Nick Swisher - I think he's back. Yesterday was a Swisher-style line with two homers and two walks, and since his K's are down and his LD% percentage is up from last year, you certainly wouldn't expect this kind of struggle to get his SLG above .400. Well, he's dragged it up 80 points in the first nine days of June, hitting in every game along the way. This is his age 27 year, he's playing in a home park that is much more advantageous for him than Oakland's was, and he has a better lineup around him. He is certainly a buy low kind of guy.
Luke Hochevar - Hochevar was brilliant yesterday, pitching six two-hit innings before tiring in the seventh. That was by far the best control that he has shown all year, so I wouldn't necessarily expect that to continue. This is a guy that gave up 29 homers in about one full year's worth of minor league pitching. To me, that doesn't translate to the majors very well, so I'm going to be skeptical for quite some time. High walks, low K's, and a ton of minor league homers. Pass.
Josh Barfield - I don't think Cleveland is going to like this move any more than they did last year. Barfield's plate discipline cratered when he came to the majors in 2006 and it hasn't come back, his power has dropped consistently in each of the last four years up to this year, and he still strikes out a ton. The $20,000 question is whether Barfield will have a higher OPS than Cabrera did for the season by the end of June. That's a really low bar to hop over, but it might be close. Not recommended.
Jesse Litsch - Litsch weaseled his way around nine singles and a homer to post a quality start yesterday, but it wasn't pretty. Maybe there's a guy out there that can make an entire career out of being lucky, and maybe that guy is Litsch, but I don't think I'd put five cents on it. The opposition isn't going to strand 83% of their runners all year against him, that's for sure. The fact that he walks almost no one is a big plus in his favor, but with the amount of hits (and homers) that he allows his ERA should definitely be about a run higher. He's the only Jay starter I don't really like.
Eric Hurley - Eric Hurley is coming up to start in Sidney Ponson's place on Thursday, as Ponson was designated for assignment for "actions that were disrespectful to club personnel." He probably stole someone's sandwich or something. Hurley is rated the Rangers' top pitching prospect, a 22 year old with a mid-90's fastball and an excellent slider. He's performed about as well as you'd expect in the minors for a kid with mediocre BB rates, good but not great K rates, and terrible HR rates, which is to say that his AAA ERA is over 5.00 through 26 starts. The Rangers have been around for 47 years now, and Bobby Witt is still third on their franchise wins list. The best pitcher they ever developed was probably Kenny Rogers (a 38th round draft pick), although Kevin Brown got a heck of a lot better after he left Texas. Remember the esteemed D-V-D trio they had about five years ago? Two of those guys are pitching very well....for other teams. The Rangers kept the one that hasn't been able to get out of AA by age 25. All of this is a roundabout way of pointing out that if it involves Texas pitching, odds are you don't want it.
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