By David Ferris
Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins: While a lucky hit rate (.221) is fueling a lot of his success since returning to the rotation, he also has 40 strikeouts over 37.1 innings and he's cut the walks down to an acceptable level. Working at Target Field half of the time is also a plus, not to mention the schedule you get in the AL Central, where no opponent (not even Chicago and Detroit) is all that daunting. It's time to trust again.
Jarrod Parker, SP, Athletics: Only two of his 11 starts have been messy ones for fantasy purposes, and we can excuse Parker for losing his way in Arizona (a tricky spot for any pitcher). Parker's HR/FB clip is still on the lucky side - he's only allowed two long balls all season - but working in Oakland explains some of that away. The Athletics did very well in the Trevor Cahill deal, landing two cornerstones in Parker (a potential ace) and closer Ryan Cook.
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants: The regression calls have been steady since Vogelsong reemerged with the Giants last year, but now that we're 42 starts into the game, don't we have to accept Vogelsong's surface ERA to some extent? Vogelsong is never going to be a strikeout ace but he does get more than two for every walk (that's a key benchmark), and he's just about untouchable in his home park (1.29 ERA this year, 2.15 ERA last year). Ask the Dodgers what they think of Vogelsong - he's beaten them four times since the beginning of 2011, including Clayton Kershaw twice this year.
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners: He's yet to allow a run since taking over the closing baton in Seattle, covering 14.2 terrific innings (two walks, 18 strikeouts). While the M's would like to get Brandon League back into the ninth in a showcase role (hoping for a later trade), manager Eric Wedge also has to be accountable to his own clubhouse. Look for Wilhelmsen to likely keep the ninth inning in Seattle, and don't be afraid to grab running mate Charlie Furbush (two runs allowed over his last 26.1 innings, with 34 strikeouts), who works as the primary set-up man.
Tyler Clippard, SP, Nationals: He's allowed just one hit (and zero runs) since Davey Johnson finally called his name for the ninth inning, and Johnson is not going to automatically go back to Drew Storen when the former closer returns from his elbow surgery. If Clippard is going to be this dominant at the end of games, the Nationals might not have any reason to remove him from the job. And it's not like Storen has an extensive resume of success; this isn't like a proven veteran coming back and reclaiming his post.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks: The best time to trade many top pitching prospects is the pocket right before they debut. No one doubts Bauer's strikeout potential, but note that he had a messy walk problem in the minors (4.6/9 this year) and he could have difficulty lasting more than 5-6 innings in most of his turns. And the Snakes might not want to tax Bauer for a full three months in the majors, given that he's already worked 93 innings in pro ball this year. See if you can find a prospect-happy trading partner in your league, before Bauer makes his Thursday start. Cash in on the buzz right now.
Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves: He returned to the majors and had one magical start at Fenway Park, but don't lose sight of the big picture here: Jurrjens couldn't get out of his own way in Triple-A (5.18 ERA, 1.43 WHIP over 10 starts). Look for the Diamondbacks to dig in and get plenty of production against Jurrjens on Thursday. Even in NL-only pools, we're not interested.
Daniel Hudson, SP, Diamondbacks: While he's in the "sell" portion of the program, "drop" is the better word for Hudson. His 7.35 ERA and 1.63 WHIP speak for themselves, and he finally admitted this week that his elbow has been bothering him for a few weeks now. A DL stint looks unavoidable, and it wouldn't be a surprise if surgery were needed.