Joe Blanton | Philadelphia | SP | 26 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 5.04 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.83 K/9, 3.21 K/BB, 42.8 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.60 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 3.00 K/BB
Joe Blanton has a start against the Mets tonight (Sept. 24), which is too late to add him in Yahoo! leagues, but he also appears lined up for a turn against the Washington Nationals, if the Phillies don’t juggle starters down the stretch.
For the season Blanton has two no-decisions and an ugly 6.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 12 innings pitched against the Nationals. Digging deeper, though, you’ll see he’s had poor luck. In those two starts he’s walked only two batters while striking out 16. Since the All-Star break, Blanton has struck out 71 batters in 80.2 innings while walking only 20.
Those in need of help in a head-to-head playoff match-up or those with innings to work with in roto leagues looking for a cheap win or some strikeouts without damaging their ratios should turn to Blanton for his start against the Nationals. He’s currently available in 74 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but it would be wise to add him as far in advance of his match-up as possible, as other owners may be planning ahead as well.
Recommendation: Should be added by owners in any size league in need of pitching help in a head-to-head match-up or those in need of pitching points with innings to work with in roto leagues.
Craig Kimbrel | Atlanta | RP | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 0.59 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 17.61 K/9, 2.73 K/BB, 37.5 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.31 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, 1.00 K/BB
Simply put, Craig Kimbrel is a strikeout machine. He has struck out 30 batters in 15.1 innings. Since his recall from the minors at the end of August, the walk issues he had early in the season have disappeared (one walk in seven innings), while the strikeouts have remained high (15). He has struck out at least two batters in six of seven appearances and has picked up a win and a save.
Owners in roto leagues with few innings left before reaching their cap who need every strikeout they can get should add Kimbrel in the hopes of a few more electric appearances. He might luck himself into a win or a save as well, adding gravy to his already fantastic strikeout upside.
Recommendation: Should be added by owners in need of strikeouts with limited innings-pitched resources.
Chris Narveson | Milwaukee | SP | 9 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: 5.25 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 7.17 K/9, 2.24 K/BB, 40.6 GB
Oliver ROS: 4.44 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 2.50 K/BB
Chris Narveson is in line to start against the Florida Marlins on Saturday with another likely turn against the Mets to wrap up September, making him a potential nifty add. Narveson has just one start against the Marlins, which wasn’t all bad since he struck out eight in 5.2 innings. Unfortunately for him, that’s where the good ends in that turn: He allowed five earned runs on six hits with two walks and a home run. With such a small sample against the Marlins, little can be definitively said about Narveson against them.
Against southpaws, the Marlins appear to be a middle-of-the-road team. Their ,255/.323/.408 line ranks tied for 17th in the majors, tied for 16th and tied for 13th respectively in the triple slash categories. His likely turn against the Mets appears even juicier looking at their numbers against left-handed pitching. On the season, the Mets slash just .249/.315/.380 against lefties which is, “good,” for tied in 23rd place in batting average, 25th in on-base percentage, and tied for 23rd in slugging.
David Wright crushes lefties, andJose Reyes has a career .303/.353/.443 line and a slash of .313/.358/.391 this year, but beyond those two Ike Davis is the lone wild card so to speak. Davis has hit .313/.376/.473 against his same-handed counterparts this season in 112 at-bats, but has struck out a whopping 34 times. Also, in 191 minor league at bats against lef -handers he has hit .267/.329/.377, making him significantly less intimidating than Wright and Reyes.
Looking at Narveson’s solid post-All-Star break numbers of 67.2 innings, 4.26 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 52 strikeouts to 20 walks (2.60 K/BB) leads me to believe he can be serviceable for those looking to pick up a win, some strikeout help and not damage their ratios to close out the year. Narveson isn’t a must-add in all league sizes, but depending on your spot in the standings or match-up, he could help.
Recommendation: Narveson is a case-by-case gamble. Those looking to throw aHail Mary to pick up categories could do worse than to add Narveson. Those in tight ratio battles either in head-to-head or roto leagues will need to use their best judgment.
Carlos Gomez | Milwaukee | OF | 4 percent Yahoo! ownership
YTD: .238/.288/.351 (16 SB and 2 CS)
Oliver ROS: .240/.289/.348
Carlos Gomez is strictly a speed play. He has five stolen bases in just 28 September at-bats. Since Sept. 13, Gomez has seen the bulk of the playing time in center field over his counterpart, Lorenzo Cain. From Sept. 13 through Sept. 21, Gomez has nine hits in 26 at-bats, good for a .346 average. He hasn’t walked at all in those games, but he has also kept his strikeouts to a minimum, going down to strike three only three times.
Those in head-to-head leagues should look at him only if stolen bases are a swing category, as he offers almost no other value. Those in need of stolen bases to pick up points in roto leagues need to scoop him up immediately, as he’s capable of stealing bases in bunches.
Recommendation: Should be added by owners in need of stolen bases, regardless of league size and type.
Ike Davis | New York (National League) | 1B | 28 percent Yahoo! ownership
Oliver ROS: .254/.332/.422
Ike Davis is scorching in September. He has 78 plate appearances this month in which he’s hit .354/.449/.585 with a 12:14 walk:strikeout rate. He has also slugged six doubles and three home runs in the same time frame. He remains a widely available option for power numbers down the stretch, and shouldn’t hurt, and could in fact help, batting average. Davis has been a useful contributor in runs and RBIs this month, and should remain so as long as he is raking and getting on base. If you need some pop, and can’t afford to gamble on average, Davis might just be your man.
Recommendation: Should be added by owners in need of pop in 12-team or larger mixed leagues in which he’s available.
Pat Burrell | San Francisco | OF | 10 percent Yahoo! ownership
Oliver ROS: .232/.338/.414
Pat “The Bat” Burrell is an even more widely available power option than Davis. However, his .233/.377/.535 September line illustrates that he carries batting average risk. Burrell is a notoriously streaky hitter, so he’s capable of going on a heater that can carry your fantasy squad down the stretch, but also runs the risk of going Titantic-like and sinking your squad with an ice cold stretch. In just 53 plate appearances this month he has drilled four home runs and has tallied another six dating back to his 109 August plate appearances, good for 10 home runs in his last 162 plate appearances.
Those not deadlocked in average in roto leagues who could use a few dingers should add Burrell immediately. Those in head-to-head leagues need to more carefully weigh the average risk he presents before adding him and add or pass accordingly.
Recommendation: Should be added by owners in 10-team or larger mixed leagues using five outfielders in need of home runs (who have wiggle room in batting average).