While projecting second-half numbers for any MLB player is not an exact science, the task becomes even harder for pitchers. Too many variables factor into a pitcher’s final numbers, and at times the best gauge for how they will do, is to take a look at their last three starts. Still, baseball is a game of numbers, and averages seldom lie, so unless a pitcher is in the midst of a career year, some overall projections can be made. Here then is a list of the top five National League pitchers who are headed for disappointed second half in 2009. Try to trade or drop these starters as quick as you can.
Zach Duke (Pirates)
Duke is not a power pitcher, and he plays for the Pirates, which makes him a dubious candidate for a Fantasy Baseball ace. So whatever you do don’t fall in love with Duke’s first half numbers. Zach has only one way to go from his 7-4, 3.10 ERA start, and that way is down. A lifetime record of 33-43 and a 4.22 ERA speaks volumes for the fact that Duke has been pitching above the norm. Also note that hitters have hit .302 against him lifetime. So be smart and pass on Duke, or trade him if you have him.
Aaron Harang (Reds)
Harang is a good power pitcher who will get lots of K’s for your Fantasy Baseball team, and his current 5-6 record with a 3.65 ERA is not bad. But Harang also plays in a hitters ballpark and hitters are hitting over .280 against him, which means eventually he will hurt your WHIP and ERA over the long haul. With the Reds being no more than a .500 team this year, getting only K’s out of Harang may not be good enough. If you have him trade him while he still holds value.
Jason Marquis (Rockies)
Marquis is a good pitcher having a good season while pitching in Colorado, which means he is probably due for a big let down over the second half of the year. With the Rockies playing less than .500 ball, and the toll that Coors field takes on pitchers, look for Marquis’ sterling 8-4 start (with a 3.77 ERA) to go down hill. He has value now, and that is all you need to know to try and work a trade.
Roy Oswalt (Astros)
Roy has always been money in the bank for the Astros, and for Fantasy Baseball owners as well. Possibly the most consistant pitcher of the last decade, Oswalt carries a 132-67 record since he coming into the league in 2001. Yet in 2009, Oswalt has been off the mark often, and he has been hit pretty hard all year. With a 3-3 record, a 4.37 ERA, and a .274 against batting average, over the first half of the year, it looks like Oswalt may be starting to slip. Factor in that he has surrendered 13 homers in 14 games this year, and it may be time to ship the Astros starter to a Fantasy Baseball owner who is counting on him to return to form during the second half of the season. Though he may indeed turn it around, you should let another owner take on the worry.
Jon Garland (Diamondbacks)
Forget the number of wins and complete games that hehas piled up since 2005, Garland is headed for a dog of a season. He has never been a strikeout pitcher and these days his WHIP is at 1.59 and hitters are hitting .293 against him. This is one player who will not be turning around his 4-7 first half record any time soon. Garland has pitched so bad of late, that it’s better to have a middle reliever on your team than have Jon as a starter. If you have him, dump him. If you don’t have him, don’t bother.