Around the League: Julio Lugo, Zach Duke, Robinson Tejeda
How about a break from the rumor-mongering for at least one post? Let's take a look at some happenings around baseball and discuss some good ole' fantasy baseball while we're at it.
Julio Lugo was recently placed on waivers and then pulled back by the Devil Rays after a claim by the Yankees. We actually might understand how these things work now. Check out this post for a waiver explanation.
Lugo has had some fantasy value for three seasons now, but this year he's got a new approach at towards offense. With 15 HR in 433 at-bats in 2003, Lugo looked like a solid 20 HR power threat over a full season. However, he's only hit 11 HR in 2004 and 2005 combined. He's now officially a steals and average guy. He's up to .295 and is getting on base more than ever. Lugo looks to be good for 40+ steals over a full season. We don't anticipate a major change in Lugo's numbers should he change teams this winter.
Zach Duke has thrown a career-high 165 innings this year, 58 of which were at the more stressful Major League level. The 22 year-old Duke is setting the world on fire right now, sitting at 6-0, 1.87. He's had seven rock solid starts in eight tries (we're omitting his rain delay game).
Lloyd McClendon has Duke averaging 107 pitches per start, probably an acceptable number. There are better measures of pitcher fatigue than pitch count - for example, velocity loss. Read Will Carroll's Saving the Pitcher for details. The Pirates are smartly planning to keep Duke on a short leash for the rest of the season. Good for Duke, bad for fantasy owners. His wins could suffer slightly, but don't worry too much about it. Plenty of skepticism was heaped on Felix Hernandez, and he's been able to make three excellent starts while averaging just 91 pitches per start.
23 year-old rookie Robinson Tejeda is owned on about 20% of fantasy baseball teams based on ESPN numbers. Should his ownership be higher? Tough question. Tejeda's ERA may be a bit deceiving. Tejeda is 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA and 8 K/9 in 51 innings as a starter this year. His performance has nearly been on par with Zach Duke's. Duke's strikeouts aren't quite at the same level, but neither are his walks. Tejeda has walked a ton of hitters - 5 per 9 innings pitched. Duke, only 2.5.
A 2.12 ERA is definitely not sustainable with so many walks. Still, Tejeda's WHIP is solid at 1.23, about the same as Duke's. This means he's really not allowing a ton of baserunners. While neither Duke's 1.87 or Tejeda's 2.12 ERA can possibly last, both show the signs of being solid starters for years to come. Tejeda's walks allowed was better in AA Reading last year, around 3.5. Let's see if pitching coach Rich Dubee can earn his paycheck and shave some walks off Tejeda's total in 2006.
Tejeda makes a nice sleeper for 2006, especially if he gets his walks down. He's no worse than Duke, but with less name recognition. Just be happy with an ERA under 4, though.
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