Stephen Strasburg- WAS- FYI- Matt Wieters? He is so last month. The latest hype machine surrounds Stephen Strasburg, who will officially become property of the Nationals as soon as the Major League Draft gets underway this evening. If you’ve been living under a rock, Strasburg is the most heralded college pitcher in history and will be the #1 overall pick. He has a combination of power, breaking stuff and control unheard of for someone at this level. The monkey wrench likely preventing Strasburg from reaching the majors this season is agent Scot Boras. Boras sometimes seems to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. Odds are that Strasburg will sign close to the August 15th deadline and not make his DC debut until 2010. If, however, the Nationals get a big chunk of the stimulus money and can throw it at Strasburg soon enough to convince him to be an early signing, he should be up with them very quickly. He will be worth having in a fantasy league, considering his home park and reputation. As a Rangers fan, I remember the story of David Clyde, but Strasburg seems to be far more advanced than Clyde was 30+ years ago.
Ross Ohlendorf- PIT- FYI- Since throwing 114 pitches on May 23rd, Ohlendorf has not lasted longer than 5 IP in his two following starts. That pitch count was new ground for the converted reliever, whose previous high was 100 pitches last September. Ohlendorf is 26 years old, so his arm is older than those usually at risk for overwork, but if there continues to be short outings, it might be traced to that start.
Jason Hammel- COL- FYI- We are looking at very small sample sizes here, but Hammel has been a Jekyll and Hyde in terms of home/road splits. At Coors, he has an ERA of 8.53, despite having 5 of his 23 runs allowed in 19 IP being unearned. On the road, his ERA of 1.86 is partially a result of more defensive lapses, with 6 of his 9 runs allowed in 29 IP being earned. Still, the tale of the WHIPs is telling. At home, Hammel has a bloated 2.16. Away from the land of the humidor, it is a respectable 1.24. Keep a watch on today’s start in Milwaukee to see if Hammel continues to show a trend of being a road warrior.
Chad Billingsley- LAD- Caution- The 24-year-old Billingsley has thrown more than 110 pitches in 6 of his last 7 outings. Manager Joe Torre seems to be riding the hot hand, but it could have negative repercussions down the road. Billingsley has not been particularly efficient with those pitches, not lasting longer than 7 IP in any of these starts. He could be in for fatigue or arm trouble if this usage pattern continues.
Todd Helton- COL- Hot- If you need batting average form your first baseman, Helton can provide that. Since May 1st he is batting .320. Power you will not get in abundance, but with 5 homers in 128 ABs since the beginning of last month, that’s a 20+ homer pace projected over an entire season. If Helton can keep that up he will end up with a 5-year high in homers. He has benefited from luck, with a .295 BHIPx, but his Batting EYE has recovered from some early season lows, so a regression to the mean will probably be countered by a higher base average generated from ability.