Telling the difference between the steady and the streaky is the key
A good fantasy team is made up of steady performers that create above average stats and hot players who are rode until they cool off. The problem, sometimes, can be figuring whose cold start has turned around and whose hot start has fizzled, especially when you look at stats for the whole season. That's makes the "Last 30 Days" and "Last Week" stats for starting pitchers of great value.
So let's look at the best performances of April and compare them to the best performances of May to see if we can identify the steady starters and the ones whose hot and cold starts have changed temperature.
For April, the highest number of starts was five, so I'll define a "best April performance" as recording at least 3 wins and (1) at least 30 or more strikeouts, or (2) a sub-4.00 ERA.
The list has to begin with Greinke, who had as close to a perfect month as possible. Santana would be up there with him if his bullpen had been better. It is disconcerting to see pitchers like Pineiro and Saunders on the list with under 10 strikeouts. Also,
For May, the highest number of starts was
So wait, where's Greinke? Of course you're happy with his May performance (3-1, 1.57 ERA, 44 K) but he's suffering from the
So back to Greinke. Despite having those great numbers (okay, so his ERA has ballooned 200 percent to 1.57 since April...), he only saw three wins in six tries. As a member of the Royals rotation, he will see sure wins slip away, and as I said a few weeks ago, this team will get worse as the season wears on. Greinke is still great for strikeouts and likely ratios, but if you can trade him for a good pitcher and a bat, I'd likely take that action.
Halladay and Santana are the only two that made both lists, which from a fantasy standpoint doesn't mean much to you because either you drafted them or you didn't. These guys should stay at the top all year and are the prohibitive Cy Young favorites.
What jumps out in the May list is that three of the top six -- using my rankings -- are Tigers. That's either a huge turnaround from last year, or a trip in Doc Brown's DeLorean to 2007. Either way, I say Detroit keeps it going through the rest of the summer, and Verlander sees 16-plus wins, which is what I said in the preseason. Jackson was lights out in the spring and has kept it going. Porcello is a rookie and will likely see his ups and downs during the season, but stick with him.
The Pavano resurgence is surprising, and frankly I don't buy it. In winning five of seven starts he had good run support and the only game he lost was the only one where the team didn't score five runs or more. Sure, you can't separate him from his team, but he's not pitching well enough for me to jump on the bandwagon.
Slowey gave up five earned runs in each of three of his first five games, which has weighed down his ERA. But since then it's not been the numbers that have been impressive, but whom he has beaten -- Boston, Milwaukee, and Detroit -- in addition to a quality start no-decision at the Yankees. I say there is another pitcher who is the ace of this staff (
Face it, May was a bad month if your nickname was King (isn't that right, LeBron?).
The A's pitching staff had the worst ERA in the AL, and
Quick, who tied the Tigers for the best staff ERA in the AL? The Texas Rangers. Yeah, that is unexpected, but I'm not buying it. As the summer heats up the balls will fly out of that stadium, taking
So we know who has been good, but who's the next guy that's going to bust out and have a great June or July? A few pitchers were knocking on the door of our lists, and if I had to pick the most likely to break down the door (and actually, I have to), they would be:
I wanted to list several Giants starters, but that offense has no pop in it. If the Giants trade for a big bat, Tim Lincecum will be the biggest beneficiary, but also give