Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Sure, by now everybody in the world must know that Jered Weaver won his sixth game on Monday night and became the first pitcher to win a half-dozen games in his team's first 23 contests since Randy Johnson did so with Arizona in 2002.
Weaver has the top score in TSN's Starting Pitcher Evaluator (1.942) which measures all starters in four categories - ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and wins.
But you aren't going to be able to trade for the Angels' right-hander or if you are he will cost you an arm and a leg. You likely can't trade for Josh Johnson or Roy Halladay either.
However, the three pitchers listed below in the Who's Hot section are owned in less than 70% of all leagues and are currently producing top-10 statistics.
Michael Pineda, Seattle - Pineda is doing a better impression of Felix Hernandez than Hernandez himself. While the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner is struggling out of the gate (2-2, ERA 3.38, WHIP 1.24), Pineda is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.78, a WHIP of 1.066 and a 21/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He hasn't given up more than one earned run in his last three starts. He'll be tested in his next assignment which will have him facing the tough Boston Red Sox lineup.
Of course, the Mariners offense remains anemic at best, which will limit Pineda's win total, but he should be a solid contributor to the other three categories. Pineda is owned in just 67% of all leagues meaning you have a one- in-three shot of getting him for the price of a free agent pickup.
Aaron Harang, San Diego - Harang is another pitcher on a weak-hitting offense who is getting the job done. Harang is already 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.083 WHIP. He's pitched exactly six innings in each of his four starts which unfortunately isn't a good sign as he'll need to go deeper into most games to get a decision. He's also been the beneficiary of a good amount of offense from the light-hitting Padres. In Harang's four starts, the team is averaging 4.75 runs-per-game, in the other 19 games they have mustered just 2.47 runs- per-game.
Like Pineda, Harang's win total may wither a bit if the offense doesn't continue to overachieve in his starts, but his solid pitching should continue, particularly in home games at Petco Park, the best place to pitch in the major leagues. Harang, owned in just 74% of all leagues, is scheduled to go on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Kyle Lohse, St. Louis - Lohse was likely not selected on Draft Day in your league seeing as how his ADP was over 800, but in his four starts he's pitching like a star. Lohse is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.01 and a WHIP of 0.73.
Lohse is not likely a long-term solution, as he has done nothing remarkable over the last two seasons, but he was 15-6 in 2009, his first year with the St. Louis. Even in that 2009 season, however, his ERA was just 3.78 and his WHIP was a mediocre 1.300. Lohse is available in about 40% of all leagues, but I can't recommend him for anything except as an injury fill-in.
Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox - It was just last June 25th that Jackson threw a 149-pitch, no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays. For the remainder of the season Jackson was just a mediocre pitcher going 8-8 with an ERA of 4.31 and a WHIP of 1.407. He hasn't started 2011 any better, going 2-2 but with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.628 WHIP.
While Jackson has talent, he simply doesn't "bring it" every night and at this point is better off on someone else's roster.
Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs - Dempster entered 2011 with three consecutive winning seasons, but a deeper examination of the numbers reveals he's been headed in the wrong direction for a while. Dempster's ERA was a stellar 2.96 in 2008, but has dropped in each successive season and to date in 2011 is an ugly 7.63. Likewise, his WHIP has dropped each season, from 1.210 in 2008 to 1.630 in his five 2011 starts.
If Dempster is currently on your roster, sit him. If he's a free agent in your league let him stay there.
Daniel Hudson, Arizona - I was quite high on Hudson after he finished 2010 as one of the best pitchers in the second half of the season. In his 11 starts with the Diamondbacks after being traded, ironically for the previously mentioned Jackson, Hudson was an excellent 7-1 with an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 0.841.
The "Hudson" we've seen in 2011 isn't even close to the same guy and his statistics make him a "must sit" until he either returns to form or you release him (0-4, ERA of 5.92 and WHIP of 1.315).