Jorge Soler has tremendous bat speed, decent pitch recognition and power to burn. He won’t be flying under the radar with three homers in his first 11 at-bats. It will take top dollar to fetch him. Hopefully you’re in a league with some dead money that’s left the party to focus on football drafts. I would pay whatever it takes to get him if you’re in a 12-team league and need power in one of your outfield slots and can afford the batting average risk.
The old Scott Baker, minus a couple of ticks on the radar gun, reemerged recently at the Ballpark in Arlington. His fastball sitting 88 mph to 89 mph, topping out at 91 mph, doesn’t leave any room for errors. Baker didn’t make many in his recent outing against the Royals. The journeyman effectively moved his location in-out-up-down and changed speeds to disrupt hitters’ timing. He followed up with a quality start in Houston a few days later. Baker may not remain in the rotation with Derek Holland slated to start Tuesday, but he might be worth a $1 stash and hold in 15-team leagues. 12-team leaguers can pass. Holland’s Jekyll and Hyde history will rightly scare off some owners. Nevertheless, he is a lightning-in-a-bottle candidate if you’re like me and the 7-9 spots in your rotation subject you to relentless ERA and WHIP pain.
Miguel Gonzalez is another finesse option that has to locate well to be effective. If his command falters, he can get hit hard. For that reason, he may be available in a number of leagues. As an Oriole, he’ll get plenty of run support and has strung together three straight quality starts. If you are chasing wins, you could do worse.
I picked up Yusmeiro Petit last week on the off chance that he would replace struggling Tim Lincecum in the rotation. Despite his record breaking consecutive batters retired streak, he remains a risky start. He has four quality pitches that he commands well, including a great changeup. For whatever reason, whenever I watch Petit pitch, hitters see enough of his pitches well enough to put warning track power on display, producing long fly outs that would be trouble outside of AT&T Park. I would bench him at Coors Field, but look at the remaining schedule if he sticks in the rotation:
Week 25 – Arizona, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 26 - @ San Diego
Week 27 – San Diego
Drew Pomeranz might be worth a stash if you have space. He made an effective spot start and was optioned back down to the Minors. If Jason Hammel continues to struggle, Pomeranz could replace him. The lefty was inconsistent but dominant at times earlier in the season. He should get at least decent run support to grab a couple of wins if he is given a starting role in September.
Sometimes you just want to stop the bleeding. Avoiding the ERA and WHIP bombs encountered playing waiver roulette with the 8th and 9th slots in your rotation may be the single most challenging aspect of high stakes rotisserie baseball. Enter Darren O'Day. He won’t do much, and that’s all part of the charm. With a 0.92 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, at least he’s safe. He can also take off some of the sting when a David Price drops eight earned runs on you in just two innings. Pitching for a great offense also means that vulturing a win is at least possible. Stick to weeks Baltimore is facing a suspect bullpen to increase your odds slightly.