As the Phils' number two starter, Randy Wolf has lived up to his billing so far this season. One of the biggest changes this year, compared to years past is his win total. With six Ws thus far, Wolf is on pace for 17 by the end of the regular, which is six more than his career high. Another area of improvement for Randy has been strikeouts. This was always an area where Wolfie produced a solid output, but he's stepped it up this year, and is on pace for more than 200. He even has more two more than Millwood does, so he must be doing something right. Though three of his last four starts haven't exactly been up to snuff, I wouldn't worry about these recent struggles. He was due for a few mediocre starts. Look for Wolf to continue his improvement, as he should end up with a career year that just might include his first time at the 20 win and 200 strikeout plateaus. If your team needs a starting pitcher, I highly recommend going after Randy.
Vicente Padilla gets my vote for most frustrating member of the rotation. He made us believe that his post All-Star break problems were behind him with his 3-0 start, but since then it's been downhill to say the least. For a while it looked like Vicente might be concealing an injury, and therefore, wasn't able to pitch effectively. However, just recently, it came to light that Padilla had been tipping his pitches to opposing batters, and the day that story broke, he allowed just one run in seven innings against the Mets. So now that Vicente has that major problem corrected, will start pitching the way he did before the All-Star break last year? He could, but the key for him is getting his confidence back. Watch Padilla closely over his next couple starts to see if the correction of that pitch tipping problem helps him produce the way we all expect him to. If this does happen, I suggest taking a gamble and dealing for Vicente, who should still be cheap right now, before his owner realizes what's going on.
If Vicente is the most frustrating starter, then Brett Myers is the most enjoyable. Who would have thought that the 22 year old would have the lowest ERA (2.76) among the Phillies' starters at this point in the season? Obviously, it probably won't stay that way when all is said and done, so don't panic when his ERA adjustment begins. A reasonable expectation to have for the young hurler would be somewhere in the mid 3.00s, along with a win total in line with is current pace of 14. Even with these projected numbers, I would still trade Myers away soon. The reason being, his fantasy value is probably at the highest it will be, so why not sell high and get maximum value in return? Shop Brett around the league and see if any of your mates in need of pitching start drooling over those gaudy numbers.
Finally, we have Brandon Duckworth. The bottom line with Ducky right now is that he stinks worse than John Kruk's socks after a double header. That's really everything fantasy owners need to know about Brandon right now, because he hasn't shown any signs of improvement yet. So just ignore him, and that rank odor emanating from his stat line in the box scores.
Let's move on to today's non-Phillie under our spotlight. We talked about him a few weeks ago in the "Filling Holes" article, but I just wanted to remind all of you that Milton Bradley is quietly having a very fine season in Cleveland. Milton hit the DL for a period, but has still managed to post a line of .344/4/21/5 to this point. His move to cleanup has resulted in an RBI boost over the last few weeks, which should continue throughout the year. Bradley doesn't have a ton of power, or a ton of speed, but he could surprise some people with a 20/20 season if he plays his cards right. If your offense is in need of a guy that can contribute to just about every category, Milton could be your man.
week's reader question comes from Stephen in Philly. Here's what he had to
Hi, Hope you can help me with some fantasy advice. I just traded Vernon Wells for Matt Morris and Jose Cruz Jr. for Wade Miller. I think I made out pretty well there, but now I need to drop a guy because I don't have enough outfielders. Whom do I drop – Paul Konerko, Jose Hernandez or Zach Day? Thanks.
P.S. PhillyBaseballNews.com has much better articles than the Inquirer. Keep up the great work!
First, thanks for the kind words. All of us at PBN really appreciate that. As for your question, I think I would drop Day out of that trio, but that's a very tough decision. Day last couple starts have been shaky, so maybe that's a sign of him coming back to earth after his hot start this season. The way I see it, Konerko and Hernandez will both eventually get their act together and perform closer to what we all expected coming into the season. Day on the other hand is relatively unknown and doesn't have the same track record of the other two, so I have a hard time believing he will continue to be the pitcher he's been thus far. Plus, he just went on the DL, so maybe you can just throw him in your injured reserve spot. If not, just drop him.
Do you really have to just drop one of these three though? Could you trade one or two of them to someone else for the outfielder you need? If that's a possibility, I'd go that route, simply because those three should command some trade value that will get an OF better than what you can find on waivers.
Alright, that'll do it for this week folks. If you have a fantasy question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "PBN" in the subject line. Until next time, I'm out like Larry Brown.