Buy Low, Sell High: Greinke's ugly stats may make for discount ace

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There's a name for people who don't make trades during the year, but it's not fit to print on a family-friendly column. A healthy league is one with many trades, and all season long you can come here to get the kind of edge you need to get ahead (majority of advanced stats from the fine folks at ...

Zack Greinke, Brewers: Greinke has six wins thanks to some obscene run support (7.26! What kind of scandalous Casey McGehee photos is he using to blackmail?) and has struck out 70 through nine starts. But he's also sitting on that nasty 5.23 ERA, one year after he posted a 4.17. A guy who strikes out nearly 12 batters per nine innings while walking very few (1.52 BB/9 innings) shouldn't have a 5.23 ERA, no matter how often he's missing.

Greinke has been victimized by an inflated HR/FB rate. Right now, 13.5 percent of the fly balls he gives up are flying out of the park, and that's not right. It reminds me of a simpler time, 2008, when fantasy dunces across the nation cut bait with Roy Oswalt and his 5.45 ERA because he had become too "homer prone." Of course, the whole thing was nonsense. His HR/FB rate was hovering around 19 percent. It normalized, and Oswalt delivered Cy Young-caliber numbers the rest of the way (13 wins, 2.44 ERA over his final 20 starts that year). With Greinke, it's not just the HR/FB. He has an opponent BABIP of .360 and a strand rate of 56.9 percent (Milwaukee's staff as a whole is at .292 and 73.1 percent). Sure, some of the wounds are self-inflicted. Greinke is throwing too many hittable pitches up in the zone. But he's also rounding into form a bit after missing the season's first month. No one's going to give him away, but you'll be able to get a discount on a guy who should be Cy Young-caliber from here on in.

Jered Weaver, Angels: Weaver is learning to more effectively pitch to contact, which is why his strikeout rate is down but he's improved in just about every other category. Part of it has to do with an improved two-seamer. But luck is also playing a part. With a .240 opponent BABIP, and an 80 percent strand rate, Weaver has gotten a lot of help from his friends. Too much help to sustain. But he's also giving up home runs on just 3.6 percent of his fly balls, a major factor for a fly ball pitcher. I just don't see a lot of separation between Weaver and Greinke at this point. Sure, Weaver will be fine from here on in, but will he be the Cy Young candidate he's been to this point? Seems doubtful. For the kind of haul you can get for him right now, it's worth putting him on the block.

Phil Humber, White Sox: I've had Humber queued up for this column for weeks, but I figured no one really valued him enough to make a move for him. But he keeps getting outs, and he's getting plenty of converts in the fantasy world. The statistical reason as to why he can't keep this up is his .220 opponents BABIP. But more than that, it's hard to believe this improvement is for real when he hasn't really made any significant improvements to his repertoire. He's added a slider to his fastball-curveball-change, but while he's throwing the slider on 15.3 percent of his pitches it's been his least effective offering. He's a former elite prospect who's panning out right now, but it's tough to figure out why. You're better off making a move than trusting the magic will continue.

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