« Astacio DFA'ed | Main | Silver Lining »

June 22, 2005

ESPN Column

Rogers And Young Experience Adversity
Ranger quasi-aces KENNY ROGERS and CHRIS YOUNG faltered in their starts at Los Angeles, part of a dire three-game sweep in which every starter surrendered ten hits and at least five runs. Both are worth owning in mixed leagues, though both also have the potential to lose that worthiness. Young has pitched very well but doesn’t have much of a track record, while Rogers has a recent history of first-half success and second-half decay. Young will start next against Brandon Backe in Houston followed by home dates against LA and Boston. Rogers will face LA at home, then Seattle on the road. Rogers might have avoided three of his six earned runs if not for backup shortstop Mark DeRosa’s sloth-like movement on a two-out grounder in the first. Juan Rivera followed with a three-run bomb.

Rotation Whirls Out Of Alignment
Texas had an obvious replacement for the departed Ryan Drese in RICARDO RODRIGUEZ, who had pitched well in AAA and is proving worthy of ownership on any AL-only roster. In the case of Pedro Astacio, dismissed last Friday, they do not, not at all. While Astacio undoubtedly earned his walking papers after allowing 13 homers in his last 43 innings, C.J. WILSON is arguably worse. At the least, he’s not ready for prime time, having missed all of 2004 with arm trouble and posting a 6.99 ERA in AA. Texas will skip Wilson with Thursday’s off day and might consider moving JOAQUIN BENOIT into the rotation once he returns from elbow soreness. Benoit has pitched much better in relief, so he doesn’t offer much as a starter on a fantasy team.

Compounding the trouble is CHAN HO PARK’s reversion to his old, bad self. Park has cut his homer rate admirably but has otherwise collapsed in June, averaging less than four innings per start and allowing three baserunners per inning (yes, three). Given his contract and the rotation’s two-week attrition rate of 40%, Park will get some time to recover. AAA’s Wilfredo Rodriguez might get a shot if his recent arm trouble turns out to be minor, but the rest of the AAA rotation offers no help. Texas has several quality starters in AA who could do some damage in the Majors someday but not now. Park is owned in 69% of AL-only leagues; I stand by my March assessment that he’s fantasy kryptonite. You’re better off with Cy Young or some similarly deceased pitcher.

Cordero Languishes
FRANCISCO CORDERO has only one save during the last 22 games. Did he lose the closer job to John Wasdin, or perhaps the estimable Jason Standridge? Fortunately, no. Unfortunately, the Rangers just haven’t played many close games lately. Cordero’s last seven appearances occurred in blowouts when the team simply needed to get him some work. Cordero won’t match last year’s 49 saves and his ERA is up, but he is on pace to match last year’s WHIP and strikeouts and tally 39 saves, a fine number.

Outfield Alignments
Oddly, though I and just about everybody else consider rightly Hidalgo a disappointment, he’s projecting to finish very close to my projections except for his batting average. Hidalgo is batting .220 and will conclude 2005 with 80 runs, 31 homers and 80 RBI at his current pace. I predicted .265 with 85 runs, 27 homers, and 85 RBI. He still has a little value in larger mixed leagues, and I don’t think Texas will cut bait yet. Hidalgo makes triple the combined salaries of the departed Drese and Astacio, and he is at least providing some power. Rumors abound that Texas might move the slumping DAVID DELLUCCI out of the leadoff spot, but I believe Buck Showalter will give him some more time given the lack of an obvious alternative.

GARY MATTHEWS continues to start for LAYNCE NIX against lefties and spot for Hidalgo every fifth game or so. MARSHALL MCDOUGALL started at DH against a lefty on Wednesday and smacked his first Major League hit. The AL West is far less lefty-heavy than in previous years, so McDougall won’t get many at-bats or generate much fantasy value in all but insanely large AL-only leagues.

Go Horns.

Posted by Lucas at June 22, 2005 11:42 PM