Yu Darvish has had a strong start to the year for the Rangers, his first in North American baseball. The Japanese import is 7-4 with a 3.72 ERA and an impressive 9.54 K/9 mark through 12 starts. However, there are a couple of legitimate downsides. First, the guy is walking too many batters. Over 72.2 innings he’s issued 44 walks leading to a completely unacceptable 5.45 BB/9 mark that is more than two batters worse than the big league average. Second, due to all those walks, Yu has a terrible 1.51 WHIP that has been a major drain on his owners. Third, and this might be the most concerning of all, is that he has admitted to feeling some fatigue recently (it’s the main reason that his most recent start was pushed back a couple of days until Friday against the Astros). It’s not a totally unexpected development, but it’s something to keep in mind once the heat of Texas and the innings pile up over the summer. Let’s not forget that Darvish is used to pitching on five days rest in Japan whereas big league hurlers only get four days off. It may not sound like much, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
The Blue Jays placed Kyle Drabek on the DL with a ligament sprain in his elbow and called up Brett Cecil to make the start on Sunday vs. the Phillies (the UCL sprain is an injury that has to be monitored closely as further damage could lead to Tommy John surgery). Drabek, who started the year impressively with a 2.40 ERA through five April starts, had hit the skids lately anyway. Over his last eight starts he had allowed 29 earned runs and 76 base runners leading to a 6.32 ERA and 1.83 WHIP proving, yet again, that’s he’s just not ready for prime time. All you need to know about Drabek is this. Through 71.1 innings this season he’s walked as many batters (47) as he’s struck out (47). Cecil makes a decent add in AL-only leagues. A 15 game winner in 2010, he’s yet to appear in a big league game this season. Cecil has gone 4-2 with a 3.47 ERA over 10 minor league starts this year.
There’s a rumor floating around that the Blue Jays kicked the tires on what it would take to pry Justin Morneau away from the Twins (that same report also suggests that the Twins are in no hurry to deal their first baseman. See Danny Knobler’s story). Clearly the Blue Jays could use some help at first base/DH. Adam Lind sucked wind earlier in the year, and David Cooper, after a hot start, has slumped with nary a hit in his last four games (16 at-bats). However, I have to question whether or not Morneau is the answer to that issue. He has an impressive 10 homers and 33 RBI in just 174 at-bats, but he’s also hitting .241 with a .313 OBP meaning that he’s hit just .233 with 14 homers, 63 RBI and a .691 OPS over his last 438 at-bats covering 115 games. I wouldn’t be offering too much in a deal to add a bat like that. Would you?
What the hell happened to Ryan Raburn? You know the guy that everyone was touting as a potential breakout candidate at second base this year. I’ll tell you what happened ‚Äď he has flat out stunk hitting .159 with one homer in 126 at-bats. Let me take that back, he hasn’t stunk, he’s been more like a rancid piece of meat with maggots all over it that had been left out on the porch of your vacation home for the week when you went into the forest to camp in your four person tent that really isn’t big enough for three people (we need some Tent Police for that because it seems to be that the manufacturers always over inflate the size of those suckers). Raburn had averaged 15 homers and 52 RBI the past three years despite an average of a mere 340 at-bats a season. However, he was so putrid this year that he was sent to the minors, and now that he’s been recalled there still shouldn’t be much excitement, even in AL-only leagues. Just read what his manager thinks about him. ‚ÄúI’ll be frank, it’s not as if Raburn went down there and tore it up,‚ÄĚ Jim Leyland said after Rayburn hit a mere .194 in the minors. ‚ÄúI’ll play him like I think he plays best, which is probably part time.” When your manager admits that the only way you can really help is to be used in a part-time role you can understand just how far you have fallen. Given his inability to hit in the majors, and the minors, Raburn shouldn’t be anywhere near a mixed league lineup, or even a roster, right now.
The last two week Ben Revere has been absolutely tearing it up. I’m serious. In fact, he’s been so good that he’s a top-5 outfielder the past two weeks. Again, I’m totally serious. How can I make such a claim? It’s all about the numbers baby. Over the last two weeks Revere has hit .385. Impressive. He’s scored 11 runs. Fantastic. He’s stolen six bases. Elite. That’s wright, the guy is en fuego for the Twinkies. I can’t see how, given all the production that he might still be on waivers, but if he is now is the time to get him before the rest of your league wakes up to the fact that he has just been killing it of late. Moreover, he’s batting .339 with 10 steals in 29 games this season, a pace that would equate to roughly 50 steals over a full season. Is that gaudy number realistic? It certainly is. In 159 career games the fleet of foot Revere has hit .277 while stealing 44 bases. If he could only get that OBP up (.317 for his career) then we could be looking at a 60-70 steal guy.
Finally, it’s a good time to check in on how Edinson Volquez has done in his first season in San Diego. Overall the results have been positive, but he’s not been able to really make his mark in the fantasy game. His ratios are pretty much league average ‚Äď 3.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP ‚Äď and his record is well off the pace at 3-6. However, he does have an impressive 70 Ks in 82.2 innings, and batters have hit a mere .226 against him. As always seems to be the case though, the guy simply cannot control where some of his pitches go leading to copious amounts of walks (47 leading to a miserable 5.12 per nine mark). If he simply stopped issuing so many walks he could have a chance to be a dominating hurler. Of course, we’ve been saying that for years now. A secondary issue with all the walks is that it causes his pitch count to become so elevated that he’s unable to go deep into games. In four of his last five outings he’s permitted three or fewer runs but he hasn’t been able to last seven innings in a single one of those outings (he’s also walked at least four batters in four of his last five starts). Throw strikes my friend and the positivity will be overflowing. Continue along this course and expect more of the same ‚Äď decent work that hints at the possibility of so much more.
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.
Tags: Adam Lind, Brett Cecil, Fantasy Baseball, Justin Morneau, Kyle Drabek, MLB, Yu Darvish