A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dustin McGowan & (maybe) Aaron Harang: The Straw(s) that Broke the Camel's Back

Seriously, I don't know what's worse this year: the maple bat epidemic or the injured pitcher epidemic.  Think about it... unless you've had incredible luck this season, I'm sure you've lost at least one pitcher for an extended period due to injury.  Are they not drinking their milk, taking their vitamins, and saying their prayers every night?

Today, news from Blue Jays camp informed the public that Dustin McGowan was the latest "star" pitcher to hit the DL.  McGowan's diagnosis: an apparent rotator cuff tear.  So that means at least 4 weeks away from baseball activity.  Sure, my only knowledge of rotator cuffs comes by way of my love-hate relationship with Chad Pennington (two years in a row)... but I have a feeling it'll be a bit more than just 4 weeks.  In fact, I think it's time for every McGowan owner to cut loose and pick up Anibal Sanchez while he's still available in your league.  Normally, I'd deliver a few stats about Sanchez... but I'm on the edge right now.  My only advice is this:  he's a more valuable 2nd half starter than McGowan; cut away.

I know that I can't be the only one who's in complete amazement (which is another way to say I'm beginning to get a little pissed) about this starting pitcher famine.  Think about it... the news about McGowan comes the same week that Erik Bedard landed on the DL for what seems like the 70th time this season.

And now... I see message boards and blogs exploding over this.  Don't cue the gloomy "dun-dun-DUN," just yet... let's remember there have been similar scares this year (note Jorge Posada, Victor Martinez, etc) that haven't completely killed fantasy baseball squads around the world (and by "completely killed... around the world" I mean, my team survived...).  Could you imagine Harang being lost from the Reds for the year?  He'd be added to an already crowded list (including Yovanni Gallardo, Jeremy Bonderman, John Smoltz, Chien-Ming Wang and, now, Dustin McGowan) of season-altering starters who are lost for a looooooong time-- if not the season!

So where does this leave us?  Well, that rant was somewhat therapeutic for me... but I'm not going to leave you to just commiserate with me.  Instead, I'll attempt to throw you a few fliers who've caught my attention:

Josh Johnson:  He's a risk... but this season... not so much.  I say this because even if he only pitches for a month, his starts could be quality enough to give your Roto stats a nice boost.  Don't get me wrong: he's not a fantasy savior by any means.  Hell, he's not even the Robin to your ace's Batman.  He's more like the Supporting-Actor's sister's neighbor.  How does that translate?  Well, he'll help you with WHIP and ERA... he's not going much more than 6.0 IP per start and he'll win a decent amount of games... but not an overwhelming amount.  Does this description leave you where you started?  Maybe.  But Johnson's randomness factor may be worth risking against someone like Daniel Cabrera's guaranteed-to-blow-in-the-second-half factor.

Mike Pelfrey: He's owned in my fantasy league... but that's mainly because it's filled with current and former New Yorkers.  If he's not owned in your mixed league, you should take a flier on him.  I remember a few years ago, Pelfrey was compared to Justin Verlander-lite.  Eric Mack described him as having "Verlander-like Stuff."  The funny thing (to me, since I don't own him) is that in 2008, Verlander doesn't even have Verlander-like stuff.  All shots aside, Pelfrey is maturing before our eyes.  The NY media has caught on, which means your fantasy league is not far behind.  Take a flier on him now because, from what I've seen, he's already turned the corner and hasn't yet reached his climax.

Jeff Suppan:  When he hit the DL, he was the Brewers' number three starter.  He comes back as their number five.  Insulting?  No!  That means a lot of possibly cheap wins.  He's going to be facing the fading Todd Wellemeyers and Ian Snells/Tom Gorzelannys of the NL Central for the 2nd half of 2008.  As I said about Josh Johnson... don't rely on him as a weekly-start, rather look to him for some stat padding in the second half of the season.

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