Trevor Cahill - Trevor Cahill will try to break out of his recent slump and there aren't many better slump-busters for a pitcher than the Giants' offense. After posting a 1.88 ERA in March/April and a 2.72 mark in May, Cahill has really struggled in June, allowing 15 ER in 14 innings which equates to an ugly 9.64 ERA. He's also posting a terrible 2.21 WHIP and 9:11 K:BB this month. In his last outing when he faced the Royals, Cahill walked 7 batters, struck out zero and allowed 4 ER in just 4 1/3 innings. Cahill was fortunate that more runs didn't score as he left the game with the bases loaded and just 1 out, only to see Oakland's bullpen get out of the jam unscathed. For the season, Cahill's strikeout rate has increased from 5.40 in '10 to 6.55 but he's also witnessed his walk rate jump from 2.88 last season to 4.01 in 2011. Interestingly, Cahill's FIP is 4.18 this season which is nearly identical to his 4.19 FIP in 2010. Cahill is a decent SP but his peripheral numbers the past 2 seasons indicate he continues to out-pitch his skill set. I don't trust that Cahill's any better than a fantasy No. 4 pitcher moving forward in deep 10 and 12 team leagues.
Francisco Liriano - I still have trouble figuring out how a guy with a 5.11 walk rate and 4.40 FIP has nearly thrown 2 no-hitters this season. Francisco Liriano's 7.30 strikeout rate is significantly lower than his 2010 mark of 9.44 and his walk rate has jumped well over 2 batters per game. The Twins' lefty continues to survive thanks to an abnormally low .228 BABIP and 66% strand rate and it's very difficult to imagine he can be successful with those types of numbers. I'm concerned that Liriano's chase rate has dropped by 8% compared to 2010 and his first-pitch strike % has fallen from 61% in 2010 to just 48% this season. He may put together a few good starts from time to time, but don't be fooled into thinking Liriano is a good option for your rotation. Liriano will face the Padres later this afternoon in Minnesota.
Matt Harrison - A rain delay was the only thing stopping Matt Harrison Saturday as the Rangers' lefty tossed 6 1/3 innings against the Braves and allowed 1 ER (3 R) off 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out 6. With nobody on and 2 outs in the 5th, the umpire crew called for a rain delay which effectively ended Harrison's night. Or so I thought. Despite a more than 2-hour delay, Harrison trotted back out to the mound when the game resumed and tossed another 1 1/3 innings. For the season, Harrison owns a 3.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 48:29 K:/BB in 77 innings of work. While Harrison's ERA looks pretty, he's walking more than 4 batters a game, which isn't good under any circumstances but especially when he's striking out fewer than 6 per game. His 4.23 FIP is more than a run higher than his ERA and that's partly thanks to a low .267 BABIP. Based off these numbers, it's likely that Harrison is going to regress soon. At best, the southpaw is a spot starter in deeper leagues for the remainder of 2011.
Jorge Posada - After a truly awful start to the season, Jorge Posada entered Saturday's game against the Cubs batting .405/.422/.500 with 5 RBI in 42 June ABs. On Saturday, Posada walked in his only appearance as a pinch hitter so his season line is at .225/.319/376. While it's certainly a good sign that Posada is starting to hit, he still hasn't homered since April and his high BA this month is fueled by a .486 BABIP. Posada is also hitting a larger percentage of grounders with a 1.29 GB/FB ratio, which is the second highest mark of his career. Posada is certainly worth a flier in 12 or 14 team leagues as a backup catcher, but don't let his recent hot streak fool you - Hip Hip Jorge shouldn't be starting in all but the deepest of leagues.
Scott Baker - Scott Baker has improved his strikeouts this season, whiffing well over 8 batters per game entering Saturday's start versus the Padres. Getting to pitch against the Padres at Target Field is like winning a mini-lottery of sorts and Baker took full advantage by recording a season-high 10 strikeouts and allowing 0 ER over 8 innings of work. He now owns a 3.24 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and has struck out 88 batters in 91 innings. By improving his strikeout rate so drastically, Baker has become a No. 2-3 SP in 10 team leagues right now but may be undervalued because he's never finished a season with a strikeout rate above 7.82 and some managers in your league may have not yet noticed Baker's improvements this season. Entering yesterday's start, Baker's FIP was about .40 higher than his ERA so he's been a little lucky but he should be able to maintain a solid 3.50 ERA moving forward with a strikeout rate above 8.00.
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