Erik Bedard (SP - BOS): It wouldn't be a trade deadline if the Yankees and Sox both didn't make a deal, so the Red Sox snuck one in at the last minute, acquiring SEA LH Erik Bedard. Bedard's been a popular guy for me to write about this season as I was very high on him as a sleeper coming into the season and have followed his peaks and valleys pretty closely. The first instinct with Bedard going to the Red Sox is to think about all the great run support he hasn't been afforded in Seattle, but we have to recognize that represents just one category. The change in home scenery from SAFECO to Fenway and the change in heavy divisional schedule (OAK, TEX, LAA to NYY, TOR, BAL, TB) should have a net negative impact on Bedard's WHIP and ERA categories. His 40% FB Rate is somewhat in line with what he posted with the Orioles when he posted HR/9's in the 0.8 area. This year he's posted a 40% FB Rate with a HR/9 of 1.08 despite pitching in spacious SAFECO. In addition the .270 BABIP he's enjoyed has been helped along by a very spacious OF and very good OF defense in SEA. The defense will be good in BOS, but the OF won't be so spacious. I think Bedard sees a big jump in W's, but his ERA/WHIP combination jumps from 3.6/1.2 to 4.1/1.25 at a minimum. The overall impact should be muted in rotisserie formats while his value jumps in W-heavy scoring formats.
Mike Napoli (C/DH - TEX): As strange as it sounds the best thing that could've happened for Napoli owners was the injury to Adrian Beltre. The injury has opened up the opportunity for Napoli to play everday as Michael Young can swing over to 3B and he's rewarded his fantasy owners by going 11-21 with 7 Runs scored, 2 HR's, and 4 RBI's. He still has had a few off days mixed in, which I'm hoping with the recent injury to Nelson Cruz will encourage Ron Washington to realize Napoli is a needed entity in the lineup everyday. Since coming over to Texas Napoli has cut down on his K's to the point that he's no longer a hindrance in the batting average category, making him a legitimate 4 category contributor for fantasy owners. He's already ranked as the #4 catcher in fantasy based on ESPN's player rater, despite only playing in 64 of the Rangers 109 games. He remains a significantly undervalued commodity at the catching position and one the Angels offense probably misses these days.
Jeremy Hellickson (SP - TB): I keep wanting to believe that the peripherals will catch up with the production in Hellickson's case but after two middling performances on a road-trip swing through @OAK, @SEA I'm officially concerned it won't happen this year. Hellickson was solid on Sunday and good in the sense that he produced a lot of weak pop-ups, but just 4 K's and 5 BB's in 12 innings against those two weak offenses isn't confidence-inspiring. Hellickson's K Rate has now dropped 4 consecutive months, while his LD Rate has steadily risen. Hellickson still has a lot of potential to put it together at the major league level, but his performance this year suggests he's going to crater at some point. His FIP the last two months has been above 5.00, yet his ERA continues to sit in the low 3's. Now is the time to sell high.
Freddy Garcia (SP - NYY): As Freddy Garcia racked up his 8th quality start in his last 9 outings, I feel that this is the time to start asking questions about what kind of deal the Yankees organization has with the devil? Through 35 starts Garcia and Bartolo Colon have now combined for a 3.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. As a bit of a history lesson Freddy Garcia hasn't posted an ERA below 4.2 since 2005 and Colon hadn't even thrown more than 100 IP in the majors since 2005. It's been six years since either pitcher was relevant let alone good and here they are filling the #2 and #3 spots in the Yankees rotation. Incredible. Now that I have that out of me let's move on to all the indicators that suggest Garcia's current run is completely and utterly unsustainable. The amazing thing about Garcia's success this year is he's doing little different than he's ever done. He's striking out right around 6 batters per 9 which is just shy of his career totals but in line with his recent performance and his BB Rate of 2.59 BB/9 is nearly identical to last year's production, also slightly below his career average. About the only difference in Garcia's performance is the fact that he's traded some GB's for more LD's, as his GB Rate has dipped below 33% while his LD Rate remains at a career high 25%. If you can figure out how allowing 6 percentage points more LD's is a recipe to lower your ERA by 1.4 Runs, there are a list of SP's in MLB that would like to know that secret. It can't possibly continue and with Garcia's next outing coming @BOS, I'm inclined to think some of that regression takes place in a painful outing against the Red Sox.
Brandon McCarthy (SP - OAK): Take a quick scroll through the player blurbs history on Brandon McCarthy and you'll see a lot of up arrows under Mr. McCarthy's name. You can tell we're a sucker for a good combination of command, ground balls, and adequate K Rates while pitching in a friendly environment and that's exactly what you have with Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy rewarded our confidence on Sunday tossing his 2nd consecutive quality start while limitng the Twins to just 3 ER's on 8 hits and 0 BB's over 6 innings. McCarthy even struck out 9, something that he's been showing some improvement of late, suggesting the K Rate may be able to sit in the low 6.0 K/9. The outing lowered his ERA on the season to 3.58 and his WHIP to 1.21. With the good combination of skills McCarthy deserves to be owned in far more leagues than he currently is. He should be a strong contributor in the ratio categories with adequate production in K's and should be owned as a back-end rotation option in 12 team leagues and deeper.