Unread for 5/7

Hey guys,

Great show, loving the fave 5.

10 team mixed, 5×5 roto.
Over the last couple of weeks my pitching staff has gone completely south. What used to be Smolz, Dice-K, Myers, Hill, Burnett, Liriano has basically turned into Dice-K, Myers, Burnett… I dropped Hill and Liriano for Kuroda and Greg Smith.

2 questions:
1) Is it time to say goodbye to R. Soriano and add another starter (Lilly and Wandy are on waivers)?
2) Do I have to make a trade to upgrade my pitching?

Bastian, Denmark

Hey BR,

Yeah, it’s been a rough start indeed. Burnett was shelled for five earned runs on nine hits last night, but he did strike out ten batters, his first game in which he has fanned more than six. Myers looked much better in his last start on May 3 (7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K’s).

In answer to your first question, no, it is not time to say goodbye to Rafael Soriano, but it’s not looking good. Soriano’s bullpen session on Tuesday was cut short due to MORE pain in his right elbow. If you recall, he had Tommy John surgery on that right elbow after the 2003 season. He is undergoing an MRI and other tests today, so don’t make a definitive move until the test results are released.

As far as your second question is concerned, I don’t know the makeup of your offense, but your pitching staff could be alright. Dice-K, Myers and Burnett is a fine core. Greg Smith (1.02 WHIP, 31/13 K/BB ratio in 39 innings) is a good addition and Kuroda has some positive numbers. Sure, his 1.44 WHIP could raise some red flags, but his 3.95 ERA looks even better (3.34) if you take away his April 25 start in which he gave up five earned runs in six innings. His ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is an outstanding 40-to-12 in his last three starts, two of which were at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.

I would keep an eye on Smoltz and Liriano. If Soriano is out for an extended period of time, then Smoltz could become the closer for Atlanta. Although he has arm issues himself, his 144 saves from 2002-04 show that he can excel in the transition from starter to reliever.

Fantasy owners want to give up on Liriano, but can we give the guy some more time to come back from a major arm injury? One month of poor pitching (13 earned runs on 15 hits and 13 walks in 10 1/3 innings over three starts) shouldn’t dictate whether or not he will be effective long-term. I think he could return close to his old form after the All-Star break, once he has had some time to work out any mechanical kinks and gain some confidence. There aren’t any guarantees, of course, but he is too talented to just throw onto the wire without monitoring his status.

This is a long-winded way of saying that your pitching staff doesn’t need any dramatic upgrades. You can add a pitcher here or there, but you’re not playing head-to-head, so matchups aren’t as important. Considering you’re league is only 10 teams deep, there should be plenty of talent on the wire. If offense is your strength, then think of your pitching as a complement. It’s pretty tough to be the best in your league in both, so I wouldn’t sacrifice a great deal of your offense in a trade for what you think will improve your pitching staff. Hope this helps.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

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