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Rookie pitching has been incredible this year and over the last couple weeks some even newer faces have joined the likes of Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Gerrit Cole in shutting down opposing lineups at will. Let’s take a look at some young rising stars and a couple of veterans that have rediscovered themselves.
Ian Kennedy: Solid Buy. At the deadline I wrote that moving to San Diego could be big for Kennedy and so far he’s been a completely different pitcher than the guy who went 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA for the DBacks. Over his last five starts, Kennedy owns a 3.34 ERA, .218 BAA, and 26 K over 29.2 IP. He’s not going to win much with the Padres behind him but he’s worth a pickup as a three-category pitcher.
Brandon Beachy: Strong Buy. After struggling with some rust in his first two games back (10 ER, 10 IP), Beachy has been stellar over his last two outings, surrendering just two runs over 14 IP while striking out 10 and walking one. Beachy had a 2.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 13 starts last season and is worth a pickup in all mixed leagues.
Tyson Ross: Solid Buy. In four starts since returning to the rotation, Ross has been as good as any pitcher in the league. In those four starts, he’s 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA, .135 BAA, and 28 K/10 BB over 27 IP. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and should be owned universally until he falters.
Alex Wood: Strong Buy. Wood has been unstoppable over his last three starts, going 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA, .159 BAA, and 17 K/4 BB over 19 IP. The rookie has a 1.73 career ERA in 24 minor league starts and has translated in a big way to the Majors.
Nathan Eovaldi: Solid Buy. Eovaldi now has a 2.82 ERA and 1.15 WHIP through 10 starts this year. Over his last four games, the 23-year-old has been nasty, putting up a 1.04 ERA, .170 BAA, and 18 K over 26 IP. He won’t get you many wins but he’s a must own in shallower leagues.
Sonny Gray: Speculative Buy. We haven’t seen enough of Gray, who has two relief outings and one start so far, but his 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9 have to make you optimistic. I wrote more about Gray a few weeks ago when he was first called up.
Andrew Albers: Speculative Buy. Like Gray, we haven’t seen much of Albers yet but when you debut with 8.1 scoreless innings against the red hot Royals and follow that effort up with a complete game, two-hit shutout of the Indians, it’s hard not to get extremely excited. He’s only struck out four batters over his first 17 Big League innings but had a 7.9 K/9 in the minors this year and a 7.7 over his career so that number should improve.
Chia-Jen Lo: Speculative Buy. Despite only appearing in six games, the Astros have already deemed Lo their new closer. The 27-year-old Taiwanese import has been in the Houston farm system since 2009 and has done very well, posting a career 2.11 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 10 K/9 over 128 IP. He’s yet to allow a run over 6.1 IP in the Majors. If you need saves, you might as well take a shot at him.
Bartolo Colon: When a 40-year-old pitcher with a 4.00 career ERA has a 2.50 ERA heading into August, there’s always going to be an unpleasant leveling-out period. Colon’s last two starts have been especially unpleasant as the big man has surrendered 10 ER, 14 H, four walks, and a home run over 6.2 IP. His ERA is only up to 2.97 which means there’s more leveling-out to be done.
CC Sabathia: Even as CC is showing some signs of improvement, giving up just six runs in his last two starts, compared to 19 runs in his three starts before that, he still looks terrible. Sabathia pitched a “quality start” against the Angels on Tuesday but walked six batters and allowed a home run. He has now allowed a home run in three straight games and has given up nine home runs over his last eight starts. Whatever is going on with CC, let another fantasy owner deal with it.
Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro is owned in more than half of fantasy leagues despite putting up a .276 BA, six HR, 27 RBI, 43 R, and 17 SB. While the steals are solid, the rest of the numbers are very mediocre and there’s no need to hold on to him in a position as deep as outfield. Over his last 22 games, Ichiro is batting just .247 with two RBI, seven runs, one extra-base hit, and four steals. Seriously. Just let him go.
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