Under the Radar: Pitcher Edition

While I commend Collin’s idea in exposing under-the-radar players, I really have to disagree with two of those choices. Travis Snider is still young and has potential and belongs on that list. John Buck is a known commodity. He has power. He does not have enough power to overcome his staggering lack of any other useful talents, which is why the Royals gave him the Royal boot. When the Kings of Poop don’t want you, it’s time to pack it in.

Kevin Kouzmanoff I find somewhere in between Buck and Snider. While arguably as talented as Snider, he doesn’t have the same upside for make-believe baseball because he has less power. However, in a year where third base has been, to this point, incredibly shallow at the top (only Evan Longoria, Mark Reynolds and David Wright are ranked in the top 40), yet incredibly deep in the mediocre range where Kouzmanoff lies, you can do better. He’s 28 and already has three full major league seasons under his belt. We know what he offers: a subpar batting average (career .262), league-average power stats (three-year averages of 19.7 HR and 82 RBI), and no speed potential (two career steals, three-year average of 59.3 runs scored). If you desperately need a third baseman, pick up someone else who hasn’t played much and has potential, like David Freese if you can still grab him, or Andy LaRoche. They’ll have a better year than Kouzmanoff.

Here are some pitchers that can really supply you with some value for cheap that aren’t widely-publicized like Jaime Garcia, Doug Fister and Livan Hernandez:

Jason Vargas: Through five starts this year, Vargas has a 3.69 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with two wins and 27 punchouts in 31.2 innings. He pitches for the Mariners in their pitcher’s dreamscape, Safeco Field, and he just threw a quality start against the ML-leading Rays, striking out 8 batters in the process. He’s only 6-percent owned, and I picked him up for a spot start a while ago and he did all right for me. Keep an eye on him. If he’s still doing this well through another five starts, why not take a shot?

Kyle Davies: I don’t know how many of you remember his “breakout” with the Braves a few years back, but this kid does have talent. He’s shown it too. Four of his five outings have been quality start, including his last two great turns, totaling 12 innings, giving up only two runs and striking out 11. He doesn’t have the opportunity for a lot of wins pitching for the Royals black hole of offense (if Zack Greinke can’t get a win, then who can?), but if he continues to pitch like this, he’s definitely worth owning.

Chris Volstad: Ah, the post-hype sleeper. Just last year he was on everyone’s list of can’t-miss young pitchers, and just like the rest of those pitchers, he plays for the Marlins. He missed, and now is owned in only 4 percent of leagues, but he’s still got the same talent he had in 2008. Although he has a 4.50 ERA, his WHIP is a tidy 1.11, which is an indication of bad luck. When things even out, you’ll want him on your team.

2 responses to this post.

  1. How many better players can you name that are owned in SINGLE DIGIT percent of yahoo leagues? Let’s not criticize unless we offer viable alternatives now…


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