Welcome to Lenny’s RotoXList, the new column that appears twice weekly on RotoExperts.com from Fantasy Sports industry legend Lenny Melnick. You can now catch Lenny on RotoRadio three times a week right here, or listen on demand. His new podcast airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 am ET and is always available for downloads at this link. You can also catch Lenny on Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87) along with Tony Cincotta on the RotoExperts weekend editions (Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am to 1 pm ET) and the Monday night show (8 pm to 11 ET).
Cliff Lee is the only pitcher in this edition of my column who has not met the age requirement to be President of the United States. Next year, he will be eligible at age 35. The primary question is, have the pitchers named below exceeded the age limit to be effective Fantasy Baseball starters? If I’m wrong about these guys, I may have exceeded the age to write anymore. But I will take my chances.
Hiroki Kuroda: The 38 year-old Kuroda has taken his team into the 7th inning without giving up a run more times (11) than any other MLB pitcher, dating back to the start of the 2012 season. This year Kuroda has accomplished the feat 5 times. Hiroki has a 2.77 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Leaving Kuroda off the 2013 All-Star team was a huge injustice. Kuroda will continue to give you quality starts the rest of the year.
Bartolo Colon: The 40 year-old Colon has completed 11 starts in a row while allowing 3 earned runs or less .His 2.69 ERA and 1.11 WHIP have surprised many after his drug suspension last year. Expect this aging marvel to regress slightly to an ERA over 3.00 in the second half, with fatigue being the primary reason for any fall-off.
A.J. Burnett: At 36 years old, A.J. is just getting better. The Pirates bullpen has been top-notch, helping Burnett with a 75.5% strand rate. Burnett has helped himself with increased strikeout rate and a tremendous GB/FB rate of 2.23. If Burnett stays healthy, he may complete one of his best seasons with a much-improved Pirates team.
Tim Hudson: At age 37, Hudson is no longer a star pitcher. A stretch of 10 starts from May 5th to July 6th yielded Tim only 1 win. Neck and back injuries, along with the Braves’ inconsistent offense and bullpen, have contributed to making Hudson to a decent complementary pitcher. Expect a gradual drop-off as the season progresses.
Andy Pettitte: 19 earned runs in his last 5 starts tell the true story. At age 41, he is on the decline and it may happen quick. Pettitte is losing his fastball, which means he cannot get the key strikeout at a critical time. The Yankees no longer shower him with run support and times will only get tougher. He may ride off into the sunset with Mariano after 2013.
Cliff Lee: At age 34, Lee’s K rate is down slightly and his BB rate is up a bit. But when he transformed himself from a flyball pitcher for Cleveland in 2006 and 2007 to a moderate groundball pitcher in Philly, his career track changed. He may wind up back in the AL and if that happens, expect his numbers to take a marginal hit. Lee is 8-0 in his last 12 starts.
R.A. Dickey: Has R.A. knuckled under the stress of high expectations? His ball was showing a late drop once again, leading me to believe he would bounce back from a rough start. I may have been wrong. His velocity is up, his ball is sinking and so is his appeal. R.A. can be brilliant on any given day, as evidenced by him allowing 3 runs or less in 4 of his last 9 starts. The problem is, allowing at least 6 runs in the last 5 of those 9 starts means he is mediocre at best at age 38.