Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 17 June 2008
Chase Headley was (finally!) called up to the major leagues, but don’t go crazy for him. He plays his home games in - - and this is an understatement - - an extreme pitchers’ park. Combine that with several quality pitching staffs in the NL west and a lot of pitchers’ parks (San Francisco, Los Angeles) and you should be cautious about Headley. Also, he’s only a rookie. For every Jay Bruce who comes up and dominates, there’s an Alex Gordon who takes a while to get going.
Francisco Liriano should be back soon, right?
Yes, he should. Nick Blackburn looks as if he’s going to be down for a while, and it’s not like Livan Hernandez (5.84 ERA) or Boof Bonser (6.45 ERA) are doing that well. Meanwhile, Liriano is tearing it up in Class AAA, seemingly back from Tommy John surgery. His stats through 10 starts: 3.94 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and 7.13 Ks per nine. Those are a little skewed, because of a few rough starts at the beginning before getting his stuff and control back. He’s ready to dominate once again.
What do you think of the two guys at the end of the Braves’ rotation – Campillo and Reyes?
I’ll start with the (slightly) easier one, Reyes. His performance last season -- 11 appearances (10 starts) with a 6.22 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP -- was downright abysmal. Considering his career minor league stats -- 3.40 ERA, near 2.7 K:BB ratio, and solid 1.22 WHIP -- some may think Reyes is a Class AAAA player: not good enough for the majors and too good for the minors.
However, I’ll say buy Reyes cheaply for the time being. He looked outstanding against the Angels Friday, but pay attention to his walks. His control is his Achilles Heel. Watch his walks, start-by-start, before starting him consistently.
Campillo, who finally made his way back to the major leagues after Tommy John surgery, has looked good in relief and in the rotation. His BABIP is .275, and it should normally be in the .290 range. That means a few more hits will start dropping in, but he relies on his control to beat hitters. He’s been doing that, but watch for fatigue down the stretch. I’d buy him, but with the expectation that his numbers will go up sometime soon.
Where do the saves go in Atlanta?
What saves? They have had only 11 all year. Francisco Rodriguez is closing in on triple that all by himself. Anyway, with Rafael Soriano back on the disabled list because of his troublesome elbow (when’s the Tommy John?), the save opportunities are likely to go to either Blaine Boyer or Manny Acosta, who hasn’t looked good in previous save opportunities. Mike Gonzalez may be re-activated this week, maybe as early as Friday. He may be the first person to get saves rather soon, considering the remainder of the bullpen.
What should we expect from Chien-Ming Wang?
Wang, who finally looked as if he was turning things around, injured his ankle while scoring on Saturday. Early reports have him sitting out six weeks, which shouldn’t be too bad for your fantasy team. Look for him to return to full strength once he comes back.
Javier Vazquez has looked quite good so far this season. Buy or sell?
I’m buying him. Vazquez is striking out hitters three times as often as he walks them, which is an astounding ratio. Combine that with a solid 1.32 WHIP, and you’ve got the makings of a guy who can finish with a mid-3.00 ERA and win 15 games.