Dempster fails to live up to hype in AL

Ryan Dempster's American League debut with the Rangers was one to forget.

Ryan Dempster's American League debut with the Rangers was one to forget.

JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:00 PM ET

Before investing in a starting pitcher, it’s best to check for warning labels — more specifically, one that reads “Texas.” Ryan Dempster’s ghastly American League debut with the Rangers on Thursday serves as yet another example that Texas starters —thanks largely to the oppressive heat and a hitter-friendly home facility — are more likely to disappoint fantasy owners. We’ve seen it happen already this season with Yu Darvish and Roy Oswalt, two starters with impeccable pedigrees who have since withered. So, what about Dempster, who rolled up a 2.25 ERA with the Cubs before accepting a trade Tuesday to Texas? For those AL-only owners who missed out on Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez the week before, he is this week’s big waiver-wire addition. But after being torched for eight runs in 4.2 innings against the Angels on Thursday, his bidding price just came down, as it did with Sanchez after the Blue Jays rocked him in his Tigers debut last Saturday. But even before Thursday, many figured Dempster’s stats were in for a regression. As well as the ball park, weather and DH factors, his fly-ball rate has been rising, plus he’d been downright lucky in the NL where only 24% of the balls put into play against him had fallen in for hits —well below the MLB average of around 31%.

— The 2012 MLB trade fair was heavily skewered in favour of AL-only owners. But here is a quick look at the fantasy impact of other deals made after our own press deadline of last Saturday:

CHANGING LEAGUES: Jonathan Broxton moves from Royals closer to Reds’ setup man, all but ruining his fantasy appeal. Greg Holland, who many feel should have had the job all along, finally gets the ninth-inning role in K.C. … OF Travis Snider could be a sleeper going from the Jays to the Pirates. He showed signs of a breakout before the deal and will get every chance to build on that with the Bucs … The Yankees acquired 3B Casey McGehee as a fill-in for the injured A-Rod. Or so we thought. His lone start was at 1B Wednesday as the Yanks stick with the hot-hitting platoon of Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix at third … After four years as a backup catcher, George Kottaras should finally get extended at-bats on the strong end of a platoon in Oakland. His 18 HRs in 510 career ABs shows he has some pop … The Nationals got Kurt Suzuki on Friday to make him their No. 1 catcher. Now, all he has to do is remember how to hit.

SAME LEAGUE: Nate Schierholtz, a lefty OF going to Philly for Hunter Pence, likely will benefit power-wise as long as he hits enough to keep himself in the starting mix of the overhauled outfield … Francisco Liriano is lightning in a bottle right now: Motivated by being traded to a contender with the White Sox, but landing in a less pitcher-friendly facility. And, he’s Francisco Liriano … Shane Victorino joining the Dodgers OF pushes Tony Gwynn Jr., to the bench. Bobby Abreu was dumped ... A former all-star who was demoted to triple-A a month ago by Miami, Gaby Sanchez finds himself on the weak end of a 1B platoon with Garrett Jones in Pittsburgh … As a LH power bat, ex-Jay Eric Thames bears watching in an M’s OF with two starting jobs there for the taking.

WAIVER WATCH

With fantasy rating out of 5

Brett Wallace

1B, Astros

P P P

The ’Stros seem set this time on giving hulking prospect a lengthy shot at first and in the middle of the lineup. He hit for a strong AVG in an earlier stint this year and his two-HR game Wednesday suggests the power could finally be coming around.

Dan Straily

SP, Athletics

Being the top strikeout pitcher in all of baseball (178 in 130 IPs at two levels this season) doesn’t guarantee MLB success, but it’s sure worth taking a chance on. He was efficient, though hardly dominating, in his debut against the Jays on Friday.

Kris Medlen

SP, Braves

Looked good in his spot start Tuesday and, even with the arrival of Paul Maholm, should remain in the rotation with Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens landing on the DL this week. He had a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts two years ago before elbow surgery.

Mike Olt

3B, Rangers

One of the minors’ top power hitters this year with 28 HRs and a .288 AVG in double-A, Texas says he’ll plug in at 3B, 1B, DH and maybe OF. Why the team began his arbitration clock early without giving him a defined role is unclear, but he could be a hot streak away from replacing Michael Young at first.

* Statistics do not include Saturday’s games

INJURY UPDATES

Barring a setback, the Reds will have Joey Votto (knee) back this coming week … Outside of some “general soreness,” Evan Longoria (hamstring) is surviving his second rehab stint and, should he get through the weekend unscathed, will finally be activated on Tuesday … Giancarlo Stanton (knee) and Matt Garza (triceps) also are eyeing Tuesday returns … Wilton Lopez, tabbed to take over as the Astros closer, is feeling some uneasiness in his right elbow. Hold off on picking him up … Yoenis Cespedes sprained his wrist Friday but may not need the DL … Josh Beckett left his Tuesday start early with back spasms and will be skipped Sunday but isn’t likely to land back on the DL … David Ortiz (foot) may return later this week … Emilio Bonifacio is back out with a sprained thumb.

HOT AND NOT

Hitters, the past two weeks

Ryan Ludwick CIN

.415, 5 HRs 17 RBIs

Alex Rios CHW

.347, 5 HRs, 15 runs

Carlos Gomez MIL

.349, 4 HRs, 6 SBs

Josh Rutledge COL

.346, 5 HRs, 10 RBIs

- - - - - -

Adrian Beltre TEX

.216, 1 HR, 2 RBIs

Hunter Pence SF

.186, 0 HRs, 0 runs

WEIRD SPLIT

Yu Darvish TEX

April ERA 2.18

After April 5.15

IN FREEFALL

My Freaky Friday meltdown last week turned into a four-day fantasy nightmare that saw me plummet from a comfortable season-long first-place perch to 12 points behind in second. And it was all starting pitching, to the point where I had to use up practically the rest of my FAAB on Zack Greinke who, naturally, gets bombed in his first start for me.

 


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