With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010.
You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some widely-available dudes (listed in the order I’d claim them) who can help with the latter and won’t cost much more than a roster spot.
At this point in the season, you’re looking for upside on the mound. Sure Randy Wolf
can give you six innings of three-run ball and four Ks, but how much does that really help you? With that innings limit looming, a 4.20 ERA over 10 starts is tolerable if it comes with 8-plus K/9.
- Jeremy Hellickson (owned in 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues) and Mike Minor (2 percent) were both called up recently, and they have more upside than anyone else on this list. Dave has the details here. Summary: you want them — a lot.
- Daniel Hudson (10 percent) has been sharp (1.59 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) in three turns since the D-backs acquired him in a Deadline deal with the White Sox. Three walks in 22 2/3 innings is very encouraging, and the right-hander should up his K rate (7.3 on the year) by at least a strikeout per nine before all is said and done.
- Anibal Sanchez (29 percent) has been under-owned for most of the season, and especially of late. The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA and a 33/11 K/BB in 32 innings over his last five starts.
- Like Sanchez, Brett Cecil (32 percent) is on a hot streak. The southpaw has whiffed 20 in his last 20 innings and allowed just four runs in that span.
- James McDonald (2 percent) is a former top prospect finally living up to his billing. The right-hander struck out 14 and issued just two free passes in his first 10 2/3 innings with the Pirates. Don’t be surprised if he’s mixed league relevant before the end of the month.
- After posting a 3.64 ERA and a 74/34 K/BB ratio in 12 starts (72 2/3 IP) for the Rockies earlier this season, Jhoulys Chacin (2 percent) didn’t deserve a late July demotion to the Minors. The right-hander will be back in Colorado’s rotation soon and should post plenty of Ks once he gets there.
- September call-up season is just around the corner, so now is prime time for owners in deep leagues to make a preemptive strike. Mariners right-hander Michael Pineda (not yet available in Yahoo! leagues) will probably be the top pitching prospect recalled for the season’s final month. In 126 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this season, the 21-year-old has K’d 137 and walked just 30 en route to a 2.79 ERA. Even four or five Pineda starts will have huge implications in head-to-head leagues and playoff formats.
By Ian Kay
Pencils down, people — he non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed.
Read on for the full rundown.
- This is a major win for Lilly owners. The left-hander has pitched well this season (3.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.8 K/9) but has just 3-8 thanks to the third-worst run support of any NL starter. The Dodgers offense should provide a boost and Dodger Stadium is a much better fit for his flyball tendencies than Wrigley Field. Consider Lilly a top 40 SP the rest of the way.
- Theriot’s value should remain roughly the unchanged as Joe Torre starts him regularly at second base. Extra playing time for Ronnie Belliard or Jamey Carroll could complicate things. The new ballpark is more pitcher-friendly, but a stronger lineup and a more frequent green light on the bases is a plus.
- The 24-year-old DeWitt flashed promising power for a keystone in the Minors but it hasn’t translated to the big leagues yet. While a change of scenery could help, he’s not mixed-league relevant at this point.
Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from Indians for PTBNL:
- Wood loses just about all of his value with the move. He’ll be setting up for Mariano Rivera instead of recording his own saves from here on out.
- Chris Perez is the guy to grab. The 25-year-old converted 11 of 14 save opportunities — including each of his last six — while Wood was on the DL and is now entrenched in the stopper role. Barring further control issues (4.7 K/9), he should be good for at least 10 more saves.
- Dotel is basically in the same situation as Wood. He’ll lose his save opportunities — and almost all of his fantasy value — in L.A.
- Either Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek will now assume the Pirates’ closer role. Meek has better numbers on the year but Hanrahan has closing experience and 10 straight scoreless outings. I’d add Hanrahan first, but we won’t know for sure for at least a couple days.
- McDonald will likely slot into the Pirates rotation. He hasn’t impressed in 53 career Major League games (five starts) but was a highly touted prospect as recently as two years ago. The Minor League numbers — 3.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 — should entice pitching-needy NL-only owners immediately. Don’t be shocked if he gains spot-start usefulness in mixers late this year.