How frustrating is it in fantasy baseball leagues when you’re competing for a championship, and all of a sudden one of your starting pitchers is out for the year, not with any type of injury, but because that player’s team has decided to shut the player down for the remainder of the year? Sadly, it’s a necessary evil as organizations manage the workloads of their prized possessions. It’s going to happen again in 2011, but to whom?
After combining players’ IP totals in the minors and majors from 2010 and 2011, I’ve come up with a list of 35 players who have already exceeded their 2010 innings count this season. Among that list are several shut-down candidates. We’ll discuss who could be (and who likely won’t be) shut down in the coming weeks in a second. First, the list:
Not likely to be shut down
Anybody making starts for a potential playoff team is likely to keep getting the rock every fifth day. That includes Alexi Ogando, who would likely have an innings cap if the Rangers weren’t looking to repeat as AL champions.
Players that have a history of full major-league seasons are also unlikely to see their workload curbed. So even though the Royals have no shot at the playoffs, they aren’t going to put an innings cap on Jeff Francis (not that it matters to 99% of you out there).
Potential shut-down candidates
1. Jordan Zimmermann, WAS. Scratch “potential” off this one, as it’s a known fact that Zimmermann is working with a 160 IP limit this year. He likely has two starts left, so begin eying the waiver wire and figuring out who you want to cut him for. If a quality guy is already available, I’d make the switch now.
2. Michael Pineda, SEA. The electric rookie has endured a poor second-half of the season and has now entered uncharted territory with regards to his workload. The Mariners have already pushed starts back to limit his total innings, but there’s no benefit to letting him pitch all the way through the end of the season either. He could see another 3-4 starts or so and then call it a season.
3. Tim Stauffer, SD. Stauffer was rocked two starts ago and may be beginning to wear down in his first full MLB season as a starter. His previous career high in innings is 168, but that came all the way back in 2004. The last time he topped 120 innings in a year was in 2007. With the Padres playing for pride at this point, it wouldn’t surprise to see Stauffer’s season end a little prematurely.
4. Brandon McCarthy, OAK. He may be less of a shut-down candidate with 56 career starts to his credit heading into 2011, but McCarthy has seemingly played through injuries all year. He suffered a knee injury two starts ago when he was struck by a batted ball, but he made his next start anyway. The A’s should surely be thinking about resting the quality pitcher before something worse happens.
5. Danny Duffy, KC. Duffy saw 126.2 innings back in 2009, a total he just surpassed in his last start. However, his 24 starts this year are ten more than he made last season, and as a quality prospect he is likely to be handled with kid gloves by the organization.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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