SleepersAugust 24, 2009

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Sleeper Watch

By R.J. White

From goat back to great, thus is the story of John Smoltz circa 2009. Anyone that had Smoltz on their team for his work in Boston would tell you the 42-year-old pitcher was just awful after he compiled a 2-5 record, 8.32 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. I myself was suckered in, pointing to his excellent K/BB ratio (he allowed no more than one walk in seven of his eight Boston starts). Boston cut ties with the former World Series MVP, and the Cardinals, like so many fantasy owners this season, decided to hop on the Smoltz Express.

And suddenly, this story took a turn for the better.

On Sunday, John Smoltz was flawless in his first start with St. Louis, pitching five shutout innings, striking out nine and walking none while allowing three hits. At one point, he struck out seven consecutive Padres. Now granted, you could probably strike out back-to-back Padres (unless you’re reading this article, Mr. Lannan), but seven in a row is impressive regardless of the opponent.

Pitching in the NL Central, Smoltz should be owned in most mixed leagues at this point. He’s got a home start against Washington and a road start against the Pirates coming up in the next few weeks. He’ll definitely be a source of Ks as you make your late-season push, and against weaker competition he should be able to reign in the hits and post a good WHIP, possibly leading to a good ERA and a better record.

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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