Cole Hamels, Philadelphia - When people list the Phillies starting pitchers, they always lead off with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. But it's Hamels who has been the best fantasy pitcher on the Phillies staff through early June. He leads all qualified starting pitchers in WHIP (0.949) and won his eighth game last Wednesday, his fourth win in the last five starts. Many believe he has the best change up in the league, but his fastball is solid too and he's using a curveball more often. Resist any trade offers, particularly in keeper leagues, where the 27-year-old should be an ace for years to come.
Tommy Hanson, Atlanta - Hanson was a huge fantasy surprise as a rookie (11-4, 2.89 ERA, 1.183 WHIP), but disappointed owners last season who depended upon a repeat performance. Year No.3 has seen a return to his first-year form and he's given owners everything they have asked for...and more. He's 8-4 with an ERA of 2.48 and a WHIP of 1.032. That's much better than you would expect from a sixth-round fantasy selection.
Jonny Venters, Atlanta - In case you haven't been paying attention, Venters has been a lights-out pitcher this season. However, because he hasn't been closing on a daily basis, you could have missed the fact that he has a stunning ERA of 0.44 and a WHIP of 0.738. Batters are hitting just .145 against him. With Braves closer Craig Kimbrel having blown five saves, there is a solid chance that Venters could take over the ninth-inning role. He's owned in just 70% of all leagues and if available in your league should be scooped up immediately.
Fausto Carmona, Cleveland - Many fantasy owners keep looking at Carmona for help, hoping he'll remember how he pitched in 2007 when he went 19-8 with an ERA of 3.06. It's time to stop fooling ourselves - that guy is never returning. Carmona is tied for the league lead in losses with eight and both his ERA (5.71) and WHIP (1.327) are not worthy of taking up a spot on your roster.
Kyle Lohse, St. Louis - Lohse has good season-long statistics (7-3, 2.67 ERA, 1.022 WHIP), but his last two outings have been ugly. Were talking 16 hits, three walks and eight earned runs in 10.2 innings pitched. There is no need to panic...yet. A matchup with the weak-hitting Nationals (14th in NL in runs scored at 3.71-per-game) on Thursday could help turn him around. If he puts up a third consecutive bad start, it will be time to sit him down.
Kyle Drabek, Toronto - Drabek, the key acquisition in the Halladay trade, has been simply horrible this season. He's got an acceptable 4-5 record, but his ERA 5.70 and WHIP 1.789 show how he's really pitched. Drabek leads the league in walks (52) and wild pitches (10). It's a wonder he's still on 20% of all rosters. Unless you are gambling on him as a long-term keeper, he should not be taking up roster space.
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