Archive for May 15th, 2011

Sunday: 05.15.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 7 Monday-Friday

The week started off brilliantly with a pair of shutout performances from Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson.  In fact through Tuesday, which included three starters for the first time on any given day, the five starters posted a 2.09 ERA across 34 innings.  Then the week kind of came unhinged.  Chris Narveson and Ryan Dempster delivered strong starts, but four flameouts and three rainouts derailed what was lining up to be a great week.

I told y’all I felt dirty recommending a no strikeout guy like Kevin Correia.  I should’ve just stuck to the original plan with Jake Arrieta.  The rainouts have been the real killers, giving those of us employing this strategy less margin for error and fewer chances for a gem.

The results to date have been pretty strong, though and the three hold listers who have emerged are proving to be legitimate assets worth relying on regardless of matchup and venue.  No one joining the list this week, but let’s look at this week’s options for spot starts.


Edwin Jackson (CHW v. TEX) – I still believe.  Looking through his eight start gamelog, he really has just the two poor starts at Detroit and New York.  The Rangers are a challenge, but I don’t think Jackson’s is a flimsy skill set that needs to be protected against anything but the weakest of opponents.  He still has high strikeout potential meanwhile his control has held strong at 3.4 BB/9.

Joel Pineiro (LAA @ OAK) – The ERA isn’t going to hold at 1.33, but his pinpoint control, hyper-groundball profile can deliver a 3.50-3.75 ERA, seven innings at a time.  I wouldn’t mess with him too often in innings cap leagues because of his meager strikeout rate, but he is an overlooked asset with legitimate value in the right league type.


Rick Porcello (DET v. TOR) – He’d better just throw four wide to Jose Bautista and move on.  After allowing 10 runs in 10 innings in his first two starts, he has allowed just seven in the next 32 innings across five starts (1.99 ERA) with a passable 5.9 K/9.  More importantly, he has a 3.0 K/BB walking just seven.  His walk and groundball rates have held from last year while he has added more than a full strikeout per game to his rate.  A 3.65 xFIP and 3.76 FIP suggest that his 3.67 ERA is completely legitimate.  Buy with confidence.

Jordan Zimmermann (WAS v. PIT) – His ownership rates are a lot lower than I expected, including just 70% at CBS, so he gets a nod this week, though I suspect his 11 K outing will pump his rates back up.  I recommend picking up and holding him where available as his strikeout ability is starting to shine through after a bit of a lull to start the season.  He is still coming off of a major injury so I would expect him to continue getting better as the season wears on.  He has a 3.44 ERA in 18 innings over three starts in May with 21 strikeouts and six walks.  Buy NOW!


Jason Vargas (SEA v. MIN) – Vargas has a somewhat Porcellian profile with his moderate strikeout rate and big time control, but he lags behind a bit in groundball rate (43% to Porcello’s 49%).  Vargas has a very favorable home park and strong defense supporting him, too.  Throw in a matchup against the only offense as bad as or perhaps worse than Seattle’s and it is a nice opportunity to start him.

Bartolo Colon (NYY @ BAL) – He is a borderline Hold List candidate with an excellent 8.5 strikeout rate and even more appealing 4.1 K/BB rate, but the 1.5 HR/9 is a bit worrisome.  His LOB% rate at 77% is bit higher than average (72%) and if that comes down it could be in the form of three-run homers.  That said, I am happy to trust him start to start right as the 38-year old looks like a completely new man (or man and a half… didn’t think I’d get a fat joke in, didjya?).


Tyson Ross (OAK v. MIN) – After a shaky first start (3 ER in 4.3 IP), he really settled in with a 1.69 ERA in the four starts since.  Oddly enough the first start was against the easiest competition (Mariners) while the four since have come against a range of competition, all reasonably viable (Angels, Indians, Royals and White Sox).  The performance has been supported by a 3.6 K/BB which has included a usable 6.0 K/9.

Chris Narveson (MIL @ SD) – Narveson has served us well multiple times this year and now he gets a trip to San Diego.  Sign me up.


Brad Penny (DET @ PIT) – Penny has 1 BB in last 20 IP and he’s carrying a career high 54% GB thus far.  He’s another super-low strikeout guy (and he’s facing the one I regretted trusting last time in Correia), but the difference is that I have seen every single one of Penny’s starts and I had only seen Correia throw once this year.  All that really means is I can more confidently back him as I have seen why he is succeeding in spite of the strikeouts.  It still isn’t a profile I love by any stretch, but he is getting the job done despite the lack of whiffs.  I wouldn’t use Penny, even for a spot start, in an innings cap or K/9 league, but he is worth trotting out against a weak opponent everywhere else.

Ryan Vogelsong (SF v. OAK) – The guy hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 before this year yet he is toting a 2.36 ERA 27 innings into his comeback.  I guess it’s more of a “come” since he isn’t really coming back to anything having never really enjoyed much success in the early 2000s.  It’s a small sample, but the skills profile (8.1 K/9, 3.0 K/BB) definitely supports his early success.  He won’t maintain his 83% LOB% or .240 BABIP, but that just means he won’t be a sub-3.00 ERA pitcher.  It doesn’t mean he can’t be a sub-4.00 pitcher.

Weekend picks later this week…