Ubaldo Jimenez - Jimenez fanned 9 yesterday in just 5 1/3, but three runs allowed against Tommy Hanson was enough to send him to 3-8 on the year. The significant velocity drop and continually deteriorating GB rate have me very concerned about Jimenez this year. Sure, his FIP ERA is still just 3.62 but that's a full half-run higher than last season, and the 3 mph drop on his FB velocity has him posting the lowest swinging strike% of his career by a substantial margin. He remains a #2/#3 SP, but since last year's ASB he's 7-15 with a 4.10 ERA and more than 4 BB/9. I would urge caution here.
Johnny Cueto - Cueto took the unfortunate complete-game loss yesterday, scattering six singles and three walks over eight innings, allowing only one run but failing to strike out a batter. It's hard to figure Cueto out, as when you watch him pitch he clearly has swing-and-miss level stuff a lot of the time, but he looks like a multi-generation throwback in his desire to pitch to contact much of the time. He has thrown eight straight quality starts at present, and the slight velocity bump and huge increase in GB rate are big-time positives in his favor. Still, the K rate remains a concern, and keeps me from feeling that he's really going to break through as a top-shelf starter....I continue to treat him as a mid-rotation guy in most formats.
Domonic Brown - The 23 year old Brown is doing almost everything expected of him in this MLB go-round: an increased walk rate, significantly improved contact, increasing power...yet it's all being masked by that .228 AVG right now, something that's certainly impacted by a .231 BABIP. Brown has hit in 5 of 6 currently and appears to be heating up a bit....I'd definitely be willing to take a flyer on him in most formats and bet that his talent (and increasing comfort level) is starting to take hold.
Chase D'Arnaud - After starting out very slowly, D'Arnaud is 6-15 in his last three games for the Pirates. With Ronny Cedeno out indefinitely with a concussion (and barely hitting when he's healthy), the 24 year old D'Arnaud has a chance to earn some longer-term PT with solid play right now. A solid batting eye and good speed (64 SB in 2009-2010) are about all that D'Arnaud offers right now, but as a middle infielder that's enough to be a bit enticing. He's worth a grab in many formats while Cedeno is out, and he may hang onto some value after that depending on his performance over the next week or two.
Vance Worley - Worley won his second straight yesterday, allowing just two singles and two walks over seven innings to the Marlins, striking out 6. Worley has only allowed two runs over his last four starts, and so what if his FIP ERA is a run higher than his actual ERA? It's still a very solid 3.25. Worley was optioned to AAA after the game, but that's merely to keep him on a normal schedule....he'll be back in Philly to start, in all likelihood, the first game after the break next week. He is rapidly becoming a viable option in all formats.