It’s all pitchers, all day in today’s piece as we look at hurlers who have had success of late, oh, and Tim Lincecum.
Wei-Yin Chen tossed a great game Tuesday against the Mariners as he allowed just two hits without walking a batter over 7.1 innings against the Mariners. In the outing he didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine as he lowered his ERA to 3.64 and his WHIP to 1.24. How good are those numbers given that he pitches in the AL East? His ERA is better than guys like Josh Beckett, James Shields and Matt Moore. His WHIP is better than guys like Ervin Santana, Yu Darvish and Ivan Nova. Chen really doesn’t profile that well with numbers like a 6.64 K/9, a 2.73 BB/9, a 0.90 GB/FB ratio etc., but he knows how to pitch, even if he’ never be an elite option in the fantasy game because of the lack of Ks and for the fact that he pitches in such a darn difficult division.
Jair Jurrjens is a pitcher everyone always seem to love, despite the significant warts. Since being recalled to the bigs he’s allowed just three earned runs in three starts. So now is the time to add Jurrjens, right? Well, maybe. It really depends on how deep your league is. Jair may have allowed three earned runs in his last three starts, but he also allowed three unearned runs. He’s also failed to go six innings in two of the three outings. He’s also struck out just six batters in 18.1 innings. I’ll say what I always say with Jurrjens. He’s always an injury risk and he isn’t a good strikeout arm, so he’s a matchup play at best in mixed leagues.
Joe Kelly might get a chance to shine this year as Chris Carpenter is done for the year due to surgery needed to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. Kelly is a hard thrower who generates lots of grounders, and through five outings with the Cards he has a 3.29 ERA. Still, even those in NL-only leagues might want to exercise caution. Kelly has a mere 2.00 K/BB ratio, and that WHIP is 1.50. Frankly, his ERA should be a run higher than it is. Given his moderate success in the minors, let’s hope he doesn’t pull a Lance Lynn â€“ start out hot before fading â€“ though I fear that might be his path too.
Jon Lester has worked at least six innings in each of his last seven outings. Only once in his last six trips to the hill has he allowed as many as four runs, an over his last four forays to the bump he has walked just three batters. His last six outings may have only led to a 2-1 record, but he’s slowly rounding into shape as the 40 strikeouts, six walks and 3.57 ERA in 40.1 innings suggest. This might be the last chance you get to add Lester on the cheap.
Tim Lincecum â€“ what happened to you my friend? Every time the guys seems just about ready to turn the corner, he falls flat on his face. He flopped against the Nationals in his last outing allowing eight runs, seven earned, while recording just 10 outs. I try to remain confident in The Freak, but even my steadfast faith is being tested way more than it should be. The K/9 is still impressive (9.74). The GB/FB is still the same at 1.37 (career 1.39)… oh wait, you’ve heard all of this from me before. Look, we’re to the point that not much of what’s going on with Lincecum makes sense, so it makes little sense for me to continue to defend him. What would I do if I owned him? I’d sit him squarely on my bench. You can’t get anything of value if you deal him, I don’t think you could anyway, so just sit and wait/hope he finds his lost mojo.
Zach McAllister has made six starts this year for the Indians, and he’s been pretty darn impressive. In 36.2 innings he’s posted an 8.10 K/9 mark, and his 1.72 BB/9 mark equates to an ultra impressive 4.71 K/BB ratio. If he were able to maintain that 4.71 mark, and he has about as much chance of doing that as the Pirates do of winning the World Series this year, then there would be no limit to his level of success this season. The owner of a 3.14 K/BB ratio during his 746 minor league innings, McAllister has always been a solid option on the hill. Still, his K/9 rate in the minors is 7.2, so it’s tough to envision him keeping up his current pace. AL-only leaguers though may have found a solid second half performer in Zach, and those of you that are desperate for arms in deep mixed leagues might even be interested in taking a look.
Jonathon Niese has dropped his ERA to 3.35 and his WHIP to 1.22 with yet another impressive outing the last time he took the hill against he Phillies. The last three times he has hurled the old ball he is 3-0 having allowed just four runs in 21.1 innings. I kept saying it all offseason, Niese has a nice skill set and there is little reason to think that he won’t continue to be a solid option all year long in mixed leagues.
Jered Weaver is 9-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 88.2 innings this season. His K-rate has plummeted, down from a career best of 9.35 per nine innings in 2010 to 7.56 last year and 6.90 this year, so I can’t say I’m not a wee bit concerned. Luckily he just doesn’t walk anyone with BB/9 marks of 2.17 and 2.14 the past two years, and 2.13 currently. Weaver though is as stable as it gets, other than the decline in strikeouts, and he’s actually showed a little growth this season in the fly ball column. It might be a sample size situation, we’re only half way through the year, but after posting a fly ball rate of at least 48 percent the past three years that number has plunged to 39 percent. Will he be able to keep the number down at that level and help him to continue his downward trend in homers allowed (his HR/9 mark has gone from 1.11 to 0.92 to 0.76 to 0.51 this season)?
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.