Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Wandy Rodriguez Fantasy.....

I recently chimed in on Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez throwing a 40-pitch session on Wednesday. It was his first action since straining a muscle on his left side in February.

"I threw 40 pitches, and I didn't feel anything," Rodriguez said. "I feel good."

If only he followed that up with, "I knew that I would." Rodriguez looks to be on track for Opening Day. Should you bring him along for the fantasy ride?

There's some late-round appeal. Rodriguez always has had a penchant for strikeouts. He compiled 131 Ks in 137.1 innings last season. He's averaged 144.5 over the past two seasons. He's lowered his ERA and WHIP each of the last three seasons.

Granted, his ERA was in the 5's early in his career and his record is anything but great. Rodriguez has managed just nine wins each of the past three seasons, and he has a 37-40 career record. Why would you want to take a chance on that?

Well, Rodriguez has a good track record at home. He went just 5-5 there last season, but that came with a .299 ERA and 82 Ks in 81.1 innings. That's comparable to his line at Minute Maid Park in '07 (6-3, 2.94, 88}. He's one of those start-him-at-home, sit-him-on-the-road type fantasy plays.

Will he be more than that? Probably not. Rodriguez is No. 63 in our SP rankings, meaning that in a 12-team format you can make him your No. 6, the first one off the bench. As far as role pitchers go, that's not bad. You probably haggle down his $7 price to something in the $3 range, too. Nobody is going to break the break to pull in Rodriguez. I've owned him in spots the last two seasons and he's been OK. Nothing spectacular; but no horror stories.

Provided Rodriguez stays healthy you're looking at 11 wins max, an ERA in the late 3's to early 4's and 150-plus strikeouts. That's not too bad in the later rounds.

Your thoughts? Are you feeling Wandy?

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