Tuesday, April 16, 2013

HIRED ARMS: Like a Phoenix Ignition

Felipe M

We previously talked about struggling pitchers that are worth monitoring as they may still turn their seasons around. 

We now take a look at the pitchers that have skyrocketed up the waiver wire charts.  The following pitchers are owned in less than 50% of CBS fantasy baseball leagues and all saw at least a 5% increase in ownership in the last week.

Besides evaluating these pitchers, we try to figure out if their recent hype is warranted or overblown.

Patrick Corbin--Arizona Diamondbacks--42%: Corbin was a pitcher I was excited about in the spring as he pitched marvelously, en route to securing the final rotation spot in Arizona.  He's pitched well enough to win and has yet to give up a homerun, but his 1.25 WHIP and his six strikeouts in 12 innings pitched makes me think that his 2-0 win-loss record is more fluke than skill.  Corbin is more of a groundball pitcher, telling me he needs a lot of contact from opposing hitters (and a lot of luck) to be an effective pitcher.  However, his groundout-to-flyout ratio is only 1.3 so far.  His H/9 of 8.25 shows that he's been more lucky than good this season.  Good short-term pitcher to have while he's hot, but I would cut bait at the first sign of struggle.  Then again, I wouldn't have him on my team to begin with.  

Andrew Bailey--Boston Red Sox--41%: So apparently, Boston needs a new closer.  Current closer Joel Hanrahan is on the DL and Bailey should be the team's primary closer in his absence.  He did blow a save on Monday, but has pitched pretty well this season, posting a K/9 of 15.28.  Bailey has accumulated 81 saves in his career, so he has the experience.  Go pick him up now!

Carlos Villanueva--Chicago Cubs--32%: We've mentioned before how Villanueva can be a sneaky pitcher to slot into your rotation.  Well, he's pitched well enough to be 2-0 this season, but lack of run support has been his doom.  The strikeouts aren't as high as I'd like, but all other stats are tantalizing owners to pick him up immediately.  The downside to him is that his role with the Cubs seems to be temporary and he is a flyball pitcher that struggled with keeping the ball in the park last season.  However, he's pitched well enough to warrant a roster spot on fantasy teams and is worth keeping around until the Cubs say otherwise.

Nick Tepesch--Texas Rangers--27%: He's had mixed results in his two starts this season, but has been a pleasant surprise in terms of K/BB.  Unfortunately, he's been tagged with a base-hit per inning, thus far.  However, the silver lining is that his groundout/flyout ratio is near 4:1.  As long as he can induce plenty of groundballs, doesn't hurt himself with walks, and continues to keep up his strikeout rate, he should be fine.  

Chris Capuano--Los Angeles Dodgers--26%: Summoned from the bullpen to take over for Zack Greinke, who is out with a collarbone injury, Capuano is not a bad selection if you're in desperate need for a starting pitcher.  He had a decent 2012 and has pitched pretty well in relief this season.  Last year, he had a K/BB of 3/1.  Age, a short leash (Ted Lilly waits in the bullpen in the event that Capuano struggles), and limited work are the negatives, but in the interim, he's a solid choice to add to your roster.  

Bartolo Colon--Oakland A's--19%: He's pitched pretty well since coming back from PED suspension.  He hasn't been dominant, but has definitely relied on veteran moxie.  Strikeout totals are low and he's giving up a lot of base-hits, but has yet to allow a walk and that kind of control is always a major advantage.  He's recorded more flyouts than groundouts and playing in Oakland, he can afford to have hitters put the ball in the air, although he's already given up two homeruns this season.  Colon is not my first choice to plug into my pitching staff, but as a last resort option, you could do a lot worse.  However, age and a tough, upcoming schedule--is scheduled to pitch against Budd Norris and Jon Lester--would make me not want to pick him up.

John Lannan--Philadelphia Phillies--11%: As mentioned before, I'm the biggest "Lannan-hater" out there.  He is the epitome of a pitcher I refuse to have on my team.  However, to his credit, he's pitched well enough to win both of his starts this season as he's only given up one walk and has only allowed 8 hits, but has been a victim of poor run-support.  The low strikeouts is typical of Lannan, but his finesse style has been on full display early on as he holds a 3:1, groundout:flyout ratio.  The negative on Lannan: he's John Lannan.  His 2013 start just reeks of fluky luck and it seems that he's performance is a product of an easy schedule (facing the Royals in his first start and then the Marlins in his second start).  His next couple of starts should prove to be a bit more challenging as he'll pitch against the Reds and against the Pirates with A.J. Burnett scheduled to make the start opposite Lannan. 

So that's a quick look at a few pitchers that have filled the fantasy baseball world with a lot of buzz recently.  A lot of these guys are short-term solutions, but sometimes going with the hot hand is the best choice.  

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