Pitching is the name of the game, and you can never have too much of it. I thought I'd go around the league and take a look at a handful of pitchers that toed the rubber Wednesday night. Here are my thoughts.
Kyle Drabek: 3-4, 4.69 ERA, 45 Ks, 1.69 WHIP in 63.1 IP The kid hit rock bottom Wednesday as he allowed four runs while getting only two outs. At this point it's hard to trust him in an AL-only league, let alone a mixed league setup. The primary culprit has been a complete inability to throw the ball over the plate. Over his last 10 starts he's walked less than three guys only one time, and six times he's walked at least four batters. On the year his BB/9 rate is a ghastly 6.40. My goodness, he has two more walks than strikeouts on the campaign. The guy still has a bright future, but your a certified masochist if you're continuing to roll him out there each start.
Daniel Hudson: 6-5, 4.22 ERA, 67 Ks, 1.30 WHIP in 79 IP Hudson has won his last three decisions, and six of his last seven for the surging D'backs. Hudson has also thrown at least six innings each of the last eight times he's taken the hill, and six of those outings have been “quality.” Unfortunately he has been beaten around his last two outings allowing nine earned runs in 13 innings. On the plus side he allowed only a single walk in those two outings. On the year he has a solid 7.63 K/9 mark, and his 3.53 K/BB ratio also portends a lot of success when his BABIP mark recedes (it's currently .338). See if you can use his poor last two outings to snatch him away from his current owner.
Colby Lewis: 5-5, 3.48 ERA, 55 Ks, 1.15 WHIP in 75 IP Three weeks ago in Buy or Sell – AL Version, I suggested buying Lewis. Since that time he has posted a 1.82 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 3.43 K/BB ratio in four starts, so after a rough start to the year Lewis has totally turned things around. He isn't walking anyone, he's only issued 10 walks in his last seven starts, and he has thrown a “quality” start up in six of his last seven outings. Moreover, dating back to the start of last season when he returned to the States from a stay in Japan, Lewis has thrown 276 innings posting a 1.18 WHIP, the 22nd best mark in baseball for a pitcher who has tossed at least 200-innings in that time.
Brett Myers: 2-4, 4.82 ERA, 53 Ks, 1.47 WHIP in 74.2 IP Myers had a magical season last year. Not so much this year. His trademark consistency from last year has pretty much vanished. Oh he's throwing his innings, at least six in all but two of his 11 starts (the other two times he fell an out short), but there has been no consistency in his performance. Well that might not be fair either. He's been consistently below average of late allowing at least four earned runs in six of his last eight outings. It's the same old story with Myers as the culprit has been the long ball. His current mark of 1.81 is preposterously high, more than double his 0.80 mark from last season and more than half a homer more than his career rate (1.29). You have to think the homer total will regress moving forward, but even so his xFIP which normalizes for homers is just 4.24. Be wary.
Brian Matusz: 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 3 Ks, 0.71 WHIP in 5.2 IP Matusz made his long awaited 2011 debut Wednesday night after being sidelined the first two months of the year because of an intercostal strain. Everyone is jazzed about the young lefty after his impressive second half last year that included a 7-3 record, 3.63 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over his last 14 starts. He could certainly replicate those numbers this season, but remember he is coming off injury, is young, and pitches in a wicked tough division – the AL East.
Javier Vazquez: 3-4, 6.02 ERA, 35 Ks, 1.54 WHIP in 58.1 IP Vazquez has been awful for most of the season. However, he seems to have somewhat turned the corner. On May 15th, in his darkest hour, Vazquez owned a 7.55 ERA and seemed destined to lose his starting role with the Marlins. Since that time he's made three starts, lasted at least six innings each time out, and posted an ERA of 2.84 with a WHIP of 0.79. Moreover, he's whiffed 15 while issuing only three free passes. Problem solved eh? It's far too early to say that, but given his track record of success, and we're talking about more than a decades worth, perhaps this wily veteran should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his recent work – maybe he has it in him to once again be a useful pitcher.
And one rookie who didn't pitch Wednesday...
Jordan Lyles: 0-0, 2.57 ERA, 4 Ks, 0.71 WHIP in seven IP The Astros top pitching prospect and #42 overall prospect according to Baseball America, Jordan had a strong first outing, a great effort actually for a guy who can't even legally pull back on a bottle of Captain Morgan (and who doesn't want to do that on a daily basis?). At the same time, it would be wise to keep expectations in check. Lyles is only 20 years old and has only 16 games of experience at Triple-A where he posted a 3.97 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. He knows how to pitch, and likely will have a long and successful career, but Lyles just doesn't profile as a top of the rotation fantasy arm.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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