Yesterday we looked at a few hitters that have put up big spring training numbers. Some have even forced their way into big league playing time. Today we head to the mound and find some pitchers that have impressed this spring and what type of fantasy impact (if any) we can expect.
Dontrelle Willis, SP, DET
With a decent showing this spring Dontrelle Willis has won a rotation spot in Detroit. After almost two full years bouncing around the minors and dealing with anxiety issues, Willis will attempt to regain the form that made him such a valuable pitcher for the Marlins years ago. However, that might be wishful thinking. Despite a 3.26 spring ERA Willis has a 13:12 K:BB ratio, which is extremely worrisome considering control issues were what got him shook up in the first place. Unless he comes out and shows a big improvement with his control, Willis shouldn't be touched in fantasy leagues.
Dana Eveland, SP, TOR
Marc Rzepczynski was supposed to open the season as the Blue Jays number five starter, but a fractured finger will push him to the DL. In his place will be left-hander Dana Eveland who has posted a 1.23 ERA this spring with 19 strikeouts to six walks in 22 innings.
Eveland had some pretty ugly numbers for the A's last season allowing a whopping 70 hits in only 44 innings. If there is any positive it's that Eveland has a career ground ball rate of 50 percent. However, he has not shown the ability to strike big league hitters out consistently or limit his walks. He'll have to show a change in both categories before we can trust him in any fantasy format.
Rodrigo Lopez, SP, ARI
Fantasy owners have to go back a few years to find the last time Rodrigo Lopez was a viable starter. After posting decent spring numbers so far (2.35 ERA with 12 strikeouts and three walks in 15.1 innings), Lopez has been added to the D-Backs starting rotation.
Last season while at triple-A in the Phillies system, Lopez showed tremendous command posting a 1.26 BB/9, but he also allowed 122 hits in 100.1 innings pitched. Without the ability to strike hitters out, Lopez will rely heavily on the defense behind him. That's not something to look forward to in Arizona.
David Hernandez, SP, BAL
Hernandez made 19 starts for the Orioles last season, but the results were not good. He posted a 5.42 ERA and 1.48 K/BB rate in 101.1 innings. However, one look at his minor league numbers shows much more upside than that. Hernandez has a career minor league 10.4 K/9 and is only 25 years old. Also, last season he generated 53 percent ground balls with the Orioles.
Hernandez has 20 strikeouts to only three walks this spring in 15 innings pitched. If that sort of production continues as the Orioles fifth starter, he may make a mixed league impact as a back end starter.
Gio Gonzalez, SP, OAK
Stuff wise, Gio Gonzalez is right up there with anyone on the Oakland staff, including Brett Anderson. His problem has always been walks. Gonzalez walked over five per nine at both triple-A and in his 98.2 innings with the A's last season. There were some signs that things would be different this spring, but as of now Gonzalez has walked ten batters in his 19.1 innings of work (4.74 BB/9). He has also struck out 18 and allowed only 11 hits in those 19.1 innings.
It will come down to Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill for Oakland's fifth starters spot. Cahill doesn't have the big strikeout numbers this spring, but he has only walked four in 17.2 innings.
If Gonzalez wins the fifth starters spot he will certainly be worth a flier given the strikeout upside. Just don't expect the control issues to disappear into thin air.
Todd Wellemeyer, SP, SF
With a spring ERA of 2.00, Todd Wellemeyer has just about locked up the fifth starters spot for the Giants. The magical season of 2008 in which Wellemeyer posted a 3.71 ERA disappeared in 2009 as his ERA ballooned to 5.89. That 2008 season was the only point in Wellemeyer's career in which he held his walk rate to under four per nine innings. With below average strikeout rates and below average walk rates, Wellemeyer's upside is, well, below average.