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Oh those mound mavens vex us. Do we believe in the solid starts of guys like Danks, Richards, McAllister and Mejia? Can bullpen arms like K-Rod, Farnsworth or Lindstrom be counted on for the long haul? And what of this Chris Sale who has once again been relegated to the realm of the less than 100 percent club?
John Danks is finally healthy, and he's been very effective in the early going with a 2.84 ERA and 2-0 record through four starts. Don't get too carried away. He's striking out less than five guys per nine, and have you noticed that he only has one more strikeout (14) than walk (13)? His 88 mph fastball velocity is also a career low, about two mph off his average. He's also been very fortunate with that .244 BABIP. Don't count on a sustained run of success from the lefty.
Kyle Farnsworth is the Mets' closer. Of course he is. Let's get rid of one aging, under-performing reliever (Jose Valverde) and replace him with another. Makes all the sense in the world to me (this is why the Mets are continually a second division club). Farnsworth failed to reach 40 innings each of the last two seasons. He also posted a 4.41 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 7.30 K/9 and 2.21 K/BB the last two years. Those numbers paint him as a below average arm. So let's give him the 9th inning of course. Great work Mets. Personally I'm keeping an eye on Gonzalez Germen since I don't trust Kyle to be effective or healthy (a report from Adam Rubin last night questioned his health).
Matt Lindstrom has two saves and three blown saves. That's not a good ratio, is it? He also has three strikeouts in nine innings. That the type of arm you want in the 9th inning sports fans? At least his ground ball percentage is 55 percent. Lindstrom simply cannot be counted on to hold the role. Nate Jones would be back in the mix if he could ever get healthy (reports suggest his back still isn't close to 100 percent), so for now Daniel Webb would appear to be the best fall back option though it is far from certain what direction that Robin Ventura would go in if he eventually removed Lindstrom from the 9th.
Zach McAllister is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA. Sell high folks. He's a serviceable arm but he's a spot starter in mixed leagues. The strikeouts aren't there, barely 6.6 his last 28 starts, and that hurts his value. He's also been aided thus far by the fact that he's yet to allow a big fly through four starts. That won't continue, not when you note that his career GB/FB ratio is 0.98. Just glance over at the xFIP column. It tells the true story. His current xFIP mark is 4.08 (his SIERA mark is similarly high at 4.17). Sell, sell, sell.
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Jenrry Mejia has looked pretty damn impressive through four starts with a 1.989 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He's also walked more than 5.5 batters per nine though and that has his WHIP above the league average at 1.32. It's pretty hard to think he keeps up this K-rate, and if he doesn't lower the walk rate doom is in the forecast. Still, over his last nine starts we're talking about a K per inning and a 55 percent ground ball rate, and that is highly intriguing. Fifteen team mixed leaguers gotta add the arm. In 12 team leagues you can look to the rest of your staff as a guide, but this might be an arm to take a look at.
Garrett Richards is four starts in with strong results (2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP). He's also got 24 punch outs in 25 innings. Much like Mejia though, walks are a huge concern as Richards is sporting a 5.04 BB/9 mark. Can't have consistent success doing that. Also like Mejia, Richards has been inducing a ton of grounders (he has a 52 percent ground ball rate). No homers in 25 innings and a .217 BABIP mark suggest that his ERA should be about four (SIERA 4.13, xFIP 3.89). A bit safer than Mejia, but it's close.
Tanner Roark has one win, a 3.80 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and a 6.85 K/9 mark. Why did I want to write about him again? Oh yeah. Wanted to warn you not to buy here. Not much to see.
Francisco Rodriguez has eight saves on the year and he's yet to allow a run through 11 outings. Statistically speaking, it's pretty tough to pitch any better than he has been as he owns a 13.09 K/9 mark, 8.00 K/BB ratio, a 0.64 WHIP and 55 percent ground ball rate. No way he keep that pace up, no chance, but with each passing game Jim Henderson sinks further into the abyss. At this point, keeping Henderson around is merely a luxury. If you're in a 10/12 team league toss him.
Chris Sale has been placed on the DL with a flexor muscle strain in his elbow. That's the bad news. The good news is that he does not have any ligament damage to his wing. The hope is that the two weeks rest should be all he needs to get back in shape. As dominant as ever, Sale owners will just have to hope that this initial reports are accurate. Odd timing too after Jeff Passan of Yahoo wrote a report five days ago about Sale had put behind him injury concerns.
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