In our continuing series on player recommendations, the latest edition of Strategy Manager + highlights the pitchers who are deviating from their projected production this season. The under and over producers are listed according to their projected rankings through the remainder of the season. The rankings are heavily influenced by current indicators such as their Dominance (K/I and Walk Ratios), Expected ERA, Strand Rates and Balls Hit into Play Ratios. On the PDF ranking sheet you will find 5 tiers of Starting Pitchers. Similar to baseball's classification of starters (Ace, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Slot), we've taken a similar approach in grouping the fantasy starters.
Let's jump in with a look
at the under/over performers: Andy Pettitte has had several seasons
where he's had a strong half only to finish with average results. This is
clearly the time to unload him, as his 1.15 WHIP is in stark comparison to
his 1.41 3 year average. Ricky Romero's 1.43 WHIP in May is a clear
indication that his strong start is in regression mode. Jeff Niemann
is riding high on a lucky BHIP% of .222 and his .63 K/I ratio
point...but his success that is not likely sustainable. Jamie Garcia's
ERA is understated by 80 points, but his .89 Strand rate streams
overvaluation. The Mariners don't score runs for Felix Hernandez
hence his 3 Wins should read 7. Besides a few poor outings, Hernandez has
a 83% Quality Start percentage this season. CC Sabathia is a
classic slow starter, look for him to finish the season in the top 10 once
again. Zach Greinke's K/I ratio is down considerably this season
(1.05 to .80) but that shouldn't alarm you as he's shown the ability to
turn it up a notch. However its time to stop consider him as top 5 talent.
All of Dan Haren peripherals are in line, the only indicator off is
his strand rate, which has dropped from .74 to .70, as well as an unlucky
hits allowed percentage (.324). Buy now. Cole Hamels ERA should be
about 100 lower than his actual, his K/I rates are norm, but his BB/9 rate
has climbed from .22 to .36. He's a buy now candidate but a risk to break
the top 20.
Wandy Rodriguez' K/I rate is way down this year (.90 to .62) which could be an indication that he's not healthy. Rodriguez is typically not a streaky pitcher. Nowhere to go but up, but we no longer view him as a top 30 the rest of the way. Jake Peavy's K/I ratio and WHIP normalized in May, good reason to believe that he'll be a top 30 by the end of the season. Ricky Nolasco's K/I ratio has dropped this year from 9.5 to 6.7 which is concerning, but he's posted sub par K/I the last 2 first halves, only to come back and dominate in the 2nd half. He could be a $30 pitcher in the 2nd half again this season and worth trading for at a discount. Something is clearly wrong with John Lackey, his .80 K/I to .57 and boost in BB/IP from .27 to .48 is a problem. He did turn it around last year after a poor start, but the BB/IP numbers indicate a pitcher that isn't confident with his stuff.
Glavin Floyd's strand rate of .60 is making him look much worse than deserved. Floyd has shown of pattern of streakiness over his career, but barring an undisclosed injury (I don't see it as his fastball is faster this year than in the past), there should be a 2 month period of domination still awaiting. Still he won't come near his preseason projection but should be a mid tier number 2. Scott Kazmir's K/I ratio has dropped precipitously since his 2008 season (1.15) to it's current .65...although his value is rock bottom, I wouldn't give much for him as I'm sensing an undisclosed injury situation. Randy Wolf's fastball is just about on par with where it's been, but the big difference this year is opposing hitters have been more patient on his out of zone pitches (BB rate has risen from .26 to .50). Additionally the opposition is making much better contact with pitches inside or outside of the K zone. He had a huge 2nd half last year, but we must come to the realization that it will likely not be a repeatable event. Rich Harden's 2 pitch repertoire is getting more predictable, as evidenced by the rise in his contact rate against (.67 to .83). Brian Mastusz has lost the bite on his pitches. Although his Hits % (BHIP) shows a very unlucky ratio of .343, we must also consider that his line drive rate against is a high 22%. He'll improve but he's likely not going to be more than a bottom end #2. We're starting to see a big turnaround with Ben Sheets, he's pitched quality games in 4 of his last 6, and his K/I ratio was 1.08 in May...possibly good enough to be a top end number 3 the rest of the way....only a waiver wire consideration.
Bronson Arroyo's ERA is 1.27 higher than expected....a good buy low indicator. Joe Blanton's ERA is 1.03 higher than expected, but his K/I ratio is off significantly (.87 to .50) bringing into question whether we'll see a hot 2nd half as we did in 2009. Blanton could still be building arm strength after a rib cage injury...Jon Garland is pitching in a great ballpark, but his ERA is understated by 75 points and his strand% of .83 too unsustainable with a .63 K/I ratio...sell now. There is little doubt about the heart that Mike Pelfrey pitches with, but his skill set will only get him so far over the long stretch of the summer. His .81 strand% is a good indication to sell high. Ian Kennedy is pitching like a number 2, but his numbers have been aided by a .237 BHIP%, camouflaging his bottom end #3 ability. Livan Hernandez is starting to show his expected self, his .202 BHIP% still makes him one of the luckiest pitchers this year. Carlos Silva was a 2nd tier pitcher in May, after being a first tier in April. His Cinderella season continues....but I'd bet that his 2nd half looks nothing like his first. Doug Fister continued to outpitch his potential before landing the on DL this week. Doug Fister has been consistent with inhibiting solid contact as his 14% LD ratio testifies. Brett Cecil's control has improved considerably this season and the drop in his BB% from .46 to .26 has transformed the youngster's game. That said, he's out performing his expectations considerably...meaning that there is some regression to be expected as hitters get a 2nd and 3rd look at him... Mike Leake continues to defy expectations with his 2.21 ERA. Although his pitches have Maddux'esque movement, his low K/9 ratio and high strand rate (.84) are a good indication that a correction lies in the road ahead. Get full value for him now.Click here for the Strategy Plus June Pitcher Rankings