Adam Ronis, Staff Writer May 3, 2013
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Kyle Kendrick has a 3.44 ERA over his last 46 starts. Photo Credit:  BeGreen90

Kyle Kendrick has a 3.44 ERA over his last 46 starts. Photo Credit: BeGreen90

Pick one from Kyle Kendrick, Jeremy Guthrie and A.J. Griffin.

I will select the same pitcher that I had ranked highest before the season and that’s Kendrick, who was on my sleeper list. Will Kendrick win the Cy Young? No. I am not that crazy. Actually, I am, but that’s a discussion for a different time. Kendrick is better than many people realize and he’s still a free agent in many leagues. He shouldn’t be owned in all leagues since many play in shallow leagues. Still, he can help a lot of owners. Kendrick has a 3.44 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 46 starts over the last three seasons. He really made strides in the second half last season. In 78 1/3 innings in the second half, Kendrick had a 2.87 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 6.78 K/9, 2.18 BB/9 and a 51 percent groundball rate. For the season he went 11-12 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.55 K/9, 2.77 BB/9 and a swinging strike percentage of 8.8 percent that was well above his career average. In six starts in 2013, Kendrick is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.42 K/9, 2.21 BB/9 and 48 percent groundball rate. He won’t continue at this pace. He can finish with an ERA around 3.50. While he has faced the Mets twice and the Marlins once, he did pitch well in Cincinnati and at home against the Cardinals. After allowing five earned runs in his first start of the season, he has allowed two earned runs or less in the other five starts.

What are your thoughts on Dominic Brown the rest of the season? A breakout or more of the same?

It depends on what your expectations are. As long as the Phillies give Brown a long leash and allow him to play every day, I think he will be good. Brown has been considered a top prospect for several seasons with his five-tool ability. Coming into 2013, he had a .236 average, 12 homers and 58 RBIs in 147 games, but Brown has never been given an opportunity to play consistently every day. He is getting that opportunity now and produced solid numbers so far. Brown is batting .266 with 10 runs, four home runs and 13 RBIs. The Phillies seem confident in Brown and as long as he plays every day, he will be good. Brown can certainly provide 20 home runs and 80 RBIs with a decent average. Over his last eight games, Brown is 12-for-33 with four runs, two home runs and seven RBIs. It’s a small sample and I don’t think we can judge Brown until we see him play an entire season. His previous major league experience has come in small groups of playing time. Stay patient if you have Brown.

Would you drop Brandon Morrow in a 7×7, 12-team roto league for: Ian Kennedy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Patrick Corbin, Jonathon Niese, Wandy Rodriguez, or Jason Hammel? My other pitchers are: Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Matt Harvey, and A. J. Burnett.

I am guessing you only own five pitchers per team based on your staff and the pitchers available considering this is a 12-team league. If that’s the case, you can stream that last spot in and out each week depending on matchups. Since you have four good arms, the two guys that stand out to me are Kennedy and Ryu. Kennedy is the more proven pitcher, although he is off to a shaky start. In your situation, I’d drop Morrow. I am not ready to give up on Morrow across the board, but I do have concerns and because of your available options it is acceptable in this scenario. It’s only six starts and things can quickly change. Still, Morrow saw his strikeout percentage decline last season from 26.1 percent to 21.4 percent in 2012 and it is 17.8 percent in 2013. While the strikeouts are down, Morrow has better control than he did years ago. Morrow is also allowing more fly balls with a 46.7 percentage leading to a HR/9 of 1.67. Again, it’s a small sample size and things can change, but there are some concerns. In most situations I am holding Morrow, but in this type of league I’d go for the upside play of Ryu. He has been very impressive so far and it may be different as teams see him for the second and third times. Ryu has faced six different teams in each of his starts. Ryu is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.99 K/9, and a 2.39 BB/9. He doesn’t throw hard, but has four pitches, including a nasty changeup that he uses often. I like what I have seen from him.

I pulled the trigger on a trade. I get Carlos Beltran and Matt Cain, I give up Adam Jones. I have Jose Bautista, Mike Trout, and Jacoby Ellsbury and needed pitching. Your thoughts?

I like this trade. It looks like you play in a league with three starting outfielders and I take it you have a good player for a utility spot if Jones is expendable. The only concern with Beltran is health. He was excellent last season, although he faded in the second half. Beltran just turned 36 and there has to be concern about his knees as the season goes on. Beltran is batting .299 with 12 runs, seven home runs, 18 RBIs and a .876 OPS. As long as he’s on the field, he will hit. Since you need pitching, getting Cain while his value is low is smart. Despite a career fly ball percentage of 44 percent, Cain hasn’t been hurt by the home run often. He hasn’t allowed more than 22 home runs in a season and a career 0.79 HR/9. That isn’t the case so far. Cain has allowed nine home runs in 34 2/3 innings and that translates to a ridiculous 2.34 HR/9. Cain has an 8.31 K/9, 2.60 BB/9 and a low 61.1 percent strand rate. A 19.1 percent HR/FB ratio is well above his 7.1 percent average. Eight of the home runs came in Arizona, Milwaukee and Wrigley Field in Chicago. Cain will turn it around and this is a good time to buy on him.

All statistics entering Friday May 3.

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