By David Ferris
Mark Buehrle, SP, Marlins: He's very quietly collected eight wins, a 3.25 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, and the story has been even more fun in the new park (2.77 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). Buehrle will allow a few souvenirs now and then (13 homers), but so long as he keeps striking out four men for every walk, he'll probably be successful. Buehrle has two favorable offenses waiting for him in the second half, the Nationals and Cubs.
Ryan Dempster, SP, Cubs: He only won four of his 13 starts in the first half, despite a sterling stat package across the board (1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 70 strikeouts in 86.6 innings). The team-support problem is probably going to vanish this month, with the Cubs expected to move Dempster to a contender (the Dodgers are looking to make a move in the NL West and they have the perfect pitching backdrop for someone like Dempster). That pretty ERA isn't likely to last, but Dempster could easily rattle off 8-10 wins in the second half if his new club is decent.
Heath Bell, RP, Marlins: You can't say the Marlins weren't patient, but after watching Bell blow six saves (along with a 6.75 ERA and 1.82 WHIP) Ozzie Guillen is ready to try a committee. Steve Cishek will probably be part of the mix right away, and the former Leo Nunez (now known as Juan Oviedo) is expected to enter the fray in a couple of weeks. We'll be surprised if Bell records more than 10 saves in the second half.
Shaun Marcum, SP, Brewers: Things are going slowly with his elbow rehab, and we're talking about a pitcher who routinely needs about a month on the shelf every year. A 3.39 ERA and 1.17 WHIP are nice, but those aren't game-changing numbers in today's pitching-dominated environment. Let someone else play the waiting game here; don't waste valuable bench space on Marcum if you're in a league with short reserves.
Doug Fister, SP, Tigers: He's pitched better in the secondary stats than he has on the scoreboard (4.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), but he's not getting any favors from Detroit's horrendous infield defense (all of the starters in Motown have unlucky hit rates). Fister has also dealt with finger, side and upper body injuries, affecting his control and command somewhat. The Tigers thought Fister had a chance to be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 arm this year, but he really belongs further back in the rotation. In mixed leagues, you need to do better than this.
Derek Holland, SP, Rangers: What's the big deal with Holland again? His career ratios (4.78 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) are killers in today's context, and Holland is specifically having issues at home this year (6.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). And if his stuff is so nasty, why are lefties batting .286 against him this season? Something doesn't add up.
Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays: He's yet to blow a save since Sergio Santos went on the DL, reeling off 12 conversions in a row in addition to a 1.13 ERA and a .181 batting-average against. There's a lot to be said for throwing strikes in the ninth (Janssen has just four walks as the stopper), and he's also striking out a batter per inning. Why would the Blue Jays want to go back to Santos? No reason that we can see.