Michael Pineda (SP - SEA): Pineda made it three straight ugly starts as we shelled by the Red Sox for 7 ER's in just 4 1/3 innings of work. He allowed 8 hits and a BB, while striking out 4, but 4 of those 8 hits went for extra bases. It's hard to get too riled up about a difficult outing in Fenway against a red-hot Red Sox lineup, but owners have to be a bit concerned after Pineda's posted just 1 quality start in his last 4 outings. From the statistical perspective there's little different in Pineda's peripherals since he's started struggling which suggests much of it is statistical regression, but you have to wonder with the Mariners fading fast if they re-think their innings limit on Pineda. Last year he threw 139 1/3 IP and this season he's just surpassed 120 IP. With the standard in the industry seemingly allowing pitchers to increase their workload 30-40 innings a year, Pineda would be allowed somewhere around 170-175 innings this year, which at the current pace would allow him to pitch into the 1st or 2nd week in September. Now the Mariners have suggested there will be no limitations so owners shouldn't panic here, but you have to wonder if the recent struggles impact their decision-making. Pineda will get TB at home next week in a start I'll comfortably utilize Pineda even with the recent struggles.
Josh Reddick (OF - BOS): It was about a month ago when I asked Lou Blasi for his insights into the Red Sox organization and how they'd handle Josh Reddick going forward on our weekly podcast. I asked Lou because I was intrigued with Josh's bat and thought any hitter in the Red Sox lineup flashing the skills Reddick had was worth a look. At the time Lou mentioned the Red Sox liked Reddick quite a bit but that their commitment to JD Drew might prevent long-term playing time for Josh. Fortunately Carl Crawford went down and Reddick has had an extended opportunity to showcase his skills. He's done such a good job, hitting .296/.361/.556, that he's pushed his way into full-time PT. Schuyler Dombroske has been all over Reddick's plight if you read through our blurbs and it looks like Reddick is now deserving of ownership in all formats. He's shown a great approach at the plate, walking in nearly 10% of his PA's while striking out in less than 15% of his AB's, and chasing just 24.6% of pitches outside the zone (well below the league average). The growth in his power the last few years in the minors appears to have translated over to the big leagues and his batting average should remain strong thanks to a great 25% LD Rate. Reddick's minor league track record is more good than great, but it looks like he's enjoying a career year at just the right time. The 24 year old should be owned in all formats and confidently started this week with a very friendly schedule ahead for the Red Sox. UPDATE: as if Reddick's stock needed an additional boost, it looks as if the Red Sox are going to place JD Drew on the DL on Monday.
Danny Duffy (SP - KC): I'm starting to get excited about Danny Duffy. I noted when he came up that the challenge would be assessing whether he was ready to command the strike zone at the big league level and in his first 6 starts Duffy posted a below average 6.3 BB/9 Rate. Not only was he struggling toc ommand the strike zone, but he wasn't racking up K's as he did in the minor leagues (5.9 K/9). Something has clicked of late though as Duffy's last 5 starts have been much more impressive. He's got the BB Rate under control (1.88 BB/9) and the K Rate has blossomed (9.1 K/9). He's allowed a bit few too many LD's during the streak (23%) which has helped keep the WHIP and ERA higher than those great K and BB Rates would suggest, but I think the signs are generally pointing to Duffy holding fantasy value over the course of the last two months. He'll have a big test on his hand @BOS this week (which I'd avoid), but gets a favorable matchup the following week with BAL that depending on how his command looks against BOS, I'd consider using.
Adam Dunn (DH - CHA): I think it's time. I've been writing about Dunn all season and it's been an interesting roller coaster. I started off pointing out all the reasons I was concerned that Dunn could potentially fall off a cliff this season, then progressed to some rationalization that it couldn't be this bad and he deserved a shot on a bench for a potential rebound, before finally coming back to the realization that things weren't likely to get better. Of late I've still been holding in the one league I owned Dunn just on the off chance things got together, but Dunn's peripherals continue to erode. His K Rate in June and July have expanded above 41% and his BB Rate has been back below 11%. The ISO that showed a little bit of strength in May has settled in back around the .120's in June and July. At this point there's little indication things are turning around and with time running out for enough of an improvement to take place that you'd be confident starting him, I think Dunn owners should simply move on.
Alexi Ogando (SP - TEX): This is the 2nd year in a row a Texas RP converted SP is mystifying me with their staying power. Last year it was CJ Wilson and this year its Ogando. Ogando's been able to stave off any regression in his BABIP to this point, despite allowing a LD Rate above 19% in each month and a LOB%'s above 80% in 3 of the 4 months. At some point you have to think those numbers will turn and Ogando will start seeing some regression in his WHIP and his ERA. On the positive side for Ogando owners he is starting to raise the K Rate of late, approaching 7.5 K/9 in July. The K's were present again on Sunday night as he struck out 6 in 6 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. An improved K Rate should help offset some of the potential effects of regression in his BABIP and LOB%, but not enough to cause a drop in value. Add in the fact that Ogando's career high as a professional is just 71 2/3 IP and Ogando's already approaching 120 IP this year, there is increased risk that Ogando's workload also has an effect. Given all the warning signs though with Ogando's peripherals, I'm skeptical that Ogando can continue his pace into the last 2 months of the season. I'd be looking to take advantage and sell high.