Thursday, July 26, 2007

Look Who's Back! - Starting Pitchers Edition

This is another of my "Look Who's Back!" reports; this time I'm going to look at some starting pitchers who have turned it around recently.

Tim Lincecum (SP)
July Numbers:
27 1/3 IP
3 W
15 H
9 BB
33 K
1.32 ERA
0.84 WHIP
.161 BAA

Very impressive month from Lincecum. He had an alarming June, with a 7.71 ERA & 0 W. He has done a wonderful job re-gaining his composure & pitching like a #1 starter. I've mentioned it before, but I am little concerned that the Giants might shut him down early this year, but until then, continue to start him every time out. If you're in a keeper league, you'll need to seriously consider holding onto him next season (depending upon your # of keepers). I don't expect a King Felix-like sophomore slump next seson for Tim.

Please note, he starts tonight against the Braves, so get him in your lineup.

Felix Hernandez (SP)
July Numbers:
34 1/3 IP
2 W
32 H
12 BB
25 K
3.41 ERA
1.28 WHIP
.252 BAA

He has progressed nicely during the season. His monthly ERA from May - July has gone from 6.30 to 4.60 to 3.41...that's a nice trend. His walk ratio is up in July from earlier in the year (3.15 BB/9 in July vs. 2.75 BB/9 through the end of June), but given his overall performance, I don't think it's anything to be concerned about. Even though he has yet to fulfil his potential after what he flashed during his rookie year, I think he's going to continue to gain consistency in the second half & he should be a solid performer from here on out.

Dave Bush (SP)
July Numbers:
25 IP
2 W
24 H
6 BB
22 K
3.96 ERA
1.20 WHIP
.240 BAA

He's had a solid turnaround in the past two months. Let's compare his April & May numbers vs. his June & July numbers:

1st 2 Months:
68 2/3 IP
5.64 ERA
1.33 WHIP

Past 2 Months:
50 2/3 IP
3.73 ERA
1.28 WHIP

His WHIP is still a little high given his historical performance, but he's been a steady pitcher recently. Given the choice, I'd still take James Shields (who I discussed in an earlier Player Profile) over Bush, but Bush should continue to give you solid innings for the remainder of the year. I also expect his WHIP to decline from it's current level, possibly finishing the year below 1.20.

Some other pitchers who've picked it up as the season has progressed include:

Jered Weaver (SP) - He has gained consistency in the past two months. In April & May, he put up a 4-3 record, with a 4.25 ERA & 1.58 WHIP vs. his June & July totals, where he's posted a 2-2 record, with a 2.18 ERA & a 1.14 WHIP. He'll should be a solid middle of the rotation starter the rest of the year.
Adam Wainwright (SP) - I was worried earlier in the year, as the former Braves prospect almost lost his spot in the Cardinals rotation with his performance, but he's really steadied himself in the past two months. In April & May, he put up a 4-4 record, with a 5.58 ERA & a 1.79 WHIP. In the past two months, he's improved with a 5-4 record, a 3.46 ERA & 1.26 WHIP. Still not a guy I'm overly high on, but not bad if you're looking for some decent starts.
Scott Kazmir (SP) - This guy still has consistency problems, but at some point, look for him to put it all together & be a true # 1 starter (just maybe not this year). In his last three starts (covering 19 2/3 innings), has has a 2-1 record, allowing only 4 ER, while striking out 15, walking 8 & allowing 14 hits. If he can keep the walks down to a reasonable level, he'll be very helpful to fantasy teams. Just don't expect many wins, since he does play for the Devil Rays. Although he'll still have some occasional inconsistency & control issues, he's a solid play for K's & ERA, and I'm looking for a breakout season in the near future.

Did you know - On May 24, 2006, in Adam Wainwright's first career at bat, he hit a home run against Noah Lowry of the San Francisco Giants. In doing so, he became the 22nd batter in Major League history to hit a home run off his first pitch thrown in his first at-bat, and the 11th National Leaguer.

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