Brian Bruney: Bruney, who is out with a sore elbow is not expected to return until June. He has been very productive in the 8th inning role, 1.83 ERA in 34.1 innings in 2008 and 12 K’s in just 8 innings this year. The dominance needed to succeed has always been there, 2006/2007/2008 K/9’s of 10.9/7.0/8.7, but lack of control has tended to get him in trouble, BB/9’s of 6.5/6.6/4.2. Although he showed better control last year, it is still on the high side, which makes Bruney, when healthy, a high risk/high reward guy for AL-only leagues that count holds.
Daisake Matsuzaka: Matsuzaka, who has been out since mid-April with shoulder fatigue, will make a second rehab start. If all goes well he could be back in the Red Sox rotation sometime next week. While his 2008 season looks great on paper, 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA, he will not be able to rely on such good fortune, 80% strand rate and a .254 BHIP%, going forward. The deterioration in his control, 2007/2008 BB/9’s of 3.5/5.1 and 5 walks in 6.1 innings this year, could be a sign that we have seen the best days of Dice-K.
John Smoltz: Smoltz is throwing from 60 feet and is looking to return in early June. When he last pitched a full season in 2007, Smoltz was top-tier pitcher, 14-8 with a 3.11 ERA, with excellent skills, 8.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and a 45% GB%. However he only pitched in 6 games last year and turns 42 years of age next week. There is some big upside if you got him on the cheap and stashed him on your reserve list, but there is also the risk of injury and/or age-related skills deterioration.
Shawn Kelly: Kelly, who has been pitching well out of the Mariners pen, 1.54 ERA in 11.1 innings, is expected to be out for a month with a strained oblique. The rookie has shown some impressive skills, 8.5 K/9 and a 0.8 BB/9, but don’t expect the pinpoint control to last as he had a 3.6 BB/9 in Double-A last year. Kelley has some nice potential but there could be a couple of rough patches ahead.
Ryan Rowland-Smith: Rowland-Smith, who has been on the DL since April 15th with shoulder tendonitis, will throw a simulated game on Tuesday and if all goes well, he will begin a minor league rehab assignment. He is about 2 to 3 weeks away from returning to the Mariners starting rotation. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen last year, Rowland-Smith showed very mediocre skills, 5.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, and a 39% GB%, so don’t expect much from him as a starter.
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