So you're slumping a little bit on your pitching, running behind in your league because Hamels hasn't been what you remember him being, or Chien-Ming Wang decimated your numbers from Opening Day on.
Or maybe it's your bullpen: your relievers aren't much help since Brad Lidge is pitching like that 2006 Pujols homer was yesterday, Ziegler's got the flu, and you tried to find Hoffman's Brew Crew subs while he was out, only to to discover it was more like the Blew-it Crew.
Now that jerk with Santana, Greinke and Broxton is running away with the league in the pitching department. How can you make up the slack?
Here's a few pitchers available in a majority of leagues (Yahoo! and ESPN) who have begun the year well, but whom people are almost completely ignoring.
Rafael Soriano, Braves (available in 59 percent of Yahoo!/76 percent ESPN)
Bobby Cox seems to have developed a dual-closer system with Mike Gonzalez and Soriano. Both are capable, but using both gives Cox a degree of flexibility that you don't see with most clubs.
Since Gonzalez is a lefty and Soriano tosses right-handed, Cox can now freely use whichever he needs in a setup role and use the other as a closer. Gonzalez is owned in a majority of leagues, but Soriano is still going unnoticed,
Yes, he's only got three saves, but he's got an ERA of 1.13 and a WHIP under 1, as well as a 22-to-6 K-to-BB ratio. What's not to like?
David Aardsma, Mariners (69 percent Yahoo!/82 percent ESPN)
Listen, if you're struggling for saves, you can't beat a solid closer on a winning team. With Brandon Morrow down for now in Seattle, Aardsma has risen into the closer role, and likely should have been awarded the role before Morrow went down in the first place.
Aarsdma has dropped some very impressive numbers so far—1.88 ERA and a 1.12 ERA, 3-for-3 in save situations. His K-to-BB is a little troubling—15-9 for a 1.67 rate—but Aardsma is still young, so it's likely that'll improve somewhat.
Even when Morrow gets back, there'll be days he's unavailable; and look for Wakamatsu to call Morrow anyway.
Andrew Bailey, A's (53 percent Yahoo!/84 percent ESPN)
Okay, what does it take to get this guy some notice? Really, people, he's a rookie who's come out of the box the way Brad Ziegler did last year for the A's, with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP over his first 21.1 innings in the majors. His K-to-BB is equally impressive for his experience, at 24-to-7 (or 3.43).
Sure, he's not the closer but should anything happen to Ziegler (check the last week or so, people), Bailey figures to get a few opportunities (he's already got one save and 3 wins).
There aren't a lot of great closer options available, his peripherals should help you in several other places, in case you began the year counting on Randy Johnson and Ricky Nolasco to help your ERA or WHIP totals.
Barry Zito, Giants (83 percent Yahoo!/90 percent ESPN)
Don't start. I know. He's been a disaster the last two years, and didn't exactly start off the year on a tear. But that's exactly why he's available, and you should be racing to get him now. I've put my money where my mouth is here—I've picked him up in leagues on both sites.
He's put together four straight quality starts, giving up a total of four runs in his last 26.1 innings to drop his ERA to 3.57 and his WHIP to 1.25.
Admittedly, this is aided by the division he plays in—during that stretch, he's thrown 14 shutout innings across two starts against the Padres and Diamondbacks, and gave up all four runs in his other two starts against the Dodgers—but that should be extra motivation to go get him, rather than reason for reservation.
The only concern here is that the Giants rarely give him enough offense for him to actually get the wins he deserves.
Koji Uehara, Orioles (92 percent Yahoo!/95 percent ESPN)
For God's sake, Ben Sheets is owned in more leagues than Uehara, and he doesn't even have a contract. His season ERA isn't impressive (4.01 ERA), but that's the result of one bad start against the Rangers in his second game of the year, where he gave up seven runs and walked four over five innings.
Take away that start, and Uehara's got a 2.90 ERA, a WHIP of 1.06, and a ridiculous 29-to-3 K-to-BB ratio (9.67!!!). He's also 2-3, but remember, he's on the Orioles—wins might be hard to come by.
If your league considers losses as part of its statistics, you may want to dodge this pick-up, but there is no other reason to pass on this waiver-wire steal.
Edwin Jackson, Tigers (52 percent Yahoo!/67 percent ESPN)
Jackson was a prized prospect in both the Dodgers and Rays organizations whom both clubs gave up on, but it's looking like the third club is the charm for young Jackson,as he's finally put his repertoire to work.
Jackson has a sparkling 2.60 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He's 2-2, and the Tigers have the offense to normally get him some wins. He's also packing a 35-to-11 (3.18) K-to-walk ratio. But people are starting to catch on to Edwin, so it's unlikely he'll earn a mention here again.
Hope this helps you out! Next time on the Dirty-Half-Dozen: Infielders.
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