Replacing Jon Lester
By R.J. Anderson //
With Jon Lester heading to the disabled list, fantasy owners of him have to scramble to the waiver wire to find a replacement. Here are some names to look for.
The centerpiece of the Cliff Lee-to-Philadelphia trade, Carrasco is owned in about 70 percent of ESPN leagues, which is a little surprising given his 8-5 record and 3.95 earned run average. Carrasco is coming off a strong June, where he made six starts, averaged over seven innings per outing, struck out 28, walked seven, and held a 1.90 earned run average. He is unlikely to be that good heading forward, but doesn’t need to be in order to be worth a roster spot.
Like Carrasco, Niese is coming off a strong June—a 3.16 earned run average, and more than six innings per start—however, his owned rate has actually dipped to 12.3 percent in ESPN leagues. Niese doesn’t pitch for the best team in the division, but his modest 7-7 record should not be enough to scare people off. Factor in a comfortable home park, and Niese is a smart addition.
A teammate of Niese, many of the pros and cons apply to both. Capuano is only owned in seven percent of ESPN leagues despite an above-.500 record and 4.19 earned run average. Since a six earned run outburst in late May, Capuano has made eight starts with an earned run average of 3.00 and 43 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched. Again, comfy home ballpark.
For the upside fiends in the crowd, Harden made his return a few days ago, and went six innings, struck out six, allowed four hits, and zero walks. The story with Harden is the same old, same old, as injuries have affected each of his seasons since 2005. For a short-term investment, Harden makes a lot of sense, but just know there is a chance he ends up on the disabled list before Lester can make a recovery.
For more on other arms, check out Bloomberg Sports Front Office.