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This is the conundrum of fantasy baseball that leads us to the battle for the final rotation spot.  These guys either have one of two options: drive around on a bus with the Savannah Sand Gnats, or float for awhile (swimming is an entirely different sport). These guys aren’t necessarily the sexiest group of fantasy options, but if your league is deep or shallow, streaming is streaming.  I do it a lot in limitless inning leagues.  It’s not cheating — it’s taking advantage of other owners who don’t do it.  Picking your “spot” starts is always hit or miss, best way to tell if you should stream is to read the betting line — I can’t make this stuff up.  People who stand to win/lose money know what is going on here.  So here we go:  the 5th starter battles for 2010 fantasy baseball at the midpoint of Spring Training:

Braves

Kenshin Kawakami – Pitched decent last year.  Under 4.00 ERA from the 5th spot is gold.  SP/RP eligibility is platinum.  I’m for this guy — he keeps the ball on the ground.

Kris Medlen – Maybe youth can be served in the A T L.  Minors number show he has some potential. To me, he looks like a midseason trade guy for offense.

Phillies

Kyle Kendrick – I bought some of his juice 2 years ago. I’ve seen him twice this spring already and he looked pretty decent.  Plays in a HR friendly environment — not good.

Jose Contreras – Grizzled old Cuban not named Livan. Gives them the “I have been there before” guy to have in a pinch.  Moyer is lurking around somewhere too.

Reds

Aroldis Chapman – Now we are getting to “ooh” guys.  We all know about him — he is climbing up the ADP boards.  I think he gets 5-6 starts in minors.  Awesome potential; future number 2.

Matt Maloney
– The designated place holder at the onset of the season.  Has potential.  Do not sleep on him — he may be a better contributor after they trade of Bronson/Harang.

Mike Leake
– Yeah, he is still in contention in my eyes.  Awesome polish.  Well beyond his years on the mound.  Ponder this for next year:  Cueto, Chapman, Bailey Volquez and Leake.  WOW.  Pretty decent, I’d say.

Brewers

Dave Bush – It’s feast or famine:  head for the mountains and choose anyone but “bush.”  Having a decent enough spring to make you go…. maybe.

Manny Parra – Potent offense may help both of these guys.  Good K numbers, bad everything else is not a fair trade off for me. Mostly NL-Only help here, but roll the dice when it gets warmer.

Cardinals

Jaime Garcia – Rook is ready. Saw him pitch live and he has the goods that you’re looking for.  The “Lou” is definitely going lefty with the 5.  Minor league numbers are good enough to buy for a dollar.

Rich Hill – I told you it’s either Mickelson or Gomez.  Duncan’s pet project this year.  Had the goods to make everyone believe 3 years ago.  Yeah… you know who you are.

Dodgers

Eric Stults – Loved him as Rocky Dennis — not so much for the Dodgers.  Thirty-year-old may be a late bloomer. Worrisome high walk rate. Pitching well in Spring Training.

James McDonald – E I E I O, minor league success at every level.  Dodgers SP is very overrated. They may need his potential at the back end of the rotation.

Yankees

Phil Hughes – Joba has fallen into the pen, IMO.  Hughes has only himself to blame if he goes to join him. Awesome potential three years ago; he was a top 5 prospect. Still only 23.  SP/RP eligibility.

Alfredo Aceves – Gaudin is helping his cause. Destined for long relief.  ‘Fredo could be a guy who sneaks in. Had a year talking to the G.O.A.T in the pen.

A’s

Gio Gonzalez – Awesome punch out numbers.  Favorite of mine for sneaky late round pick.  His peripherals make me sad.

Vin Mazzaro – A fellow “Dirty Jerzian.”  Is the opposite of Gio:  pitches to contact.  For my money, he is the extremely poor man’s version of Slowey.  Last seen with JWOWW and Snooki at Jenks.

Twins

Francisco Liriano – I’m truly tired of talking about this guy. Now they want him to be a closer… Minny is throwing in the towel already.  Not a great idea. That Pierzynski trade right now looks good for this year.

Royals

Kyle Farnsworth – Yeah him.  I got nothing.  Horrible as a reliever.  Hillman drinking the sauce for an early unemployment check.

