StrategyApril 22, 2011

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Roto Medic: A Hughes Problem - 3 comments

By Kim Bhasin

Chase Utley’s running again!  Rejoice as timidly as you can.  The Phillies have stayed quiet throughout the process, but it appears that he’s at least making some progress.  Kendrys Morales also found his stride, jogging the outfield grass last Saturday.  Evan Longoria’s recovery is going as planned and he should be back within two or three weeks, while Josh Hamilton continues to sit, brooding over his head-first slide into home that’s costing him two months of the 2011 season.  Ryan Zimmerman will eligible for reactivation on Sunday, but he’s unlikely to be ready by then.

Fantasy baseball’s best arms are holding up well though — at least physically.  Ubaldo Jimenez made his return to the Rockies rotation, but it wasn’t a triumphant one, allowing six hits and four runs in five innings en route to a loss against Giants.  Zach Greinke made his first minor-league rehab start on Tuesday, and if everything goes as planned he should be making his big debut for the Brew Crew in early May.

Meanwhile, the mysterious dead arm syndrome has struck again:

Phil Hughes – (15-day DL – dead arm)

Continuing the legacy of the recent end-of-the-rotation Yankees starters before him, Hughes was put on 15-day DL for a “dead arm,” and fortunately he took his 13.94 ERA with him.  He has started pitching bullpen sessions again and will get some rehab starts in the minors to get a gauge on his velocity before he returns to the bigs.  But the Yankees haven’t put forth a timetable for Hughes, which suggests that they’re taking a wait-and-see approach with Hughes’ arm.  Bartolo Colon has taken the fifth slot in the Yanks rotation, and they have their Kevin Millwood and Carlos Silva darts to throw at the board if that doesn’t work out.  What’s going to happen to Hughes?  Here’s the thing: for us, it doesn’t matter.

If you haven’t done it yet, it’s time to drop Hughes.  Even if he can recover his velocity in the next month, he’s not worth the hassle.  He’s already dropped to 50% ownership, but that’s still far too high.  There’s no reason to keep this guy on your squad after his horrendous second half of 2010 and his present shoulder problems.  If you’ve missed the Kyle Drabek (63% owned) gold rush, head over to the waiver wire and grab one of these guys:

  • Wade Davis (16% owned) – Davis has been overshadowed by rookie rotation-mate Jeremy Hellickson’s hype this year, but the kid has quietly been putting together a great April, with a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts.  The downside? He’s fanned just 10 batters in 26.1 innings.  Still, he deserves a shot on fantasy staffs that have the bench space for him.
  • Clayton Richard (30% owned) – Richard had logged two great outings before getting shelled by the Astros for six runs and getting the hook after 75 pitches.  The bright side is that his control’s looked good so far this year, with five walks in his three starts (a fourth start was cut after the fisst inning by rain), and even as the ‘Stros thrashed him he kept his cool.  When you pitch half your games at cavernous PETCO Park, just keep throwing strikes and good things will happen.
  • Kevin Correia (22% owned) – As with most of their annual off-season signings, the Pirates grabbed Correia under the radar — and cheap. He’s come out blazing in his first five starts, most recently going the full nine and shutting down the Reds in Cincy.  Roto-peeps, you’ve got to plug that thing in before it cools off, regardless of whether you need a Hughes replacement or not.

Other mixed league options: Brandon McCarthy (7% owned), Brian Duensing (19% owned), R.A. Dickey (23% owned), Brandon Beachy (18% owned).

Deep league potshot: Dustin Moseley (3% owned).

Victor Martinez – (15-day DL – strained groin)

Glad you drafted Buster Posey or Brian McCann now, aren’t you?  V-Mart tweaked his groin Saturday and hit the DL after aggravating it Monday.  The Tigers are sure to exercise as much caution as possible with their newest masher, since groin injuries have a nasty habit of lingering, and lingering, and lingering (ask Chipper Jones).

We covered waiver wire catchers last week due to Joe Mauer’s leg weakness, but the landscape has changed a bit since then.  The Mauer injury prompted raids into the depths of the catcher list: Nick Hundley went from 25% to 60% owned, and Alex Avila from 23% to 32%. With that pair gone, none of the catchers remaining down here will make much of an impact.  You just have a find a body that won’t hurt you for a couple weeks. Let’s take a look at what’s left in the bucket:

  • Chris Iannetta (15% owned) – A slow, K-heavy couple weeks has left Iannetta under-owned.  He’s as streaky as ever, but you can squeeze some numbers out of him while V-Mart recovers.  He has the highest upside for the rest of the season for any of the catchers this deep on the wire and in the majors right now.
  • Yadier Molina (18% owned) – If only he could translate that laser, rocket arm into laser, rocket liners.  Molina whipped out a four-hit game earlier this week, but there’s no upside here.  The annual go-to desperation stopgap is a reasonable filler; just don’t expect anything more.
  • Ramon Hernandez (8% owned) – Alright, this is a stretch.  Hernandez is splitting time with Ryan Hanigan in Cincinnati, which severely hurts whatever upside either of them may have.  He’s been hitting well enough (.324) not to hurt you with his half-load of at-bats, which is better than nothing.  The cupboard’s bare, but if you’d rather go with a full-timer, A.J. Pierzynski’s your only other option.

Other mixed league options: Miguel Olivo (7% owned), AJ Pierzynski (14% owned), John Jaso (14% owned).

Deep league potshot: Chris Snyder (2% owned).

Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at while attending NYU as a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting. Catch up with him at the Cafe as Kim Bhasin, and follow him on Twitter (@KimBhasin).
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3 Responses to “Roto Medic: A Hughes Problem”

  1. User avatar MashinSpuds says:

    Is Hughes really that dumpable? I hate the mystery of it but a guy on a rather strong offensive team who can hover around a 4.00 ERA with 150 or so K’s is decent enough to wait and see on. If space is tight a decision must be made, but if you’ve got the room I’d wait and see. He could shake it off and be solid for the year.

    I suppose one’s big decision is based primarily on if you believe it is ‘dead arm’ or something else.

  2. Kim Bhasin says:

    What we don’t know about Hughes is what exactly is wrong with his arm, and whether he can fix it. Loss of velocity means there’s some sort of problem or instability in his shoulder.

    There’s never a timetable for a “dead arm” situation. Hopefully for Hughes and the Yankees he’ll hop into a minor league start and be throwing 94 in the third inning, but how likely is that? He hasn’t been quite right throughout the Spring, and one concern was the 170+ innings he pitched last year, the highest workload he’s ever had. He hasn’t put out a sub-4.00 ERA month since last May.

    I just think it’s not worth the hassle, BUT if you can spare the slot, we’ll know more when he makes a minor league rehab start (for which, of course, there is no timetable).

  3. User avatar BayBear says:

    Interestingly enough, I think your non featured SP options are probably better than the ones that warranted explanation, McCarthy and Duensing in particular. Davis is in the AL East, which means about 30% of his starts you’ll be benching him or holding your breath all game. Correia is a known commodity, he has a long track record to study and it shows he’ll end up being above average in real life (4.50 ERA being what MLB calls avg), but below in make believe due to his lack of K’s. McCarthy, Duensing, and Richard have a lot more upside in my opinion. I am willing to stream all of them though in the right situation, and that’s what’s really important. haha


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