Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's only the second week in May and already there have been 73 team shutouts this season - which means there must be a lot of pitchers who are throwing the ball very well. Let's take a look at a few of them...and a few who are not throwing well.
Jaime Garcia, STL - If you take a peek at the three top pitchers in TSN's Pitching Evaluator for National League pitchers, you will see two names you expect -- Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson and one who might surprise you, Garcia. Garcia's nine-inning, two-hit shutout against Milwaukee vaulted him into this lofty position. He has yet to give up more than three earned runs in any game and for the season is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.99 and a WHIP of 0.971. Those are Cy Young-worthy numbers if he can continue the rest of the way. Be wary, however, that Garcia faded in 2010 and his ERA and WHIP jumped to un- startable levels.
Max Scherzer, DET - Scherzer may be a perfect 6-0, but he's not on my recommended list. That's because when you dig into the numbers you will se that he isn't pitching as well as his record. While his ERA is a respectable 3.20, it's his WHIP that should concern you. It's a below average 1.401. The number also includes 23 walks in 50.2 innings. That statistic by itself should send you running in the opposite direction. When the Tigers stop scoring six runs-per-game in his starts, his win percentage will drop and so will his fantasy value.
Tommy Hanson, ATL - Hanson came up in mid-2009 with plenty of hype and he equaled most of those expectations going 11-4. Last year, however, he was mostly a disappointment after posting a 10-11 season. He started 2011 by losing his first two games, but he's pitched very well and has yet to yield more than three earned runs in a game. Hanson has won his last three starts, throwing 20 innings and giving up just three runs, 10 hits and four walks while striking out 24 batters. He appears to be back in form and if you have him, you should keep him all season long, resisting any trade offers.
Carl Pavano, MIN - Pavano was a nice surprise in 2010, with a 17-10 record and a solid ERA of 3.75 and a WHIP of 1.195. He was selected on many fantasy teams on Draft Day, but has already been dropped by many after a poor start. Pavano is just 2-4 with an ugly ERA of 6.64 and a non-fantasy worthy WHIP of 1.452. I don't see Pavano returning to 2010 levels and therefore should be left on the free agent list.
Jeff Francis, KC - Francis had a couple of solid years in Colorado, but he hasn't been very good since 2007 when he went 17-9. He has never had a good WHIP and is not fantasy worthy again this season, with his 0-4 record, ERA of 5.09 and WHIP of 1.500. Take him off your radar screen completely.
Kyle Drabek, TOR - The key acquisition in the Roy Halladay trade with Philadelphia, Drabek (2-2, 4.81 ERA, 1.698 WHIP) has shown flashes of ability but nothing worthy of a trade for the best pitcher in baseball. His 2011 season has been a struggle for control, yielding 28 walks in 43 innings. While Drabek has value in keeper leagues, I wouldn't wait for his to blossom in 2011 and should be dropped in single-season leagues.
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