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.