It was the roughest week in a long time for Trolling the Wire as Ervin Santana and Jason Hammel dug a hole (13 ER in 11 IP) the rest of picks couldn’t climb out of by Sunday. The remaining 12 starters from Monday on had a respectable 3.68 ERA, but that gets masked by the Memorial Day thrashings suffered by big Erv and Hammel.
Despite some up and down weeks with ERA and WHIP, I would like to point out that only once has the ground of TtW picks ending the week with a sub-2.0 K/BB rate. Also, the strikeout rate has been 6.2 K/9 or better in all but one week (not the single sub-2.0 week; K rate was 6.2 that week).
Overall, I am pretty happy with the picks given that almost every single one of the 104 selections has been someone available in 50% or more of all leagues across all three of the main fantasy baseball outlets. At times, I pick someone with a higher yet still too low (in my opinion) ownership rate, but I always make sure to note that so everyone understands he may not be available in your particular league.
Let’s see what week 10 holds.
Brian Matusz (BAL v. OAK) – This guy needs to be owned, plain & simple. I don’t care what the format is, I love his talent. He may have some bumps in his first handful of starts back, but if you wait until he’s running completely hot, he won’t be available to pick up.
Scott Baker (MIN @ CLE) – He’s off the hold list for a while because he’s been uneven this year, but I still think he is worthwhile as a spot starter.
Phil Humber (CHW v. SEA) – Hats off to the Mariners for their recent surge, but it’s being driven mostly by their pitching and I’m still not afraid of that lineup in the least. Humber doesn’t miss as many bats as I would like (5.1 K/9), but I love the matchup.
Rubby de la Rosa (LAD @ PHI) – This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but I love the talent this kid has and think he could hit the ground running as a starter. Citizen’s Bank Ballpark is a bit scary, but the Philadelphia Phillies lineup really isn’t. This pick is also a bit of a futures play. If he goes out and dominates, he becomes much harder to acquire him, especially in faster-finger leagues, because he will draw the attention of your leaguemates. So let’s get the jump on this blue-chip prospect.
Gavin Floyd (CHW v. SEA) – A better option than Humber against the same feeble lineup. Sign me up. He’s heavily owned at CBS (88%), but definitely under-owned in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues checking in at 60% and 63%, respectively. Won’t be available for all, but a must-own if he’s on your wire.
Randy Wolf (MIL v. NYM) – Wolf’s composite skills are solid enough, but the home/road split is what sells me on him this week. Home: 2.84 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 32 IP; Road: 4.38 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in 39 IP. He strikes out more on the road, but give me the better rates against a middle of the pack lineup (14th-best OPS in baseball).
Aaron Harang (SD v. WAS) – We knew Petco would be friendly to Harang which is what made him intriguing in the first place this offseason. It has played out that way with a 3.31 home ERA against a 4.84 mark on the road. Take the known advantage of the spacious ballpark and pair it with a great matchup against a bottom five offense.
Jeff Karstens (PIT v. ARI) – Another sharp home/road split to take advantage of here. Karstens is toting a career best strikeout (6.6 K/9) and walk (1.7 BB/9) rates, the latter of which sinks to 1.5 at home. He is over three runs better at home with a 2.21 ERA in 37 innings at PNC Park (5.23 road ERA) and though Arizona is having a great run of late, their road offense is bottom five with 105 runs scored and a paltry .657 OPS.
Charlie Morton (PIT v. NYM) – What does this kid have to do to get some love? He’s been fantastic this year. The strikeout rate is low, there’s no doubt about it, so innings cap leaguers beware if you don’t have a strikeout ace. But beyond that he’s been brilliant and the groundball rate is astronomical which covers that K deficiency nicely.
Weekend picks later this week.