Sunday, April 22, 2007

NEED HELP WITH YOUR PITCHING STATS? HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS...

If you're a veteran fantasy baseball team owner, you know how important pitching stats are both short term and long term. At this stage, with most standouts long gone, we're all looking for a steal off the waiver wire to bolster our pitching staff.

One guy who is still available in many on-line leagues - a guy I've added to all three of my teams over the last 24 hours - is Jon Lester. He's been under the radar since he has been recovering from lymphoma. But he is in good health, has gone through some decent rehabilition starts and will be throwing a side session today (Sunday) in Boston. Following that workout he is expected to make one Triple A rehab start in Pawtucket and then rejoin the Red Sox in early May. Red Sox officials are anxious to add Lester to their starting rotation so they can send Julian Tavarez back to the bullpen as a key setup guy for Papelbon. With the way the Sox are playing, Lester should find success right away...

Another guy still available in 30-50 percent of leagues at cbs.sportsline.com, ESPN.com and other sites is Angels starter Bartolo Colon. Sidelined since July 26, 2006 with a tear in his rotator cuff, he was activated Saturday and started for the Angels Saturday night. He allowed one run in seven innings and got the win as the Angels held on for a 7-6 victory over Seattle. If he's still available in your league, grab him ASAP.

A guy who is already on most teams is Arizona's Randy Johnson. If you've had him stashed away on your injured list, activate him. He's been recovering from a back injury but is expected to make his 2007 debut on Tuesday against the Padres according to MLB.com. He's had three good minor league rehab starts. Many fantasy baseball "experts" have been low-keying his return and saying don't expect much from Johnson this year since he's 43. I'M TELLING YOU activate Johnson with confidence. These "experts" talk as if Johnson is still pitching in the tough American League East when he's in the very weak National League West. I see him posting much better numbers (wins, strikeouts, ERA, etc.) than he did a year ago with the Yankees.

Another guy many people are down on these days is former Houston closer Brad Lidge. Yes, he struggled in the role the first couple of weeks in the season and has been relegated to middle relief these days. But this is a guy with a multi-million dollar contract. The Astros will not let him waste away as a setup guy. Once he starts showing promise again he'll return to the closer role or at the very least be dealt somewhere where he can resume that role. Did you notice his three scoreless innings of relief last Thursday where he got the win?

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