SleepersSeptember 23, 2005

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Sleeper Watch

By Arlo Vander

What happens when you take a 36-year-old journeyman middle reliever with one start in 557 career big league appearances and place him into your starting rotation? If you’re the Washington Nationals and that pitcher is Hector Carrasco, good things happen.

With John Patterson unable to take his turn in the rotation, Carrasco filled in on September 13, giving up two runs in four innings of work while striking out six. Since then, he has made two starts without allowing a run to cross the plate. With 15.2 innings as a starter under his belt, Carrasco’s ERA and WHIP both stand at 1.15. He has struck out more than a batter per inning during that span, and his K/BB ratio is a strong 2.13.

If Carrasco keeps pitching at this level, it won’t be easy for Washington to send him back to the pen. So far, he had value as a middle reliever in deep NL-only leagues, but was a non-entity in shallower formats. That’s starting to change, but even after three solid outings as a starter, he’s still available on the wire in many leagues, and could provide owners with a late pitching boost during the stretch drive.

Despite his age, he’s also worth a look in dynasty leagues. If you’re already building up your roster for the 2006 season and could use another starter, consider adding Carrasco and watch his progress closely the rest of the way.

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