Fantasy Notes: Cuban Crisis
Don’t be so quick to discard veteran hurler Jose Contreras. Although the 36-year-old (ya, right) Cuban took the loss Sunday, with just six hits allowed in eight innings he probably deserved a better fate. Contreras looked just about done last season, but so far this season, he’s pitched at his highest level since putting up a career year in 2005. Okay, the Ks are down, but so are the walks, hits and homers allowed. It all translates into making Contreras someone worth targeting in AL-only leagues.
Another Cuban hurler we shouldn’t be so quick to write off is Livan Hernandez. He started the year like gangbusters, but started winding up on the waiver wire after three straight poor outings. However, did you catch the fact that he limited the Tigers, who’s offense has arisen from its funk, to just one run over seven innings en route to his fourth win of the year on Friday? I still think Hernandez will ultimately be battered like the proverbial step child this year, but right now, he’s a decent AL-only option, especially if you need wins.
Let’s keep the Cuban hurler thread going. Orlando Hernandez is desperately needed by the Mets with Oliver Perez getting rocked his past few starts and Mike Pelfrey still not looking like he’s ready to take the next step. Well, El Duque is still in a protective boot, but he’s scheduled to be examined again this week. He’s someone you may want to take a chance on when he finally returns as he was pretty darned good last year when healthy. Of course, it’s that whole ‘when healthy’ thing that’s a bit disconcerting, isn’t it?
Switching speeds for a moment, Todd Helton, who had a nice bounce back season in 2007, has never looked this bad. He showed signs of life Monday, with a 2-for-4 performance, including an RBI and a walk, but had gone 4-for-22 prior to that, taking his OPS lower than it’s ever been. Of greater concern is that Helton has been a fast starter the past couple of years, enjoying excellent Aprils, but generally doing his worst in May, June and July. That doesn’t bode well for a turnaround. Yes, Helton is only 34, but he’s an old 34, given all the back woes, etc., he’s endured over the years. If someone’s been sniffing around Helton, looking to buy low, you may want to give the offer some consideration.