This piece is slightly delayed today as I kind of forgot that there would be day games because of the holiday and the fact that they have already started render my Monday pick irrelevant. It is OK because it was/is Brandon McCarthy coming off of the DL and I have learned recently that a lot of people don’t have the stomach or desire to start a guy off of the DL, even the best guys. Upper tier guys (my 1s & 2s) I am starting without question and I go with the gut on everyone else often leaning toward starting him.
As for the week 13 results, it was another big week for Trolling. Back in week 11, a season low ERA and WHIP of 2.45 and 1.08 were set along with a new of 4.7 K/BB as 11 pitchers (pure coincidence) put together 70 very strong innings, though the quality only work netted four wins.
We nearly saw all three records bested in week 13 as 13 starters (another coincidence) combined for 90 innings with a 2.51 ERA, 0.95 WHIP (!) and 4.9 K/BB. A new weekly high of eight wins was also reached by the group.
Unfortunately we lost Brandon Beachy, as I suspected we might, because his ownership rates shot up after a strong week in his return from the disabled list. We still have several of the week 13 performers available in a lot of leagues, though, so expect to see them again.
Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. SEA) – It’s been about a month and a half since we have seen McCarthy (May 18th), but eases back into thing with a start against Seattle at home. I would like to see more than is 5.2 K/9, but the 1.4 BB/9 helps make up for it.
Carlos Carrasco (CLE v. NYY) – He went into New York back on June 13th and threw seven shutout innings allowing five hits, walking three and striking out seven in a huge 1-0 win. That was the second start of a streak during which he has been amazing with a 0.98 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 5.6 K/BB in 37 innings (4-1 record). He is still available in a decent number of leagues, but the streak has definitely upper his reputation. I have included four options for Tuesday because both he and our next guy are starting to finally get some respect and they may not be around in your league anymore.
Tim Stauffer (SD @ SF) – Two of the NL’s least supported starters go toe-to-toe in a game that might be 0-0 for 15 innings before someone can finally plate a run. Stauffer and his opponent, Matt Cain, are among the bottom 15 in run support in the NL. Stauffer is getting a barrage runs at 5.2 compared to Cain’s 4.7.
Felipe Paulino (KC @ CWS) – Paulino was placed in rotation on June 1st shortly after joining the Royals (he had one relief appearance) and he has been great for them posting a 3.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 38 innings spanning six starts. He has a healthy 7.8 K/9 rate along with some nice command that has yielded a 3.3 K/BB rate. I don’t know why Colorado insisted on making him a reliever as he is the rare pitcher who is significantly better in the rotation as opposed to the short bullpen stints. For his career he has a 9.15 ERA in 32 relief appearances compared to a 4.87 ERA in 40 starts. He has a huge arm (career 95.4 MPH fastball never going below 95.1 in any of his four seasons) and I am interested to see how he does if the Royals just leave him in the rotation the rest of the way, even if he hits a roadbump here and there.
Edinson Volquez (CIN @ STL) – A strikeout per inning is always nice from a starter, but a walk every other inning isn’t quite so nice. He is a ridiculously talented arm, but he just needs to get his command in order before he will ever get back to his 2008 season or better. I like him in a spot start situation, especially if you need strikeouts. If you have a spot where you can stash him in hopes that he irons things out, I might consider it.
Jason Vargas (SEA @ OAK) – Four of the five Seattle starters are among the bottom 14 in run support this year. And Erik Bedard isn’t exactly flush with runs as he is still in the bottom 30. Vargas is getting just 5.0 runs which puts him 14th. Of course when spot starting, we aren’t chasing wins, we are chasing quality innings and Vargas can deliver those in spades as evidenced by his three shutouts. I didn’t buy into him after last year, but he has proven me wrong by improving or matching all of his key metrics again this year including a modest jump in Ks to a more palatable 6.0 K/9. How is he owned in 23% of ESPN leagues?
Edwin Jackson (CWS v. KC) – After a solid June (2.81 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), he was a bit wobbly in his first start of July (4 ER in 6 IP v. the Cubs), but he is a nice strikeout arm who doesn’t get the credit he deserves in my estimation. His season numbers are weighed down by a pair of starts during which he gave up 13 ER in 10 IP to end April. Since May he has a 3.36 ERA in 64 innings.
Bartolo Colon (NYY v. TB) – He is still heavily owned in CBS leagues (84%), but just 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues so for we can take advantage. I suspect another big start (he threw six shutout innings on Saturday) will push his rates up higher at the other two outlets and may take him out of Trolling consideration.
Cory Luebke (SD @ SF) – His numbers are essentially built on some great bullpen work as he has only had two starts, but those two starts have yielded 11 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and just five baserunners. Throw in the Petco bonus and he is a must-own in just about any format right now.
Doug Fister (SEA @ LAA) – He is the least supported of the Mariners discussed earlier and not only that, but he is also the least support starting pitcher in baseball by a significant margin. His 3.2 runs/game trails Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm by 0.4 so despite a 3.02 ERA and even better 3.1 K/BB rate, he is 3-9. He hasn’t won since May 30th despite posting a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings in five June starts and one July start. Wow.
James McDonald (PIT v. CHC) – He is my NL version of Edwin Jackson. His April was even worse as he needed six shutout innings on April 27th to finish the month with a 7.66 ERA. Since then he has a 3.21 ERA and 7.9 K/9. However, it’s not all rainbows & unicorns for McDonald as his WHIP has been an issue due mostly to walks. He has walked 3+ five of his last six yielding a 24 to 21 strikeout-to-walk count during that time. That is why, for now, he remains simply a spot starter. The Cubs aren’t exactly imposing so McDonald should be able to survive.