Chone Figgins - The underperforming infielder was scratched from Thursday's lineup due to an illness. It didn't sound too serious so expect Figgins back in the lineup this weekend. Figgins continues to struggle in Seattle, posting just a .217/.260/.304 slash line and those numbers are after the switch hitter collected multiple hits in 5 of his past 7 games. Figgins also stole 2 bases on Wednesday which brings his total to 5 for the season. He is not showing any of his customary patience this season, walking in just 5% of his PAs compared to a 10% career mark. When he swings at pitches outside of the strike zone, Figgins is making contact 86% of the time. This contact is likely of the weak variety which could help explain his low .235 BABIP. Even if Figgins does rebound like he did in the second half of 2010, the Seattle lineup bats Adam Kennedy third on a semi-regular basis. That weak offense makes Figgins a one-trick pony by only tallying steals and nothing else. Unless you're desperate for steals and have enough big hitters in your lineup to compensate for Figgins lack of power or average, he isn't worth a roster spot at this point.
Chris Perez - He had a 1.71 ERA last season and saved 23 of 27 games, but Chris Perez was definitely fortunate. He enjoyed an 86% strand rate and .222 BABIP. He also posted a walk rate of 4.00 while giving up just 0.57 HRs per game. This season, Perez is off to a great start and collected his 9th save in 10 chances yesterday against Oakland. However, it wasn't easy as Perez consistently fell behind hitters and threw just 13 of 27 pitches for strikes. This is the third recent outing where Perez has made things interesting. He continues to emerge from shaky outings with a save, but when you consider his good fortune last season, I am expecting him to blow some saves in the near future. If you own Perez, it's at least worth inquiring with teams in your league who need closers to see what he might fetch in a deal because it's unlikely his value will get much higher than it is now.
Brett Anderson - Brett Anderson tossed 9 dominant innings against the Indians on Thursday and made just 1 mistake - a 2-run single to Asdrubal Cabrera in the 6th to put Cleveland ahead 2-1. He finished with 5 strikeouts and 0 walks. While Oakland came back to tie the game, Anderson couldn't get the win despite the outstanding outing. For the season, Anderson now owns a 2.77 ERA and 1.13 WHIP to go along with an excellent 35:8 K:BB rate. He's been a groundball-inducing machine (65% GB%) and has improved his strikeout rate to the 7.00-range, which has made him an even more valuable commodity in fantasy baseball. Moving forward, Anderson won't be able to maintain such a high groundball rate but that number shouldn't fall too much. Everything else Anderson is doing should be sustainable and he continues to become a better and better SP option in all league formats.
John Lackey - Yikes. To say John Lackey's outing on Thursday against his former team was ugly is a pretty big understatement. Lackey got shellacked by the Angels to the tune of 8 ER and 14 base runners in just 4 innings. His ERA and WHIP now sit at 7.16 and 1.74, respectively. As you can imagine, the trends are alarming for Lackey right now. His velocity is down by about 1 mph and he's actually throwing that pitch less while using his curveball about 7% more often. He's not fooling batters as his chase rate is just 23% which is down from 30% in 2010. And he's also falling behind hitters 5% more often than a season ago. With a strikeout rate that is under 6.00 and the highest walk rate of his career, Lackey can't be started right now. There's still the possibility he'll improve as the season wears on, much like he did in 2010, but for now he should remain on the waiver wire or your team's bench.
Chris Tillman - Chris Tillman to John Lackey yesterday: "I'll see your terrible outing and raise you an even worse performance!" Like Lackey, Tillman gave up 8 ER but he only lasted 3 2/3 innings against Kansas City en route to witnessing his ERA and WHIP jump to 7.16 and 1.66, respectively. In his first two (half) seasons in the majors, Tillman was unable to translate his minor success against major league hitters, posting strikeout rates under 6.00, walk rates of 3.32 and 5.20 and surrendering well over 1.5 HRs per game. Prior to yesterday's disaster, Tillman had improved his strikeout, walk and HR rates this season but had also been inconsistent with 3 quality starts and 2 duds. He had also been a bit unlucky with a 65% strand rate and 3.69 FIP. It's easy to forget Tillman is still just 23 so I'm not giving up on him yet.
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