Alfredo Aceves- NYA- FYI- Aceves takes the mound for a spot start today and will have a limit of about 65 pitches. That may or may not give him enough to stick around for a potential win, but his performance as a starter could make him a contender should any other Yankees falter. In 4 starts at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Aceves posted a very impressive 0.97 WHIP with a less impressive 3.80 ERA. He walked 5 and struck out 18 in 23-2/3 IP. In leagues that count holds, Aceves should already be taken. In traditional formats, his performance today may give an indication of whether he is worth grabbing if available.
Felix Hernandez- SEA- Caution- Hernandez is on quite a roll, with 8 quality starts in a row. However, his usage has been heavy. In 6 of those starts he threw over 110 pitches and had an additional 110 pitch outing a couple of starts before this current streak started. In all of 2008 he only hit the 110 pitch mark 8 times. It seems sometimes that Hernandez has been around forever, but he is only 23 years old. That still leaves him at risk statistically for injury and/or ineffectiveness due to overuse. If he continues to have this kind of workload his second half could have a downturn.
Josh Hamilton- TEX- Cold- After adding 23 points to his batting average in his first 2 games back from the DL, Hamilton gave 9 of them back last night with an 0-for-5 performance. The day-to-day fluctuations are not as important as looking at what has happened to him since his huge show a year ago at the Home Run Derby. In 385 ABs since then he has hit 17 homers, fewer than the 21he hit in 377 ABs in the first half of 2008. An indication that Hamilton may be one of those players whose swing got messed up by participating in the Home Run Derby is the drastic change in Batting EYE. Before last year’s All Star Break it was .57. Since then it is only .39. Hamilton’s strikeout rate has gone from 17% to 25%. Injuries have also been a factor, but he needs to find his groove from early last year to maintain a large fantasy value.
David Hernandez- BAL- Hot- Despite allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks in 6 IP to earn a quality start, Hernandez needed 111 pitches to get that far. He had some difficulty with control, throwing 42 of them outside the strike zone. There are two red flags from this. First is that at age 24 and having thrown 110 pitches two starts ago he is at risk of injury and ineffectiveness from heavy usage. Second is that as a low strikeout pitcher (17 in 32 IP) he cannot afford to throw that many pitches and expect to keep effective. We can add another trend that is disturbing. Hernandez has yet to have a game in which he has recorded more ground ball than fly ball outs. Although he has had bad luck as measured by a .337 BHIP, there are underlying issues that put up big warning signs.
Scott Kazmir- TB- Cold- Kazmir got lit up again last night, allowing 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 6-1/3 IP. Due to injury and ineffectiveness he has not had a quality start since April 24th. I have been watching Kazmir’s usage over the past couple of years and it has not been good. This may finally be the fruits of serious overuse of a promising young arm. His homer rate is up this year, with 11 long balls in 62 IP. That is only one short of the number he gave up in 186 IP in his rookie season of 2005.