Fantasy Baseball: Buy And Sell-Pitchers
Welcome to the debut edition of “Buy And Sell” for the 2011 season here at Fantasy Daddy.com. This week and throughout the season, I’ll take a look at some pitchers that could be worth being acquired as well as some that it may be time to sell high on even at this early stage of the season.
Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox- Buchholz has gotten off to a slow start this season, as he is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA with five home runs allowed through two starts heading into his next start on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. He has done well in his career against the Blue Jays, going 6-3 with a 2.50 ERA over 10 appearances (nine starts), so a solid outing seems likely. If the Red Sox can provide him with better run support going forward, which is almost certain, a solid win total should come easily. Just don’t expect last year’s ERA (2.33).
Zack Greinke, SP, Milwaukee Brewers- Greinke has missed the start of the season after suffering a ribcage injury early in spring training, but appears to be making progress toward returning by the end of the month. He pitched simulated game earlier in the week, and is slated to throw another on Friday. Many owners who drafted him may be looking to trade him and shore up another spot on their roster. That can present a buying opportunity for an owner willing to stash the 2009 American League Cy Young winner until he is ready to go.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Minnesota Twins- Liriano has really struggled through three starts in 2011, as he is 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA after a poor outing against the Kansas City Royals earlier this week. The team is trying to get him to “pitch to contact” in order to allow him to stay in games longer, but it does not appear to be working. Liriano seems to be a strikeout pitcher, as evidenced by last season’s 201 strikeouts in 191.2 innings of work, and he has already proven to be fairly fragile mentally and the coaching staff messing with his approach seems to be a bad idea. That said , he almost has nowhere to go but up from here. If the owner that has him in your league is looking to deal him, you may be able to get him for next to nothing right now.
A.J. Burnett, SP, New York Yankees- Burnett is currently 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA through three starts, and he pitched six shutout innings in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles before allowing four runs in the seventh inning. His peripheral numbers have been solid, as he has a 16:5 K/BB ratio in his 17.1 innings of work, but he also benefited from some nice run support for the prolific Yankees’ offense. Burnett’s career numbers early in the season (19-9, 3.88 ERA in April/March) are very good, but his career record in both May and June is below .500. His next start is scheduled for next Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, one of his former teams, so he could be motivated to perform well. That said, now could be the time to sell high on Burnett as his fantasy value may never be higher.
Nick Blackburn, SP, Minnesota Twins- Blackburn has been excellent through two starts this season, as he is sporting a 0.77 ERA and a 1-1 record in his 11.2 innings of work. His next start comes against the Tampa Bay Rays and their struggling offense on Friday night, so another nice outing does appear likely. After that, it may be time to sell high on Blackburn. He is not a strikeout pitcher (4.2 career K/9), so his margin for error is not good and the Twins’ defense has struggled at times this season. Pitching to contact and the fact that more ground balls may find a hole is not a recipe for success. If you’ve added Blackburn to your roster early in the season, it may be time to cut bait after Friday night’s outing.
Brad Lidge, RP, Philadelphia Phillies- Lidge is expected to be out until close to the All-Star break with a rotator cuff issue in his right shoulder. That makes it hard for fantasy owners to just stash him for that long when the roster spot may be put to better use, even if you have a DL spot or two available. That said, if you have him on your roster and an owner in your league (a Phillies’ fan?) wants to take a flyer on him it would be hard not to trade him for something of more immediate value.