Daily Linkage – 5/15/2009

Wandy Rodriguez fanned 11 batters over seven innings Thursday afternoon to help his Astros defeat the Rockies. It was his second straight dominant start and helped push his record to 4-2. He’s now rocking a 1.90 ERA, an 8.31 K/9, a 2.36 FIP and a 1.00 WHIP. Let’s dive in and get better acquainted.

The fellas over at Razball.com were gushing over Wandy this spring. “Last year, Rodriguez put up a very solid ERA of 3.54. But, as some of us may know, you can put the value of ERA by itself as a predictor of future performance in one hand and crap in the other hand and tell me which one is heavier. Better still Wandy’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was 3.62, which was actually better than (Roy) Oswalt’s. … Another great sign, Wandy’s K/9 ratios keep going up every year. Last year, those rates were 8.58. Also, he finally got his BB/9 below 3.”

He had very nice numbers last season, there’s no doubting that, but he’s done even better so far in the ’09 campaign. Aaron Gleeman, writing for NBCSports.com’s “Circling the Bases,” had a glowing review of today’s subject on Friday morning. “Rodriguez has missed more and more bats every season, going from 14.3 percent as a rookie in 2005 to 24.1 percent so far this year. The major-league average is usually around 17-18 percent, so Rodriguez has gone from being 20 percent below average to 40 percent above average. … And he’s racked up those strikeouts without hurting his control, as his walk rate has remained steady at 7-8 percent following some initial improvement.”

When you think “ace,” and you think of the Astros in the last five years, Oswalt is the first face that springs to mind. Those days might be over. Matt Snyder of Fanhouse has more: “I strongly believe he will be a must-start option for the balance of 2009. Obviously he’s not maintaining a 1.90 ERA all season. He’s not Pedro Martinez circa 2000. He is, however, a strikeout pitcher who hasn’t been the beneficiary of a ton of “luck” (his allowed BABIP is .271, which will normalize a bit but not much) and has shown the ability to stymie solid offensive teams (quality starts against the Dodgers, Cubs and Cardinals thus far). The fact that he’s left-handed and has always thrown well in the bandbox that is Minute Maid Park bode well for his prospects moving forward as well.”

On to the links…

Tim Dierkes of RotoAuthority runs down some of the more popular waiver adds of the week from his own personal fantasy leagues.

Anthony A. Perri of InsiderBaseball takes a look at this season’s Under/Over Performing Pitchers.

Check out Christoper Harris of ESPN.com‘s “The Big Rotowski” column, where he names “ten players I like more than the flock does.” B.J. Ryan surprisingly tops the list, even though he’s been stripped of any closing duties.

If you come across, or produce, something interesting and fantasy-related that you’d like others to see, drop me an e-mail or hit me up on Twitter. You can also follow your favorite team from night to night with FanGraphs’ new live Twitter feeds. It’s all very exciting.

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