SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 27, 2013

Fantasy Forecast: Time is now to attempt to buy low on Strasburg

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — The season is only a month old, but as I wrote last week people can still panic even with such a small sample size. Last week I encouraged patience in this regard. This week I’m advising to be on the lookout for an owner on the precipice of being ready to sell too soon.

Specifically, I’m suggesting testing the trade waters on Stephen Strasburg.

The Washington Nationals have been struggling of late and Strasburg has not been immune to that. Strasburg is just 1-4 thus far this season and hasn’t been as dominant as some may have expected. Now, he has still pitched very well. But he has also looked human at times and given his reputation and hype it may convince his owners to part was the young phenom at a reasonable price.

Strasburg has struggled most in the first innings of games, posting a 10.80 ERA and giving up a total of eight runs. But those numbers are skewing his overall line, because he has settled down after that to post an ERA of 0.00 in the second through fifth innings. And his stats still are very good overall - walks per nine are down (2.71 to 2.30), homers per nine steady and BABIP down (.311 to .264). His strikeout per nine rate is down, going from 11.13 last year to 8.04. But, Strasburg has made a point of trying to cut down on his strikeouts in order to keep his pitch count low.

The combination of less than dominance, a drop in strike outs and some lingering concern about pitch limits, Strasburg owners might be feeling antsy. And if the Strasburg owner in your league is open to r possibility I would certainly explore that opportunity.

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Pittsburgh outfielder Starling Marte is a name to watch.

Marte has Pirates fans buzzing, hitting .333 with a homer, 9 RBI, 5 stolen bases and 15 runs scored. Marte has exhibited a decent combination of speed and power in the minors, so it’s not surprising to see him get off to a strong start and watch his ownership rise to 69 percent in Yahoo! leagues.

He may be the best outfield option on the waiver wire, so if you have a need go grab him before he’s gone.

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Edward Mujica appears to have laid his claim to the closer’s role in St. Louis.

Mujica has now earned four saves on the season and as been hot of late, earning three straight saves and posting a 0.00 ERA. It can sometimes be a fool’s errand to attempt to figure out what is going on in the Cardinals bullpen, but as of right now he is the hurler you want to own.

Meanwhile, Jose Valverde was named the closer this week in Detroit and immediately went out a nailed down a save

Now, Valverde really imploded in the playoffs and for a closer who just two years ago led the AL in saves with 49 he attracted incredibly little interest in the offseason. But, for now he appears to be the Jim Leyland’s preferred option. How much rope the Tigers give him remains to be seen - especially with Bruce Rondon also being called up this week.

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Arizona’s Patrick Corbin has been impressive thus far.

Posting a 2-0 record, with 20 Ks, 1.71 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP, Corbin is still widely available - owned in just 38 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He may not quite be a must start yet, but I think he is a solid streaming option depending on matchups and a player to watch for future consideration

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Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast column for The Salem News. You can read his blog at blogs.salemnews.com/fantasyforecast and reach him at asilva@salemnews.com. You can also follow Fantasy Forecast on Twitter at twitter.com/sn_fantasysport.