Get Daniel Hudson and Brian Duensing
I just don't understand. As I was going through the pitcher profiles on ESPN.com today, I was shocked by some of the low ESPN fantasy ownership numbers. There are 46 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues that do NOT have Daniel Hudson, despite his dominance of the National League since his trade from the Chicago White Sox. The ownership rate is even less (30 percent) for Brian Duensing, who is 12-4 with a 2.80 ERA in his brief career. With only 26 days left in the season, don't wait any longer to pick up these great young pitchers.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sept. 8
• Must start: Daniel Hudson is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks, including a 1.95 ERA at home. He won his only career start against the San Francisco Giants, allowing just four hits and two runs in seven innings of work. Brian Duensing's career is even more impressive as a starter. He is 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 17 career starts, including a 4-1 record, 2.33 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in eight starts this season. Brett Myers has pitched at least six innings in all 28 starts this year and only once has he allowed more than four runs. His career numbers versus the Chicago Cubs are also stellar: 9-3, 2.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .218 opponents' batting average.
• Strong play: R.A. Dickey carries a 3.46 ERA over his past eight starts and a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Washington Nationals this season. I don't usually advise using an average pitcher at Coors Field, but Bronson Arroyo has three factors working in his favor. He fared well in his only Cincinnati Reds start at Coors (7 IP, 2 ER on Sept. 9, 2009), sports a 2.80 ERA in 25 September starts wearing a Cincinnati uniform and has a 0.96 WHIP in his past eight starts overall. Ivan Nova is making just his fourth career start, but he is a strong win candidate against the Baltimore Orioles. Nova has allowed only six runs in three starts, but has lasted only 15 2/3 innings.
• Worth considering: Luke French is 4-2 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in his past six starts, and he's owned by less than 1 percent of ESPN fantasy league. Derek Lowe's elbow is obviously a concern, but you can't sit a guy who is 9-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in nine career starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I'm not thrilled to recommend Cory Luebke, who had a rough major league debut last week (5 IP, 4 ER, 2 HR). But I think Luebke is worth a play in deeper leagues because he was 10-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP combined at Double-A and Triple-A this season.
• Stay away: Barry Zito is an easy pick for the No. 30 spot on this list since he is 0-5 with a 10.90 ERA and 2.37 WHIP in his past five starts. Scott Kazmir is 0-7 with a 6.81 ERA in his last seven home starts. Livan Hernandez is 1-3 with a 6.62 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in his last six starts.
Hitter matchup ratings for Sept. 8
David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox: For all you daily owners who sat Ortiz against David Price on Tuesday, I implore you to put Big Papi back in your lineup. In 28 career at-bats versus Matt Garza, Ortiz has three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs. Tack on 11 walks for good measure and you get an OPS of 1.140. His season OPS in 52 at-bats versus the Tampa Bay Rays is even greater, at 1.303.
Martin Prado, 2B, Atlanta Braves: He has been struggling since the calendar turned to September (.231 BA/.231 OBP/.269 SLG), but all that should change when Zach Duke takes the hill. In 19 career at-bats against the lefty, Prado has quite an impressive stat line: .474 BA/.500 OBP/.789 SLG.
Mark Teahen, 3B, Chicago White Sox: He hasn't always enjoyed success against the Detroit Tigers (.251 BA, 65 K's in 251 career ABs), but he has been ultra-successful versus Jeremy Bonderman. Teahen is 11-for-27 (.407 BA) with four homers and eight RBIs when facing the Detroit hurler.
Jose Lopez, 3B, Seattle Mariners: He has had a terrible season with a sub-.600 OPS, but Lopez is a good play today considering his ability to hit Gio Gonzalez. Lopez has a 1.544 OPS against the Oakland southpaw in his career (8-for-15, 6 RBIs).
Don Kelly, LF, Detroit Tigers: I know I'm digging deep here, but Kelly is starting to make the most of regular at-bats. Since Aug. 1, he is batting .370 (20-for-54) with 5 HRs, 12 RBIs and 11 runs in 13 games started. He is also 9-for-15 with a 1.000 slugging percentage against Chicago White Sox pitching this year.
Dan Uggla, 2B, Florida Marlins: He snapped an 11-game strikeout streak in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader, but whiffed twice in the nightcap to give him 21 K's in 13 games. Expect more of this against Cole Hamels, considering Uggla is 5-for-32 with 11 K's lifetime against him.
Ryan Raburn, LF, Detroit Tigers: After missing Monday's game with an illness, Raburn may not play on Wednesday. Don't risk starting him, especially against John Danks, who owns Rayburn (1-for-13, five strikeouts).
Everth Cabrera, SS, San Diego Padres: How is this guy owned in 21 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues? Do NL West-only leagues exist out there? In case you need another reason to bench a player with a .283 slugging percentage, Cabrera is 0-for-11 with one walk in his career facing Chad Billingsley.
Luis Castillo, 2B, New York Mets: Castillo, mysteriously owned by 15 percent of ESPN fantasy owners, is 11-for-61 (.180 BA) with no extra-base hits and just two walks in his career against Livan Hernandez.
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Vernon Wells, CF, Toronto Blue Jays: After a cool August, Wells is heating back up with two straight games with a homer and eight RBIs in his past six games. His numbers against Texas in seven games this season are staggering: .385 BA, six HRs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs and a 1.154 SLG. There is no reason to think Derek Holland and his 5.88 career ERA will shut Wells down on Wednesday.
Injury list: Out
Ricky Nolasco, SP, Florida Marlins (60-day DL, torn meniscus)
Donnie Murphy, SS, Florida Marlins (60-day DL, dislocated wrist)
Injury list: Day-to-day
Mat Latos, SP, San Diego Padres (stomach flu)
Cliff Lee, SP, Texas Rangers (back)
Johan Santana, P, New York Mets (strained pectoral)
Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox (stiff lower back)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs (right quad soreness)
Cameron Maybin, CF, Florida Marlins (bruised left knee)
Gerald Laird, C, Detroit Tigers (back)
Willie Harris, CF, Washington Nationals (upper body injury)
Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Nationals (hamstring)
Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers (hamstring)
Justin Upton, RF, Arizona Diamondbacks (shoulder)
Tom Gorzelanny, SP, Chicago Cubs (fractured finger)
Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles (shoulder)
Weatherproof games: Rangers at Blue Jays, Cardinals at Brewers, Giants at Diamondbacks. The Midwest will stay dry Wednesday with sunny skies and low-70s temperatures. The West Coast is looking at 60-degree temperatures and a cloudier forecast, but rain should not be an issue. It appears the only rainout possibility Wednesday would be Rays-Red Sox.
Brian Gramling is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.
FANTASY TOP HEADLINES
- Week 14 sneaky pickups
- Hard Count: Best, worst defensive matchups
- Matthew Berry's Love/Hate for Week 14
- Fantasy Football Week 14 QB rankings