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Time To Pick Up Joe Blanton?

Phillies starter Joe Blanton is owned in less than 5% of ESPN leagues, which will probably trend upward after his 10K effort against Tampa Bay last night.  Has anything changed with the 28 year-old righty?

First off Blanton is in his first full National League season.  He bumped up his K/9 upon joining the NL last year, from a career-worst 4.4 to a career-best 6.2.  This year it's much higher at 8.3.  This is reminiscent of Bronson Arroyo, who took the NL by storm in 2006 and faded thereafter.

Blanton's always had solid control, and that's continued this year.  His two problems have been hits and home runs, which have led to a 5.06 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 83.6 innings.  While Blanton has the weakest groundball rate of his career, he still shouldn't continue allowing HRs at 17.5% per flyball.  As for the hits, Blanton's .316 BABIP exceeds his team's .308 by a touch.

XFIP says Blanton has pitched worthy of a 3.96 ERA, and his Expected WHIP is about 1.40.  So he will not help your WHIP without some good fortune in hits or improved control.  It might not be a trend, but Blanton has a 1.95 BB/9 for June and did flash that kind of control in 2007.

Blanton is sitting at the same 89.4 mph fastball as always, but has dialed up slider usage at the expense of his curveball.  He's also using an unidentified pitch almost 10% of the time, a career-high.

Blanton's next matchups are scheduled against the Braves, Mets, and Pirates.  Nothing too terrifying in there, given the Mets' depleted lineup.

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