Depend on an Arm Besides Bedard's to Finish 2007

by Andrew Stewart on September 6, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


The Associated Press reports Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Erik Bedard (oblique) has temporarily halted his throwing program, and it is likely he will be shut down for the rest of the season.

Bedard has been one of the more dominant starting pitchers in baseball this season. He has been a key fantasy contributor in strikeouts (with an MLB-leading 221), earned run average (3.16), WHIP (1.09) and wins (13).

From a fantasy perspective, dynasty league owners should be happy if Bedard is shut down for the remainder of this season. It's anyone's guess as to when or if Bedard will return, or how effective he would be. With the Orioles out of contention and faltering down the stretch, it would be pointless to bring Bedard back for a stretch of meaningless games, though. If Bedard can rest now and rehab over the offseason, then it's likely he'll return to being a fantasy stud in 2008.

Of course, this is of little help to Bedard owners in single-year leagues who are fully entrenched in fantasy playoffs. Owners would be hard-pressed to find a pitcher as consistent as Bedard on the waiver wire at this point of the season, but most owners have moved on at this point anyway. However, in 92 percent of leagues polled, Bedard is still on roster. Unless owners would like to take a chance and stash Bedard on a vacant disabled list spot, it'd be better at this point to cut bait.

Now is an opportune time to pick up pitchers on a hot streak, such as St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Braden Looper, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Paul Byrd.

Looper has held his opponents scoreless in his last two outings, allowing only eight hits over 14 innings and picking up two wins. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in his last five starts. Looper is available in 88 percent of leagues polled.

Loaiza, who came off the disabled list in late August, has made only three starts this year, pitching for the Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. In that span, Loaiza is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He is available in 95 percent of leagues polled.

Byrd, while sporting mediocre stats in ERA (4.19), strikeouts (77) and WHIP (1.33), has compiled 14 wins this season. He has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight decisions. With the Indians surging offensively, Byrd is due for a couple of more wins before the season's end. He is also available in 95 percent of leagues polled.

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About Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart has been a Hot off the Wire Analyst for KFFL since 2007.

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