Andy Pettitte’s bad break highlights this week’s edition.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to make sure you all know to tune into Colton and the Wolfman Tuesdays from 8-11pm eastern on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). Don’t miss it.
Ok, now back to business . . . .
Andy Pettitte: In what was both a figurative and literal bad break, Andy Pettitte will miss two months with a left leg fracture. Simply put, Pettitte has been great since returning to the show (3.22 ERA and 59/13 K/BB ratio). The fantasy implications are many. First, Pettitte will likely return around Labor Day. For those of you who think he will not be able to return and be effective, think David Cone in 1996 (he was great that season, culminating with a must win gem over Tom Glavine in game three of the World Series with his team down 2-0). Second, the Yankees will start by giving the ball to Adam Warren and Freddy Garcia. Both should be avoided in all but the deepest of deep leagues. Third, with such weak starters and such huge bats, the opportunities for vulture wins in the Yankee pen are substantial (Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and even Cody Eppley have just gone up in value). Finally, the chance that a top flight NL hurler ends up in the AL in the Bronx (Dempster, Garza, etc.) is substantial, so those in AL-only leagues should save some FAAB dollars.
Fernando Rodney: It appears that Fernando Rodney will keep the closer role even when Kyle Farnsworth returns from the DL. Frankly, given Rodney’s success this is not a huge surprise (1.07 ERA and 21/22 in save chances). That said, neither pitcher has a long history of consistency in the closer role. If you can sell high on Rodney, do it. After all, this is a guy who has not had an ERA under 4.00 since 2006 (yes, you read that correctly). Farnsworth, on the other hand, has been a closer in waiting forever, and only had one good year in the role, and that was at the age of 35. Bottom line -- if you have them both, trade them both now while you still can.
Jim Thome: Jim Thome will now be the prime DH in Baltimore after being traded from the Phillies to the O’s. Yes, Thome is 41 but there is opportunity with the injuries to Nolan Reimold, Endy Chavez, Nick Markakis and Nick Johnson and those short fences are sure inviting. Bottom line here -- if you need power in an AL only league, it just arrived on the free agent wire. The casualty of this is Xavier Avery whose second big league stint lasted just a couple of days. Look for him to be back in September and provide some key roto steals down the stretch.
Jeremy Hellickson: Jeremy Hellickson came off the shelf and got the ball Saturday. Thus far this year, Jeremy has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP with a marginal K rate. This is exactly what Hellickson is at this state of his career -- decent ratios and mediocre K’s. Expect more of the same.
Ruben Tejada: Ruben Tejada was on fire Friday, going 4-5 with a RBI. With a .318 average through Friday Tejada has been a very pleasant surprise and is helping Met fans get over Jose Reyes. In fact, Reyes is hitting a full 50 points lower. Ok, reality check -- Tejada will never be the fantasy player that Reyes is because Tejada has no power or SB speed. However, in NL-only leagues, Tejada is undervalued because of the inevitable comparisons to Reyes. Buy Tejada now while you can if you are one of those NL-only players.
Matt Harrison: Matt Harrison just keeps on keeping on. Friday, Harrison won his eleventh in a row allowing the A’s just two runs over eight innings while striking out 7. Leaving the numbers aside, I strongly advise that you watch Harrison pitch and then make a deal for him -- especially if you are in a keeper league. He is a big lefty (6’4” and 240 lbs.) who has clearly learned how to pitch. He is well on his way to beating his breakout year of 2011 so enjoy the ride.
Aaron Cook: Aaron Cook was out of his mind Friday, shutting out the Mariners with just 81 pitches. The good news is he should get the A’s next, so his ride could continue just a bit longer. However, once he finishes with the A’s move him. Cook has never posted a WHIP under 1.34 and NEVER struck out 100 in a season. NEVER. Sell now or at the latest next week.
Nick Hundley: Nick Hundley now catches in AAA. Wow, what a mess. This year, Hundley has an atrocious .166 average with just three jacks. Last year, Hundley hit .288 with 9 HR in just 281 AB. The great promise of 2011 now seems like a faint memory. The only silver lining is that Yasmani Grandal will take over the catching duties and has to be better than Hundley was. If you play in a deep NL league, stash Hundley. He is better than his 2012 performance and could provide value later in the season at the tough to fill C2 position.
Ian Kennedy: Ian Kennedy finally looked like Ian Kennedy Friday, giving up just one earned run on six hits in 7 innings while striking out 7. Kennedy is better than his 4.20 ERA and should continue his return to his proper level when he takes on the Padres next week. Remember, Kennedy is only 27 and made the show at age 22 during the Yankees playoff run of 2007. As I preach in this column, players who make the show at a young age are often very talented and blossom after many have written them off. Kennedy is that pitcher. He may not be the superstar he was in 2011 but he is a top tier pitcher who should pitch that way during the remainder of 2012. Buy.
Jason Marquis: Jason Marquis gave up 6 runs in 6 innings in his outing at Coors and in so doing provides Exhibit A in the case for streaming pitchers. In the case of Marquis, he should be started at home or in a big park like SF but should be sat against the big hitting teams or at pitcher’s parks such as his next destination -- a Wednesday start in Arizona.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “No matter how hard you plan, starting pitching rarely works out as planned. If you started the season with a rotation that included Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw, the victory jig danced before the season over your impending domination of the starting pitching categories now seems premature and misguided. Especially if it included a taunt of the owner that decided to go with a rotation that had R.A. Dickey as its centerpiece and filled a spot with Lance Lynn. (Although, given the mercurial nature of knuckleballers, you would have to think that once Dickey's miraculously dominant run ends, it's going to resemble an episode of Toonces the Driving Cat). This week, with Trevor Bauer serving as catnip for the pitching disadvantaged, teams may want to cast their eyes elsewhere in a search for other, less FAAB budget draining, mid-season pitching help.
One area that should be avoided is the AL East. After walking off the mound with elbow discomfort this past week, Henderson Alvarez seemed poised to join Drew Hutchison and Brandon Morrow on the disabled list. Meanwhile, in the Bronx, Andy Pettitte suffered a fractured fibula within hours of the relatively indestructible CC Sabathia going on the disabled list. This should result in hurlers like Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva, Brett Cecil, Freddie Garcia and Adam Warren receiving starts in a decidedly tough division. While a random start may provide good results, using any of the fill-ins will be the equivalent of a spin of the roulette wheel.
A better locale for starting pitching would be the NL Central, where the Astros, Cubs, Pirates and Brewers present less daunting lineups then those on the east coast. Houston's geographically incorrect Dallas Keuchel could pull off a very competent imitation of Mark Buehrle over the rest of the season while Joe Kelly seems to be the next in a long line of Cardinals starters that provide value beyond their price tag. If his interleague numbers are any indication, Milwaukee's Michael Fiers could be an interesting mid-season find as well. No one will bat an eye if you grab any of the lesser-known names from the NL Central over Trevor Bauer, at least not until you slowly begin creeping up the pitching categories.”
Response: Drat. Quality analysis again. However, I would look to the NL West for pitching help as they often get to pitch against SD or SF or even better, get to call one of those parks home. The aforementioned Jason Marquis makes a nice target when pitching in Petco as does Barry Zito when he pitches at home or in Petco (his 6 BB Saturday were ugly but it was still 6 innings of one run ball).