Disclaimer: Apologies for the truncated, late post this week. I’m presently vacationing in rural northern Minnesota, where I’m playing in a baseball reunion with former big leaguer Kerry Taylor.
Here are this week’s recommendations:
Felix Doubront – 16.5% ESPN – v. TBR (.329 team wOBA), v. ARI (.311)
Doubront is presently working on a 13 game stretch — dating to mid-May — in which he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start. In that time frame, he carries an impressive 2.71 ERA, 7.7 K/9, and perhaps most importantly, 2.1 K/BB rate.
In that stretch, Doubront has faced Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Seattle (who have hit well in July), and the Halos. In other words, he’s not stumping total schlubs.
Jake Westbrook – 20.3% ESPN – @PIT (.306), @CIN (.319)
Anyone who read this column last year saw numerous recommendations of this venerable right-hander. Well, Westbrook is back to doing Jake Westbrook stuff — for the most part. He’s still getting an insane number of worm burners — 59.6% — which has helped him keep the ball in the yard at half of what was already insane career rate (0.31 –> 0.75).
But the strikeouts have tumbled further for Westbrook, down to 3.4 per 9 innings. In fact, he has one fewer strikeout than he has walks, and that doesn’t bode well. As a result, his pitching slash is 2.95/4.02/4.59. I remain convinced he can outpitch his peripherals — but not by a whole lot. This week, he gets a couple of nice inter-divisional matchups, so let’s hope he can stave off regression until mid-August.
Brandon Beachy – 41.6% ESPN – v. COL (.323), @PHI (.308)
Beachy will make his season debut on Monday versus the Rockies. And while the Rockies aren’t a great matchup, the Phillies matchup on the back end will hopefully help easy Beachy back into it.
Beachy last pitched for the Braves on June 16, 2012, but to this point in his career has been stellar. And while it’s extremely risky to recommend a guy off a year-plus injury, it’s also almost never that Beachy would be recommendable under these guidelines (under 50% ownership).
Beachy’s rehab was a bit bumpy. He made nine starts, with the strikeouts slowly creeping up as he went from Rome (A-ball) to Mississippi (Double-A) to Gwinnett (Triple-A). However, the walks also piped up as Beachy’s last seven starts resulted in a walk rate of 5.4 per 9.
So while Beachy may not be ready, the Braves sort of have to go to him in the wake of Hudson’s injury. And in a sense I feel like I should also go to him, as pitchers like this don’t come around these parts too often.
Check back next week as I’ll get fully updated results are we race through August and down the stretch.
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