Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top Pick Ups On the Mound - Week 4


Please don't think we are avoiding guys like Brian Bannister and Micah Owings, we know they are hot and great adds. The thing is everyone else does also, so what is the point of us talking about something people already know about? That being said lets get to this week's hot adds.

Yovani Gallardo- Young, hard throwing right hander who had a great degree of success last season pitching for Milwaukee. This season he looks to continue that stretch, and he got off to a great start tossing 7 innings against Cincinnati. He realy should have been drafted in your league, bu if he wasn' and no one has him yet go out and grab him. He is certainly worth adding in all fantasy formats.

Mark Hendrickson- Is the very definition of a mediocre pitcher who can throw strikes and does enough to hang around. Let's put it this way, his best season statistically was in '06 when he went 6-15 with a 4.22ERA, a 1.43WHIP and 99Ks in 164.2IP splitting time between Tampa Bay and the Dodgers. He currently is tied for the league lead with 4 wins and is pitching for a Marlins team that has a surprising strong offense despite losing Miguel Cabrera to a trade in the off season.

Another positive for Hendrickson is that the Marlins have committed to him as a starter, while previously with the Dodgers he was used as a reliever and a spot starter. For a tall lefty like himself being used sporadically like that can cause many mechanical foul ups which could certainly have an effect on his stuff and what he can do on the mound.

Now back to a bit of reality again. Hendrickson's 4 wins have come off of Pittsburgh twice, Washington and Atlanta. Pitt currently ranks 17th in all of baseball in runs scored, while Washington is 27th, so neither of those teams are exactly offensive juggernauts. Atlanta is one of the better offensive clubs but when you look at that game Hendrickson went 5.1 innings, gave up 2 runs while allowing 6 hits to go along with 3walks, for a 1.76WHIP. He didn't as much win the game, as he did pitch well enough to survive it.

Bottom line, I just spent way too much time on Mark Hendrickson. He'll have his ups and downs and with a strong offense behind him could be surprisingly successful this season. However, he won't successful for fantasy. His WHIP and ERA are both higher than one would like for fantasy, and he doesn't strike many guys out. He could win 12-15 games starting everyday, but over the course of the season it really won't be worth it.

Armando Galarraga- Who leads the Detroit Tigers in wins? Verlander... No, Bonderman... No, Rogers...No. Armando Gaarraga leads the Tigers in wins with 2. He has spent 8 years in the minors and never posted a season that stood out and make you see an elite pitching prospect. he did have consistently solid K rates and he seems to have taken that part up the majors with him.
He is pitching over his head a bit tossing to the tune of a 1.50ERA and a .67 WHIP.

But with Galarraga we will consistently come back to the same point. If he is that good of a pitching prospect, why did he spend 8 seasons in the minor leagues. The Ks and BB were always good numbers, but the ERA and Win total was never anything to write home about. I think that in the end the numbers will even themselves out, look for an ERA of 4.50 and 12 wins if he can manage to stay in the rotation. The Tigers haven't gotten their offense going yet, but when they do Galarraga will get plenty of run support. At best he could turn into a Aaron Small type guy for the season, and just pitch out of his mind for the entire season, but I highly doubt that will be the case in this instance. He is still relatively young at 26, but lacks the major league experience to be truly successful for a season. Scouting reports and tendencies will catch up to him sooner rather than later. He is a fine flash in the pan add, but don't expect this in August or September.

Hong-Chih Kuo- Gotta be honest I don't know much about this guy but I studied the numbers and looked at scouting reports and here is what I found. Left hander, dynamite arm, good for Ks, elbow is suspect. In his previous few seasons with the Dodgers Kuo has struggled posted ERAs of 7.48, 4.26 and 7.06, all of which came with a limited amount of innings pitched and came in a mix as a starter and reliever. While the ERA is bad he did post great K rates of about 1 per inning.

This season he has 4 appearances, 2 as a starter and 2 as a reliever and the results have been much different. He currently boasts a .79ERA with a 1.15WHIP and 15Ks in 11.1IP, so maybe he has figured it out and turned the corner and is ready to be a major league pitcher on a consistent basis. The Dodgers have said they want him to start because they fell it will be easier on his elbow. I doubt he will ever be a 7-9 inning stud, as they will want to protect his electric arm, he is a guy who I think could turn into a 5-6 inning, 2ER and 8Ks consistently. This might be a bit premature, but think similar to what Pedro Martinez has become for the Mets. I think he will go under the radar for a few starts so keep an eye on him, I think this guy has plenty of upside and could be a real difference maker for a fantasy team.

After the writing of this article Kuo went out and tossed a stinker against the Cincinnati Reds going 3 innings and giving up 5runs with only 1K. Go figure something like to happen after I talk him up, but I still like his arm and feel like he is a guy who you should keep your eye on, just don't go and grab him too soon. Make sure he is getting hot with arm and is locked in with what he needs to be doing to be successful.

Of course, if he can't stay healthy all of this is null, but I think its worth it to take a flier on a pitcher who is injury prone over an everyday player. You have a much better idea as to when he won't pitch, and it won't come as a surprise when it happens, unlike an injury prone position player, who can sit at any time without warning.

Scott Olson- The young lefty is known more for his run in with teammates than he is for his ability to get batters out. He is 3-0 and similar to teammate Mark Hendrickson has faced Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Washington twice. Two of the three wins have come against Washington who as we previously pointed out has one of the worst offenses in baseball.

I do however like Olson more than Hendrickson for a few reasons. The first being he has better stuff and can post a decent amount of Ks. The second is that he has experienced success in the past in his 2006 season when he won 12 games, and actually managed double digit wins again last season, despite a loft ERA over 5.00. I have read some reports that are down on Olson, but his WHIP is under 1.00 and it seems like the lefty might finally have his stuff and head in order. Given the Marlins potent offense he is a good addition in all fantasy formats as a low end starter who has good upside. Go get him.

John Danks- Danks is entering his second full season as a major league starter and this is generally the year you look for a young pitcher to start getting it. This far this season Danks has gotten it right in 3 of his 4 starts, including last week where he tossed shutout baseball in each. The one start he struggled in was a bit disconcerting because it came against the Twins and wound up being a 2.1 inning, 7ER fiasco. It is the type of start that Danks owners can count on from time to time just to remind them that he is still a relatively young pitcher and still has some figuring out to do on the major league level. A fine addition in most fantasy formats, as the White Sox offense looks surprisingly formidable, just be weary of the occasional shellacking.

Nelson Figueroa- Pitched well enough in spring training to earn a roster spot, but was passed over then as he has been throughout his career. The 33-year-old has been pitching to the tune of a 3.60ERA with a .80WHIP, to go along with 14K in 15 innings. That of course was before his start Tuesday against the Cubs where he struggled to get through 5 innings, walking 5 and giving up 7 hits. He wound up giving up 3 runs in 5IP, so he was able to keep his team in the game, which is a positive, and never gave up the big hit, a sign of a guy with moxie. Figueroa isn't anything spectacular, but he will toss a few Quality Starts here and there and win his fair share of ball games, being the fifth starter on a fine offensive team, that plays in a good pitcher's park.

Renyel Pinto- Wanted to get a few holds guys in here so included these under the radar names. Pinto is a lefty reliever who had a decent enough season last year, but looks to be bringing his game to the next level this season. Both his ERA and his WHIP are under 1.00 and has answered the call for a variety of situations that the Marlins have used him in.

Kyle McClellan- I check out a lot of relievers and never heard of this guy before this season. He will post a decent K rate and plays on a team that will play plenty of close games. He has seen a good amount of work so far early in the season and is a good add if you need holds.

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