There were fewer pitchers worse than Heath Bell in 2012.Â He went from a reliable closer to a below replacement level reliever seemingly in an instant.Â It has been a long time since Jeremy Guthrie or Kyle Kendrick have received much fantasy attention but they join Bell on the list of most added players.Â
Heath Bell:Â He earned three saves since stepping in for J.J Putz before failing in last Sundayâ€™s game.Â He has only walked three batters while striking out 20 this year.Â His ERA is in 2012â€™s neighborhood, but his 2.42 xFIP would be a career best.Â His peripheral numbers reveal a pitcher worth owning.Â Putz is not planning on surgery.Â He could retake his job, but that decision won’t be made for a while.
Drop for him:Â Brandon League, Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Madson
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Steve Cishek, Kevin Gregg, Junichi Tazawa
Kyle Kendrick:Â He extended his quality start streak to seven on Sunday.Â Better control has boosted his K/BB ratio all the way to 3.90.Â An improved changeup is being credited for hi leap in production.Â The 2.47 ERA is overstating his gains, but he is a serviceable rotation filler in deeper mixed leagues.
Drop for him:Â Andy Pettitte, Jake Westbrook, Dan Haren
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Justin Masterson, Kyle Lohse, Phil Hughes
Jeremy Guthrie:Â He pitched 21.2 innings over his last three starts and allowed only one run.Â He is 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA so far this season.Â Fortune has stayed by his side, his 4.26 xFIP is the lowest of all the Fangraphs-approved ERA estimators.Â With regression on the horizon and a K/9 under 6.00 since 2007, it’s a good idea to stay away from Guthrie in mixed leagues.
Drop for him:Â Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson, Josh Beckett
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Wandy Rodriguez, Marco Estrada, Brett Anderson
Kelly Johnson:Â The fantasy appeal is obvious.Â He is 2B-eligible and pacing towards a 20/20 season.Â A career high 46.6% fly ball rate is helping his power and in an unusual circumstance his BABIP is also 30 points above his career level.Â His SB/CS ratio is only 4/3, so the brakes could be applied soon.Â Add him to fill a need, but all the numbers do not add up here.
Drop for him:Â Rickie Weeks, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Raburn
Donâ€™t drop for him:Â Danny Espinosa, Omar Infante, Josh Rutledge
Jon Niese:Â His skills have fallen off a cliff.Â The past two seasons his K/BB was 3.14 and 3.16, but it is 0.95 in the first six weeks of 2013.Â His career swinging strike rate is 7.9%, this year it is only 6.3%.Â He claims a sore back/neck caused him to drop his arm angle and he is working to fix it.Â Sometimes pitchers are able to correct flaws like this in season and sometimes it snowballs into a lost year.Â Do not start Niese until he displays some progress.
Drop him for:Â Carlos Villanueva, Jose Quintana, Matt Garza
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Jason Vargas, Chris Tillman, Kevin Correia
Marco Estrada:Â The preseason sleeper has already given up eleven HR in 38.2 IP.Â His 22.9% HR/FB is highest among all starting pitchers.Â His fastball was over ten runs above average in 2011 and 2012, but this year it is among the least effective in baseball.Â He still owns a 9.0 K/9 and strong 3.25 K/BB.Â HisÂ velocity is within one mph of 2012â€™s.Â There is at least some bad luck involved, so hang with him if possible.
Drop him for:Â Jose Fernandez, Kevin Slowey, Jhoulys Chacin
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Barry Zito, Jeremy Hellickson, Tim Lincecum
Jason Kubel:Â He was a full time starter last season, but he is stuck platooning this year and it’s not helping his numbers. His 102 wRC+ makes him basically a league average hitter.Â His BB/K slipped from 0.38 to 0.28.Â It hovered near 0.50 in his Minnesota years.
Drop him for:Â Domonic Brown, Garrett Jones, Micheal Brantley
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Nate Schierholtz, Dayan Viciedo, Ryan Doumit
Will Middlebroks:Â He escaped any serious injury from a collision last week and he is having a tougher time escaping the Mendoza Line.Â His plate discipline has not improved as hoped. He has a 32.5% chase rate and a 0.12 BB/K.Â Major league pitchers will handle him with ease if he refuses to take a walk.Â If he is on the waiver wire watch his monthly splits for an improvement.
Drop him for:Â Kyle Seager, Jedd Gyorko, Todd Frazier
Donâ€™t drop him for:Â Mike Moustakas, Brett Lawrie, Chris Johnson