Archive for ‘Trolling the Wire’

Wednesday: 09.7.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 23

The selective approach to last week’s Trolling picks paid off for us as the 10 starters logged a healthy 2.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 3.5 K/BB rate.  That isn’t to say I wasn’t aiming for precision with my in-season picks, but the risk threshold has definitely been tightened as we wind the season down because there is less time to come back from implosions.

Monday was the holiday and then I couldn’t get it done before Tuesday & Wednesday day games because of the day job so here are picks for Thursday-Saturday.  Apologies for those of you who needed M-T-W picks.  I’m already working on Week 24 so I have it ready to go right away this weekend along with some Sunday picks on Friday or Saturday of this week.


Ivan Nova (NYY @ BAL) – Three straight 7 inning starts in which he allowed just five runs (2.14 ERA) and netted three wins.  In fact, he has won eight straight starts only one of which was anything close to bad (7 ER in 5.3 IP at KC).

Mike Minor (ATL @ NYM) – He carries some risk as he has been a bit inconsistent mixing in a few 4-5 ER starts in with really good ones.  The one constant has been his strikeout rate (8.6 K/9) so if that is a need for your team, he is an auto-start.

Cory Luebke (SD @ ARI) – I have been a fan of his all year, but there may be more risk than you want to take on if you’re protecting ratios.  Two things working against him are that his two starts against Arizona haven’t been very good (7 ER in 11 IP) and his last two starts (one of which was an Arizona start) haven’t been great (8 ER in 10 IP) and some speculate he may be hitting a wall.  I’ll stand firm as the strikeouts remain strong and I think it is more of a bump in the road than something due to fatigue.



Bud Norris (HOU @ WAS) – He is a perfect spot starter with an ERA nearly a full lower against the bottom feeders (3.44 against sub-.500 teams; 4.37 against better than .500 teams).  His strikeout rate of nearly one per inning remains enticing, too.



Edwin Jackson (STL v. ATL) – He has a 3.44 ERA with the Cardinals despite the 8 ER beatdown in Milwaukee in his second start with the ballclub.

Anibal Sanchez (FLO @ PIT) – Appears to be improving over his last four and opponent like the Pirates is a great opportunity to stay hot.


Monday: 08.29.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 22

Despite just four wins in 11 starts, the picks from last week went well.  All but three went 6+ innings and of the ones who didn’t, two didn’t allow any runs and the third won his game and struck out six batters.  In case you missed last week’s picks, I mentioned that as we approach starts and innings limits in leagues these picks will become more selective.

Obviously some teams are protecting ERA and WHIP and while it is hard to move them much this late in the year, one risky blowup can be costly.  Sure it is costly to have an 8 ER, 2 IP outing in June, too, but you have three-plus months to fix it.  Not only are we running out of time, but moving the needle on these rate stats is tough unless your league’s standings are incredibly tight.

If I do make any riskier than usual picks, I will make sure they are denoted so you can assess it based on your league and your standings.  I have one in mind which is why I even make this point in the first place.


Doug Fister (DET v. KC) – If you are in a fierce strikeouts race, I would pass on this one, but otherwise he has been golden since joining the Tigers.  Or maybe not.  He has notched 17 strikeouts in his last three starts (19.7 innings).  I still wouldn’t blindly trust a three start stretch over the rest of his career which shows him as a pitch to contact, control artist.  If you are looking for solid rates and a solid win potential, then make the move for Fister.

Javier Vazquez (FLO @ NYM) – If you are in a fierce strikeouts race, I would pounce on this one, but otherwise Vazquez has been an ERA and WHIP asset with wins in short supply as a part of the pathetic Marlins.  He has a 3.00 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP in 33 August innings.


Programming Note: This has nothing to do with spot starter picks, but Felix Hernandez and Dan Haren are going toe-to-toe in Seattle on Wednesday and it should be a great watch.

Ted Lilly (LAD v. SD) – He’s been on fire of late, especially in August (2.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP in 33 IP) so let’s ride the hot hand against a weak team.

Josh Collmenter (ARI v. COL) – I didn’t believe at first, but then he started missing some bats and the success was a lot more believable.  He has had some misses just as any pitcher will, but otherwise he has become a reliable mid-rotation arm.


Jacob Turner (DET v. KC) – This would be the risky selection for the week.  It’s a boom or bust pick, but the boom would include everything: strikeouts, 6-7 innings and a chance at a win.  It is merely his second MLB start so this pick isn’t for the faint of heart or the teams with tenuous holds on their ERA & WHIP spots.

Chien-Ming Wang (WAS @ ATL) – Some may find this one risky, but I think it’s a WYSIWYG type of pick.  He won’t strike many batters out, but he can help your ratios.


PASS – some potentials like Ivan Nova, Ross Detwiler & Aaron Harang, but all too risky for September


Mike Minor (ATL v. LAD) – I’m riding this train the rest of the way out.  The win and strikeout potential combined with the ratio floor not being too low is worth rolling out throughout September.  The only downside in this particular start is that it is against Clayton Kershaw which limits the win potential a bit.

Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. SEA) – Solid arm with a few bumps in the road, but up against a weak opponent at a friendly home park.

Anibal Sanchez (FLO v. PHI) – Another risk pick in addition to Turner.  His talent is immense, but he has struggled mightily since the break (5.05 ERA) despite a strikeout per inning and a 4.6 K/BB in 46 innings.


Kevin Slowey (MIN @ LAA) – Close out the week with one more riskbox.  I am a huge Slowey fan, but he has slowly (no pun intended… OK, it kinda was) worked his way back having only returned on August 19th.  The Yankees and Orioles knocked him around, but he dominated the White Sox.  The Angels don’t really scare me as an opponent, but with Slowey working out the kinks there is inherent risk with this start.  If you’re desperate in the final day of your H2H league, go for it.

Other Sunday Hail Marys for H2H Only – Randy Wells, Erik Bedard, Edwin Jackson and Freddy Garcia.  I would only recommend these guys if you need to make up ground in the last day of your H2H match.  Bedard and Jackson are Trolling regulars, but they have tough matchups which is why they are listed here instead of regular recommendations. 

I’ve got the top 10 pitchers of the 2012 top 15 left and another piece on starting pitchers near completion for later this week.

Friday: 08.26.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 21 Weekend

Some pitchers worth streaming into your lineup during the weekend:


Erik Bedard (BOS v. OAK) – Hurricane Irene could wash this game out, but I liked him in Texas earlier this week so at home against Oakland is a no-brainer.

Ross Detwiler (WAS @ CIN) – Consider this one more for the risky types.  He’s been great so far this year and I really like him, but he is going into Cincinnati so if you’re protecting ERA and WHIP, then pass.  However, if you’re desperate and don’t mind a solid gamble, then proceed.


Bud Norris (HOU @ SF) – Strikeout pitcher gets the Giants in AT&T Park, auto-start.

Cory Luebke (SD @ ARI) – His ownership rates have finally ticked up, but snap him up anywhere he is available.  I won’t count this on the overall results because his ownership is pretty high, but not high enough in my opinion.

Monday: 08.22.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 21 Monday-Friday

Trolling the Wire is back!  As we head down the stretch, inning caps and start caps are likely on the horizon for anyone who has been spot starting for most or at least significant parts of the season.  With that in mind, the Trolling picks the rest of the way will be more focused.  There will be less risk taking and the composite skills profile will be a bigger consideration instead of making significant tradeoffs (high strikeout guy with a less than stable skillset elsewhere).

Here are the week 18 results, which were an absolute abomination by the way:


Erik Bedard (BOS @ TEX) – Texas remains a bit of a lion’s den, so this certainly doesn’t seem like a risk-averse pick, but Bedard has displayed strong skills there despite poor rates.  I would rather better on skills along with an increased chance for a win with the Boston lineup and defense than worry about an inflated ERA in a 26-inning sample.  (ESPN-52%, Y!-47%, CBS-86%)


Bartolo Colon (NYY v. OAK) – He has dominated the lowly A’s this year.  (E-44%, Y-46%, C-83%)

Mike Minor (ATL @ CHC) – Better late than never, right?  I pegged Minor for a big 2011 season, but I didn’t factor in his losing the 5th-starter job to Brandon Beachy, who ran with his opportunity.  Minor has looked strong in his return to the majors, especially with the strikeouts.  (E-3%, Y-9%, C-41%)


Tim Stauffer (SD @ SF) – The Giants lineup has been one to pick on all year even with pitchers far lesser than Stauffer.  (E-33%, Y-53%, C-76%)

Javier Vazquez (FLO v. CIN) – The Reds aren’t complete pushovers, but Vazquez has been dominant the last two months with a 2.45 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 70 innings.  His composite numbers look bad because of the horrid start, but he has been his 2009-self for a legitimate portion of the season.  (E-33%, Y-53%, C-76%)


Edwin Jackson (STL v. PIT) – He has a 4.45 ERA with the Cardinals, but it is almost entirely due to the sacrificial lamb outing in Milwaukee when he was left out there to take one for the team and gave up eight earned runs.  Apart from that start, he has a 2.88 ERA in four other starts.  I like him against the Pirates.  (E-24%, Y-44%, C-76%)


Ted Lilly (LAD v. COL) – It has taken him much longer than I anticipated, but he has finally had a nice stretch of starts commensurate with his skills (2.45 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in 26 Aug. IP).  Home runs have been his issue all year and throughout a lot of his career to be honest so if this game was in Colorado, I’d pass, but in Chavez-Ravine I like it.  (E-45%, Y-52%, C-58%)

Josh Collmenter (ARI v. SD) – Twice this season he had back-to-back ugly starts and both times he bounced back with a string of nice starts.  He was smashed to close out July and again on August 5th, but he has rebounded with two nice starts and I like him for a third this week.  (E-21%, Y-32%, C-43%)

Weekend picks later this week.


Sunday: 07.31.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 18 Monday-Friday

With the trade deadline week as well as end of quarter at my day job, I was hyper-busy and didn’t get a chance to put out any weekend spot starters.  I didn’t want to rush some poor picks and end up burning people.  If the picks are going to be poor, then I want them to be thoroughly researched so I can at least stand behind them confidently.

Let’s take a look at how the last two weeks have gone for the spot starter picks:

There was a nice stretch there last weekend to close out week 16, but the damage was done as Dempster, Holland and Vazquez gave up a combined 18 runs in 13 innings.  The only silver lining to my worst week of the season from an ERA & WHIP standpoint is that the picks struck out 7.9 batters per game, the highest mark since week 11 when the picks had the same rate.  It’s better than nothing, but that’s perfume on a turd, the week still stunk.

Week 17, with just seven picks, ended up pretty strong everywhere but strikeouts so it was sort of a mirror image of week 16.  The week could have been quite exceptional had Collmenter not imploded to cap off the shortened week.  For the season, I am still quite happy with the results of 3.65 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 and 2.5 K/BB rates.

Let’s take a look at week 18…

(remember, these are ranked in order of preference on each day so if you only have one spot then pick the first guy listed if you want who I am most confident in.)


Cory Luebke (SD v. LAD) – Back-to-back losses aren’t dissuading from this bandwagon, especially at home.  Strikeouts remain elite (30 K in 30 IP during July) and he doesn’t walk anyone either (6.0 K/BB in July).

Bud Norris (HOU v. CIN) – After being snapped up from most waiver wires earlier in the season, he is now appearing in free agent pools despite his 8.9 K/9 and 3.39 ERA.  What is the problem exactly?  Buy.

Paul Maholm (PIT v. CHC) – He is a low strikeout guy for the year (5.9 K/9), but had two 8 K outings in July.  Rates have been strong and Cubs are hardly imposing.

Blake Beavan (SEA v. OAK) – Pass if you are in dire need of strikeouts and/or have an innings cap (4.1 K/9).


John Danks (CHW v. NYY) – Been excellent in 2 starts since DL return; even more brilliant since a 4 IP/9 ER outing to close out May: 0.98 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 & 5.0 K/BB in 37 IP.  Always dangerous to go against NYY, but this is more about picking up and holding Danks the rest of the way (E-53%, Y!-51%, C-81%) than it is this one start.

Rich Harden (OAK @ SEA) – Only rough outing has come in Texas (unsurprisingly) and he’s allowed 3, 2, 2 & 2 in rest of his starts.  Outside of last year with Texas, he’s been great when healthy and this year is no different (9.2 K/9, 3.0 K/BB).

WEDNESDAY: (random note – Doug Fister & Charlie Furbush both start on Wednesday for their new teams)

Edwin Jackson (STL @ MIL) – Looked sharp in his first outing with the Cardinals and there is no reason to bet on that continuing.  He is another guy I like as a permanent pickup even if this start in Milwaukee doesn’t go exactly like his 7 IP/1 ER outing against the Cubbies.

Tim Stauffer (SD v. LAD) – If you’ve been following Trolling for amount of time this year, you know how much I like Stauffer.  I have no reason why he isn’t heavily owned in ESPN & Yahoo! leagues, he’s available in 21% of CBS leagues.

Gavin Floyd (CHW v. NYY) – He is perennially better in the second half and he is tracking that way again with an 0.81 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 5.3 K/BB in 22 IP spanning 3 GS since the break.  Like Danks, it’s tough to go against the Yanks, but this is more about the rest of the way.



James McDonald (PIT v. CHC) – Getting knocked around at Philly isn’t a major crime, but just the second time he’d given up more than 3 ER since April 27th.

Brett Cecil (TOR @ TB) – Welcome back to the big leagues, Mr. Cecil.  Under the radar he went off in July posting a 2.19 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 37 IP along with 6.6 K/9 and 3.0 K/BB rates.  That includes two outings against the Rangers (one in Texas) and another in Boston.  Oddly enough his worst outing of the month was a 7 IP/5 ER start against the Seattle Mariners.



Derek Holland (TEX v. CLE) – Holland has appeared in Trolling three times, but unfortunately none of league-leading four shutouts (tied w/Cliff Lee) have been picked.  It has been feast or famine in July with three of those shutouts and six scoreless innings in another outing during the month while in his other two starts he went a combined six innings allowing 12 earned runs.  His opponent for his first shutout of the year?  Cleveland.

Jeff Niemann (TB v. OAK) – Has been excellent since his return from injury back in late June: 1.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 and 3.4 K/BB in 43 innings across seven starts.  That includes outings against the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Brewers so a start against the Athletics is a no-brainer.

Rick Porcello (DET@ KC) – Bounced back from a dismal June (6.97 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) to have a really strong July (3.06 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) including very healthy 6.7 K/9 and 4.8 K/BB rates.

More trade analysis pieces coming out throughout Monday & Tuesday, too.

Tuesday: 07.26.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 17 Monday-Friday

Way behind here.  I’ll have the Week 16 results out later.  In the meantime, here are this week’s picks:


Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. TB) – I could go a few strong innings in Oakland’s home ballpark

Vance Worley (PHI v. SF) – I don’t think he’s keeping a 2.02 ERA all year, but the peripheral numbers aren’t terrible.  Meanwhile, SF’s lineup is.


Cory Luebke (SD v. ARI) – Still widely available.  Still don’t know why.

Phil Hughes (NYY v. SEA) – :grabsdice: Yes, Oakland pounded him, but their offense is the ’27 Yankees compared to Seattle’s.  If they knock him around, I’m done with him at least for the remainder of this season.


Matt Harrison (TEX v. MIN) – Speaking of inept offenses…


Tim Stauffer (SD v. COL) – His ownership rates have dipped down for some reason lately.  Sign me up.

Josh Collmenter (ARI @ LAD) – I’m on the Collmenter Train.  He’s not great, but he’s not a complete fluke, either.

Friday: 07.22.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 16 The Weekend

Quick hits on this weekend’s spot starter recommendations.


Scott Baker (MIN v. DET)

Own rates: E-55%, Y!-60%, C-88%.

Career best strikeout rate (8.5 K/9), ERA (3.01) and WHIP (1.175) yet he’s getting less respect from the fantasy community than in the last three-four years.

I like him more as a pickup & hold than specifically for this matchup.  His career isn’t great against the Tigers, but he needs to be on a team, regardless of format.

Tom Gorzelanny (WAS @ LAD)

Own rates: E-1%, Y!-4%, C-9%

He’s held the strikeout gains shown last year (8.1 K/9) while improving his walk rate (from 4.5 to 2.9 BB/9)

Dodgers are 27th-ranked offense in terms of runs scored and 24th in terms of OPS

Josh Collmenter (ARI v. COL)

Own rates: E-27%, Y!-34%, C-41%

Becoming a believer thanks to increased strikeout rate (6.9 K/9 in 55 IP spanning 9 starts) as it pairs with an excellent walk rate to produce a 3.2 K/BB

Rockies have fewest runs in baseball on the road with their team OPS dropping from .807 to .663

Edwin Jackson (CHW @ CLE)

Own rates: E-13%, Y!-38%, C-65%

Offers pretty consistent strikeouts with 5+ Ks in five of his last seven starts

In the other two, he went 15 innings with a 1.20 ERA & 1.33 WHIP (17 H, 3 K, 3 BB) including a shutout v. Detroit

Indians lead the American League in strikeouts


Bartolo Colon (NYY v. OAK)

Own rates: E-31%, Y!-41%, C-80%

The Rays were a nice remedy for the struggling Colon (1 ER in 6.3 IP w/9 K on 7/19 in TB), but the A’s are an even better remedy for staying hot

Felipe Paulino (KC v. TB)

Own rates: E-13%, Y!-38%, C-65%

He has 7+ Ks in each of his last four starts and a 8.7 K/9 in eight starts since joining the Royals

This guy just works better as a starter for some reason & the Royals seem to recognize that finally


Sunday: 07.17.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 16 Monday-Friday

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.



Thursday: 07.14.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 15 Friday-Sunday

Did you read my mind & pick up Aaron Harang for a spot start today?  No?  Wow, that was dumb of you.  He was the only guy I really liked today, but didn’t have time to post my picks as I was busy with the day job.  As of this writing, he has thrown five scoreless at home against the Giants.  Of course, halfway through the season, hopefully you would be able identify an under-owned Harang against a weak offense in the best pitcher’s park in the world as a viable spot start option.

For those still wanting the assistance, I am here to help so let’s take a look at some picks for the weekend (I’m one of those who lumps Friday in with the weekend, it should be a day off anyway).  But first, we will look back on the bloodbath that was week 14.

Not even the good fortune of picking Harang & Rubby de la Rosa who had dueling no-hitters through five innings and each went on to throw six shutout innings apiece could erase the carnage of Carlos Carrasco’s two starts along with the implosions of Edinson Volquez and Bartolo Colon.  By the way, Colon pitched in Toronto tonight and was dominated for eight runs in two-thirds of an inning.  Mercifully for his fantasy team managers, only three runs were earned, but the eight runners allowed is going to sting.


Justin Verlander (*checks ownership rates*… What??? How is he on 105% of teams??  Nevermind.)

Vance Worley (PHI @ NYM) – This kid has been great in his second go-round with an 0.72 ERA in four starts since coming back up on June 18th.  You would like to see his 6.5 K/9 tick up a bit, but it is passable.  Meanwhile his 3.6 BB/9 is inflated by one outing where he walked four in six innings.  He has walked two in each of the other three outings.

Doug Fister (SEA v. TEX) – The Mariners hate him for some reason so there is virtually no chance that he logs a win, even if he goes nine and allows two runs, but the chances of a quality outing at home are very strong.


Cory Luebke (SD v. SF) – This kid’s ownership rates should be skyrocketing after each of his starts, but he might get the Tim Stauffer treatment whereby he has to prove himself for three months before he will finally be trusted.  Hopefully that is the case, that will leave us spot starting fans a gem to use every fifth day.  Luebke’s numbers aren’t just built off of his 39 relief innings.  He has a 1.06 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 21 innings along with 11.1 K/9 and 7.0 K/BB rates.  He is an auto-start right now, especially at home.

Rich Harden (OAK v. LAA) – One good start at home, one rough start in Texas.  The latter was an easy layoff, but I am comfortable trotting him back out there for this home start against the Angels.  The Angels don’t have an overwhelming lineup and that home ballpark always helps.

Jonathon Niese (NYM v. PHI) – One of the unnoticed bright spots for the Mets has been Niese who has allowed more than three runs just once in his last 10 starts.  During that stretch he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 rate.  His 3.8 K/BB rate is quite impressive, too.  The 24-year old just continues to improve and I am surprised to see that he is on just 13% of ESPN leagues right now.


Ted Lilly (LAD @ ARI) – I think he is going to have a big second half.  His skills have produced an xFIP nearly  a full run lower (3.99) than his 4.79 ERA through 107 innings.  He doesn’t walk anyone (1.9 BB/9) and his 6.6 K/9 is pretty good, though a full strikeout under his rate from the last two years.  He has always been a huge flyball pitcher so that isn’t a major concern and I expect him to regress back toward his mean over the remainder of the season.  He could also find himself dealt by July 31st and his destination would play a role in his value of course, but for now I’m buying.

Homer Bailey (CIN @ STL) – Most head-to-head leagues aren’t just going with a four day week.  However, if yours is and you are protecting an ERA and/or WHIP lead, I would pass on Bailey, but if you have all next week to go still he is a solid gamble especially for some strikeouts.  He, too, could be instrumental down the stretch as his big second half in 2010 (3.55 ERA, 9.2 K/9 in 58 IP) earned him sleeper value coming into this season.


Friday: 07.8.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 14 The Weekend

Quick rundown of the weekend Trolling picks…


Rubby de la Rosa (LAD v. SD) – de la Rosa is starting to round into form.  His command is starting to show in these starts and he is going deeper into games.  He was really struggling right around the fifth inning of most of his June starts, but looks like he might have turned a corner in the last two going seven strong in both allowing a total of four runs (2.57 ERA) striking out nine, but more importantly walking just three (1.9 BB/9).  Let’s see if he keeps it going against a weak Padres offense.

Also, from a long-term standpoint, his place in the rotation is all but guaranteed barring a collapse as Jon Garland is now scheduled for slated for season-ending surgery next week.  de la Rosa is a spot starter in most mixed league formats right now, but he could definitely play himself into a permanent role so if you have the open space and need a strikeout pitcher, you might want to start considering him for the long-term in mixed leagues with more than 10 teams.

Aaron Harang (SD @ LAD) – While his home-road ERA splits are egregious (3.28/4.84), his road peripherals are actually much better as he has posted 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 K/BB rates against 5.3 and 1.9 marks at home.  I think both sides or at least either side of the matchup is worth a spot start.


Carlos Carrasco (CLE v. TOR) – His bombing against the Yankees has scared some back off of the bandwagon, but I’m pressing on.  He had just ripped them in seven innings in Yankee Stadium so I’m chalking the thrashing up to just one of those games.  He remains a useful spot starter.