We’ve already completed our fantasy baseball tour around the diamond and through the outfield this week. Now we turn our attention to the hurlers that so mystify us and drive us mad. Below are three free agent fantasy baseball starting pitchers (important designation) that are available to help out your squad. Of these three pitchers, two are available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues and the third is on the wire in 90% or more of Yahoo! leagues.
Chris Devenski, Houston (40% owned)
Devenski’s role and eligibility are why I designated fantasy baseball starter. Devenski is a SP-eligible long reliever for the Astros. He’s an interesting strategic play, as he does not have much value in weekly leagues or points leagues. He’s purely useful in daily transaction leagues in case the Astros decide to call on him. He won’t get you wins or saves, but he will rack up strikeouts and drive down ratios at an astonishing pace. In his two appearances this season, he has the following line: 8 IP, 14 K, 1 BB, 1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP. That’s like adding a peak Clayton Kershaw start into your weekly ratios every week. This isn’t a fluke, either; Devenski had a 2.16 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 108.1 IP last season. The strikeouts are surprising, but he will reliably drive down your ratios.
Francisco Liriano, Toronto (39% owned)
It’s not often someone carries a 135 ERA and a 21 WHIP. No, there shouldn’t be decimal points in there. The Rays absolutely tattooed Liriano in his season debut, as they put up five runs on Liriano’s tab with Liriano only getting one out in that span. Liriano bounced back Thursday night, however, as he struck out 10 Orioles in 6.2 IP. He allowed two earned runs in a rocky fifth inning but otherwise cruised (one hit and two walks outside of the fifth). Fantasy baseball owners sprinted away from Francisco Liriano, so check and see if he’s available. He ended the season strong last year, posting a 3.97 ERA in August and 2.03 in September while striking out more than a batter an inning. I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen Liriano’s worst this season.
Brewers Double Dip: Wily Peralta (9% owned) & Jimmy Nelson (8% owned)
Two Brew Crew pitchers have started off their seasons surprisingly hot. For Peralta, he’s gone up against one of the league’s best lineups (Colorado) and in one of the AL East bandboxes (Toronto). He’s come out relatively unscathed, posting a 2.45 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP with more than a strikeout an inning. It is concerning Peralta has only 11 IP in two starts, however. He gets a big test in Cincinnati this weekend against one of MLB’s hottest lineups. If he comes out the other side relatively unscathed, it may be too late.
As for Nelson, I outlined his profile last week: hot starter, bad finisher. He’s currently riding that hot start. He has a strikeout an inning through two games against the world champs and at Cincinnati. His 13 strikeouts come with a mere two walks, too. He rides a 1.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first two starts. He falls apart as the season wears on, so get on him while the getting’s good.