Joba Chamberlain- NYA- FYI- In 12 starts this year, Joba has walked at least 4 batters 5 times. None of those outings was longer than 6 IP. This indicates some real problems at times locating the strike zone. Joba still is compiling strikeouts at a good rate, with 58 in 63-1/3 IP. This accounts for an ERA of only 3.84 paired with a WHIP of 1.41. If batters consistently start waiting on him instead of offering at his pitches, he could be in big trouble. It will be interesting to see how Nationals’ hitters Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson do against Joba this afternoon. They are patient hitters who will also swing at what they think is good. If they draw walks then Joba could be in for a tough stretch because it will look like a book has been passed around on him.
Brad Mills- TOR- Rookie- Lefthander Brad Mills will be making his major league debut this afternoon. He burst on the scene in his first full pro season last year, posting a 1.95 ERA across 3 levels, getting as high as AA. Mills struck out 159 batters in 147 IP despite having a fastball that at best hits 91 mph. His changeup is his bread and butter. Mills has had a rude awakening at the AAA level, with a 1-8 record, 4.48 ERA and 1.51 WHIP for Las Vegas of the PCL. One big question for Mills was whether his tendency to leave balls up in the zone would hurt him at higher levels, but he has only allowed 6 homers in 76-1/3 IP this season in the hitter friendly PCL, so that facet of his game hasn’t hurt him too much. Mills has been projected at best as a middle of the rotation guy and from his numbers at AAA, he is probably being pressed into service too soon. He may have some value in the future but is a big risk right now.
Scott Podsednik- CHA- Hot- I have developed some strange inverse relationship with Podsednik’s performance. Late last month I commented about how he had started stealing bases and would be a good addition for a fantasy team needing help in that category. Podsednik immediately started doing an impression of a sloth on the basepaths. Two weeks ago I gave him a snowman, pointing out this lack of steals. Naturally, in the 13 games since then he has stolen 5 bases, 2 more than he had in the 28 games previously. With a .311 batting average, Podsednik is providing real value. I apologize in advance to Podsednik owners for pointing that out, guaranteeing a slump.
Koji Uehara- BAL- Hot- Uehara is still being treated cautiously by the Orioles. He was removed after 5 IP with a 2-run lead. The O’s bullpen blew that lead, and although the team eventually won the game, it robbed Uehara of a win. The outing (2 runs on 7 hits and no walks with 5 strikeouts) was an improvement on his last outing, the first since returning from a sore hamstring. Manager Dave Trembley said that Uehara is still not 100%, so expect more short starts form him as he builds up stamina.
Matt Holliday- OAK- Stats- As the season progresses it is looking more and more like Holliday’s big numbers prior to this season were a product of Coors Field. His road batting average of .301 is right in line with the .308 and .301 numbers he put up in the last two seasons. In spacious Oakland Coliseum, though, Holliday has hit only .245 and that is what has been dragging his average down, to .275. His homer ratio is actually better in Oakland than away, with 4 homers each, but more ABs on the road. In a neutral park, Holliday is a .300 hitter with 20 homer power. He has never been in a neutral park, though. Coors Field inflated his production and Oakland Coliseum suppresses it. His fantasy value takes a hit from his current location.