The pitchers have been better than the hitters, that much is clear, but still not stellar. Early on my ERA and WHIP were miniscule, but John Lackey got roughed up in his last start, Dan Haren’s ERA is up over 5.00 and Chris Perez got roughed up by the Tigers back on April 11th.
As of writing this, my overall pitching is 6th in the league, and fairly consistent in the categories across the board—6th in W and WHIP, 7th in Saves and ERA, and 8th in K.
We start 9 pitchers in this league, with no restrictions on starters versus relievers. The first reliever I drafted was Heath Bell in the 8th round, and then I pretty much avoided relievers until late, so I’ve got a bunch of starters, a couple closers and a couple of middle relievers. I’ll comment on the starters first.
Dan Haren—I chuckle at the most recent CBS (where the league is hosted) player note on Haren, saying, “Haren batting better than pitching.” Funny, or… not, for my ace I drafted in the 3rd round. The comment came on the heels of Haren getting 4 hits in a game against the Cardinals. He gave up 7 runs and 9 hits through 6 innings, so the tagline fits.
Haren started the season with a solid 7 inning performance, 1 ER, 3 H and no walks for the win, but only 4 K. His next three starts the K numbers are there—9, 7 and 8—but the ERA and WHIP are notably worse than expectations, including 5 HR allowed in those 3 games.
No doubt he continues to start for me, but he’s raised a eyebrow of concern at this point.
John Lackey—Lackey started the season better than team mates Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, but took it on the chin in his third start against the Rays, which was the final game of the Sox’ recent five game losing streak. Lackey lasted just 3-1/3 innings, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits and a walk, causing his, and my, ERA and WHIP to skyrocket.
This one also gets chalked up as hopefully a blip, facing a hot Rays team at the time. Based on the projected pitchers, it looks like Lackey will skip the Toronto series giving him a fair bit of rest to face the Orioles in their series opener. That should be a decent matchup for him.
Aaron Harang—Now here is a guy, also invested with a not insignificant pick in the draft, 13th round, but his performance has my patience wearing thin. In fact, he rode the bench this past week for me and it is a good thing considering his last start against Florida resulted in 6 ER, 10 H, 2 BB and only 2 K in 5 -2/3 innings. Yes, he got the loss.
Now reports indicate the Reds might skip Harang’s next start, presumably because they don’t know what to do with him either. Harang is a drop to waivers candidate for me this week unless I have other better candidates (or not enough quality targets), in which case Harang can hang around on my bench for a little bit while he tries to work out his issues.
Tim Hudson—I’ve been pretty happy with Hudson, drafted in the round following Harang, even though his record is just 1-1 so far. His last start he only gave up 2 runs but faced off against Roy Halladay who pitched a shutout. Similarly in his first start, Hudson allowed just 2 R, but Billy Wagner blew the save in the ninth.
Hudson isn’t going to help my K numbers but if he can stay efficient the wins will come along with a healthy ERA and WHIP.
Andy Pettitte—Here is another pitcher where I catch myself on draft day saying, “Really? I’m drafting Andy Pettitte?” Yes I am. Pettitte is 2-0 through 3 starts with 14 K, a 1.35 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Nothing to argue about there, especially from an 18th round draft pick. He’s older than I am by a few months, so yes, I need to keep in my mind not to expect numbers this good all season. Right now I’ll take it though.
Shaun Marcum—I targeted Marcum in the draft, and yes, most of that had to do with the Blue Jays fan in me rather than an unbiased fantasy view. I thought I hit gold after his first start which was solid even though he got a no decision. My enthusiasm is now tempered a bit as he’s given up more hits in his next three starts, and remains winless. He still looks pretty good though. A little more run support when he is on the mound would be a welcome sight.
Justin Duchscherer—As I go on here it would seem my later drafted starting pitchers are outperforming my earlier drafted pitchers by a fair bit. That is just a little more anecdotal evidence to not draft pitchers early.
Duchscherer (or Duch, since typing his full name feels like my fingers have a stutter), gave up 5 ER in his first start but came back with two consecutive games allowing no ER, earning one win and one no decision. His ERA is 2.41 and WHIP down at 1.18. I’m happy with that. I’m not predicting return to All-Star status for Duch just yet, but I’m happy.
C.J. Wilson—I dropped Jon Garland after the first week to acquire Wilson, based on advice from Razzball.com, a highly recommended website for equal parts baseball insight and entertainment, which is a hard combination to find these days.
Wilson earned me a win with his 6 2/3, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K, shutout performance against the Red Sox. He’s had 3 solid starts on the season. That is the kind of surprise undrafted player why we shouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel early in the season, so we can grab him before another team does. Thanks Razzball.
Heath Bell—Now on to the closers. Bell is doing what is expected of him, earning his 4th save of the year Tuesday in 6 appearances. The Padres don’t have a lot of pop in their bat, giving Bell the opportunities with close games, but not much room for error.
He’s given up 1 ER in two of his appearances, one of them resulting in a blown save. His ERA is an even 3.00 and WHIP 1.67, plus he picked up a W along the way. Considering my lack of depth at closer, I’ve got to keep my fingers crossed Bell is in for the long haul.
Chris Perez—Perez earned the closer spot earlier than expected due to an injury to Kerry Wood. I grabbed Perez in the 15th round of the draft, which was probably a bit early. It was one I was confident in though because I owned Wood last year, and didn’t like what I saw (or remembered?). Given the positive reports on Perez, I felt good even before the injury to Wood that Perez would become the guy.
Now, it may have in fact been more beneficial for Perez’ development if he didn’t have to start closing games so soon this season. He had a rough game to the point reports indicated Perez was on a short leash. Luckily, he bounced back nicely from that and it up to 4 Saves, with a 4.76 ERA and 1.76 WHIP.
There is still no definitive timetable when Wood is coming back, but I need to troll for saves regardless of losing Perez in that role or not.
George Sherrill—Sherrill has been terrible. I would have been better off with an open spot in my starting lineup than having Sherrill in there, and fortunately, Sherrill hasn’t been in the starting lineup for this league. The other league where we value Holds is another story, unfortunately.
Sherrill could be replaced in the setup role by Ramon Troncoso. The only reason to hold Sherrill, or grab Troncoso, would be as a lottery ticket in case the Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton goes down with injury. Put money on the fact Sherrill will be hitting the skids in our next FAAB.
Sergio Romo—Romo was a near last round draft pick who hasn’t been inserted in the starting lineup yet, and probably won’t be anytime soon. Another waiver candidate if I can find a better upside replacement for his roster spot.
Mark Hendrickson—Ditto Romo, except Hendrickson was my final round draft pick. I should have gone with some more hitters in the draft.