Hey gang, it’s mid-April and I’m back for more. Because it’s so early, there aren’t too many statistics to pore over. Furthermore, the more stock you put in early season break outs (Edgar Renteria, Jose Bautista, Scott Rolen) the more likely it is you’ve dropped a quality starter who will be solid for someone else’s team. As many have said before me, patience is key this time of year. Let your team play and start the guys you paid for knowing the moment they ride the pine, they’ll hit two homers in a game. That being said, there are usually some guys you paid a hefty amount that are making you pull your hair out. Let’s look at pitchers and see which expensive follicle removers are doing the most damage.
Jason Frasor, Mike Gonzalez, Frank Francisco? Raise your hands. Now, whoever is raising your hand can leave the room. Are they gone? Good. Most of me wants to drop all of these characters for this year’s Emilio Bonifacio, but cease, desist and let it ride. The saves will come, although I’m rather leery of Frasor at this point.
Ricky Nolasco (Marlins)
There’s a pattern with this gentleman. He’s terrible to begin the year. Maybe we should count spring stats, or finally acknowledge he’s the pitching equivalent of Adam Laroche. I for one will be attempting to trade for him at the beginning of May. Then again, like Dave Bush before him, perhaps this is a guy that fantasy writers love to write about too much. Perhaps he’s not unlucky, just a mediocre pitcher with a bizarre statistical make up. Perhaps he is the victim of poor defense. There are too many perhapses to make me comfortable. Either way, as an owner of Nolasco you should hold tight and remember the season is about 6 months long. We’re barely two weeks into the long march.
Clayton Kershaw/Chad Billingsley (Dodgers)
I know, you’re a little surprised. Bear with me here, as Kershaw has 11 walks in 10 innings. And he’s a strike out pitcher. So you’re looking at a guy who can get you deep into games…if 5 innings is deep. See if you can flip him for a good power hitter as I don’t really buy him as a number 2 starter this year. Meanwhile, Billingsley goes into every year looking like he’s going to turn the corner and become a real ace. In reality he’s a guy who gives up too many hits and walks just enough guys to make him obnoxious to own. The numbers will be good at the end of the season, but watching him get there will be painful. I advise trying to trade for him if Billingsley’s owner has already grown tired of his antics.
Ervin Santana (Angels)
I really thought he might come back as 2008 Ervin, striking out 200 bros and…nope. He still doesn’t look like he’s all there, and he almost looks, well, like 2009 or 2007 Ervin. Yes, I believe he had an aberration of a season. The mistake you make is in holding onto him. I dropped him outright in one of my leagues for someone I will be mentioning later in this piece. Chances are you either plucked him off waivers or got him in the last rounds of your draft, so no harm there. You could wait until his next outing to drop him, but if you need to grab someone off waivers you could make a case for the lesser Santana.
- Statistical Astronauts
Kevin Gregg, Neftali Perez, Jim Johnson and Jensen Lewis should all be owned. Everyone besides Lewis will be accruing saves for the next week or so. Lewis is a speculative grab in case Chris Perez continues to walk entire line-ups in during the ninth. Other middle relievers I adore for WHIP and K/rate potential: Jeremy Affeldt (SFG), Sean Marshall (CHC) and Takashi Saito (Atl).
Justin Masterson (Indians)
As I mentioned, when dropping Ervin I grabbed this guy. A lot of my league-mates snickered, but I really believe a guy with an exceptional K-rate (9.0 in this young season) and ground ball tendencies can excel in the majors. Lincecum he is not, but round one talent ain’t available on your waivers. However, he will be given every chance to succeed and last night he struck out nine Rangers while giving up two earned runs. I’m buying.
Clayton Richard (Padres)
On any other team, Richard would be a middle innings guy. On the Padres, he is a cheap and wonderful commodity. He is also entirely interchangable with other members of the Padres staff. If Tim Stauffer is filling in for Chris Young, plug and play him. If Vincent Padilla were pitching for the Padres, I would slot him in at Petco. If Tony Danza came down from the stands to pitch, he would throw 5 innings of shutout ball and I would put a waiver claim on him. That’s how crazy I am about these Padres.
Ricky Romero (Blue Jays)
If he’s still available in your league, please find your league page and pick him up immediately. Do what has to be done. I watched his near-no-hit masterpiece the other night, and boy howdy was he hitting his spots tight. He showed flashes of great control last year but was side-lined due to injury. I really don’t think this is a fluky performance, hence my dismay when I found Romero gone in all three of my leagues. Be as grabby as possible.
Residing in Chicago with my ever-patient wife, I live a quiet life of grad school, two jobs, and writing with a little music mixed in. I particularly enjoy when one of my pitchers gives up a homer to one of my hitters. Jones!
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