Friday, May 30, 2008

The Buzz Around the Bullpen: The Seven Game Winner that Nobody Knows About

Welcome back to another edition of the “Buzz Around the Bullpen”. This week we saw two of baseball’s brightest young stars finally get their call to the “bigs”. While I would normally focus on the arrival of new fantasy studs, all that needs to be said is if Clayton Kershaw and Jay Bruce are available in your league, pick them up immediately. They are both future stars in the game and if you are in a keeper league, you could hit the jackpot with either one of these guys. Throughout the next two months, look for teams throughout the league to give their hot young prospects a chance to impress at the major league level. The word around baseball is that in the next couple weeks young studs like Andy LaRoche and Chase Headley might also get the call back to the big leagues. These are guys that can definitely have an immediate impact on your team. Do not let their youth scare you but if you are still a little hesitant, just remember what Ryan Braun was able to do in an abbreviated season last year.

Big Hits

Jesse Litsch (SP, Toronto Blue Jays): This is the seven game winner that absolutely no one is talking about. Litsch has been solid for the past month and his numbers have been comparable to some of the league’s best pitchers. However, Litsch is owned in less than 60% of leagues. In his past two starts, Litsch has been dominating. While he only has 37 Ks in 65 IP, Litsch possesses a 3.18 ERA with an impressive 1.15 WHIP. He has already matched his win total from last year when he won 7 games in a little over 100 IP. I would look for Litsch to continue to put up strong numbers. If he is available pick him up immediately.

Ian Stewart (3B, Colorado Rockies): There has not been much in the way of positive news out of Colorado lately with Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitski and Clint Barmes all on the disabled list. As a result, Ian Stewart was promoted from Triple-A where he was hitting .280 with 12 HRs. Stewart struggled in limited time last year with Colorado but with more at-bats under his belt, look for Stewart to put up decent fantasy numbers. Making him even more appealing, Stewart will soon become 2B eligible. Take a flier on Stewart and take advantage of him getting some starts while Colorado’s stars are on the shelf.

Jorge Campillo (SP/RP Atlanta Braves): The Braves has this knack that regardless of who they lose through injury or through free agency, they find someone to step in and put up great numbers. Campillo started the year as a reliever and was virtually unhittable. Since his move to the rotation, his numbers have somehow gotten even better. In his last three starts, Campillo has given up 1 earned run and has struck out 16 batters in only 15 IP. For the year, Campillo is averaging just under a K/INN and also has a miniscule ERA of .99. Maybe more important than any of these stats is that Bobby Cox has stated on several occasion how good Campillo’s stuff has been this year. This is great news for owners of Campillo because it looks as though he might be in the rotation to stay. The only thing to worry about with Campillo is his problem with blisters. Before his last start he was only owned in less than 10% of leagues so he will almost definitely be available in your league. Pick him up now and monitor his health status with his blisters.

Jason Bergmann (SP, Washington Nationals): Bergmann struggled mightily in his first three starts this season and as a result, he was sent down to Triple-A. Whether he tweaked his mechanics are just got a “wake-up call”, Bergmann has been solid since his recall to the big leagues. In his last three starts, Bergmann has not given up an earned run and during that time, he has struck out 22 batters in only 19.2 IP. The only problem with Bergmann is that he plays on a bad team and may lose out on some potential wins because of his team’s lack of run support. However, if you need some help in your Ks category, Bergmann has had only one start this year where he has struck out less than four batters. I would take a chance on Bergmann and at least take advantage of his high K numbers.

Honorable Mention

Kevin Slowey (SP, Minnesota Twins): (2-4, 3.37 ERA, 24 Ks, 1.04 WHIP)
Dan Wheeler (RP, Tampa Bay Rays): (0-3, 2.19 ERA, 18 Ks, 1 save)
Joba Chamberlain (RP/SP, New York Yankees): (1-2, 2.28 ERA, 30 Ks)
Ryan Spilborghs (OF, Colorado Rockies): (.320, 3 HR, 22 RBIs, 17 runs, 4 SBs)

Big Miss

Scott Olsen (SP, Florida Marlins): Olsen has certainly cooled off since starting the season with four wins in his first six starts. His last four starts have been a little troubling because of the amount of hits and earned runs he has given up. If you were to look at his overall numbers, they are still fairly decent because of his great start. This could definitely help if you are trying to trade him. A potential trading partner might be less inclined to look at his last couple starts after seeing decent overall numbers. Over the course of his young career, Olsen has struggled with a high ERA and a below average WHIP. You could definitely still get some decent return with Olsen. I would trade now because I believe Olsen is the pitcher he has been over his last four starts as opposed to the pitcher he was in the beginning of the season.

As with any SportsJudge articles, please feel free to post any questions or comments. Until next time, keep your ears open for the Buzz Around the Bullpen.

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