As promised, here’s a running tabulation of the results we’ve seen so far this season with my recommendations:
We still have two more starts to go — one apiece from Kevin Slowey and Joe Saunders — while Ubaldo Jimenez has been pushed back due to a rainout. That’s probably for the best, as Jimenez allowed seven of the nine earned runs that go into that less-than-ideal 4.71 ERA.
Here’s where I need some input: After Saunders starts on Saturday and Slowey on Sunday, would you all rather I update the above numbers, or roll them into next week’s column? I prefer the former, but hey, I need you all here to keep reading for me to stay/become relevant.
This week I’ve enlisted the help of pal Zach Swanson for some ownership numbers from Yahoo!, so let’s get down to business:
Joe Blanton – 4% Yahoo!/0.2% ESPN – (@MIN, v. DET)
Blanton finally gets that first Target Field start that everyone was eagerly expecting. Well, that is, those like me who were almost positive it would be donning Twinstripes rather than a Halos cap. Nevertheless, the Twins offense has failed to get much going thus far (.303 wOBA is 24th in MLB), and Blanton’s flyballing ways shouldn’t hurt him too badly there. The Tigers aren’t as good of a matchup, as the offense has been red-hot over the past week, hitting .349/.410/.463 (.380 wOBA). But as is the case with a lot of two-start guys, if you love one matchup, you may have to put your neck on the line for the second one. That’ll be the case here.
James McDonald – 32% Yahoo!/16.4% ESPN – (v. STL,v. ATL)
McDonald hasn’t been very good early on (6.8 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 5.61 xFIP), but I’m still a believer in the skill set overall. The biggest issue so far for the right has been the two-seamer, which is getting completely blasted to the tune of a .621 wOBA (career mark of .358 on that offering), and that’s when he can even locate it. McDonald has thrown 46 two-seamers and only 25 have gone for strikes — a microcosm of his season to-date — with a 100% contact rate. So it’s pretty obvious to see what McDonald has to improve upon from his first two starts in order to return to the type of pitcher he was early last season. He’s going to have to improve anyway, because both of these matchups are going to be tough.
Eric Stults – 9% Yahoo!/2.9% ESPN – (@LAD, @SF)
Early returns have been very good on Stults, who has whiffed over a guy an inning while getting a grounder nearly 3/5 of the time. Now neither of those looks particularly repeatable based on his career marks, but we’re also only talking about a guy with 266 career innings pitched, and this is only 10 innings into a season. The biggest difference I see from Stults at the outset is that he’s getting groundballs off the four-seamer at a rate of double what he usually does. The offspeed offerings have always gotten a good number of worm burners for Stults — and this year is no exception — but the fastball development is encouraging, as is the 2:1 rate of strikes to balls on it. This week, Stults gets the NL West meat grinder, and I wouldn’t ordinarily put him up here in that case — and quite frankly, this is a tough week to find tweener options — but I think it’ll go a good way toward proving he’ll be an improved product this season.
Go deep! (deep consideration but won’t be counted in yearly totals)
Roberto Hernandez – 1% Yahoo!/ 0.2% ESPN – (@ BOS, v. OAK)
The artist better known as Fauxto Carmona has pitched better than his 6.08 ERA might indicate. He’s getting healthy whiff (7.4), walk (2.7) and groundball (48.8%) rates with virtually no strand rate to speak of (56.1%). I’m not saying he’s a great choice, but his FIP is 4.03 and his xFIP is 4.17. If he can come close to that, he should at least have *some* ownership potential in deeper leagues.
Print This Post