I don't use the word ornery a whole lot (or ever) when writing about fantasy baseball. Mostly because I'm focused on numbers and mechanics and not attitudes and off-the-field activities. However, the word ornery has been stalking me for about a week now. I can't seem to escape it. So, I figured it just wants me to use it somehow and the best way I could fit it into a fantasy baseball article is to write about my starting pitching. My loathsome starting pitching.
My team in the FB365 Roto league has frustrated me to no end. The offense is good -- though Pujols isn't being Pujols -- but I have been bottom feeding in the pitching categories thanks to the likes of Francisco Liriano, Colby Lewis and Erik Bedard.
As of today, my team is dead last in wins, strikeouts, ERA and second to last in WHIP -- That's enough to make even the calmest, level-headed fantasy owner get a little ornery. Clearly, changes needed to be made and here are some of the arms I've added to try and change the momentum...
Brandon Beachy - Unfortunately, Beachy has hit the DL, but his contributions to my pitching staff have been valiant.
While he's recovering from an oblique strain, I'm hoping the pitcher I added in his place will keep pitching well.
Rick Porcello - My latest addition, with Beachy on the DL, has not allowed over two earned runs in a start since April 10th. His command has been great, as it has been over his first two major league seasons and his groundball rate continues to hover around 50 percent. One trend that will hopefully continue to get better is his current 5.8 K/9, which is about one K/9 higher than his career average.
If he can continue to keep runners off base, keep the ball in the ballpark and on the ground, he has every chance to post a 3.70-3.85 ERA this season.
Erik Bedard - After a rough start to the season, I cut Bedard, but after showing signs of improvement in his last three starts, he made his way back onto my squad. Bedard has been uncharacteristically hurt by the long-ball this season (15.2 HR/FB rate, 9.2 career HR/FB rate), which is a trend that should come to a hault soon. Bedard's health will always come into question, but his fastball velocity has improved as the season has moved along and that factor, along with his background of high strikeout rates, makes him worth taking a flier on.
Tim Stauffer - Stauffer has three key components going for him so far this season: K/BB rate, home run rate and groundball rate. He has no wins, but such is life pitching for the Padres. At some point, the wins will come and if he continues to succeed in the three components above, he'll be a great addition to my team.
Madison Bumgarner - Dropped early on after a poor start to the season, I was quick to add Bumgarner in hopes that he could turn things around. He has done just that, allowing only five earned runs over his last 25 innings pitched. Even with his early struggles, Bumgarner has only allowed two home runs all year. He looks like a solid bet to post a 3.75 or better ERA from here on out.
Francisco Liriano - I drafted Liriano as my ace, but he's pitched like a joker instead, even messing with my psyche by tossing a five-walk no-hitter. Perhaps I'm a bit too ornery (I'm not really ornery, but I felt like I needed to use the word one last time) when it comes to defending "my guy". As much as the numbers tell me otherwise and as much as Liriano has hurt my team so far this season, I'm sticking with him.