Fantasy Baseball: Buy And Sell-Pitchers
Ryan Dempster, SP, Chicago Cubs- After a very poor start to the season, as he allowed at least four runs in each of his first six starts, Dempster has pitched much better lately. In his two May starts, he has a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings of work. Dempster’s overall numbers are still fairly ugly, as he is 1-4 with a 7.20 ERA in eight starts, which may lead to many fantasy owners looking to deal him. His next start is slated for Friday against the San Francisco Giants, and another solid outing could be on the horizon as he has four quality starts in his last six against the Giants.
Daniel Hudson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks- Hudson had another solid outing on Thursday, as he went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits against the San Francisco Giants. But he was outdueled by Giants’ starter Matt Cain and took a loss. Over his last four starts (26.2 innings), Hudson has a 3.04 ERA with 22 strikeouts and just four walks over that span. Prior to Thursday, he had won each of his previous three starts and is 3-5 with a 4.41 ERA in eight starts this season. Hudson has an excellent K/BB ratio (48:16), so there’s no reason to think the 23-year old can’t continue to have success. His next two starts look very favorable, against the San Diego Padres next Tuesday followed by taking on the Minnesota Twins in interleague play on May 22.
Zach Britton, SP, Baltimore Orioles- Britton continued the excellent start to his big league career on Thursday night, as he pitched nine shutout innings in the Orioles’ extra inning win over the Seattle Mariners. He allowed just three hits while striking out five and walking none in the game, and is now 5-2 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts (52 innings) this season. Things may get tougher in his next start, slated for next Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox, even though he pitched solidly (6.0 innings, one run on five hits) in his previous start against them in late April. Britton may be able to continue to have success going forward, but there’s a fair chance he regresses some as he faces some of the tougher lineups in the AL East on a more regular basis. His fantasy value may never be higher than it is right now, and owners who added him early may be able to upgrade other spots on their roster by making a deal.
Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers- Scherzer moved to 6-0 on the season on Monday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, as he went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He has a 3.20 ERA along with 51 strikeouts and 23 walks over his eight starts (50.2 innings). Scherzer has pitched well since briefly being sent to the minors last season, and at age 26 (27 in July) he may be on the brink of becoming an upper echelon starter. That said, fantasy owners that drafted him almost certainly were not expecting this type of early performance and could capitalize on it while his trade value is high. If you own Scherzer and have plenty of pitching depth but perhaps some weak spots elsewhere, it may be time to consider dealing him.
Philip Humber, SP, Chicago White Sox- Humber has been a pleasant surprise thus far in 2011, as he is 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA in eight outings (six starts). With Jake Peavy (shoulder) returning to action this week, the team has said they will use a six-man starting rotation for the foreseeable future. If Peavy can’t stay healthy it becomes a moot point, but it’s hard to see a six-man rotation working long-term. That means one guy is likely to be the odd man out at some point, and Humber is as likely as anyone due to his lack of a major league track record. His next start is slated for Friday night against the Oakland A’s, which should be a favorable matchup. Owners who grabbed Humber in AL-only leagues may want to trade him now while his value is perhaps at it’s highest.