Tim Hudson (SP—Braves) If there are any fantasy owners that are not giving Tim Hudson his due then you need to look again at what he has done this season so far. With a dominant performance over the Pirates on Friday, he notched another victory and is now up to 5 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.08 with a 1.09 WHIP. Opponents are batting just .205 against Hudson and he has 8 quality starts out of 9 on the season and has not given up more than 3 runs in a game. Wow—that's just terrific. But wait a second. Things are not all sprinkles and gumdrops in Hudsonland, so don't get all giddy on me. Let's pour a little salt on the sugar and look at some concerning trends. First off, Hudson's peripherals are on the weak side with K/BB of 1.13 indicating that he walks batters almost as often as he strikes them out. He has a K/9 of 3.8 which Tim Lincecum would scoff at. But here's what's really worrisome. His FIP is 4.44, more than 2 runs greater than his ERA which means he isn't pitching as well as he seems to be pitching. His BHIP is ridiculously low at .217 which is definitely going to go up. So far he has been able to keep his LD% down at 12.5% but that would most certainly rise as well as is career LD% is at 18.4%. And lastly, his LOB% is at 84.8% which is also very high and will more than likely decrease. Yes, he has done great so far. Putting the stress on “So far”. But Hudson will be heading the other direction soon enough. So a note to all of you wise owners: capitalize on Hudson's high value now and get yourself a top notch player in return. Sure, it's hard to give up a guy when he is doing so well, but the signs are all there that Hudson will soon be taking a trip down Regression Road and you don't want to be traveling with him.
Brad Penny (SP—Cardinals) It's was one of those nights that Brad Penny owners would have gladly trading Penny's hitting stats for his pitching stats. But unfortunately it doesn't usually work that way. Penny hit a grand slam home run in the 3rd inning on Friday against the Angels but promptly left the game with a strained lat. Yeah, that's what happens when you swing for the fences. Actually the back strain had happened prior to Friday's game and Penny had been nursing it. However with the stats that actually count, the pitching ones that is, they weren't that impressive as Penny was only able to go just 3 innings and allowed 4 ER. At this point the Cardinals are unsure whether Penny will need a trip to the DL. He will get an MRI on Saturday that will reveal more of the situation. It's a shame too as Penny has been enjoying a mini-Renaissance this season with a ERA of 3.23. He has a GB% of 51.5% which is about 6% higher than his career rate but he has also been able to get batters to chase more pitches out of the strike zone than at any time in his career with a 31% rate (career average of 22%). Most of his other component stats are all in line with how well he is doing and his velocity is a healthy 94 mph on his fastball which makes one think that he should be able to sustain his good start to the season. Hopefully, he will be able to get back out on the field relatively quickly since he has been a very usable pitcher this season on a good Cardinal club when Penny was really considered as more of an afterthought at the start of the season. Have Penny take a seat on your bench for now and monitor him closely as a DL stint may be in his very near future.
Casey McGehee (3B—Brewers) If you were paying attention to some inconsistent trends with Casey McGehee, you knew that he was going to start to slow down. Over the past 14 days, McGehee has been hitting .351, but over the past 7 days that batting average is now at .290. He still is hitting .316 (0-for-4 on Friday night) on the year overall but the biggest issue here is that his BHIP for the season is elevated at .320 compared to his LD% of 10.8%. With those kind of numbers McGehee has nowhere to go but down. Sure, he has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, but prudent owners would be wise to possibly deal McGehee while his value is high. McGehee will probably wind up with some decent stats at year end. He will probably bat around .285 with 17 home runs or so. Not bad but McGehee is most likely heading for a downward trend so move him while you can.
Aramis Ramirez (3B—Cubs) The bad news has been that Aramis Ramirez hasn't given fantasy owners much to cheer about all season as he is batting just .166 on the year. He strikeout percentage is up to 23.8% compared to his career strikeout rate of 15.4%. His BHIP is a futile .184 and he is second in the N.L. in FB% at 60.2%. Only Mark Reynolds as a higher rate. So whats the good news? The good news is that he has a hurt thumb that has kept him out of the lineup the past two days. Why is that good news? That sounds like more bad news. Actually, it's good because the thumb has been bothering Ramirez for a while and possibly that is causing some of the offensive problems he has been having. So there may be a logical explanation for this awful start. For now, it's probably best to find other options at third base until Ramirez's thumb is back in working order. Reserve him, but don't drop him for now. He is too good to give up on as he should right himself when he is healthy.
Cole Hamels (SP—Phillies) It looks like Cole Hamels is finally on some sort of a roll. He defeated the Red Sox on Friday going 7 innings, striking out 8, while allowing just 1 ER. Friday's game marked the fourth consecutive game that Hamels has given up 3 runs or less. For the month of May, he is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA while striking out 24 batters in 26.2 innings of work. Still there are some indicators that Hamels could still be doing better. His LOB% is higher than what we would like to see at 81% and his BHIP is still a little high at .322. He also has been working behind on the count quite a bit throwing first pitch strikes only 53% of the time. Consequently his H/9 is pretty high at 9.4 and his BB/9 is fair at 3.1. Also his FIP was 4.63 going into Friday's game so there was room for improvement there as well. However, with his recent starts these numbers are on the decline. Look for Hamels to continue a solid year. There may be some spotty starts as he is prone to do, but he has shown more consistency of late that hopefully he can continue to build on.
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