Let’s face it: some pitchers just aren’t the same after the All-Star break. Whether it’s the brief hiatus from the game or simply a mental funk, some of the most dominant guys in the first half just won’t be the same in the second. Having said that, let’s take a look at some pitchers that could really help your squad and may very well be realistic fits on your team.
1.Cliff Lee, SP TEX: 10-5, 2.44 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 126 K
Simply put, there are no words that can accurately describe Lee’s brilliance all season long. He’s shown that he’s capable of achieving excellence no matter where he pitches and just seems to have the opposing hitters wrapped around his finger. Lee has an unheard of historic K:BB ratio of 126:9 and his WHIP may very well fall below 0.90 by season’s end. He’s already pitched seven complete games this year and has gone at least eight innings in every start since July 4th. Perhaps Lee should borrow Albert Pujols’ nickname of “The Machine”, as he seems to mow down whomever is facing him. He’ll take on Javier Vazquez and the potent Yankees lineup this week, but Lee is capable of silencing any lineup on any day of the week.
2.Jered Weaver, SP LAA: 11-7, 2.96 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 171 K
Weaver has been brilliant for his owners this season and has really rewarded those that decided to take a chance on draft day. Weaver has a ridiculous 171:39 K:BB ratio and is currently first in the MLB in strikeouts. Once referred to as “Jeff’s younger brother”, Jered has now become an entity of his own and is a common name in fantasy circles everywhere. He’s coming off of back-to-back gems against Texas & Detroit and should win his third game in a row against KC this week so long as his team provides him with some run support.
3.Wandy Rodriguez, SP HOU: 9-11, 4.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 102 K
Even though his season line leaves a lot to be desired, Wandy has been straight up dominant over his last eight starts: 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA & 50 Ks. That’s the look of a top ten guy despite the fact that he pitches for the lowly Astros. He lost out his fourth straight victory due to the bullpen’s inability to lose out the game, but Rodriguez has been excellent for owners that gambled on him and bought low. He takes on the Braves & Tommy Hanson in his next scheduled start that promises to be an entertaining matchup.
4.Ubaldo Jimenez, SP COL: 17-2, 2.61 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 135 K
Since a brief hiatus on the Top 10, Jimenez has seemed to straighten himself out and has turned in two straight dominant starts. Despite a six-start stretch where he had a 7.64 ERA, Jimenez’s season ERA remains sparkling. The hard-throwing righty has an incredible 17 wins and is a lock (barring injury) to become a 20-game winner. He’s given up just two ER over his last 14 IP and has 15 Ks in that span. When he’s on, Jimenez is the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He’s been a fantasy stud all season and should continue to pitch well as a two-start guy this week against the Mets & Brewers.
5.Bronson Arroyo, SP CIN: 12-6, 3.83 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 78 K
Arroyo certainly won’t impress anyone with his uninspiring K:BB ratio of 78:50, but strikeouts simply aren’t Arroyo’s game. A classic sinkerball pitcher, Arroyo has been making his opposition pound the ball into the ground and has been frustrating team after team. The herky-jerky righty has really been impressive since the All-Star break outside of one bad start against Washington. Owners might be surprised to learn that Arroyo currently leads the NL in wins, but his high(ish) ERA coupled with his low strikeout total leave him best suited as a matchup pitcher in fantasy. This week he’ll take on a tough task against the Cardinals, but with the way he’s been pitching owners have to roll him out every week.
6.Tim Hudson, SP ATL: 13-5, 2.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 83 K
We’ve touted him quite a bit, and rightfully so. In the year of the pitcher, Hudson may be the biggest steal of fantasy drafts across the nation. Now more than a year removed from TJ surgery, Hudson has been an integral part of the Braves success this season. Hudson has been downright dominant of late, going 4-0 over his last four starts and has given up just two ER in 28.2 IP. Despite not amassing a ton of strikeouts, Hudson’s value lays mostly in his low ERA & WHIP. There’s no reason to think that Hudson is going to slow down any time soon and should spin another gem against the anemic Dodgers offense this week.
7.Trevor Cahill, SP OAK: 11-4, 2.72 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 73 K
Cahill’s statistics are downright disrespectful: he’s been absolutely filthy. The first time All-Star has stayed hot even after the break and most recently pitched a CG shutout against the Royals. Outside of a start just over a month ago against the Yankees, Cahill has given up just seven ER over his last 37.2 IP. He’s been especially good in his last two starts and carries a 17 inning scoreless streak into his next start against the Twins this week. He won’t strike out a ton of guys, but keeps the hits at a bare minimum and will help owners in every category except strikeouts.
8.Jake Westbrook, SP STL: 6-7, 4.54 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 89 K
Despite rather uninspiring season stats, Jake the Snake has been slithering his way through NL lineups since he came over from Cleveland via trade. In his first two starts he’s given up just five ER in 13 IP and has an incredible 16 Ks in that span. He’s never been known as a strikeout guy, but some of these guys in the NL are getting their first look at the deceptive righty, which could be a contributory factor. Whether it’s the league switch or the idea of playing for a contender, Westbrook has looked much more effective donning a Cards jersey than he did in an Indians one and should be a very promising play this week against a seriously struggling Cubs lineup.
9.RA Dickey, SP NYM: 7-4, 2.36 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 64 K
At first, I thought it was sheer luck. After 99 IP, Dickey is still dominating his opposition with his fluttering knuckleball. Possibly the most fascinating case in professional sports, Dickey has no ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, which means he shouldn’t even be able to throw a baseball. So much for that, as Dickey has been throwing the ball effectively all season long since his call-up. The re-invented righty has an incredibly low season ERA and has a real chance to finish the season with 10+ wins. He’s been a waiver wire gem and will look to continue his success against the Phillies next week.
10.Gio Gonzalez, SP OAK: 10-7, 3.51 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 114 K
Gonzalez has really blossomed into the starter that GM Billy Beane imagined when he first came up a few short years ago. After garnering his 10th win of the season (for the first time in his career), Gonzalez doesn’t seem ready to stop there. After struggling with his control for most of his career, the 24-year-old lefty has seemed to get a better feel for the strike zone this season as evidenced by his 114:62 K:BB ratio. While he still walks too many for some owners liking (his WHIP is over 1.30), Gonzalez is valuable commodity for his wins and strikeouts and really hasn’t had a poor start in more than a month. He’ll take on the Twins this week.