Let’s first start with results:
Week 1: 1-3, 30 IP, 3.00 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 (Kevin Slowey, Ubaldo Jimenez, Joe Saunders)
Week 2 (incomplete): 1-2, 12.1 IP, 7.30 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 2.0 K/BB (Joe Blanton, James McDonald, Eric Stults)
Total: 2-5, 42.1 IP, 4.25 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 2.2 K/BB
Based on a personal preference due to time I am allotted, I will not update previous week’s results until the next week, so each week will result in a half-week listed as ‘incomplete’, because most of these guys will start tomorrow or the next day. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Last week was pretty disappointing, but could have been worse. James McDonald was absolutely bombed in his outing, but only three of the runs were earned. And that’ll happen in short weeks. Oh well.
I’m confident this week will be better, because these are three really good pitchers rather than trying to make matchups work. Thanks universe! A special thank to Twitter pal @eblack35 for his help pulling Yahoo! ownership numbers this week.
This week’s recs:
Wade Davis – 2.8% ESPN/9% Yahoo! – (@DET, v. CLE)
Davis has gone from low-K starter to high-K reliever to pretty high-K starter all over again in the past three seasons. From the looks of it via PITCHf/x, Davis has scrapped the slider and gone back to a cutter which helped him in his early Rays days. The tactical reasons aren’t entirely clear, as it looks like the slider has been a pretty good pitch for him (.174 wOBA in 790 offerings). To his credit, so far so good with the cutter, which he’s thrown 40 times this year for a .154 wOBA allowed. All this to simply tell you he’s been pretty dang good (2.25-3.58-3.27), if a bit lucky (93.8% strand rate). Still, the BABIP is high, and so is the HR/FB, so this is a big reason his FIPs aren’t completely out of whack.
I don’t care too much about team season stats so far, so I’m not suggesting him on the basis of Detroit and Cleveland being lousy or good offensive ballclubs. I just don’t trust the stats enough, nor do I really care much about one game matchups because they can swing either way. I’ll probably start posted wOBA versus specific handedness starting in May, but even then it doesn’t figure too highly into my decision.
Carlos Villanueva – 10.4% ESPN/17% Yahoo! – (@CIN, @MIA)
I think Villanueva and Marco Estrada were my two favorite pitchers to use in this setup last year. And while they both weren’t stalwarts, both knew how to get the strikeout, and that’s one of the biggest factors I’ll look at in short-term situations like this. Nevertheless, Villanueva’s move to the NL has been sort of weird. In three starts, he’s stranded literally everybody (100% LOB). He’s also getting grounders at a 49.1% rate, which is a good 10% higher than his career mark. He’s also slashed walks, and home runs, but also strikeouts (maybe a 2 mile-per-hour velocity decrease is to blame?). None of which is to say this is substantive through three starts and 21 innings, but it’s all interesting to try process in the scope of a long season to come. Also, he faces Miami this week. Get him in those lineups.
Patrick Corbin – 6.4% ESPN/12% Yahoo! – (@SF, v. COL)
Also known around my apartment as one of the (redacted) guys who kept Randall Delgado out of my Scoresheet rotation — I’m kidding about being too upset — Corbin has rewarded the Diamondbacks’ faithfulness with a pair of wins and a sparking 1.42 ERA. Of course, that’ll come down when his 91.8% strand rate normalizes, but he’s throwing harder and gets a good number of groundballs and strikeouts when he’s going good. He sort of fits into that middle tier of guys who are going to be frequently available, but also quite useful. I think those guys get pretty heavily underrated in leagues, when guys are spending high picks and dollars on a position that quite frankly is too volatile for my taste, at least health-wise. You take your $40 Verlander, but I’ll roll with a few bucks on guys like Corbin, Jon Niese, and Homer Bailey.