Wandy Rodriguez – Although he took his 11th loss of the season Sunday, Wandy Rodriguez actually pitched pretty effectively by allowing 3 ER in 6 innings against the Cardinals. All 3 runs came off a Matt Holliday homer and Rodriguez struck out 6 while allowing just 6 base runners (1 via intentional walk). After a horrible start to the season, Rodriguez seems to be turning the corner in his past 4 starts, allowing 5 ER in 26 innings of work. During this stretch, he’s also improved his K/9 rate by striking out 25 batters (good for an 8.65 K/9) and limiting the free passes (2.08 BB/9). Although his season K/BB is just 1.93, it’s an impressive 4.17 during these past 4 outings. While Rodriguez isn’t going to match the numbers from his outstanding 2009 campaign, he is a good bet to bounce back in the second half and should be considered a buy-low candidate as we head into the All-Star break.
Johan Santana – About a week ago, reports surfaced indicating that Johan Santana thought he was tipping pitches and, consequently, had been working on his delivery to alleviate this problem. Whatever he did, Santana should keep doing it because he fired a gem Sunday against the Braves. The lefty allowed 0 ER on 5 Hits and 3 BBs while striking out 5 to lower his season ERA and WHIP to 2.98 and 1.20, respectively. After a tough stretch between June 10th and June 26th (when he allowed 17 ER in 4 starts), Santana has been downright untouchable in his past 3 outings, yielding just 1 ER in 23 innings – good for a 0.39 ERA. During this stretch, Santana’s WHIP is just 0.96 and he’s struck out 6.65 batters per 9 (compared to a 5.88 season mark). Despite a fastball that’s averaging a career-low 89.4 mph, Santana is still able to pitch effectively and should continue to be one of the better SPs in the NL during the second half. He’ll never be the same type of pitcher that he was with the Twins when he posted K/9 marks in the 9.00s and 10.00s, but this current version isn’t too shabby either.
Randy Wolf – The Brewers’ left hander labored through 6 innings against the Pirates Sunday, yielding 4 ER on 7 Hits and 3 BBs while striking out 5 and allowing 2 HRs. In 2009, Wolf pitched very effectively (3.96 FIP) thanks to a 2.76 K/BB and 1.01 HR/9. This season has been much different for Wolf as he’s struggled with his control (4.50 BB/9 compared to 2.44 mark in ’09) and owns an ugly 1.28 K/BB and 1.63 HR/9. More walks and homers with fewer strikeouts explain why Wolf’s FIP is almost 6 and his ERA and WHIP sit at 4.56 and 1.50, respectively. Wolf is also inducing fewer swings-and-misses at pitches outside the strike zone (24% in ’09/21% in ’10) and allowing a slightly higher contact % on any pitch thrown (88% in ’09/90% in ’10). Overall, Wolf is not the same pitcher he was in ’09 and consequently can’t be trusted on a fantasy baseball roster.
Carlos Silva – The big right hander lasted just 1 1/3 innings Sunday against the Dodgers, allowing 6 ER on 6 Hits before getting tossed for arguing a call at first base. The poor outing was a bad way for Silva to end an otherwise outstanding first half to the 2010 season. Prior to Sunday’s start, Silva had posted an impressive 4.38 K/BB, 0.81 HR/9 and 48% GB%. While he’s benefited from the highest LOB% of his career (77%) and his BABIP is just .278 compared to a .311 career mark, Silva has also induced swings-and-misses on 32% of pitches thrown outside the strike zone (compared to his previous season high of 23%). Based off his career indicators, Silva can maintain the low BB/9 rate, but will struggle to continue striking out batters at his current pace. He should allow a few more HRs in the second half, too. If you own Silva in your league, keep an eye on whether he continues getting batters to chase pitches outside the strike zone. This stat is the key to Silva’s high K/9 and will be critical if the big guy wants to maintain his current success.
Vicente Padilla – Vicente Padilla tossed a gem Sunday evening, yielding just 2 Hits and 1 Walk over 8 innings against the Cubs while tallying 6 Ks to lower his ERA and WHIP to 4.04 and 1.02, respectively. Padilla had a very interesting first half to say the least. He raised his K/9 from 5.93 in ’09 to 9.06, lowered his BB/9 from 3.30 in ’09 to just 1.70 and recorded a 1.89 HR/9 compared to a 0.98 mark last season. Padilla is also inducing 11% fewer ground balls in ’10 and has decreased his WHIP by 39 points. Despite all those drastic differences between 2009 and 2010, Padilla had about the same FIP entering Sunday’s start – 4.45 in ’09 compared to 4.72 in ’10. However, for his fantasy owners, Padilla is much more valuable this season since he’s racking up the Ks and keeping his WHIP low and ERA respectable. It’s hard to imagine he’ll maintain his current success based off his career numbers, so don’t expect another 9.00 K/9 and 1.00 WHIP from Padilla in the second half.
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