Joe Blanton- PHI- Stats- A big part of Blanton’s surge after a poor April has been a turnaround in his comparative home and road performances. He has not been effected by the hitter bias at Citizens Bank Park, posting a 3.55 ERA at home over the course of the season. On the road, it has been slightly different, where his ERA is 4.52. Since May 1st Blanton has failed to pitch more than 5 innings 5 times. Four of those occasions have been on the road. His worst start of that stretch was his last road outing in DC. Blanton was blasted for 8 runs in 4.2 IP by the Nationals, a team that he proceeded to shut out for 6 innings in his next start. Today he is in Florida to face the Marlins. This is a park that tends to favor pitchers, so this may be one of the more benign starts. Nationals Park does also, so there is no guarantee.
Jason Johnson- FLA- Hot- Johnson goes for his 16th win of the season at home today against the Phillies. The Marlins have been very careful in managing Johnson’s pitch count so fatigue has not been a factor and his recent injury problems have not resurfaced. Johnson has hit career highs in starts, IP, strikeouts and wins and may be poised to at least match his numbers and effectiveness next year. He has shown that his production in his rookie year of 2006 was no fluke and that he has overcome the injuries that shortened each of the last two seasons.
Hiroki Kuroda- LAN- Hot- With an ERA now below 4.00, Kuroda may start to show up on the radar of more fantasy owners for consideration in 2010. It’s too bad you will have more competition for him as Kuroda has put up some very good numbers in other categories and his ERA is just now catching up. His WHIP of 1.10 and 78 Ks in 107.1 IP are solid. Kuroda has allowed just 9 homers, so his ERA must have been inflated (by almost a run over his XERA) due to bad luck in the timing of the hits he has allowed. He also has a higher ERA at home (4.03) than on the road (3.70) so if he takes more advantage of the pitcher-friendly nature of Dodger Stadium next year, 2010 could be a very big year for him.
Chase Headley- SD- Hot- Headley’s 5-for-6 game is the latest part of a hot streak he started at the end of July. Since July 29th he has batted .328 and has a Batting EYE of .76. These numbers are closer to what he did in the minors so his early season struggles may just have been nervousness or adjustment to the big leagues. Look at this as a good sign heading into 2010.
Garrett Jones- PIT- Hot- Jones hit his 20th homer of the season last night in only 269 ABs. There is some difference of opinion here at Insider Baseball on Jones’ prospects for 2010. Some view him as a comet who will streak across the major league sky and burn out quickly. Others think that this is a legitimate progression, given the advances he has made over the past few seasons at AAA. I have to agree with Drew Dinkmeyer and fall in the “split the difference” camp. This kind of homer rate is not going to be realistic for 2010, but a batting average in the .270 range with 30 homers is not unreasonable to expect next year. With the ability to play both 1B and the outfield, Jones will be worth a bit more than the average outfielder or first baseman with power.