The Indians pitching staff has made quite a bit of noise in the last few days, as David Huff and Mitch Talbot became the pitchers to throw consecutive complete games for the club since Chad Ogea and Charles Nagy did it way back in September of 1996. Sure enough, the day after Huff’s two run, two hour gem someone had grabbed him out of the free agent pool in my league, but is he worth a roster spot? What about Talbot?
The 25-year-old Huff was the 39th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of UCLA, and he proceeded to burn right through the minors, posting FIP’s near 3.00 in 2007 and 2008. He split last season between Triple-A and the big leagues, putting up a 5.61 ERA (4.69 FIP) with a weak 4.56 K/9 in 23 starts for the Tribe. After demonstrating the ability to limit free passes in the minors, that skill has translated to the majors (for the time being).
In a standard 12-team league, Huff’s not worth a second thought. But if you’re in an AL-only or particularly deep mixed league, just keep an eye out on him in case his strikeout rate starts to climb. He’s not going to be a guy that will anchor a fantasy pitching staff, but he could be a little bit better than your typical 6th or 7th fantasy starter. He’s owned in 3% of Yahoo! leagues.
Talbot, on the other hand, hasn’t demonstrated the ability to contribute to a fantasy club in any way. He has more walks than strikeouts in his two starts, but even in Triple-A his K/9 is an underwhelming 7.3. CHONE projects a 5.25 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP this season, which is about what you should expect. Talbot is what he is, and that’s the 5th starter on a team not quite ready to contend. His complete game last night was a fine effort, but he’s not worth carrying on any fantasy team.
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Quick Note: The Padres are starting lefty Wade LeBlanc at home against the Diamondbacks in place of the injured Chris Young tomorrow. If your team is like mine and you’re way behind in ERA and WHIP this week, LeBlanc is a nice little pickup to try and maximize your strikeouts. He struck out 15 in 10 Triple-A innings earlier this year, and the D-Backs can swing and miss with the best of ’em.