SleepersJuly 20, 2009

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Sleeper Watch

By R.J. White

With a name only a spelling bee contestant could love, Marc Rzepczynski has flashed stats worthy of fantasy relevance over his last three starts. In his debut at Tampa Bay, he held the Rays to one run on two hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking four. His next start came at Baltimore, where he threw six more solid innings, giving up three runs (one HR) and striking out five. His most recent start came at home against Boston, and Rzepczynski put together another quality start, tossing six innings of one-run ball and striking out four.

Where did he come from? Even though the Blue Jays probably felt Rzepczynski wasn’t ready for the bigs, a ton of injuries to their pitching staff necessitated a callup. Rzepczynski only had two starts in Triple-A before joining Toronto, but he has an excellent minor-league track record. He consistently strikes out over a batter per inning, and he’s actually over a 10 K/9 ratio this season, stellar numbers for a starting pitcher. As his three starts in the majors have indicated, Rzepczynski is going to get you a bunch of Ks in the majors.

Because Rzepczynski is such a groundball pitcher, you don’t have to worry about teams hitting a lot of HRs off him. In 2008, he gave up just two HRs in 121 innings in Single-A and just one HR in 76.2 innings in Double-A in 2009. The only problem he has is the common roadblock young pitchers hit, the high walk rate. He consistently walks over three batters per nine innings, and that rate has jumped in 2009 against better competition. No matter how good your stuff is, you have to keep the walks down in order to have success in the majors.

I wouldn’t recommend you a guy unless I felt he could help your team. I picked Rzepczynski up myself in my main league, as I feel he’ll hold the HRs allowed down and give me enough strikeouts that he’ll make an impact for me the rest of the way. Care to share your thoughts about Rzepczynski? Use the link to the Article Discussion thread below.

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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