Friday, May 30, 2008

Top Pickups on the Mound - Week 9

Some kids and veterans on the comeback trail make for an exciting Week 9 adds list.

SP- Clayton Kershaw

Never heard of him.

FSE VERDICT- Hold off until we know more.

Clayton Kershaw (Ah Clayton Kershaw, The Stud Fireballing Lefty...)

The young lefty with a curveball nick named, "Public Enemy #1" had a successful first start against the Cardinals going 6 innings with 7Ks and a WHP of 1.00. He has a fastball that he throws for strikes in the mid 90's both up and down in the zone. When you combine that with a devestating curveball that is clocked roughly 25 MPH slower, it can make for long days for opposing hitters. The Dodgers will be very careful with him and he is another great sell high candidate. He will be limited in the amount of innings the Dodgers allow him to throw this season because they want to protect his golden arm from injury.

FSE VERDICT- If for some reason he is still available in your league or on waivers you need to put in a claim and grab him immediately. He has special stuff that can dominate a line up and win a game on his own. He can help your team in many aspects of the game and will immediately improve any pitching staff, no matter how good. Just be careful and sell high in mid-July. I doubt he'll be getting the ball in September, and if he does itwill be as a reliever so they can limit the innings on his arm.

SP- Doug Davis

The veteran has been around for years now, and with the exception of 2005 has never done anything to warrant serious fantasy ownership. This season might be a little different for Doug for a variety of reasons.

First off he will no longer be featured near the top of the D-Backs rotation. With Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Micah Owings, and a healthy Randy Johnson (for now anway), Davis does not have to be counted on to carry the team or match up against the ace of other teams. He will now see better match ups against the opposition's 4th or 5th starters.

Another reason to like Davis is because the D-Backs are scoring a ton of runs and playing good defense. Better run support will help Davis stay in games and potentially put up a solid win total. He has 15Ks in 16.2IP this season and while the WHIP is a bit high, it is nothing to get too concerned about as it is near consistent with what Davis has done in the past.

FSE VERDICT- Don't expect a Cy Young award, but if you need the help with Ks and Wins, Davis could be a solid addition. Don't think I am trying to play up the "comeback from thyroid cancer" aspect either. He can do somethings out there and might actually surprise you.

SP- Bartolo Colon

The Red Sox took their time with Colon, giving him plenty of time to rehab and get his arm in good shape. His first start off the DL ended with a W and 4Ks in 5IP. He touched 96 on the gun, and is a two start pitcher for week 9. His first start on Monday he went 7IP and gave up 5 hits to go along with only one walk and 4Ks. What's not to love?

For one Colon was playing the Royals and the Mariners respectively who have both been starved for offense for the majority of the season. At the same time, he did beat both teams and in reality, these are the teams that he should be beating.

FSE VERDICT- I am seriously beginning to believe that the Red Sox aren't expecting anything from Curt Schilling this season, making Colon all the more valuable to the Sox. They will be careful with him and baby him through some starts. With the Red Sox potent offense you can expect very good run support. On the other hand the bullpen outside of Papelbon has been up and down all year, and if Colon is only going 5-6innings a start, he is leaving a lot of outs on the field for the pen to pick up.

All that being said, he is worth the add if you need another starting pitcher. Another good suggestion, would be to then sell high near the end of June. Pitchers who are overweight and oft injured generally don't hold up too well down the stretch.

SP- Jason Bergmann

He was lit up early in the season and sent to AAA to get himself right. Since returning, he has been solid, going 7 shutout innings in each of his last two starts and combined for 14Ks in that time. Bergmann doesn't walk many guys and now that he is limiting the hits he gives up, he has seriously reduced the damage done against him.

The Nats' righty is another two start candidate in week 9 but faces tough match ups against Milwaukee and Arizona.

FSE VERDICT- Personally, I would grab him now. However, you should be able wait this week out. Bergmann pitches in relative obscurity in Washington, so he should go under the radar for a bit longer. Don't blame me if he tosses a gem and gets scooped up before you have the chance to.

RP- "Stunning" Joe Borowski

I love veteran closers and there is no reason to think Borowski won't come back to Cleveland and effectively close out games. No one in the Cleveland bullpen has been able to step up and take a firm hold of the role in his absence and Manager Eric Wedge has said the Stunning One will be his closer once healthy. Borowski locked down his first save in a month and half on Saturday and should get plenty of more chances going forward.

FSE VERDICT- Borowski doesn't have great stuff and will likely tally a high ERA. The bottom line is he gets the job done, something no one else in the Cleveland bullpen can do apparently. Go get him in all formats.

RP/SP- Joba Chamberlain

The Yanks have announced plans to ease Joba into their starting rotation by increasing his pitch count over the span of the next four to five weeks. Yankee owner Hank Steinbrenner has already called him "our Josh Beckett" several times, so fortunately there's no pressure on him to perform.

Being in New York, I have seen Joba pitch a lot, and think that he could initially struggle as a starter. He will occasionally walk guys or get into deep pitch counts and get himself into trouble. While as a reliever he boasts a gaudy strikeout rate, you can expect that to go down a bit, as he will have to pace himself better so he can last longer into games. Thus, he might initially have difficulty in is ability to pitch and not just throw as he does in 1 inning relief outings.

In spring training, Joba was roughed up a bit in the games he was starting. Granted it was only spring training, but it does raise some speculation that this move won't be as easy as many are making it seem.

FSE VERDICT- All that being said, Joba has tremendous stuff and he might be able to work out the kinks while the Yanks stretch him out from the pen. If you are hard up for a pitcher grab him and start him as a reliever. If you already have a decent staff, you don't have to go nuts over him. I could be way off base here, and am kinda going out on a limb by not buying into the "Joba The Savior" act some are pandering to, but if you don't feel as if you need to take the chance on him, then don't.

RP- Salomon Torres

With Eric Gagne out for a bit, the Brewers have initially announced that they will use a bullpen by committee to close out games. That being said, Torres is the guy with the most closing experience and with the Brewers struggling, they will need some consistency at the end of games to anchor the pen and help get them steadied.

FSE VERDICT- You should get him if you need saves. While the Brewers have showed an awkward loyalty to Eric Gagne, if Torres can close out games consistently he should be able to hold onto the closer job going forward.

RP- Chris Perez

I don't know a ton about this guy, but he is in the St. Louis bullpen and throws 100mph. He has closing experience in the minor leagues and if something should happen to Ryan Franklin he might be the next guy in line to get a save.

FSE VERDICT- If you are desperate for saves stash Perez. He could be a good candidate to help out in ERA, WHIP and to a lesser extent Ks if he can stick with the big league club.

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