Flamethrowers: A Look at MLB's Hot Pitchers

Nick AllenCorrespondent IMay 10, 2009

SEATTLE - APRIL 18:  Edwin Jackson #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the game against the Seattle Mariners on April 18, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

In the past few days, there have been some great performances from some undervalued pitchers. So I put together a tribute to some of those guys. All of the percent owned information was found using ESPN's fantasy baseball system. 

Joe Saunders

Saunders easily had the best performance of his career yesterday, out-pitching Zack Greinke, a feat not many pitchers have been able to do this year. He posted his first career shutout and second career complete game. Through nine innings of work, he allowed five hits, zero runs, and one walk, while striking out six batters.

Saunders moves to 5-1 on the year through 47.1 innings.  He has struck out 22, walked 11, and his ERA is 2.66.

You know you're doing something right when you get the win and the opposing pitcher went nine innings, allowed one run, and struck out five.

Saunders is owned in 55.6 percent of fantasy leagues and should be owned in all of them.

Edwin Jackson

Jackson was solid for the Tigers yesterday, pitching seven scoreless innings and struck out seven batters while allowing five hits and one walk. He lowered his ERA to 2.60 in the winning effort.

Jackson is 2-2 on the season but has received the least amount of run support than any other pitcher in the American League. He got four runs from his offense yesterday, all in the seventh and eighth innings.

His next start is May 15th against the Oakland A's.

Jackson is owned in 28.3 percent of fantasy baseball leagues; that number should and will go up. Give him a look.

Brian Bannister

Bannister was recalled from Triple A on April 21st and has been a force for the Royals ever since. His first start of the season resulted in a win:  he threw six shutout innings, allowing six hits, zero runs, two walks, and only struck out one.

In his last start, he threw another six shutout innings, allowing five hits, zero runs, while walking only one, and struck out seven.

Bannister was a ground ball pitcher in Triple A but, has shown signs of improvement with strike outs. He has recorded a higher K total in each game this season. Another reason for concern was his control in his first two starts he issued eight walks; in his last two starts he only allowed three.

Since being recalled, Bannister is 3-0, allowing 18 hits, four earned runs, 14 strikeouts, and his ERA is 1.48.

Bannister is owned in 6.9 percent of fantasy baseball leagues.  He is definitely worth a look.

Eric Stults

Stults pitched a complete game shutout yesterday against the Giants. He went nine innings, allowing four hits, zero runs, zero walks, and struck out five, making him 4-1 on the season. He retired his first 13 batters before allowing a hit.

So far, Stults has pitched 32.2 innings, allowing 32 hits, 13 runs, and 14 walks, while striking out 20.  His ERA is 3.58.

Stults was recalled from Triple A after Hiroki Kuroda was placed on the 15-day DL and is making the case as to why he should stay in the Majors.

He is currently owned in 2.2 percent of fantasy leagues, up from 1.6 last week. Stults is another guy worth a pick-up in all deep leagues.


Jorge De La Rosa

Aside from his first start, De La Rosa has had five pitching performances worthy of a win. In his start yesterday, he went a career-high eight innings, giving up four hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out a career-high 12 batters in a losing effort.

Unfortunately for De La Rosa, he faced Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson, who only allowed one run over eight innings.

De La Rosa has hardly gotten any run support.  In five of his starts this season, he has gone five or more innings and hasn't allowed more then three runs, yet he sits at 0-3 on the season.

If you're in a league that uses RP and SP slots, take a look at De La Rosa, as he is listed an RP and SP. He is most likely available in your league. If your league is one of the 98.9 percent he isn't owned in, take a look at him. He's worth a look in deeper leagues and maybe all formats later on.

Matt Harrison

Harrison came to my attention on Friday.  I hadn't really known about him prior to his performance.  On Friday, he tossed a complete game shutout against the White Sox, extending his scoreless inning streak from 10 to 19 innings.

The beginning of the season was rough for Harrison. In the first 16.2 innings he pitched, he allowed 19 earned runs and 12 walks, while striking out nine, his ERA was 10.68, and he went 1-2.

In his last 19 innings, he has allowed zero earned runs and one walk, while striking out eight.  His ERA was of course 0.00, going 2-0, giving him an overall record of 3-2.

Harrison is owned in 0.9 percent of leagues, up 0.8 percent from last week. This means he is still available in 99.1 percent of leagues. Right now, I would give him a look in deeper leagues but, if he can keep this up, he should be worth a look in most formats.

You can check out other articles like this at: www.thesportspa.blogspot.com


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