The Minnesota Twins have again struggled to find consistent starting pitching this season, but Samuel Deduno has brought some stability every fifth day, going at least six innings in 10 of his 12 starts (eight in a row) since being called up in late May.
Deduno had his best outing of the season on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners, as he allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings along with six strikeouts and three walks. He has now gone seven innings in each of his last three starts, allowing just three earned runs over that span, and over five July starts (33 innings) he had a 3.00 ERA along with 18 strikeouts and 14 walks. With this recent run of success, should fantasy baseball owners look to add Deduno?
Control was an issue for Deduno during his time with the Twins last season (53 walks in 79 innings pitched; 6.0 BB/9), and he has improved in that area thus far this season (3.3 BB/9), but his strikeout rate has dropped fairly dramatically (5.0 K/9) compared to last season (6.5 K/9). A deeper look at Deduno’s peripherals shows improvement in his ground ball percentage (62.8 percent, 58.3 percent in 2012), which teamed with a lower amount of line drives allowed (17.4 percent, 21.3 percent last season) and a much better home run/fly ball rate (8.3 percent this year, 21.3 percent last season) has yielded better results.
Deduno is scheduled to make his next start against the Houston Astros at home next Friday night, so there’s a good chance he carries his July success into his first August start. The Astros entered Sunday’s action at or near the bottom of the American League in almost every offensive category, apart from a league-leading 961 strikeouts as a team.
Fantasy owners have been slow to embrace Deduno, as he is only owned in four percent of Yahoo! leagues right now. His appeal in mixed leagues is still limited until he strings together a few more good outings, and perhaps faces some tougher lineups, but owners in AL-only leagues that need pitching help can consider adding him immediately.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.