It had been assumed that Freddy Garcia would likely be removed from the starting rotation when Andy Pettitte joined the Yankees in a couple weeks. But, as it turns out, the team didn’t even want to wait that long.
Following a 12.51 ERA, 2.20 WHIP and 25 hits allowed in his first 13 2/3 innings of the season, Garcia has been moved to the bullpen, making room for 25-year-old David Phelps in the rotation. Garcia provided the Yankees with a solid 3.64 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over nearly 150 innings last season, but the Yankees weren’t willing to wait on the 35-year-old veteran to turn it around after he stumbled out of the gate.
So what about Phelps? The former 14th-round pick entered the season as the Yanks’ 21st-ranked prospect, according to Baseball America, and instead of beginning the season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s rotation as expected, he forced his way onto the roster with a 2.08 ERA and 14/4 K/BB ratio over 17 1/3 innings in spring training. His success has carried over into great early work out of the bullpen, as he boasts a 3.57 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 14/7 K/BB ratio over 17 2/3 frames.
While Phelps is worthy of being picked up in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues, there are a few reasons why fantasy owners don’t need to go overboard in bidding on him. He’s considered a back-end of the rotation talent without much upside, will likely be moved back to the bullpen once Pettitte is ready, and will be unable to go deep into games initially, thereby hurting his chances of picking up wins. Phil Hughes has hardly set the world on fire, though, so it’s certainly possible Phelps could out-pitch him over the next couple weeks and stick in the rotation.
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Collmenter Out, Corbin In
Josh Collmenter had been on thin ice as a member of the Diamondbacks rotation, and the ice has finally cracked.
Manager Kirk Gibson announced that the 26-year-old has been shifted to the bullpen after posting a 9.82 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in four starts. While Collmenter surprised with a 3.38 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 154 1/3 innings last season, he’s never been a good bet to stick in the rotation over the long haul, as he relies on deception and needed to be pinpoint with his command in order to keep from getting knocked around.
While most fantasy owners understandably wanted Trevor Bauer to take Collmenter’s spot in the rotation, the Snakes decided to go another way and give Patrick Corbin a shot. Corbin impressed in spring training with a 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 20/8 K/BB ratio over 21 innings, and he’s a pretty decent prospect in his own right. Baseball America ranked the 22-year-old as the No. 9 prospect in a well-stocked D’Backs system, and Corbin was off to a fine start at Double-A Mobile, holding a 1.67 ERA and 25/8 strikeout to walk ratio in 27 innings.
Corbin will have to pitch well in order to receive multiple turns in the Arizona rotation, and even if he does hold his own, he’s likely to be booted once Daniel Hudson (shoulder) returns from the disabled list. The former second-round pick is worth a gamble in NL-only leagues right away, though.
Inge Lands in Oakland
Brandon Inge was cut loose last week by the Tigers, an organization that he’s been in since they made him a second-round pick back in 1998. But, it didn’t take him long to find a job, as the A’s have scooped him up.
It’s a great landing spot for the 12-year-veteran, as the A’s have a huge hole at third base and Inge should receive plenty of playing time there right off the bat. He gives the A’s a steady glove at the hot corner, and he can also fill in at second base or behind the plate if needed.
That said, the soon-to-be 35-year-old is batting only .100/.100/.300 this season after a woeful .197/.265/.283 line last year, making him a dicey proposition for those even in AL-only leagues. Even if he can rediscover some of the pop that’s allowed him to slug 140 homers in his career, his fantasy appeal is limited.
National League Quick Hits: We could have a closer shakeup in La La Land soon. Kenley Jansen picked up his second save over the weekend Sunday even though Javy Guerra was supposed to be available after recovering from a foot injury. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn’t officially made the switch to Jansen, but it might only be a matter of time, as he’s clearly outperformed Guerra to this point and is the more dominant reliever … Tim Hudson made his long-awaited debut Sunday, and he pitched well, holding the Pirates to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six over five innings. Feel free to use him in mixed leagues … Wade Miley wants to stick in the Diamondbacks rotation. He’s been lights-out in his first two starts since moving in from the pen, allowing just one unearned run on only three hits over 12 1/3 innings. There’s not much upside, but he’s clearly worthy of a play in NL-only leagues … Giancarlo Stanton finally went deep Sunday, as he hit one over the boards for the first time in 73 plate appearances this season … Vladimir Guerrero will work out for the D’Backs in the Dominican Republic this week. If signed, he’ll be used in a reserve role … Jorge De La Rosa (elbow) will make his first rehab start Wednesday at High-A Modesto. He’ll likely rejoin the Rockies rotation in early June if all goes well … Chris Carpenter’s shoulder is feeling stronger, but he’s not expected back until June, at the earliest. … Tim Lincecum has allowed just one earned run over his last two starts. He’s walked too many in those outings, and his stuff still isn’t all the way back, but if you had been benching him, it’s time to activate the righty.
American League Quick Hits: George Sherrill will undergo Tommy John surgery in early May. He’ll be 36 by the time he’s ready to pitch again and might have trouble finding a job … Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Sunday and is batting just .216/.266/.295 with no homers with one game to play in April … Nick Swisher has been diagnosed with a low-grade left hamstring strain. He’s expected to avoid the DL but will need a few days of rest … Danny Duffy is good to go for Thursday’s start after being skipped over the last time out with elbow soreness. The 23-year-old left-hander has a 3.63 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 20/10 K/BB ratio through 17 1/3 innings this season and remains ownable in all fantasy formats … Tsuyoshi Wada is likely headed for Tommy John surgery before throwing a pitch for the Orioles, but their other Asian import is faring well, as Wei-Yin Chen hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in any of his first four starts. He should be owned in mixed formats … Jake Peavy finished April with a 1.67 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 33/5 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. He’s obviously still a huge health risk, but a big bounce-back year is looking possible. He could wind up being a big trade chip for the White Sox at the deadline … Duane Below, who has yet to allow a run in 12 relief innings this season, will start Monday against the Royals. It could be his lone start, as Doug Fister (abdomen) might be ready to regain his rotation spot soon … Josh Hamilton left Sunday’s game with a stiff back, but it’s not expected to be something that will force him to the DL … Johnny Damon is expected to be added to the Indians’ roster on Tuesday. He’ll function as a part-time left fielder and DH.