If you think it’s impossible for starting pitchers to just fall off a cliff, ask anyone that owned Tim Lincecum last season.
In the blink of an eye, Tiny Tim went from annual Cy Young candidate and fantasy cornerstone to a guy with a 5.18 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 33 starts last season. Owners that banged their heads against the wall and didn’t move him early on lost.
This year, we have some big-name starters off to similarly awful starts.
Anyone that followed Roy Halladay’s spring training was likely too scared to draft him. That’s because his velocity was down and he got knocked all over the park by minor leaguers. That’s not always a huge concern, but it is for someone that’s about to be 36-years-old (in May) and has that type of throwing motion. He’s falling off the cliff and is going to drag anyone hanging on with him.
Cole Hamels, on the other hand, is a different case. He’s 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA through two starts, but his velocity has been fine and he has a history of bad Aprils. Last year, Hamels gave up five earned runs in his first two starts and then finished with a 3.05 ERA. In 2011, he lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his first start and gave up six runs – but ended up with a 2.79 ERA.
THE AX MAN COMETH
The basic problem with John Axford is that he’s not that good. Relievers can have short-term success like he did between 2010/2011, but eventually control problems are going to catch up. See Marmol, Carlos. Last year Axford walked 39 batters in 69 1/3 innigs and this year he’s given up four homers in four games. Jim Henderson is the guy to own in the Brewers’ pen.
NOT THAT BOGGS
Something wasn’t right with Jason Motte’s elbow. Motte will need Tommy John surgery and is out for the season, which brings us to Mitchell Boggs. Although Boggs melted down on Monday (in a non-save situation), he’s going to have some leash. Boggs was one of the best set-up men in the game last year, posting a 2.21 ERA while leading the National League in holds. Ignore the hideous six-run outing and buy up.
NBA PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
1. Will Barton, SG, Blazers – With Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum sidelined, Barton is a good bet for 30 minutes nightly.
2. Metta World Peace, SF, Lakers – Who returns to an NBA game 12 days after knee surgery? The psychopath formerly known as Ron Artest.
3. Nazr Mohammed, C, Bulls – If you’re desperate for blocks, the pickings are slim. Mohammed is getting tons of burn with Joakim Noah hobbled.
Julian Edelman was actually playing ahead of Wes Welker before a Week 3 hand injury crippled his season. Now that Edelman has re-signed with the Pats in free agency, his push for playing time continues. It’s conceivable that he’ll stick in the slot, leaving Danny Amendola and possibly restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders outside. Anyone playing that position in the Patriots’ offense has fantasy upside.