 8.0 K/9 with a groundball rate around 50% throughout his minor league career. Of course this isn’t the minor leaguers, and Detwiler is still subject to the unpredictable ups and downs associated with 24-year-old pitchers. He makes for a fine matchup sixth or seventh starter in NL only or deep mixed leagues, but not much more than that. He’ll start at home against the Phillies this weekend, then at the D-Backs next week.

Quick Notes: Josh Tomlin is making his big league for the Indians against the Yankees tomorrow, taking the place of the injured Aaron Laffey. Tomlin’s a control artist (1.9 BB/9 in his minor league career) and the Yanks tend to struggle against pitchers they’ve never seen before, but I wouldn’t risk it … Dustin Moseley has replaced Sergio Mitre as Andy Pettitte‘s fill in, and will start at the Indians on Thursday.

Ownership rates are based on Yahoo! leagues.