Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Pickups on The Mound - Week 7

Mike Mussina

The old man has been solid in his last 4 starts and is regaining the faith of fantasy owners everywhere. When you break down Moose's starts he really has only had 2 starts that were dreadful and both of those came against Boston.

Don't get me wrong the rest of his starts haven't exactly been Cy Young efforts of yesteryear, but they are solid efforts where he is able to keep his team in the game and leaves with a chance to win. His 7 inning 2 run effort against the White Sox is a reflection of his ceiling rather than what than his normal production. Expect box scores that look more like 5-6IP with 2-3ER on a semi-consistent basis for the rest of the season.

FSE VERDICT- You could do worse, and this would be going with the demon you know, rather than the demon you don't. Get him for now if you need a solid starter, but look to bail on him come August when he will probably start to break down, as is common with pitchers his age.

Aaron Laffey

Laffey is not considered a high-end prospect, rather he is a fringe guy who will have to continue to pitch well in order to keep his spot in the rotation. I actually think Laffey might be able to pull it off. He keeps his WHIP low and that is always a great indicator of a pitcher's success. He won't strike a ton of guys out, and unless the Indians figure their offensive issues out, he won't get a ton of run support. However the positive is that he won't hurt your ERA or WHIP and is still young enough at 23 to have some good upside potential.

FSE VERDICT- Grab him if you need him. He could be this season's version of Jeremy Guthrie, but with more wins.

Andrew Miller

The young Florida starter has been deemed the "Ace of The Future" since his 2006 debut with Detroit. The problem is the lefty has started his career like many young pitchers do, struggling. He had unsuccessful stints with the big club in Detroit in 2006 and 2007, before being dealt to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

He opened the 2008 season in Florida similar to what we had seen in Detroit. A young lefty with dynamite stuff, who was still struggling to find the consistency needed to get hitters out. He is currently sporting a bloated ERA and WHIP of 6.52 and 1.81 respectively.

What makes him one of the most added players now is that he has had two above average starts in a row. In his last two starts, Miller has combined for 13IP with 6Hits, 2ER, 3BB and 11K, enough to make any fantasy player take note.

FSE VERDICT- I am very skeptical of young pitchers who have not had at least a season or two on the major league level. That being said I find Miller a very good addition to any league right now. He will absolutely have some inconsistencies, so if you pick him up, be ready to deal with them. You should also be weary of the Marlins plans for him down the stretch. It has become common for teams to shut their young aces down early before their pitch count gets too high. Given the awful injury history of recent young Marlins starters, this is certainly a possibility in the second half.

Ryan Franklin

Jason Isringhausen's loss is his gain. There isn't a whole bunch to say here. He is closing and Izzy is not. If you need saves and he is still available in your league go out and grab him. He has shown over the last 2 seasons to be one of the most reliable set up arms in baseball.

Theoretically, the job is his and Russ Springer's to share; however, Franklin got the first call to close out a game on Saturday and there is no reason to see Card's manager Tony LaRussa do it any differently in the future. Ride him for saves while you can as sooner or later the job will go back to Izzy.

FSE VERDICT- Go get him now, but don't count on him closing for the rest of the season.

The Entire Brewer's Bullpen

Ned Yost announced Saturday that he was going with a bullpen by committee until Eric Gagne could get his groove back.

So on Sunday Brian Shouse came in to retire the final batter of the game and record his fifth career save. Okay no problem there. Then on Monday Guillermo Mota came in with two outs and the bases loaded to retire the only man he faced to record the second save of the post Gagne era. Makes sense to me, Mota has pitched well this season and deserved a shot at finishing a game. Finally, we get to Tuesday where the most unlikely candidate to close out a Brewer's game came in to record the save... Eric Gagne. This is like when your friend breaks up with a girl, and then goes on a few dates with other people only to show up at a wedding with the ex only a few weeks later. Way to play the field there Ned...

The only thing that was more surprising than seeing Gagne in to record the save, was that he actually managed to seal the deal. Gagne recorded the save, but looked ugly doing it. Protecting a two run lead Gagne gave up a hit and a walk, putting the tying runs on base and bringing the winning run up to the plate before closing the game out.

FSE VERDICT- Gagne looks to be back as the man anchoring the pen. We urge everyone strongly to keep an eye on this situation, however, Gagne getting the save opportunity is good for the his owners out there. The fact that he looked so bad doing it might be even more of a reason to deal him while he still has value.

Vicente Padilla

He is the Nicholas Cage of pitchers. He sucks, you know he sucks, and yet every-so-often he does something that makes you think he is still good.

FSE VERDICT- Let someone else rent Wickerman.

Jose Contreras

Jose has some really fascinating numbers this season.
He has allowed 1ER in each of his 3 wins.
He has allowed 4ER in each of hi 3 losses.
This does not take into account his 1 no decision, where he allowed 4ER.

Looking at the numbers you can say that at least he is consistent. Another positive is that he has pitched into the 7th inning in six of his seven starts, so he is staying out there and gives himself the chance to get a decision when he takes the mound.

The problem that arises is you don't know if he will the good Jose, or the bad Jose on the day that you have him going. The other problem is that its does not seem as if the Sox are scoring a ton of runs for him, in the games that the bad Jose is tossing in. You would have to figure that at some point he would give up 4 ER in a game and the White Sox could bail him out with some added run support, but that does not seem to be the case so far this season.

FSE VERDICT- Jose can be maddeningly inconsistent from season to season and even start to start. He looks solid in the early going this year, and in deeper leagues and AL only leagues he should be a good add. Hold off in smaller mixed leagues to see if either Jose or the White Sox offense can get into a better groove.

No comments: