Fantasy Baseball: Buy And Sell-Pitchers
The first month of the 2011 baseball season is almost behind us already, so fantasy owners are now likely taking inventory of their teams and looking to make upgrades or simply bolster their roster for continued success. That can often start with making changes to the pitching staff.
On that note, here’s this week’s edition of “Buy and Sell” for pitchers.
Matt Garza, SP, Chicago Cubs- Garza went six innings and allowed five runs in his last start on Monday night against the Colorado Rockies, but just one of the runs was earned as four errors (including one of his own) were made behind him. He is now 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA on the season through five starts, but has an outstanding 41:9 K/BB ratio to this point. If Garza can get better support from his teammates, both offensively and defensively, wins should begin to come fairly soon. In any case, his peripheral numbers should remain good no matter what. If the owner that has him in your league is willing to deal him, now might be the best time to make an offer.
Ervin Santana, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Santana has struggled over his last two starts, allowing 11 earned runs and 19 hits over 11 innings of work. He has gone winless through his five starts of a season for the first time in his career (0-3, 5.51 ERA), and he did strike out a season-high nine against the Boston Red Sox in his last start. Run support may continue to be an issue, and Santana is slated to face the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays in his next start on Friday. But there is still a buying opportunity here, as Santana is likely to improve and it may not take much to procure him in a trade.
Edinson Volquez, SP, Cincinnati Reds- Volquez shook off his first inning woes in his most recent start last Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, and allowed three runs (all on a home run by Cardinals’ C Yadier Molina) over 5.2 innings. He was a hard-luck loser as the Reds’ offense was shut out in the game, and Volquez is now 2-1 with a 6.35 ERA overall this season. He has yet to last more than six innings in any of his five starts, as he has also struggled toward the end of his outings. Volquez is slated to start against the Florida Marlins on Saturday, so it’s possible he can make it two straight solid outings. He is one Reds’ starter that seems to have ace potential, and if his problems at the start and end of his outings are corrected he can be a nice option for fantasy owners.
Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Weaver is off to an excellent start in 2011, as he is 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA and has thrown a complete game in back-to-back starts. He is also sporting an excellent 49:10 K/BB ratio so far and seems to be taking the next step to becoming an ace, both for the Angels and his fantasy owners. That said, fantasy owners that have benefited from his stellar April may see an opportunity to sell high on him. Weaver is likely to still be an upper echelon fantasy pitcher even with a small correction in his numbers, but his value may never be higher this year than it is right now. If you own Weaver and have good pitching depth but perhaps your position player pool is not as good, now may be the time to initiate trade talks.
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies- Jimenez has not had a good start to 2011, as he missed time with a cut cuticle on his right thumb and is now 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA through three starts. His next start is slated for Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which will give him a full week between starts due to Wednesday’s game with the Chicago Cubs being rained out. Jimenez has been good against the Pirates in his career (3-0, 1.54 ERA in five starts), so things could start to turn around for him. That said, he has struggled since his fast start in 2010 and that has to be a concern. If you currently have Jimenez on your roster and can still take advantage of the name recognition he has to get good value in return, it may be time to consider making a trade.
Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto Blue Jays- Drabek, the top prospect the Blue Jays got from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade, has had a nice start to his big league career. After his most recent solid outing on Monday night against the Texas Rangers, he is 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA in his first five big league starts. But he has struggled some with walks (17 in 30 innings pitched), and will almost certainly need to correct that to sustain his success down the road. Drabek will get another challenge against a tough lineup on Saturday against the New York Yankees, against whom he allowed four runs over 5.1 innings earlier this month. If you grabbed Drabek and have benefited from his solid first month, you may be able to get something decent in return.