Chad Billingsley- LAD- Caution- Billingsley’s usage patterns and his performance over the past couple of seasons raise some red flags. In 2008, his first full season as a starter, he sparkled, posting a 3.14 ERA and striking out more than a batter an inning. Through the All Star break, Billingsley’s 23-year-old arm broke the 110 pitch mark only once and that was a 111-pitch outing. After the break he threw 110 or more pitches 6 times, all within a 9-game span. It did not seem to hurt Billingsley then or to start 2009, as he had a 3.12 ERA for the first half. However, he hit that 110-pitch mark 11 times before the All Star Break, including 4 straight starts and 7 out of 8 at one point. This came before he turned 25 years old, when a pitcher is more vulnerable, statistically speaking. After the break, Billingsley’s performance nose dived. He had a 5.25 ERA, did not have a start last monger than 6 IP, and cracked the 100-pitch mark once, throwing 107 in his final start of the year. Billingsley’s first start this season saw him pick up where he left off, throwing 107 pitches that only got him through 5.1 IP. Now he is 25 years old, but the damage may have already been done.
Chris Snyder- ARI- Rise Value- With the possibility of ligament damage to Miguel Montero’s knee, Snyder is looking at even more time as the primary catcher for the Diamondbacks. Last season, his Mendoza-line batting average was driven partially by a woeful .190 BHIPx. He is a catcher, so you could expect it to be low, but that’s way low. Snyder also increased his Batting EYE to a career best .68. If his luck is a little better he could be in line for no worse than a strict platoon job when Montero returns later this season.
Jonathan Broxton- LAD- Hot- Broxton has yet to register a save, but that is more to do with the quirks of how the Dodgers’ season has gone and nothing to do with Broxton’s performance. The only games LA has won have been relatively big ones without a 9th inning save opportunity. In his 3 appearances, Broxton hasn’t been scored upon and has struck out 5 in 2.2 IP while allowing just 1 hit and walking 1. He is just as dominant as he was last year, when he racked up 36 saves. Broxton’s teammates have just not provided him with the save opportunities. They will come.
Bronson Arroyo- CIN- Cold- Arroyo got smacked around last night, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 6 IP while striking out 3. In his past 5 seasons, Arroyo has had a xERA of over 4.00 4 times, with the exception being his career year of 2006. Even then, his xERA of 3.71 was much higher than his actual ERA of 3.29. Last season was the only other time in that span his actual ERA was below 4.00, at 3.86. He needed the benefit of a .261 BHIP to post that. Arroyo is very luck dependent, especially after last season when his K/9 dropped to 5.19. Approach with caution.
David Wright- NYM- Hot- OK, so it was Coors Field, but Wright hit his second homer of the season, something he didn’t get until May 4th last year. With 10 walks in 31 PAs so far in 2010 and a .333 batting average combining for a whopping .548 OBP, the early results of this season are definitely marking Wright’s 10-homer campaign of 2009 a wild aberration.