Zach McAllister - The Indians placed starting pitcher Zach McAllister on the 15-day DL on Saturday and he is eligible to return on June 18 versus the Royals. That said, manager Terry Francona indicated that McAllister may miss anywhere from two-to-four weeks with a sprained middle finger. McAllister had struggled in his previous three starts, failing to complete six innings of work and posting a pedestrian 11:8 strikeout-to-walk rate. The Indians attributed part of those struggles to McAllister not being able to grip his curveball properly. On the season, the right hander owns a 3.43 ERA, but his xFIP is an ugly 4.69. He relies on fly balls (38% GB rate), but has only allowed an 8% HR/FB rate to date, which doesn't seem sustainable. I'm also concerned that McAllister's K% has dropped from 20% in 2012 to just 15% this season. Once he returns, McAllister can be a spot starter in deeper leagues, but his upside isn't terribly high.
Tommy Hanson - The Angels' Tommy Hanson labored through five innings on Saturday against the Red Sox, yielding 2 ER on 7 hits to go along with four walks and four strikeouts. He managed to get out of several jams and pick up the win, but at the end of the day, it wasn't a good performance. Hanson continues to struggle in 2013, owning a 5.33 xFIP, 5.26 K/9 and ugly 13% HR/FB rate. He's also experienced a drop in his K% from 21% in 2012 to only 12% this year. Batters are also chasing fewer pitches outside the strike zone (30% in 2012 vs. 26% in 2013) which coincides with Hanson's swinging strike % falling from 9.1% in 2012 to 7.1%. Based on these peripherals, Hanson's 4.12 ERA is deceiving to say the least. For Hanson to improve, he's going to need to limit the HRs, improve his GB/FB rate (which is 0.97 for his career, but just 0.75 this season) and miss more bats. I'm not convinced he can make any of those improvements and see Hanson as waiver wire fodder for the remainder of 2013.
Jeremy Hellickson - The Rays' Jeremy Hellickson had an excellent start against the Orioles on Saturday, giving up 0 ER over six innings. He didn't walk a batter, yielded just four hits and whiffed five. Hellickson now has a 5.18 ERA for the season, although his xFIP is more than a run better at 4.07. He's struck out 62 against just 19 walks, but has struggled with the long ball (12 HRs allowed). During the past two seasons, Hellickson posted impressive ERAs of 2.95 and 3.10. However, he seemed to be defying the odds in being so successful as his xFIP marks were much worse than his ERAs (4.72 in 2011, 4.44 in 2012). This season, the irony is that Hellickson actually has improved his xFIP mark, but his ERA is terrible. I've never believed in Hellickson and he's proved me wrong the past two seasons. However, it appears the chickens are coming home to roost with Hellickson as he has been basically useless in all fantasy leagues thus far in 2013.
Jose Valverde - Jose Valverde pitched in his third straight game on Saturday against the Indians and picked up his 8th save of the season. He allowed two baserunners, but struck out the final two Cleveland batters to close out the save. Valverde's fastball velocity has fallen to a career-low 92.7 mph, but he's still managing to miss more bats than last season (22% in 2013 vs. 16% in 2012). He's also struggled with HRs, yielding four in just 15 2/3 innings. And, from an eye test perspective, he looks pretty mediocre every time out (Jim Leyland had two relievers warming up in the ninth on Saturday after Valverde put a couple guys on base). That said, Valverde is closing for one of the best teams in baseball so there will be plenty of opportunities for him to tally saves. His current .179 BABIP and 88% strand rate aren't sustainable, and he appears to be a disaster waiting to happen most days, but he's still 8-for-10 in save chances in 2013. Valverde's fantasy owners should continue to pop a couple Valium before watching him pitch because he walks a very tight rope.
Tommy Milone - The Athletics' Tommy Milone pitched a gem against the weak-hitting White Sox by yielding just 1 ER over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked just one batter. For the season, Milone's numbers mirror his 2012 campaign when he struck out 6.5 batters per game and owned an ERA just under 4.00. In 83 innings this season, Milone has improved his K/9 to 7.48 and lowered his ERA to 3.69. He's limited the walks (1.73 BB/9) while struggling with HRs (13 allowed all season, including one on Saturday). As a fly ball pitcher with a low GB rate (36%), Milone will likely continue to give up his fair share of long balls moving forward. However, he's making progress with missing more bats and, as long as he limits the free passes, he should be able to sustain decent ERAs. He's been especially effective at home with ERA of 2.43 compared to a 5.06 mark on the road (although his xFIP marks are much closer: 3.79 at home and 4.27 on road).
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