Arguably the greatest potential starting pitcher of the last ten to fifteen years will be making his first start of the season with the Oakland A’s tomorrow against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rich Harden certainly has his place on the all-DL team of the last decade. Ranking him amongst Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Ben Sheets is difficult, but all of them have a reputation for dominating when healthy. His career K/9 innings is better than Josh Johnson or Felix Hernandez. His career ERA is better than Cliff Lee or Justin Verlander. We all know that the fact that he is starting tomorrow does not guarantee that he will also start on Wednesday or Thursday of the following week. That said, how come Harden is owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues and in only 4% of Yahoo leagues?
I suppose there are those managers that have pessimism after what Harden did in Texas last season. All numbers, most notably strikeouts, were below his career norms. I get it, but again this guy can be had for absolutely no cost. Comparing the home parks he pitched in last season to the one he will pitch in this season is like night and day. Also, it was a bad year but he can bounce back. He still hasn’t turned 30 years old. If there is apprehension that he will blow up tonight, then grab him and don’t start him. The worst feeling in fantasy sports is watching a player on your radar screen go to a rival manager. Given the dearth of pitching available in so many leagues, I can’t understand why a guy with the talent of Harden can sit on free agency.
- It’s only appropriate that with the return of Rich Harden, Erik Bedard is heading to the DL. The good news is that it is Bedard’s knee and not the labrum that has given him so much trouble on in his pitching shoulder.
- Heath Bell has saved games on four consecutive nights. My guess is that he won’t be thrown back out there again tonight, so somebody else (Mike Adams?) will get the opportunity. That is assuming that San Diego will be winning a game in the eighth inning for a fifth straight game. Craig Kimbrel and Matt Capps may also sit in the 9th inning in a possible save situation because of their recent work loads. Check out the closer report for more details.
- Mike Trout was 2 for 4 with a steal and an RBI in the Texas League All-Star game.
- Scott Baker struck out 9 and walked only 1 last night. He now has 101 strikeouts to only 29 walks on the season. That is hardly a surprise though. Baker’s strikeout to walk rate over the last three seasons has been no lower than 3.36 and no higher than 3.48. He is 6-5, but the bullpen has blown five leads for him this season. He could receive all-star consideration, but as far as his fantasy star I don’t think it’s going to rise any higher. His 81.3 LOB% must come down.
- Dr. James Andrews said everything looks ok with Josh Johnson, but he will be out the whole month of July.
- And speaking of out for the whole month of July, Justin Morneau will be out until at least the middle of August. I dropped him in my 10 team deepish mixed league.
- Ricky Nolasco threw his first complete game shutout since 2008.
- Kevin Youkilis is out of the Red Sox lineup to start the day. He fouled a ball off his foot last night.
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