Who's Hot, Who's Not - Pitching May 24

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Youth is being served with the average age of the three "Who's Hot" pitchers being just 25-years-old. At the other end of the spectrum are a pair of 34-year-olds, Ryan Dempster and Javier Vazquez, who are no longer "fantasy-worthy" after many years of solid contributions.

Who's Hot

Alexi Ogando, TEX - Ogando is 5-0 in nine starts, has an ERA of 1.81 and a WHIP of 0.872, yet is still unowned in one out of every four leagues. Pitching for the American League champion Texas Rangers, Ogando was a reliever last year which explains why he wasn't selected on Draft Day, but he's now firmly entrenched as one of the Rangers primary starters and should be picked up immediately if available in your league. On Monday night he posted his first career complete game and shutout against the Chicago White Sox yielding just five hits and striking out six batters.

Zach Britton, BAL - Britton has started his rookie season off with surprising ease, going 5-2 in his first nine starts with an ERA of 2.14 and an excellent WHIP of 1.051. He's not a big strikeout pitcher, relying on a sinker as his out pitch, which means he'll be a bit weak in that category, but he more than makes up for it in the other areas. He's owned in 72-percent of all leagues.

Johnny Cueto, CIN - The Reds' starting pitching has struggled this season after being thought of as a strength heading into the year, but Cueto's arrival on May 8th is a blessing for Cincinnati and fantasy owners. Since his return, Cueto has gone 2-1 with an ERA of 1.45 and a WHIP of 1.018. He's owned in just over half of all leagues and will take the place of Edinson Volquez (see below) in the rotation.

Who's Not

Ryan Dempster, CHC - It wasn't that many years ago that Dempster was an All- Star and a top-10 Cy Young contender (2007). However, he has quickly gone downhill in each of the seasons since and this year he has been downright awful. In 10 starts he's 2-4 with an ERA of 6.91 and a WHIP of 1.571. His only redeeming feature is 52 strikeouts in 56 innings, but the Ks aren't worth the damage he causes in the other three categories. At the very least he should be sitting on your bench, but you should probably cut him and look for a different/better solution.

Edinson Volquez, CIN - The Reds' Opening Day starter hasn't pitched up to his ability and the Cincinnati sent him to the minors this week. It was a well- deserved demotion after leading the league in walks (38 in 51 innings) with an ERA of 6.35 and a WHIP of 1.667. He should not be on your roster, but you should pay attention to his minor league effort because if he does get his act together he could still have fantasy value in 2011.

Javier Vazquez, FLA - Many, including this writer, thought that once Vazquez left New York and returned to the National League he would once again become a solid pitcher as when he pitched for Atlanta in 2009 (15-10, ERA 2.87, WHIP 1.026). Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case and Vazquez has an ERA of 6.41, a WHIP of 1.727 and just 27 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. Cut him immediately and look for one of the early June call ups who can be a long-term keeper with plenty of upside.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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