Kyle Davies – Still have nothing.  For giggles, look up his Spring numbers. I haven’t seen that fat of a number since 7 ate 9.

Robinson Tejada – Time to take the training wheels off.  Previously admired by me.  Great K potential. Looked great in final 6 starts last year.  RP/SP eligible a plus.

Rangers

Matt Harrison – Arlington bleachers gobble up fly balls in summer — unfun for pitchers. My money says Feliz pitches out of the pen to start the year.  Decent Spring so far.

Derek Holland
– Great potential. Needs to develop a third pitch.  There really is no loser here:  both will get starts as Harden and McCarthy are “fra-gee-lay” and neither are Italian.

Orioles

Davis Hernandez –  Great K numbers in the minors.  Did decent enough last year to be considered here.  Not the prospect that his competition is.

Chris Tillman –  Another sleeper guy for non-dynasty leagues that I like. Is part of the handful of Baltimore top pitching specs.  Don’t sleep on him.

  1. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    thinking hughes might grab the starters role and run with it,

  2. Spaceman.Spiff says:
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    It’s Joba’s job to lose (no innings limit, more experience as starter) and with his strong outing last game, he’s got the slight lead. Girardi said himself the first two outings by Joba were not very useful to evaluate him since he had the flu for the second, and the first one was the first of spring training.

  3. nmdunkel says:
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    Guilty. Had R. Hill in ’07 and have been chasing those numbers since.

  4. Matthew Thieroff says:
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    I notice you didn’t mention the Giants in this post. I really don’t think Bumgarner has this spot won… who do you see getting this spot out of spring training?

  5. Eddie says:
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    A lefty in the five-hole for the Cards would be a good thing, but don’t count out Kyle McClellan. LaDuncan loves the guy, especially when he can add another chapter to the reliever-becomes-starter story arc.

  6. I Am The Liquor says:
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    Pretty sure its Jamie Moyer’s job to lose in Philly

  7. Bruce says:
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    Where’s the Padres’ battle? I’d love to see Latos established in the rotation, but they keep pushing Stauffer (feh) and Gallagher (some upside, but not Latos — but also could keep Latos down until May or June). Got any thoughts on these guys?

  8. Mark says:
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    Jaime Garcia has control issues so doeas HIll, but Hill is the pet project. I see HIll winning this if he stays healthy, and Larussa is a bit nutz.

    I want to like Gio Gonzalez but I have seen this guys before, guy with great K-potential but will never Harness his control. Check Manny Parra for reference.

    Either Liriano pitches lights out or he’s the closer; win, win.

    Love Maloney. only problem is that stadium.

  9. Nuke LaLoosh says:
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    About 3 years ago, I saw the Sand Gnats — who are purportedly in “Savannah,” but actually play in “historic” Grayson Stadium, located in Sandfly, GA.

    I’m going back this year. After all, what beats 138% humidity and low-A baseball?

    Also, I feel better about my job because at least it’s better than this guy’s job:

    http://savannah.sandgnats.milb.com/images/2010/02/24/qkLjkoTK.jpg

    Imagine wearing that costume. In August. In Sandfly, Georgia.

  10. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    homer bailey,looking good early,his pitches really move,looks better or more confident than last year plus he added another pitch.For the 1st time,i might like him late

  11. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    GREY,can Rolen hit 20-25 hr,s this year in a hitters park?he looks healthy and just hit one barely foul out by a long way,

  12. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: I’d say there’s a good chance Rolen is the best player in baseball this year over the age of 50.

    Assuming Julio Franco doesn’t come back.

  13. Commish Cauda says:
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    In regards to the walking wounded in Oakland’s bullpen, what do you think of Brad Kilby as a possible Closer option? No one knew who Ziegler was two years ago, and no one knew who Bailey was before last year. The kid’s got great ratios.

  14. BigFatHippo says:
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    I’m thinking watching the betting line is a brilliant idea. I have Vegas Insider bookmarked to check the weather in MLB games. Gonna try that this year for starters too, thanks.

    Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    Sorry for the tardy responses had to be a slave to the man.

