Wandy Rodriguez Continues to Sizzle
Thursday, in the thin air of Colorado, Wandy Rodriguez spun yet another gem for the Houston Astros -- and, of course, his fantasy owners. After seven innings of work, where he allowed only five hits and two earned runs, Rodriguez's ERA actually increased to 1.90. Of course, he also struck out a career-high 11 batters and ran his record to 4-2 in the process. It's time to officially declare him a must-start in every fantasy league.
Rodriguez has been a late-bloomer, but his progress has never been altered. His ERA and WHIP numbers have progressively improved every single season from 2006 to the present. His strikeout rate has gotten really close to one per inning (8.6 strikeouts per nine innings last season, 48 K in 52 innings this year), which is outstanding for starting pitchers. His stuff has baffled opposing hitters much more than in the past, too. For his career he's always allowed about one hit per inning, but this season he's only coughed up 37 knocks in those 52 innings -- and he has yet to allow a home run.
Look, it's easy to say that a guy with a 4-2 record, 1.90 ERA, nearly a strikeout per inning and a 1.00 WHIP has been a stud thus far. There's no arguing that. The question is, can he keep it up?
I strongly believe he will be a must-start option for the balance of 2009. Obviously he's not maintaining a 1.90 ERA all season. He's not Pedro Martinez circa 2000. He is, however, a strikeout pitcher who hasn't been the beneficiary of a ton of "luck" (his allowed BABIP is .271, which will normalize a bit but not much) and has shown the ability to stymie solid offensive teams (quality starts against the Dodgers, Cubs and Cardinals thus far). The fact that he's left-handed and has always thrown well in the bandbox that is Enron Minute Maid Park bode well for his prospects moving forward as well.
We always knew the 30-year-old had "it" when he was younger, he just lacked consistency. He's now putting it all together on a start-to-start basis. If you had the foresight to grab him late in fantasy drafts, enjoy him. If his current owner thinks this is a fluke and he wishes to sell-low on Mr. Rodriguez, go ahead and grab him.
He's Wandy, and he's the New Stud on the Block.