Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The cream is rising to the top as we begin the final 35-game stretch run to the championship. Guys like Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Zack Greinke are pitching like the fantasy stars that they are. Meanwhile, a couple of others are pitching just as well as their more well-known counterparts.
Wandy Rodriguez, Houston - Sure, he has trouble getting wins playing for the inept Houston Astros, but he's pitching well and can contribute to every other fantasy category (1-2, 1.23 ERA, 0.86 WHIP over his last three starts). Add in that he will likely clear waivers this week and could go to a contender and you have a solid waiver claim option for this week. He's available in one out of every five leagues.
Ricky Romero, Toronto - Romero had modest numbers as a rookie in 2009, but has improved his ERA and WHIP in each seasons since and now has considerable fantasy value. For the season he's 12-9 with an ERA of 2.73 and a WHIP of 1.109, but he's been even better than that over the past few weeks (3-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.54 WHIP in last three starts). He's currently a must start, particularly on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals who are averaging just 3.85 runs-per- game in August.
C.J. Wilson, Texas - Wilson isn't going deep into games, with five of his last six starts shorter than 7.0 IP, but that hasn't effected his ability to win games (13-5 this season). He was very tough last night against a depleted Boston Red Sox lineup (missing Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz) pitching 6.2 shutout innings. In his last three starts he's 3-0 with an ERA of 0.92 and a WHIP of 0.966.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland - For those of you who thought that Jimenez would be better off pitching outside the not so friendly confines of Coors Field, it seems that a trend is developing where pitchers leaving the Rockies pitch worse, not better. The "change of scenery theory" hasn't helped Jimenez at all - he's been just as ineffective, if not worse, with the Indians than he was in Colorado. His pitches are either so far off the plate as to not be deceptive or right down the middle and extremely hittable. In four starts for his new team, both his ERA (7.29) and WHIP (1.810) are much worse than they were for the Rockies. At this point he must be firmly planted on your bench.
Jeff Francis, Kansas City - Here is another pitcher who left the "Mile High City" hoping it would help his statistics only to be disappointing to both his new team and fantasy owners. Francis is 4-14 this season with an ERA of 4.89 and a WHIP of 1.407 and 0-3 with an ERA of 8.62 and a WHIP of 1.91 over his last three starts. Both season-long numbers are in line with his production in Colorado however his strikeouts-per-nine-innings is lower than his work with the Rockies. Francis is not currently a fantasy option.
Jason Marquis, Arizona - Continuing the trend, when Marquis left Colorado for Washington in 2010 his statistics went in the wrong directions. In 2009 with the Rockies he was 15-13 with an ERA of 4.04 and a WHIP of 1.38 and the following season in our nation's capitol he was 2-9 with an ERA of 6.06 and a WHIP of 1.705 with Washington. Marquis rebounded this year going 8-6 with Washington and Arizona, but his last three starts haven't been good - (0-1, ERA 9.53, WHIP 2.29) and he should not be in your starting lineup at this time.