The calendar is about to flip to July and the end of the fantasy baseball season is on the horizon. Thereâ€™s still a lot of baseball left in 2013, but the dog days of August are right around the corner. Mirages are starting to appear in the summer heat and theyâ€™re making fantasy GMs make foolish, foolish decisions.
This is officially the silly season. If May is the Great Equalizer, then the end of June is when fantasy GMs decide to make silly choices. Some guys on the waiver wire can actually help your team. The guys featured in this column are not these guys. These are the guys that deserve to stay on the waiver wire or better yet, on someone else’s fantasy team.
Roy Oswalt is back in the major leagues and he managed to strike out 11 Nationals using his old man powers. He gave up four runs in five innings and took the loss, but the headlines will be about the 11 Kâ€™s. Fantasy GMs interested in winning should probably ignore them.
Itâ€™s hard to believe the Rockies were the only offer that got Roy to step off his tractor and back onto a baseball field. Heâ€™s stepping into a mediocre team that plays half its games in one of the better hitterâ€™s parks in the league. This is not the ideal situation for a 36-year old who hasnâ€™t pitched a full season since 2010. Heâ€™s not going to be usable almost half the time heâ€™s pitching.
The good news is that he was averaging 92.5 MPH on his fastball. He hasnâ€™t thrown that hard since 2010. He also didnâ€™t walk anyone in his start. These are the pieces of Oswaltâ€™s first start that fantasy GMs will cling to in order to justify overspending on Oswalt in FAAB bidding.
Speaking of guys getting by with old guy powers, Chien-Ming Wang is back in the major leagues with Toronto. Wang might be able to still eat up some innings, but he hasnâ€™t posted a K/9 over 5.00 at the major league level since 2009. He doesnâ€™t strike out nearly enough batters to be useful in fantasy baseball even if he does luck his way into a few wins or quality starts. Heâ€™s still a ground ball machine (64.2% GB % this year), but heâ€™s going to blow up at some point this season and heâ€™ll take your ratios with him.
Jeremy Bonderman is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2010. His comeback is truly a remarkable story, but itâ€™s not one that should be taking up space on your fantasy roster. Bonderman has half as many starts (five) as he does strikeouts (ten). He actually has the exact same number of Kâ€™s as walks right now. He has already allowed four homers in only 30.0 innings. His ERA wonâ€™t be at 3.30 for long. Heâ€™s a powder keg thatâ€™s waiting to blow up your ratios. His BABIP is only .235 and his strand rate is 83.3%. Those numbers donâ€™t indicate that Bonderman will have a lot of success beyond June.
Blue Jays warm body Esmil Rogers has thrown well enough to convince some fantasy GMs to have him on their staff. This will likely end badly for those who chose to invest in Rogers. Rogers is essentially a guy. Heâ€™s about as league average as it gets. Heâ€™s bounced between the minors and majors since 2009. He has the big fastball, but heâ€™s never been able to find success at the big league level.
He doesnâ€™t strike a ton of batters out (5.55 K/9 this year) and heâ€™s a career .344 BABIP pitcher with a current .280 BABIP. His 4.29 xFIP indicates his 3.14 actual ERA is likely a mirage. His 76.1% strand rate is almost 10.0% over his career average. Heâ€™s pieced together a few competent starts, but Rogers really isnâ€™t where fantasy GMs should want to be at this point in the season.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke is getting by with smoke and mirrors. He doesnâ€™t strike out a lot of batters (6.35 K/9), but he does walk quite a few (3.93 BB/9). Heâ€™s had some success in the low minors that would indicate he could be for real, but there have been a lot of guys who have done a lot more in the minors and wound up out of baseball.
Lockeâ€™s 4.06 xFIP is more than double his current 2.01 actual ERA. Heâ€™s getting by with a .231 BABIP while owning a 2.05 GB:FB ratio. A lot of baseballs are finding a lot of gloves. Locke is currently enjoying a statistical variance, but heâ€™s as likely a regression candidate as there is in Major League Baseball right now.
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