The All-Star break made for a really short week in fact most (all?) head-to-head leagues extend the “week” of play through next Sunday which is the right thing to do because assigning a win or loss on just four days of play would be really weak. If you followed the post-break picks in your league, you are off to a great start as there was really only one bad start out of the seven and even that wasn’t a complete meltdown. It was Doug Fister‘s four runs allowed in seven and two-thirds with just a strikeout. Ted Lilly yielded four runs in just six and two-thirds, but he struck out nine so his start was a bit better. Beyond that, there were several gems to start off the post-break second “half”:
Chris Capuano (NYM v. FLO) – Remember the days when a 4.12 ERA on the waiver wire would be a godsend and an auto-pickup? Ah, the mid-2000s. Now it yields a 91 ERA+ and barely gets a second look, but Capuano has been pretty strong since his rough April during which he posted a 6.04 ERA in 25 innings. Three blowup starts out of 13 since are what keeps him from better overall numbers, well that and the fact that he had to chisel away on a 6.04 in the first place. He has a 3.49 ERA in 77 innings since April 29th with an 8.0 K/9 making worth a look against Florida.
TUESDAY: Let us mourn the loss of Tim Stauffer from waiver wires everywhere as his ownership rate has climbed to 83% in CBS, 74% in ESPN and 62% in Yahoo! leagues. Honestly, that is still too low, but he is on too many teams to be considering for Trolling the Wire until further notice.
Rubby de la Rosa (LAD @ SF) – If you have been reading the content here for a while then you know I am a big fan of this kid. He has thrown 96 total innings this year between AA and MLB compared to 110 last year and while the Dodgers haven’t said much about a potential innings limit, there is speculation that he won’t go much beyond 130-140 especially considering he has made the jump from AA, albeit successfully. That has little bearing on this upcoming start, but if you are in a re-draft league then you might consider flipping de la Rosa as soon as possible. You might find someone willing to bite. In the meantime, enjoy his strikeout per inning and incredible potential.
Aaron Harang (SD @ FLO) – The crafty vet has been great since returning from the disabled list (13 shutout innings) and since his ERA peaked at 5.05 after a disastrous outing in Colorado on May 14th (7 ER in 4.3 IP), Harang has been excellent toting a modest 1.35 ERA in 47 innings with 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 K/BB rates though just a 2-0 record thanks to woefully inept offense “supporting” him. While he is better in Petco Park, he isn’t a Petco-only and thus looks like a nice start in Florida.
Ryan Dempster (CHC v. PHI) – When you enter June with a 6.00 ERA and proceed to damage it further in your first start (6 ER in 5 IP pushing it to 6.32), you can have a lot of good work go unnoticed because of the massive hole that has been dug. That is the case with Dempster. Since that June 3rd start, he has a 1.99 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 45 innings spanning seven starts along with 8.8 K/9 and 3.7 K/BB rates. Dempster is still available in over 50% of ESPN while CBS (83%) and Yahoo! (69%) leagues are more keen to his recent hot streak.
Derek Holland (TEX @ LAA) – Back-to-back shutouts earns you a look even if Holland’s came against the A’s and Mariners. He has allowed just nine hits with 15 strikeouts and three walks against the two offensively-starved teams. The Angels are hardly a powerhouse so let’s ride Holland’s hot streak.
Javier Vazquez (FLO v. SD) – Speaking of a hot streak, Vazquez has been white-hot the last month yet few are noticing as his season ERA is still sitting at a ghastly 5.14 in 103 innings. Alas, he has a 1.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in his last 37 innings since June 16th with 7.1 K/9 and 9.7 (!) K/BB rates. You read right, he has 29 strikeouts and just three walks during his run. This run would earn a look against most teams, but it becomes a no-brainer against the lowly Padres.
Jonathon Niese (NYM v. STL) – He has been a favorite for Trolling appearing five times with mixed results (3.72 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 21 K, 9 BB & 2 W in 29 IP), but he has been really strong the last two months with a 2.83 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.9 K/BB and seven wins in 70 innings (11 starts). He is on teams in 68% of CBS leagues, but just 35% and 13% in Yahoo! and ESPN, respectively.
Cory Luebke (SD @ PHI) – Still undervalued & still dominating. He has been incredible in three July starts for Trolling readers with a 1.89 ERA and 20 Ks in 19 innings and I am going to keep him on this list until he is no longer widely available. Essentially, he has filled the Stauffer role.