    @Mark: @AL KOHOLIC: new york media think that is the case also but they analyze what if’s with Hughes being so successful in the bullpen last year an Joba we already know got famous there so..
    @nmdunkel: i hear ya
    @Matthew Thieroff: wellemeyer is the only real competition and he can pitch out of the pen, Pucetas has a shot as well, i still like MadBum tho.
    @I Am The Liquor: Moyer had 2 off season surgeries being brought along slowly like a fine 46 yr old wine
    @Bruce: i think Richard has a spot the last battle comes down to Latos vs Stauffer which is deep end of the ocean spot duty at home kinda stuff, Latos is getting some mixed league love for potential and last years burst on to the scene
    @Mark: I’m liking what i have scene so far from Garcia very composed seems to be working slower which may help.

  16. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: i was looking at the Reds potential starting 5 next year and its pretty scary good stuff. Its like baltimore this year, but with more juice.
    @Commish Cauda: i like Kilby but he will be overshadowed in that bullpen as it sts right now, strong numbers tho i wouldn’t sleep on him in a dep al league to help with periphs.
    @BigFatHippo: Glad i could learn ya something.

  17. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @Nuke LaLoosh: yeah its pretty moist in Ga in the summer

  18. Czernobog says:
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    I ahd Rich Hill and Zack Greinke in 2007. I kept hill and not Greinke for 2008. Oopsie.

  19. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @Czernobog: Yikes, how many people actually saw a top 5 sp after the depression issues though. I didn’t.

  20. Spellchecker says:
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    Did you steal your title from the sign that hangs outside of stall #4 with the rusty hinges at the Blue Oyster?

  21. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @Spellchecker: The only Blue Oyster i’m familiar with is the one with more cowbell.

  22. Tony says:
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    Why aren’t the indians listed? Is it because every starter on their team is a #5 starter?

  23. brett says:
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    Dontrelle Willis now has ten straight scoreless innings in Lakeland. It’s only the Tigers fan in me that thinks this, but he might be remotely relevant this year.

  24. mrbaseball says:
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    The Yahoo! Sports Fantasy team 12 man draft – just checking if I been paying attention here Grey and all your hard work has some meaning – this is a mock draft
    My relief pitching is so strong

    Your Team
    ——————————————————————————–
    1. Prince Fielder (Mil – 1B)
    2. Ryan Zimmerman (Was – 3B)
    3. Kevin Youkilis (Bos – 1B,3B) – big gamble here but I still thought I could put together a strong OF and I am always like the fact he plays both 1B and 3B
    4. Jayson Werth (Phi – OF)
    5. Nelson Cruz (Tex – OF)
    6. Johan Santana (NYM – SP)
    7. Ubaldo Jiménez (Col – SP)
    8. Wandy Rodríguez (Hou – SP)
    9. Joakim Soria (KC – RP)
    10. Carlos Mármol (ChC – RP)
    11. José Valverde (Det – RP)
    12. Francisco Rodríguez (NYM – RP)
    13. Nyjer Morgan (Was – OF)
    14. Nolan Reimold (Bal – OF)
    15. Jonathan Sánchez (SF – SP)
    16. Everth Cabrera (SD – SS)
    17. Miguel Montero (Ari – C)
    18. Stephen Strasburg (Was – SP)
    19. Johnny Cueto (Cin – SP)
    20. Felipe López (StL – 2B)
    21. Jon Rauch (Min – RP)
    22. Jon Garland (SD – SP)
    23. Mike Cameron (Bos – OF)

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: I think that might be the reason, yeah.

    @brett: He just needs a Miguel Olivo hug.

    @mrbaseball: I don’t think you succeeded with this draft. Youk wasn’t necessarily the downfall but 7 pitchers in a row was. Your hitting is pretty eh, especially your outfield.

  26. Tony says:
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    @Grey: ha ya…. damn my tribe “rebuilding” again….

    @mrbaseball: i was thinking the same thing grey said MR.B, in the 8th or 9th instead of taking another sp or rp you shoulda went back to offense, maybe bruce? maybe cargo? somethin…..

  27. Andre says:
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    How about The Mets situation with Niese and new the Japanese lefty dude? Any thoughts there? As a Met fan I can’t see myself rostering anyone in the uniform. I just know better.

    I play in a league without innings limits, so I’m all about a solid base of 4 quality SPs, a young upside guy or two and then one or two streamers based on matchups. Definitely check the spread!

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