Monday’s I will be taking a look at the fantasy baseball game by breaking down players who have produced noteworthy performances. This week it’s all about hot starting batters and pitchers – can they keep it up?
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GAINERS OF THE WEEK
Ryan Dempster (+14, $357K in DailyJoust salary)
Working around an injury, Dempster has taken the hill five times this year with spectacular results: 1.02 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and never allowing more than two runs in a start. He’s also posted a 3.60 K/BB ratio while striking out 36 batters in 35.1 innings. You really can’t pitch much better than he has to this point. The only negative is the anemic offensive support that he has received as he’s failed to win a game, again, despite only allowing more than one run one time (he allowed two runs to the Brewers). Shame on you Cubs.
Christian Friedrich (+77, $228K)
Was recalled to take the spot of Guillermo Moscoso in the Rockies rotation and he had a solid first start allowing two runs, only one earned, over six innings against the Padres. However, the start was against the Padres, and it was at Petco, so that makes profiling the effort difficult. This left hander has had a rough couple of years after once being regarded as one of the better lefty pitching prospects in the game. Last season he went 6-10 with a 5.00 ERA at Double-A, so it would be wise to be very wary of him turning into Lance Lynn anytime soon.
Jimmy Rollins (+11, $72K)
No player on the Phils has struggled worse than Rollins with Howard-Utley out of the mix. Hitting just .230 with one homer the only thing keeping Rollins afloat is his seven steals. For a guy with a putrid .275 OBP his 17 runs scored in 35 games isn’t bad, and it’s not like he’s going to be losing any playing time, but this has still been a painfully slow start to the year. Just a season removed from 16 homers, 30 steals and 87 runs scored, did Rollins get “old” overnight? I’m betting he didn’t.
Yovani Gallardo (+48, $243K)
After that shellacking at the hands of the Cardinals (8 ER in 2.0 IP) Gallardo, as he always does, rebounded in his last two outings to allow a total of five runs while striking out 12 batters in 12 innings. In one of the odder starts to a season of any arm out there, if you remove his two starts against the Cardinals – 14 ERA in 5.2 innings – here are his numbers from his other five starts: 2.45 ERA an a 1.15 WHIP. Just don’t pitch him when he faces the Cards and you would appear to be fine.
Jake Westbrook (+52, $323K)
We’ve seen plenty of pitchers have their career revived while pitching in St. Louis, so maybe Westbrook is the next arm in that line to do so. His 1.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through six starts are special, especially for a guy with carer marks of 4.27 and 1.39. Only once in six starts has he failed to produce a quality start, and he wasn’t awful in that outing allowing four runs. Through 41 innings he has a solid 2.70 K/BB ratio, but it’s one full batter above his career rate, while his 5.93 K/9 mark is also a batter above his carer norm. Pitchers don’t usually post career bests in those numbers in their 12th big league season. Solid but unspectacular, he has nowhere to go but down from here.
LOSERS OF THE WEEK
Homer Bailey (-47, $162)
Blessed with a big arm, Bailey simply cannot form any type of consistency. A run of 4-straight quality starts was broken up by a stinker against the Brewers as he allowed six runs in 3.2 innings. He’s also been taken deep six times in six starts helping to explain his 4.93 ERA. His current K/BB rate of 1.85 points to just how middling a performer he continues to be (over at Fleaflicker he is only owned in seven percent of leagues). It certainly doesn’t seem like his rotation spot is in serious jeopardy, but at some point the Reds are going to need to see some improvement, or at least some consistency.
Asdrubal Cabrera (-19, $96K)
Hitting .315 on the season would be a tremendous accomplishment for a guy who owns a .283 career mark. However, Cabrera was hitting .356 literally a week ago so he’s clearly slumped a wee bit. Asdrubal one one RBI in his last seven games, and he has just three homers and two steals on the season. Where is the guy that went 25/17 last year? He’s just where I said he would be in his Player Profile – he’s gone.
Ross Detwiler (-52, $247K)
Ross has made six starts, has failed to allow more than three runs in an outing, owns a 2.10 ERA an a 1.02 WHIP through 34.1 innings. It’s impossible to find any fault with his efforts so far this year. As I’ve said before he doesn’t have the underlying skills to support this hot start, but he is generating a ground ball rate of 54 percent with 6.55 K’s per nine, so maybe the landing will be a soft one even when the regression comes. So maybe he isn’t going to win the Cy Young award this season but he’s still had a wonderful start to the season.
Dan Haren (-80, $227K)
If his current owner is panicking after he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings in his last start, or because he has a 4.19 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, now is the time to pounce. Haren is sporting a 7.33 K/9 mark, slightly better than last season, and he’s currently walking a mere 1.88 batters per nine innings (career 1.89). He’s also been saddled with a .323 BABIP which might continue, but at the same time he’s never had a mark above .311 for a season and owns a career mark of .290. I’m also pretty confident he won’t end the year with a 22.9 percent line drive rate which would be a career worst. Given time to normalize Haren should do just that.
Ian Kennedy (-36, $229K)
He was never going to match last season, so put that out of your head (see his Player Profile). Still, prior to giving up six runs in his last outing, Kennedy had a 3.23 ERA through six starts showing that’s he’s still darn likely to be a successful arm. Through seven outings Kennedy owns an impressive 3.36 K/BB ratio and his GB/FB, HR/F and line drive rates are all pretty darn similar to last season, so just pass on from the bad outing the last time he took the hill and realize this is still one fine fantasy option.
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By Ray Flowers