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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

House Keeping Items (Kershaw and Bruce) and HOT July Pitchers!!!

It's been a while... and to be honest, a part of me was waiting to make sure my previous posts about Clayton Kershaw and Jay Bruce were correct... and they were.  For everyone who initially ignored my advice, it paid off in the short term.  However, as of right now, I still don't have Kershaw and Bruce on my roster... and I'm not really missing them.

Sure, I was wrong about Jake Westbrook.  Who could've seen that happening, huh?  Jesse Litsch flamed out (for the time being) and Jose Contreras is slowly, but surely, becoming Jose Contreras again.

Today, I wanted to take a look at the top performers for the month of July.  I decided to take a look at a player's numbers from 2005 to 2007 and see if there were any positive trends from April to July during said player's career.

Adam Wainwright is currently getting over his middle-finger energy.  He's expected to be 
ready to rock and roll come July, which, for him, is a huge breakout month.  In 41.0 inning from 2005 to 2007, Wainwright sports a 4.61 ERA in April.  May doesn't look much better with his 42.0/4.29.  Normally, June is when Wainwright really starts to 
bust it out.  Comparatively, his IP increase to 50+ (52.1) and his ERA drops below the 4.00 mark (3.78).  However, July brings about a different pitcher in Wainwright.

While is WHIP doesn't make any heads turn, his ERA shows that he's grinds it out more in July than any previous month.  Again, his innings dip back down to 46.0, but his ERA is a miniscule 2.94 in July.  What's even better is that he posts historically identical numbers in August as well.  I doubt that Wainwright is available in any leagues right now, but he's a definite buy-low candidate in every league (NL-Only, Mixed... you name it, you buy it).  Now, I wouldn't jump through fiery rings to obtain him, but Wainwright's just the guy that a championship run needs in the second half of the season.

We've seen Chad Billingsley begin the turn around process this month.  For anyone who thinks that he's going to begin a cooling down process in July, think again.  For the last two years of his MLB career, Billingsley has put up his best numbers in July.  In 70.2 innings pitched, Billingsley's pitched to the tun of a 3.18 ERA.  July represents a turnaround month for the Dodgers' young stud as his career ERA before and after the All Star Break is a full run difference (~4.15 before ~3.15 after).  

To me, I can't see someone wanting to trade this guy.  I have him on my fantasy team and, unless I was including him in a two-for-one that brought me back a superstar, I don't think I would be looking to
 deal him right now.  If Billingsley's All Star splits are any indication, his 3.54 ERA (as of post time) could conceivably dip below a 3.00 in the second half of the season.

Aaron Harang has been putrid thus far.  For every great start he has, he throws two bad ones.  As we're all aware, this is a guy who most owners drafted to be a staff anchor, not a guy who gets benched more than once a month due to inconsistencies.  

As a buy-low aficionado, I decided to take a look at Harang's 2008 Monthly splits compared to those of his career.  Here's what I found:
  • In April, he over performed.  His career ERA of 4+ was erased with a stellar April 2.98 ERA.
  • In May, the exact opposite happened.  His career May ERA of 3.09 was sullied by a despicable 4.98 in 2008.
  • As the weather warmed in June, Harange continued to cool.  There was nearly a 3 run differential between his 2008 ERA (6+) and his career ERA (3+).
With all these things known, I can't help but look at Harang's July numbers and expect his 3.34 career ERA to remain lost.  At this point you have to wonder if he's dealing with an injury because he's become progressively worse as the season has gone on.  If you want to make a trade for this potential ace, do so at your own risk.  There's a huge caveat surrounding Harang at this point in the season.

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